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Defence Forces Day Hungary - M a y 2 1

Almost all countries of the world commemorate their defence forces symbolized the sovereignty and self-defence capability of the nation. In the last decades, in Hungary, members of the defence forces were celebrated in several ways. In 1940 a governing order declared 28 June as the Day of Defence. According to this regulation the Day of Defence was “the celebration of armed forces”, the ceremonial display of the military spirit and the internal power of the army in front of the nation. Since the 50’s until 1991, 29 September was the Armed Forces Day and National Defence Day. Since 1992, 21 May is the Day of the Hungarian National Defence, this is the day of battle of Castle Buda in 1849, when the Hungarian Army lead by General Artúr Görgey recaptured the capital from the troops lead by Austrian General Hentzi. (The Battle of Buda (Hungarian: "Buda ostroma”) was a battle at Buda, Kingdom of Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 . It was part of the Spring Campaign between 4 and 21 May 1849 and ended up with Hungarian victory.) From the memorials we have learned that the successful reoccupation of the Buda Castle was the ’crown’ of the glorious Spring Campaign, and the General Görgey had proven his excellent capabilities, when he managed to turn the poorly equipped Hungarian forces into an army within a short time. This battle was the last step to make clear for the Habsburg Emperor that the Hungarians want to be independent. This victory could symbolize the freedom of the country and would have provided a good discussion basis for the expected peace talks. Remembering for this unprecedented battle and victory, since 1992 we remember the heroes who lined up as soldiers under the tricolor of the nation on 21st May 1849, and faced death bravely, singing the national anthem while attacking the strongholds of the enemy. First and foremost, this day is the day of remembrance, a celebration in honor of the predecessors who had defended their homeland heroically. Nevertheless, it also has to be mentioned that Hungarian soldiers – be it a contracted soldier, a professional serviceman, regardless of the location they are serving at, both within the boundaries of the country, and in an international mission – deserve all our respect.

Contributed by: Attila Szántó

Independence Day East Timor - M a y 2 0

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor. The small country of 15,410 km² (5,400 sq mi) is located about 640 km (400 mi) northwest of Darwin, Australia. East Timor was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, and was known as Portuguese Timor until Portugal's decolonization of the country. In late 1975, East Timor declared its independence, but later that year was invaded and occupied by Indonesia and was declared Indonesia's 27th province the following year. In 1999, following the United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on May 20, 2002. East Timor is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being the Philippines. East Timor has a lower-middle-income economy. It continues to suffer the aftereffects of a decades-long independence struggle against Indonesia, which damaged infrastructure and displaced thousands of civilians. It is placed 120th by Human Development Index(HDI).

History

It is believed that descendants from at least three waves of migration still live in East Timor. The first were related to the principal Australoid indigenous groups of New Guineaand Australia, and arrived before 40,000 years ago. Around 3000 BC, Austronesians migrated to Timor, and are thought to be associated with the development of agriculture on the island. Thirdly, proto-Malays arrived from south China and north Indochina. Before colonialism Timor was included in Chinese and Indian trading networks, being in the 14th century an exporter of aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey and wax. Early European explorers report that the island had a number of small chiefdoms or princedoms in the early 16th century. The Portuguese established outposts in Timor and Maluku. Effective European occupation of a small part of the territory began in 1769, when the city of Dili was founded and the colony of Portuguese Timor declared.A definitive border between the Dutch colonised western half of the island and the Portuguese colonised eastern half of the island was established by the Hague Treaty of 1914, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia. For the Portuguese, East Timor remained little more than a neglected trading post until the late nineteenth century, with minimal investment in infrastructure, health, and education. Sandalwood remained the main export crop with coffee exports becoming significant in the mid-nineteenth century. In places where Portuguese rule was asserted, it tended to be brutal and exploitative. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a faltering home economy prompted the Portuguese to extract greater wealth from its colonies, which was met with Timorese resistance. During World War II, the Japanese occupied Dili, and the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as the Battle of Timor. Waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese, the struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated. The decolonisation process instigated by the 1974 Portuguese revolution saw Portugal effectively abandon the colony of East Timor. A civil war between supporters of East Timorese political parties, Fretilin and the UDT, broke out in 1975 as UDT attempted a coup which Fretilin resisted with the help of local Portuguese military. Independence was unilaterally declared on November 28, 1975. The Indonesian government was fearful of an independent communist state within the Indonesian archipelago, and at the height of the Cold War, Western governments were supportive of Indonesia's position. The Indonesian military launched a full-scale invasion of East Timor in December 1975. Indonesia declared East Timor as its 27th province on July 17, 1976. The UN Security Council opposed the invasion and the territory's nominal status in the UN remained "non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration." Indonesia's occupation of East Timor was marked by violence and brutality. A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a minimum bound of 102,800 conflictrelated deaths in the period 1974–1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 'excess' deaths from hunger and illness. The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975–1999. The 1991 Dili Massacre was a turning point for the independence cause internationally, and an East Timor solidarity movement grew in Portugal, Australia, and the United States. Following the resignation of Indonesian President Suharto, a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia and Portugal allowed for UN-supervised popular referendum in August 1999. The resulting clear vote for independence was met with a punitive campaign of violenceby Timorese pro-integration militia with the support of elements of the Indonesian military (main article 1999 referendum). An Australian-led international peacekeeping force, INTERFET, was sent (with Indonesian permission) until order was restored. The administration of East Timor was taken over by the UN through the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in October 1999. The INTERFET deployment ended in February 2000 with the transfer of military command to the UN. East Timorese independence was formalised on May 20, 2002 with Xanana Gusmão sworn in as the country's first President. East Timor became a member of the UN on September 27, 2002. In June 2006, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri resigned as Prime Minister, and José Ramos-Horta was appointed as his successor.The following year, Gusmão declined another presidential term and in the build-up to the April 2007 presidential elections there were renewed outbreaks of violence. José Ramos-Horta was elected President in the May 2007 election. Ramos-Horta was critically injured in an attempted assassination in February 2008. Prime Minister Gusmão also faced gunfire separately but escaped unharmed. Australian reinforcements were immediately sent to help keep order. In 2006, the United Nations sent in security forces to restore order when unrest and factional fighting forced 15 percent of the population (155,000 people) to flee their homes. In March 2011, the UN handed-off operational control of the police force to the East Timor authorities, but more than 1,200 UN police officers still patrol on the street. After the 2012 presidential election, the missions are scheduled to end.

Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue & Development

International - M a y 2 1

The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is a United Nations– sanctioned international holiday for the promotion of diversity issues. It is currently held on May 21. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this holiday due to UNESCO's Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in November 2001. It was proclaimed by UN Resolution 57/249. Diversity Day, officially known as "The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development", is an opportunity to help communities understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony. It was adopted in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

National Maritime Day - US May 22

National Maritime Day is a United States holiday created to recognize the maritime industry. It is observed on May 22, the date that the American steamship Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power. The holiday was created by the United States Congress on May 20, 1933.

Biological Diversity Day Worldwide - May 22

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.

World Turtle Day Worldwide - May 23

The purpose of World Turtle Day, May 23, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities.

Promoting organizations Founded in 1990, American Tortoise Rescue is the founding

sponsor of World Turtle Day. American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is certified by state and federal agencies as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives. Featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events Chase's Book of Annual Events, the day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of the rescue American Tortoise Rescue advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles. World Turtle Day was started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade. Adults and children can do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation. Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again. Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths. Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.• Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal everywhere in the U.S. In 2011, Jagex Games Studios hosted a number of events within their MMORPG, RuneScape, to celebrate World Turtle Day.

Battle of Pichincha Ecuador - M a y 2 4

The Battle of Pichincha took place on 24 May 1822, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, 3,500 meters above sea-level, right next to the city of Quito, in modern Ecuador. The encounter, fought in the context of the Spanish American wars of independence, pitted a Patriot army under General Antonio José de Sucre against a Royalist army commanded by Field Marshal Melchor Aymerich. The defeat of the Royalist forces loyal to Spain brought about the liberation of Quito, and secured the independence of the provinces belonging to the Real Audiencia de Quito, or Presidencia de Quito, the Spanish colonial administrative jurisdiction from which the Republic of Ecuador would eventually emerge.

Background

The military campaign for the independence of the Presidencia de Quito could be said to have begun on October 9, 1820, when the port-city of Guayaquil proclaimed its independence from Spanish rule after a quick and almost bloodless revolt against the local colonial garrison. The leaders of the movement, a combination of Venezuelan and Peruvian pro-independence officers from the colonial army, along with local intellectuals and patriots, set up a governing council and raised a military force with the purpose of defending the city and carrying the independence movement to the other provinces in the country. By that time, the tide of the wars of independence in South America had turned decisively against Spain: Simón Bolívar's victory at theBattle of Boyacá (August 7, 1819) had sealed the independence of the former Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada, while to the south, José de San Martín, having landed with his army on the Peruvian coast on September, 1820, was preparing the campaign for the independence of the Viceroyalty of Perú.

Aftermath While in the general context of the Wars of Independence, the Battle of Pichincha stands as a minor clash, both in

terms of its duration and the number of troops involved, its results were to be anything but insignificant. On May 25, 1822, Sucre entered with his army in the city of Quito, where he accepted the surrender of all the Spanish forces then based in what the Colombian government called the "Department of Quito", considered by that Government as an integral part of the Republic of Colombia since its creation on December 17, 1819. Previously, when Sucre had recaptured Cuenca, on February 21, 1822, he had obtained from its local Council a decree by which it proclaimed the integration of the city and its province into the Republic of Colombia. Now, the surrender of Quito, which put and end to the Royalist resistance in the northern province of Pasto, allowed Bolívar to finally come down to Quito, which he entered on June 16, 1822. Amid the general enthusiasm of the population, the former Province of Quito was officially incorporated into the Republic of Colombia. One more piece to the puzzle remained, Guayaquil, still undecided about its future. The presence of Bolívar and the victorious Colombian army in the city finally forced the hands of the Guayaquilenos, whose governing council proclaimed the Province of Guayaquil as part of Colombia on July 13, 1822. Eight years later, in 1830, the three southern Departments of Colombia, Quito (now renamed Ecuador), Guayaquil and Cuenca, would secede from that country to constitute a new nation, which took the name of Republic of Ecuador.

Bermuda Day Bermuda - M a y 2 4

Bermuda Day is a public holiday in the islands of Bermuda. Like certain other public holidays, it is always celebrated on May 24, or the weekday nearest May 24 if that date falls on the weekend. Bermuda Day is traditionally the first day that local residents will go into the sea. It is also traditionally the first day on which Bermuda shorts are worn as business attire (although in recent years, Bermuda shorts are increasingly worn at any time of the year). Many people also see Bermuda Day as the first day on which they can go out on the water after the winter—consequently there is always a rush to get one's boat 'in the water' just before May 24. To celebrate the holiday, there is a parade in Hamilton, and a road race from the west end of the island into Hamilton. These events are very popular as spectator events, and residents are known to stake out particular sections of the pavements to enable them to watch the runners and the floats. Ways of marking out your family's section can include roping it off (frowned on as people have been hurt walking into such ropes the night before), marking it off with tape with your name on it, or sleeping there overnight.

