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4th October, 2018

Szijjarto agrees gas deal with Russia

Hungary has agreed to buy 4 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia in 2020, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto announced yesterday in Moscow at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Based on talks with three Russian ministers in recent days, he said, the International Investment Bank will open an office in Budapest, and a Central European Oncology Centre will be established here.

Szijjarto also said direct flights will operate between Budapest and Kazan and confirmed that an agreement has been reached whereby a Hungarian-Russian consortium will deliver 1,300 railway carriages to Egypt to a value of more than €1 billion.

Earlier, Szijjarto met with Industry and Energy Minister Genis Maturov, Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev and Qatar Energy and Industry Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada at the Energy Week conference in the Russian capital.

He told the conference that the Hungarian government never comments on national energy mixes and others should not pass judgments on the Hungarian energy mix “in which nuclear energy will play a defining role”.

He said that in Hungary, where nearly half of the electricity is produced by the Paks nuclear plant, 90% of energy production will be free of carbon emissions by 2030. (origo.hu; (magyarhirlap.hu; magyaridok.hu; portfolio.hu; hirtv.hu; KR)
4th October, 2018

Committee may consider Orban trips

Dialogue MP Olivio Kocsis-Cake has asked Parliament’s immunity committee to take a stand in connection with Viktor Orban’s flights on private aircraft.

The application calls on the committee to declare whether the free plane rides acknowledged by the prime minister are gifts or not, and whether they must therefore be included in his annual statement of assets.

Kocsis-Cake, the deputy chairman of the committee, pointed out in his report that MPs must declare any gifts they receive in connection with their MP’s commission, the value of which is greater than their monthly salary. (index.hu; hvg.hu; magyarhang.hu; atv.hu; 444.hu; nepszava.hu)
4th October, 2018

Head of Literary Museum gets the axe

Gergely Prohle, head of the Petofi Literary Museum, is dismissed effective October 31, by order of Human Resources Minister Miklos Kasler, ATV was told by government sources on Wednesday.

Prohle did not want to make a statement. ATV says the ministry has not yet sent the official notification.

Earlier the weekly Demokrata issued a report about his dismissal but that report did not prove to be realistic.

Prohle has recently found himself in the line of fire of pro-government media, primarily for hosting an exhibition dedicated to artist Lajos Kassak. (atv.hu; hvg.hu; 444.hu; zoom.hu; 24.hu; hirtv.hu)
4th October, 2018

Helsinki Committee wins third lawsuit against Fidesz

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has won its third slander lawsuit of recent times against Fidesz regarding false claims made by the ruling party about the organisation.

The Budapest Court of Appeals yesterday ordered Fidesz MP Janos Halasz, the party’s caucus spokesman at the time of the incident in question, and Fidesz to pay Ft 400,000 in damages and to publicly apologise to the NGO.

Halasz told a press conference in April 2017 that the Helsinki Committee and other NGOs had denied Magyar Hirlap’s request for data of public interest, and that “the Soros organisations hide data about their assets and people and agents funded by them, while demanding transparency from others”.

In reality, the NGO’s sources of funding were and are available on its website.

Unlike the first-instance Capital Court, the court of appeals ruled that Halasz is answerable for his employer’s conduct.

The NGO also won a binding verdict that the government must declare on its internet home page for 30 days that the cabinet made untrue claims in the 2017 autumn national consultation when it wrote that the Helsinki Committee protects immigrants who break the law and so sides with lawlessness.

The cabinet continues to fight the rulings and will seek a judicial review by the Kuria.

The NGO said the two previous verdicts in its favour were not enough for Fidesz, which “builds its politics on this kind of ugly and absurd fabrication”. (hvg.hu; 24.hu; merce.hu; nepszava.hu; 444.hu)
4th October, 2018

Refugee centre converted into prison

A prison capable of holding 470 prisoners is being established in Kiskunhalas by rebuilding the former refugee reception centre, the National Corrections Institute has announced.

Hot and cold water will be available in the cells and the toilets will be isolated as part of the project costing nearly Ft 1.7 billion.

Recruitment officers will appear in all municipalities and high schools in the region to recruit prison wardens. (hirado.hu; zoom.hu; 24.hu; nlcafe.hu; blikk.hu)
4th October, 2018

Gov’t grants Ft 2.8bn to churches

The cabinet has reassigned Ft 2.8 billion from this year’s budget to support church-related programmes and investment projects.

It is not clear from the latest issue of the official gazette which church programmes and investments the cabinet is supporting. HVG adds. (hvg.hu; zoom.hu)
4th October, 2018

Orban receives World Cup swimmers

Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday received the best swimmers of the Budapest World Cup, in Parliament, but top medal-winner Katinka Hosszu was not present.

Orban showed the guests around his office and posed for a photograph with each of them.

Present were Laszlo Cseh, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, David Verraszto and other top Hungarian swimmers, with the exception of three-time Olympic winner Hosszu. (infostart.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)

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