The skills of special operative forces within the military will greatly contribute to the security of citizens, Minister of Defence István Simicskó has said in Szolnok following the recent establishment of a second special regiment within the military. The unit of some 1200 soldiers would be instrumental in fighting terrorism, he said. Chief of staff Tibor Benkő said Hungary started training staff for special forces in 2005, and Hungary’s

battalion achieved international recognition last year. Current challenges require that Hungary have an operative military force to deploy rapidly on land, in the air or on water, Benkő said.

Tender seeks interns

The Ministry of National Economy has announced a tender for HUF 16.2 billion in European Union and state funding to support internships. The employers may apply for between HUF 1.9 million and HUF 30 million in support for interns who work at their business for at least nine months.

Uni Roma jokes condemned

The rector of Budapest Corvinus University has ordered an investigation into its university preparation programme for secondary schoolers after university students in charge of a class assigned a series of

trigonometry questions containing jokes about Roma. Daily newspaper Népszabadság said the jokes “had nothing to do with the course material” and were included on the worksheet solely “for entertainment “. According to pictures published in the paper the jokes were “What are the three words you never want to hear from a gypsy? Good morning, neighbour!” and “How do you address a gypsy in a suit? Can the accused please stand up!” The university said it “deeply condemns” the jokes inserted into the programme’s exercises along with all forms of discrimination. Studium Generale (SG), the student organisation running the programme, had subsequently been asked to do everything it could to prevent further such incidents. SG also condemned the jokes, saying the student responsible had been immediately suspended. SG said it has launched its own internal investigation.

Crime down

Last year, 15,982 fewer criminal cases were reported in Budapest than in 2014, municipal police chief Gábor Bucsek said on Monday. Bucsek said the efficiency of investigations has also increased, thus contributing to a “subjective sense of security”. He said crimes committed in public spaces were down by one fifth. Homicide cases dropped from 43 to 33, with all perpetrators identified. Robberies had gone from 824 to 639, muggings from 1375 to 1242, and 1859 cars were stolen against 2709 in 2014.

Shops empty in Metro 4

Since the opening of Metro 4 in March 2014 there have been 11 tenants in the shops for rent but many of them have since terminated their contracts, daily newspaper Népszabadság has said, noting that they are most likely empty because of high rent and low traffic. Prospective tenants are not allowed to open pubs, vegetable stands, bakeries, pizza and gyros restaurants but are welcome to operate premium wine and champagne bars. In addition the empty space actually comes empty, meaning that tenants must not only design and furnish but also do the flooring and other works to meet certain sanitary standards. After the Budapest Capital Asset Management Agency’s recent review determined that revenue is far lower than expected, it suggested a substantial cut in rents, the paper said.

New national airline ‘in pipeline’

Representatives of the Ministry of National Development and Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi met on Monday about founding a new Hungarian national airline company, public news channel M1 reported. Sukhoi would supply six new aircraft and contribute capital to setting up the new company. Initial consultations with the ministry were held last October. The airline would be expected to generate 110 million euros annual profit contributing to

Hungary’s GDP. Evgeny Andrachnikov, Sukhoi’s managing director in charge of civil aircraft manufacturing, told M1 that a Hungarian national airline would offer an excellent springboard for the company’s Superjet 100 aircraft. Sukhoi would be a reliable partner willing to share not only the success but also the risks associated with the company, he said. State secretary for transport policy László Tasó said the ministry would consider any project that serves the interests of Hungary. National airline Malév folded in February 2012 after 66 years of continual operation.

Red-sludge verdict protest held

About 50 people have demonstrated against the court ruling that acquitted all 15 suspects in the 2010 red-sludge spill, the country’s worst environmental disaster. At the protest outside Veszprém city court, Károly Tili, the independent mayor of Kolontár, the settlement that was hardest hit, said residents refused to accept the ruling. “Unless we join our forces, those responsible for the disaster will never be identified,” he said. Gábor Ferenczi (Jobbik), the mayor of

Devecser, insisted that the ruling was not in proportion to the scale of the disaster. He noted that a parliamentary committee report had blamed the company’s management. Had the managers mandated regular inspections the disaster could have been prevented, Ferenczi said. Zsolt Marton, the independent mayor of Somlóvásárhely, expressed hope that the culprits would soon be identified. Lajos Kepli, an MP for Jobbik who headed a parliamentary investigation into the spill, said those responsible should be jailed. They should have paid compensation to the victims but instead taxpayers had.

Migrant crisis ‘hit tourism’

Budapest is the most severely affected capital in Central and Eastern Europe regarding the decline in international tourism. According to the International Trend Report quoted by the business daily Világgazdaság, hotel occupancy rates in November dropped to 62.3 percent from the previous year’s 65.6 percent. The analysis suggests that negative international news reports about the refugee situation have made Budapest less attractive. However, according to analysis by the Hungarian Association of Hotels and Restaurants, domestic tourism grew 7.2 percent and international arrivals rose 4.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2015.

Eight kilometres of graffiti removed from trains

An 8-kilometre-long and 2-metre-high painting could be created by all the graffiti removed from carriages operated by MÁV, the state railway has said. The exterior and interior cleaning of 16,000 square metres had cost more than HUF 20.5 million. To repaint a wagon with anti-graffiti paint costs about HUF 1.5 million. The amount of graffiti has been steadily decreasing over the years by about 25 percent annually, MÁV said. In 2009 more than 87,000 square metres of graffiti had to be removed.

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