Commonwealth Day Belize - M a y 2 4

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by HM Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world. In the year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, the Queen starts the Queen's Baton Relay on Commonwealth Day at Buckingham Palace, handing the baton to the first relay runner to start a journey that will end at the Opening Ceremony of the upcoming Games. While it has a certain official status, Commonwealth Day is not a public holiday in most Commonwealth countries and there is little public awareness of it.

Independence Day Jordan - May 25

Jordan officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Arabic: ‫)ةَّيِمِشاَهلَا ةَّيِنُدْرُألَا ةَكَلْمَملَا‬, Al-Mamlakah Al-Urdaniyyah Al-Hashimiyyah) is akingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north and the West Bank andIsrael to the west, sharing control of the Dead Sea with the latter. Jordan's only port is at its south-western tip, at the Gulf of Aqaba, which is shared with Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Over half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. However, the western part of Jordan is arable land and forests. Jordan is part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city isAmman. According to the CIA World Factbook, Jordan has the second highest life expectancy in the Middle East, after Israel. The average life expectancy is one position behind the United Kingdom, although the age remains exactly the same (80.05 years). Modern Jordan was founded in 1921, and it was recognized by the League of Nations as a state under the British mandate in 1922 known as The Emirate of Transjordan. In 1946, Jordan became an independent sovereign state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. After capturing the West Bank area of Cisjordan during the 1948–49 war with Israel, Abdullah I took the title King of Jordan, and he officially changed the country's name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949. Modern Jordan is classified as a country of "medium human development" by the 2011 Human Development Report, and an emerging market with a free market economy by theCIA World Fact Book. Jordan has an "upper middle income" economy. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States went into effect in December, 2001 phased out duties on nearly all goods and services between the two countries. Jordan has also enjoyed "advanced status" with the European Union since December 2010 as well as being a member of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. Jordan has more Free Trade Agreements than any other country in the region. It has close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom, and became a major non-NATO ally of the United States in 1996. Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Jordan was invited to Join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Jordan was the first Arab and Middle Eastern state to join the International Criminal Court. The Jordanian Government is one of three members of the 22 Arab League states to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, the others being the Egyptian and Palestinian governments.

History of Jordan Ancient history:

Kingdoms that flourished in the area in the 2nd and 1st millennia B.C. include NabateanPetra, Edom, Ammon, and Moab which flourished in Jordan in the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C. The Nabatean kingdom (Arabic: ‫طابنألا‬, AlAnbāt) was one of the most prominent states in the region. The Nabateans were an ancient Semitic people who controlled the regional and international trade routes of the ancient world by dominating a large area southwest of thefertile crescent, which included the whole of modern Jordan in addition to the southern part ofSyria in the north and the northern part of Arabian Peninsula in the south. The Nabataeans developed the Arabic Script, with their language as an intermediary between Aramaean and the ancient Classical Arabic, which evolved into Modern Arabic. In antiquity, the present day Jordan became a home for several ancient kingdoms including: the kingdom of Edom, the kingdom ofMoab, the kingdom of Ammon and the prominent Nabataean kingdom of Petra. However, across different eras of history, parts of the country laid under the control of some regional powers including Pharaonic Egypt during their wars with the Babylonian and the Hittites; and for discrete periods of times by Israelites who were taken under the captivity of the Babylonian, and who were later defeated by theMoabites as recorded in Mesha Stele. Furthermore, and due to its strategic location in the middle of the ancient world, Jordan was also controlled by the ancient empires of Greece, the Persians, the Romans and later by the Byzantine. Yet, the Nabataean managed to create their independent kingdom which covered most parts of modern Jordan and beyond, for some centuries, before it was taken by the still expanding Roman empire. However, apart from Petra, the Romans maintained the prosperity of most of the ancient cities in Jordan which enjoyed a sort of city-state autonomy under the umbrella of the alliance of the Decapolis. With the decline of the Roman Empire, Jordan came to be controlled by the Ghassanid Arab kingdom. In the seventh century, and due to its proximity to Damascus, Jordan became a heartland for the Arabic Islamic Empire and therefore secured several centuries of stability and prosperity, which allowed the coining of its current Arabic Islamic identity. In the 11th century, Jordan witnessed a phase of instability, as it became a battlefield for the Crusade wars which ended with defeat by the Ayyubids. Jordan suffered also from the Mongol attacks which were blocked by Mamluks. In 1516, It became part of the Ottoman Empire and it remained so until 1918, when the Army of the Great Arab Revolt took over, and secured the present day Jordan with the help and support of Jordan local tribes. The Kingdom of Edom was based in the south of Jordan. The Mesha Stele recorded the glory of the King of Edom and the victories over the Israelites and other nations. The Ammon and Moab kingdoms are mentioned in ancient maps, Near Eastern documents, ancientGreco-Roman artifacts, and Christian and Jewish religious scriptures. Nabataean civilization left many magnificent archaeological sites at Petra, which is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World as well as recognized by the UNESCO as a world Heritage site. Other civilizations leaving their archaeological fingerprints on Jordan include the Hellenistic and the Roman through their ruins in Decapolis cities of Gerasa (Jerash), Gadara (Umm Qais),Philadelphia (Amman), Capitolias (Beit Ras), Raphana, Pella and Arabella (Irbid) and the Byzantine site of Um er-Rasas (a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site). The Arabic Islamic Empire has left desert palaces such as Qasr Mshatta, Qasr al Hallabat and Qasr Amra; and the castles of Ajloun and Al Karak which were used in the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk eras. The country also has Ottomanmosques, tombs, railway stations and fortresses.

Classic antiquity:

During the Greco-Roman period, a number of semi-independent city-states also developed in the region of Jordan under the umbrella of the Decapolis including: Gerasa (Jerash), Philadelphia (Amman), Raphana (Abila), Dion (Capitolias), Gadara (Umm Qays), and Pella(Irbid). Parts of Jordan were later incorporated into the Hasmonean kingdom, with pastoralist Nabateans slowly establishing their own realm in the southern parts of the Transjordan. Following the establishment of Roman Empire at Syria and Judaea, the country was incorporated into the client Judaea Kingdom of Herod, and later the Iudaea Province. With the suppression of Jewish Revolts, the eastern bank of Jordan was incorporated into the Syria Palaestina province, while the eastern deserts fell under Parthian and laterPersian Sassanid control.

Muslim empires:

In the 7th century, and for several centuries, the region of today's Jordan became one of the heartlands of the Arabic Islamic Empireacross its different Caliphates' stages, including the Rashidun Empire, Umayyad Empire and Abbasid Empire. During the Islamic era, Jordan coined its current Arabic Islamic cultural identity. Several resources pointed that the Abbasid movement, was started in region of Jordan before it took over the Umayyad empire. After the decline of the Abbasid, It was ruled by several conflicting powers including theMongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids and the Mamluks until it became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516.

Great Arab Revolt:

Petra, one of the New Seven WonDuring World War I, the Jordanian tribes fought, along with other tribes ders of the World

of Hijaz and Levantregions, as part of the Arab Army of the Great Arab Revolt. The revolt was launched byHashemites and led by Sherif Hussein of Mecca against the Ottoman Empire. It was supported by the Allies of World War I. The chronicle of the revolt was written by T. E. Lawrence who, as a young British Army officer, played a liaison role during the revolt. He published the chronicle in London, 1922 under the title "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", which was the base for the iconic movie "Lawrence of Arabia". The Great Arab Revolt was successful in liberating most of the territories of Hijaz and theLevant, including the region of east of Jordan. However, it failed to gain international recognition of the region as an independent state, due mainly to the secret Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This was seen by the Hashemites and the Arabs as betrayal of the previous agreements with the British, including the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence in 1915, in which the British stated their willingness to recognize the independence of the Arab state in Hijaz and the Levant. However, a compromise was eventually reached and the Emirate of Transjordan was created under the Hashemites reign.

British mandate of Transjordan:

In September 1922 the Council of the League of Nations recognized Transjordan as a state under the British Mandate and Transjordan memorandum excluded the territories east of the River Jordan from all of the provisions of the mandate dealing with Jewish settlement. The country remained under British supervision until 1946. The Hashemite leadership met multiple difficulties upon assuming power in the region. The most serious threats to emir Abdullah's position in Transjordan were repeated Wahhabi incursions from Najd into southern parts of his territory. The emir was powerless to repel those raids by himself, thus the British maintained a military base, with a small air force, at Marka, close to Amman. The British military force Field marshal Habis Al-Majali and forwas the primary obstacle against the Ikhwan, and was also used to mer prime minister Wasfi Al-Tal help emir Abdullah with the suppression of local rebellions at Kura and later by Sultan Adwan, in 1921 and 1923 respectively.

Independence:

On May 25, 1946 the United Nations approved the end of the British Mandate and recognized Jordan as an independent sovereign kingdom. The Parliament of Jordan proclaimed King Abdullah as the first King. On April 24, 1950, Jordan formally annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem, an act that was regarded as illegal and void by the Arab League. The move formed part of Jordan’s "Greater Syria Plan" expansionist policy,and in response, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria joined Egypt in demanding Jordan’s expulsion from the Arab League. A motion to expel Jordan from the League was prevented by the dissenting votes of Yemen and Iraq. On June 12, 1950, the Arab League declared the annexation was a temporary, practical measure and that Jordan was holding the territory as a “trustee” pending a future settlement. On July 27, 1953, King Hussein of Jordan announced that East Jerusalem was "the alternative capital of the Hashemite Kingdom" and would form an "integral and inseparable part" of Jordan. Abdullah I was assassinated in 1951 as he was leaving the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Jordan became a founding member of the Arab League in 1945 and, as an independent country, it joined the United Nations in 1955. In 1957 it terminated the Anglo-Jordan treaty, one year after the king sacked the British personnel serving in the Jordanian Army. This act of Arabization ensured the complete sovereignty of Jordan as a fully independent nation.

1967 Six Day War:

In May 1967, Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt. In June 1967, it joined Egypt, Syria and Iraq in the Six Day War against Israel, which ended in an Israeli victory and the capture of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The period following the war saw an upsurge in the activity and numbers of Arab Palestinian paramilitary elements (fedayeen) within the state of Jordan. These distinct, armed militias were becoming a "state within a state", threatening Jordan's rule of law. King Hussein's armed forces targeted the fedayeen, and open fighting erupted in June 1970. The battle in which Palestinian fighters from various Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) groups were expelled from Jordan is commonly known asBlack September. The heaviest fighting occurred in northern Jordan and Amman. In the A handshake between Hussein I of ensuing heavy fighting, a Syrian tank force invaded northern Jordan Jordan and Yitzhak Rabin, accompato back the fedayeen fighters, but subsequently retreated. King Hus- nied by Bill Clinton, after signing the sein urgently asked the United States and Great Britain to intervene Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace, Octoagainst Syria. Consequently, Israel performed mock air strikes on the ber 26, 1994 Syrian column at the Americans' request. Soon after, Syrian President Nureddin al-Atassi, ordered a hasty retreat from Jordanian soil. By September 22, Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo arranged a cease-fire beginning the following day. However, sporadic violence continued until Jordanian forces, led by Habis Al-Majali, with the help of Iraqi forces, won a decisive victory over the fedayeen on July 1971, expelling them, and ultimately the PLO's Yasser Arafat, from Jordan.

1973 Yom Kippur War:

In 1973, allied Arab League forces attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and fighting occurred along the 1967 Jordan River cease-fire line. Jordan sent a brigade to Syria to attack Israeli units on Syrian territory but did not engage Israeli forces from Jordanian territory. At the Rabat summit conference in 1974, Jordan was now in a more secure position to agree, along with the rest of the Arab League, that the PLO was the "sole legitimate representative of the [Arab] Palestinian people", thereby relinquishing to that organization its role as representative of the West Bank. The Amman Agreement of February 11, 1985, declared that the PLO and Jordan would pursue a proposed confederation between the state of Jordan and a Palestinian state. In 1988, King Hussein dissolved the Jordanian parliament and renounced Jordanian claims to the West Bank. The PLO assumed responsibility as the Provisional Government of Palestine and an independent state was declared.

Peace treaty with Israel:

In 1991, Jordan agreed to participate in direct peace negotiations with Israel at the Madrid Conference, sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union. It negotiated an end to hostilities with Israel and signed a declaration to that effect on 25 July 1994. As a result, an Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty was concluded on 26 October 1994. King Hussein was later honored when his picture appeared on an Israeli postage stamp in recognition of the good relations he established with his neighbor. Since the signing of the peace treaty, the United States not only contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in an annual foreign aid stipend to Jordan, but also has allowed it to establish a free trade zone in which to manufacture goods that will enter the US without paying the usual import taxes as long as a percentage of the material used in them is purchased in Israel. The last major strain in Jordan's relations with Israel occurred in September 1997, when Israeli agents allegedly entered Jordan using Canadian passports and poisoned Khaled Meshal, a senior leader of Hamas. Israel provided an antidote to the poison and released dozens of political prisoners, including Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated in 2004 in the Gaza Strip.

Africa Day Africa Region - May 25

Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25 of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community, and in 2002 the OAU established its own successor, the African Union. However, the name and date of Africa Day has been retained as a celebration of African unity. This years theme of Africa Day is "Africa and the Diaspora." The New York celebration was held in New York City on May 31, 2011. In Nairobi, it was celebrated at Uhuru Park Recreational Park. It should also be noted that Africa Day is observed as a public holiday in only three African countries, that is, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, celebrations are held in some African countries, as well as by Africans in the diaspora.

National Missing Children's Day U.S. - May 25

National Missing Children's Day has been commemorated on May 25 since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. In the several years preceding the establishment of National Missing Children's day a series of high-profile missing-children cases made national headlines. On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz he was only six years old disappeared from a New York City street on his way from bus to school. The date of Etan's disappearance was designated as National Missing Children's Day. At the time, cases of missing children rarely garnered national media attention, but Etan’s case quickly received a lot of coverage. His father, a professional photographer, distributed black-andwhite photographs of Etan in an effort to find him. The resulting massive search and media attention that followed focused the public's attention on the problem of child abduction and the lack of plans to address it. For almost three years media attention was focused on Atlanta, Georgia, where the bodies of young children were discovered in lakes, marshes, and ponds along roadside trails. Twenty-nine bodies were recovered before a suspect was arrested and identified in 1981.

Organization of African Unity Day Africa - May 25

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (French: Organisation de l'Unité Africaine (OUA)) was established on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa, under the signatory of 32 governments. It was disbanded on July 9, 2002 by its lastchairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the African Union (AU).

Towel Day International - May 25

Towel Day is celebrated every 25 May as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams. On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author, as referred to in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May 2001.

Recognition Several news sources around the world

have mentioned Towel Day, including the major Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten and the television news show NRK Nyheter, and National Public Radio, Los Angeles. In May 2010, an online petition was created asking Google to recognise Towel Day with either a Google Doodle or by returning search results in the Vogon language for a day.

National Tap Dance Day U.S. - May 25

National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year and is a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form. The idea of National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on September 15, 1988 and was signed into American law by President George H.W. Bush on November 7, 1989. Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, particularly Japan, Australia, India and Iceland. National Tap Dance Day was the brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. They deemed May 25 appropriate for this holiday because it is the birthday of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance. Tap dance day can be celebrated with an event which may be organized by a studio or tap dance interest group. Some may also celebrate it individually due to geographical dispersion or lack of access to the wider tap community. National Tap Dance Day is celebrated in many different ways. For example, a studio may send people out onto the streets to teach the "Shim Sham Shimmy" to passers-by. However, there are several cities (particularly in America) that have their own performances and events to coincide with Tap Dance Day.

Independence Day Guyana - May 26

History

Clementina Trenholme introduced Empire Day in Canadian schools, first in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1898, on the last school day before 24 May, Queen Victoria's birthday. It was celebrated more each year. A typical Empire Day in Hamilton schools occupied the entire day and included inspirational speeches by trustees and songs such as The Maple Leaf Forever and Just Before the Battle. Empire Day was instituted in the United Kingdom in 1904 by Lord Meath, and extended throughout the countries of the Commonwealth. This day was celebrated by lighting fireworks in back gardens or attending community bonfires. It gave the Queen's people a chance to show their pride in being part of the British Empire. In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day, in accordance with the new post-colonial relationship between the nations of the former empire. The National Council in Canada of the Royal Commonwealth Society expressed in a 1973 letter to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau that Commonwealth Day should be observed on the same day throughout all countries of the Commonwealth. They asked that this notion be included on the agenda of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Ottawa that year. The item eventually appeared on the agenda of the 1975 meeting, and it was agreed that the Commonwealth Secretariat select a date, preferably one without previous historical connotations. At the meeting of officials in Canberra in 1976, the Canadian proposal of the second Monday in March was adopted.

Sts. Cyrilus and Methodius Day Macedonia - M a y 2 4

The Canonization process was much more relaxed in the decades following Cyril's death than today. Cyril was regarded by his disciples as a saint following his death. His following spread among the nations he evangelized and subsequently to the wider Christian Church, resulting in the renown of his holiness, along with that of his brother Methodius. There were calls for Cyril's canonization by the crowds lining the Roman streets during his funeral procession. Their first appearance in a papal document is Grande Munus by Leo XIII in 1880. The brothers are known as the "Apostles of the Slavs" and are still highly regarded by both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Sts Cyril and Methodius' feast day is currently celebrated on 14 February in the Roman Catholic Church (to coincide with the date of St Cyril's death); on 11 May in the Eastern Orthodox Church (though note that for Eastern Orthodox Churches still on the Julian Calendar or 'old calendar' this is 24 May according to the Gregorian calendar); and on 7 July according to the old sanctoral calendar that existed before the revisions of the Second Vatican Council. The celebration also commemorates the introduction of literacy and the preaching of the gospels in the Slavonic language by the brothers. The brothers were declared "Patrons of Europe" in 1980. According to old Bulgarian chronicles, the day of the holy brothers used to be celebrated ecclesiastically as early as 11th century. The first recorded secular celebration of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Day as the "Day of the Bulgarian script", as it is traditionally accepted by Bulgarian science, was held in the town of Plovdiv on 11 May 1851, when a local Bulgarian school was named "Saints Cyril and Methodius", both acts on initiative of the prominent Bulgarian enlightener Nayden Gerov, although an Armenian traveller mentioned his visit at "celebration of the Bulgarian script" in the town of Shumen on 22 May 1803. The day is now celebrated as a public holiday in the following countries: In Bulgaria it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the "Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day" (Bulgarian: Ден на българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост), a national holiday celebrating Bulgarian culture and literature as well as the alphabet. It is also known as "Alphabet, Culture, and Education Day" (Bulgarian: Ден на азбуката, културата и просвещението). SS Cyril and Methodius are patrons of the National Library of Bulgaria. A monument of them is present in front of the library. SS Cyril and Methodius are the most celebrated saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox church, and icons of two brothers can be found in every church. In the Republic of Macedonia, it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the "Saints Cyril and Methodius, Slavonic Enlighteners' Day" (Macedonian: Св. Кирил и Методиј, Ден на словенските просветители), a national holiday. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia took the decision for the statute of national holiday in October 2006 and Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia passed a corresponding law at the beginning of 2007. Before that it was celebrated only in the schools. It is also known as the day of the "SolunBrothers" (Macedonian: Солунските браќа). In Czech Republic and Slovakia, the two brothers were originally commemorated on 9 March, but Pope Pius IX changed this date to 5 July for several reasons. Today, Saints Cyril and Methodius are worshipped there as national saints and their name day (July 5), "Sts Cyril and Methodius Day" is a national holiday in Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Czech Republic it is celebrated on 5 July as "Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius Day" (Czech: Den slovanských věrozvěstů Cyrila a Metoděje), in Slovakia it is celebrated on 5 July as "St. Cyril and Metod Day" (Slovak: Sviatok svätého Cyrila a Metoda). In Russia, it is celebrated on 24 May and is known as the "Slavonic Literature and Culture Day" (Russian: День славянской письменности и культуры), celebrating Slavonic culture and literature as well as the alphabet. Its celebration is ecclesiastical (11 May on the Church's Julian calendar), and it is not a public holiday in Russia. The saints' feast day is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on 11 May and by the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion on 14 February as "Saints Cyril and Methodius Day". The Lutheran Churches commemorate the two saints either on 14 February or 11 May.

World Schizophrenia Day Worldwide - M a y 2 4

The World Schizophrenia Day is observed across the entire world on the 24th of May every year. This is the day when special efforts are taken to spread awareness about the disease, Schizophrenia. This disease impairs the brains and leads to mental disorder in a person. The stigma of getting infected with Schizophrenia often forces people to hide their actual condition. To prevent this and help patients tackle this illness effectively, the whole world joins hands on the World Schizophrenia Day. The purpose is to educate and make people aware of the disease and its recovery. The World Schizophrenia Day finds the whole world voicing a similar concern for those infected with this health condition. This is to ensure that Schizophrenia patients are taken care of and helped to lead a better life. So, on the World Schizophrenia Day, send a special card to your dear ones to share your concern over this disease. Choose World Schizophrenia Day cards which can best convey your message and encourage your dear ones to spread awareness about this health condition.

The Roman Oval Piazza in the ancient city of Jerash

Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and (for over 200 years) the British. It is the only state of theCommonwealth of Nations on mainland South America, and the only one on that continent where English is an official language. It is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has its secretariat headquarters in Guyana's capital,Georgetown. Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966, and became a republic on 23 February 1970. In 2008 the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member. Historically, the region known as "Guiana" or "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Historical Guyana is made up of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. Modern Guyana is bordered to the east by Suriname, to the south and southwest by Brazil, to the west by Venezuela, and on the north by theAtlantic Ocean. At 215,000 km2, Guyana is the third-smallest independent state on the mainland of South America (after Uruguay and Suriname). Its population is approximately 770,000.

Etymology

The name "Guyana" is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that now includes Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and parts of Venezuela and Brazil. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the name comes from an American Indian word meaning "land of many waters".

History Guyana was inhabited by the Arawak and Carib tribes of Native Americans. AlthoughChristopher Columbus sighted

Guyana during his third voyage (in 1498), the Dutch were the first to establish colonies: Essequibo (1616), Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752). The British assumed control in the late 18th century, and the Dutch formally ceded the area in 1814. In 1831 the three separate colonies became a single British colony known as British Guiana. Since Independence in 1824, Venezuela has claimed the area of land to the west of the Essequibo river. Letters from Simon Bolivar warned the British government about the Berbice and Demerara settlers settling on land the Venezuelans claimed was theirs. In 1899 an international tribunal ruled the land belonged to Great Britain. Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966 and became a republicon 23 February 1970, remaining a member of theCommonwealth. The US State Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing political control in Guyana during this time. The American government supported Forbes Burnham during the early years of independence because Cheddi Jaganwas a self-declared Marxist. They provided secret financial support and political campaign advice to Burnham's People's National Congress to the detriment of the Jagan-led People's Progressive Party, mostly supported by Guyanese of Indian descent. In 1978, Guyana received considerable international attention when 918 members, almost entirely American, (more than 300 of whom were children) of the Jim Jones-led Peoples Temple died in a mass murder/suicide in Jonestown – a settlement created by the Peoples Temple. An attack by Jim Jones' bodyguards at a small remote airstrip close to Jonestown resulted in the murder of five people, including Leo Ryan, the only congressman ever murdered in the line of duty in US history. In May 2008, President Bharrat Jagdeo was a signatory to The UNASUR Constitutive Treatyof the Union of South American Nations. Guyana has ratified the treaty.

Prince Fredrik's Birthday Denmark - May 26

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, RE, SKmd (Danish: Frederik André Henrik Christian, Kronprins af Danmark, Greve af Monpezat; born 26 May 1968) is the heir apparent to the throne of Denmark. Frederik is the elder son of Queen Margrethe II and Henrik, the Prince Consort.

and career Education On 14 January 1972 he became Crown Prince of

Denmark when his mother succeeded to the throne as Margrethe II. The Crown Prince attended elementary school at Krebs' Skole during the years 1974–1981, from 1974–1976 as a private pupil at Amalienborg Palace, and from the third form atKrebs' Skole. In the period 1982–1983, the Crown Prince was a boarder at École des Roches in Normandy, France. In 1986, Crown Prince Frederik graduated from the upper secondary school of Øregaard Gymnasium. In 1989, the Crown Prince began to study for an academic degree, when he began a course in Political Science at University of Aarhus. This included a year at Harvard University (1992–1993) under the name of Frederik Henriksen, studying political science. He then took up a position for three months with the Danish UN mission in New York in 1994. In 1995 Crown Prince Frederik obtained his MA degree in Political Science fromUniversity of Aarhus. He completed the course in the prescribed number of years with an exam result above average. His final paper was an analysis on the foreign policy of the Baltic States, which he had visited several times during his studies. The Crown Prince was posted as First Secretary to the Danish Embassy in Paris from October 1998 to October 1999. He has completed extensive military studies and training in all three services, notably completing education as a sailor in the naval elite special operations forces (members of this are known as frogmen or frømænd in Danish). His frogman nickname is "Pingo". In the period 2001 and 2002, the Crown Prince completed further training for leaders at the Royal Danish Defence College. Crown Prince Frederik remains active in the defence, and in the period 2002–2003 served as a staff officer at Defence Command Denmark, and from 2003 as a senior lecturer with the Institute of Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College.

Military service:

• • • • •

The Royal Life Guard 1986. Lieutenant in the Reserve (Army) 1988. Reconnaissance Platoon Commander with the Royal Guard Hussars’ Regiment 1988. First Lieutenant in the Reserve (Army) 1989. Royal Danish Navy Frømandskorpset 1995 (equivalent to the Royal Navy Special Boat Service, or US Navy

SEALs). First Lieutenant in the Reserve (Navy) 1995. • Captain in the Reserve (Army) 1997. • Lieutenant Commander in the Reserve (Navy) 1997. • Royal Danish Air Force Flying School 2000 • Captain in the Reserve (Air Force) 2000. • Command and General Staff Course, Royal Danish De• fence College 2001-2002. Commander (Navy) and Major (Army, Air Force) 2002. • Staff Officer, Defence Command Denmark 2002-2003. • Senior lecturer with the Institute of Strategy at the Royal • Danish Defence College, 2003-. Commander, senior grade (Navy), lieutenant colonel (Air • force, Army) 2004. Captain (Navy), Colonel (Air Force, Army) 2010. • The Crown Prince in Vágur, Faroe

Islands, on 21 June 2005. Marriage and children In the Council of State on 8 October 2003, Queen Margrethe gave her consent to the marriage of Crown Prince Fred-

erik to Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, an Australian marketing consultant whom the prince met when he was attending the Sydney Olympics in 2000. The wedding took place on 14 May 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral, Copenhagen. On 25 April 2005 the Danish royal court announced that Crown Princess Mary was pregnant with the couple's first child, and on 15 October 2005 she gave birth to a Prince. As it is a tradition in the Royal House that kings are named Frederik or Christian in alternating order, the baby was baptised Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John on 21 January 2006. On 26 October 2006, the Danish court announced that the Crown Princess was pregnant with her second child. On 21 April 2007, The Crown Princess gave birth to a baby daughter at Copenhagen University Hospital, the first Danish princess born since 1946. The Crown Prince was at his wife's side the entire time. Their daughter was christened PrincessIsabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe on 1 July 2007. The Crown Princess gave birth to Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander at 10:30 am local time (weight 2.674 kg (5 lb 14 oz), length: 47 cm (18 in.), and Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda at 10:56 am (weight: 2.554 kg (5 lb 10 oz), length: 46 cm (18 in.) on 8 January 2011. The names were made public at their christening on Thursday, 14 April 2011, which took place at the Church of Holmen in Copenhagen.

Areas of interest

Scientific research, climate change and sustainability:

Frederik has a special interest in scientific research, climate change and sustainability. The Prince was interviewed by Financial Times and CNN International, in the Future Cities program, for their commitment to sustainability. He participated in expeditions, forums and events on climate. The prince has represented Denmark as a promoter of sustainable Danish energy. The prince was one of the authors of the Polartokt Kongelig (Polar Cruise Royal), about the challenges of climate, published in 2009 with a preface written by Kofi Annan. In 2010, wrote the book's foreword Naturen og klimaændringerne i Nordøstgrønland (The nature and climate change in Greenland). Supports scientific research projects, as a patron, as expeditionary, with regular attendance at events and through his foundation, Kronprins Frederiks Fond.

Sports and Health:

The Prince encourages Danish participation in sports. He is a patron and honorary member of various sports organizationsand a member of the International Olympic Committee. He also promotes an active lifestyle in society. Frederik is an avid sportsman, running marathons in Copenhagen, New York and Paris, and completing the 42 kilometers with a respectable time of 3 hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds in the Copenhagen Marathon. Frederik is a keen sailor, being a competitive Farr 40 skipper as well as an accomplished Dragon sailor. He won victories and was a leader in the steps championships. He finished in fourth place in the European Championship Dragon Class 2003 (with 51 boats participating), and at number 4 in the Farr 40 Worlds 2008 (with 33 boats participating). He was the first in his class boat inFyn Cup 2010 in Denmark, and at number 2 in the Dragon DM 2011 (with 25 boats participating).

Crown Prince Frederik’s Foundation

The purpose of the foundation is to provide financial assistance to students of social policy and sciences, for one year’s study at Harvard. and provide financial support for scientific expeditions, particularly to foreign parts of the world, including Greenland and the Faeroe Islands and sports purposes, including those with a particularly social aspect.

Patronages Aarhus University Male Choir

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

Copenhagen International Furniture Fair Danish Deaf Association Danish Design Center Danish Railway Museum in Odense Juullip Nipitittagaa / The Greenlandic Christmas-Seal Foundation Odense International Film Festival Plant a Tree Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus Royal Awards for Sustainability Save the Children Fund The Anders Lassen Foundation The Association of Fine Arts (Kunstforeningen GL STRAND) The Associations of the Guard Hussars The Blood Donors in Denmark The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition The Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland The Danish Association of the Hard of Hearing The Danish Dyslexia Organisation The Danish Military Sports Association The Danish National Committee of United World Col leges The Danish Naval Officers' Club The Danish Pleasure Crafts Safety Board The Danish Tennis Association The Foreign Policy Society The Georg Jensen Prize The Greenlandic Society The Naval-Lieutenant-Society The Soldiers’ Grant

• • • • • •

Honorary Vice-President of The Siam Society in Thailand Patron for Danish Red Cross Member of ISAF's (International Sailing Federation) Events Committee Member of IOC (International Olympic Committee) Member of Young Global Leaders

• • • • • • • •

Honorary tasks President of The Royal Danish Geographical Society

Arms of Crown Prince Frederik

Titles, styles, honours and arms Titles and styles:

26 May 1968 – 14 January 1972: His Royal Highness Prince Frederik of Denmark • 14 January 1972 – 29 April 2008: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark • 29 April 2008 – present: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat • His official title in Danish is Hans Kongelige Højhed Kronprins Frederik til Danmark, Greve af Monpezat. If he succeeds to the throne and uses his first given name as his regnal name, he would be known as Frederik X. But if he uses his last given name, he'll be known as Christian XI.

Danish honours and decorations:

He has a number of decorations, the most notable of which are: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (R.E.) • Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog (S.Kmd.) • Silver Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog • The Silver Jubilee Medal of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (accession to the Danish • throne) Commemorative 70th Birthday Medal of Her Majesty The Queen (Em.16.apr.2010.) •

Foreign decorations:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Belgium : Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold Brazil : Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross of Brazil Brazil : Grand Cross of the Order of the Rio Branco of Brazil Bulgaria : Order of Stara Planina, 1st Class, of Bulgaria Estonia : Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st Class, of Estonia Finland : Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose of Finland Germany : Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Greece : Grand Cross of the Order of Honour of Greece Iceland : Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon Italy : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Japan : Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum Jordan : Grand Cordon of the Order of the Renaissance of Jordan Latvia : Grand Officer of the Order of the Three Stars Luxembourg : Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau Nepal : Grand Cross of the Order of Ojaswi Rajanya of Nepal Norway : Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav Romania : Grand Cross rank of the Order of the Star of Romania Sweden : Knight of the Order of the Seraphim Thailand : Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Chula Chom Klao

Independence Day Georgia - May 26

Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads ofWestern Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is almost 4.7 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy. During the classical era independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 11th– 12th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia was occupied by Soviet Russia in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and part of the Soviet Union. After independence in 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil unrest and economic crisis for most of the 1990s. This lasted until the Rose Revolution of 2003, after which the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms. Georgia is a member of the Council of Europe and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia andSouth Ossetia, which gained limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Georgia considers the regions to be part of its sovereign territory under Russian military occupation.

Etymology Ethnic Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi(ქართველები), their land

Sakartvelo(საქართველო – meaning "a land of Kartvelians"), and their language Kartuli(ქართული). According to the ancientGeorgian Chronicles, the ancestor of theKartvelians was Kartlos, the great grandson of the Biblical Japheth. The name Sakartvelo(საქართველო) consists of two parts. Its root,kartvel-i (ქართველ-ი), specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region ofKartli, or Iberia as it is known in sources of Eastern Roman Empire. Ancient Greeks(Strabo, Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, etc.) and Romans (Titus Livius, Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians. The terms "Georgia" and "Georgian" appeared in Western Europe in Coat of Arms numerous early medieval annals. At the time, the name was folk etymologized – for instance, by the French chronicler Jacques de Vitry and the compiler John Mandeville – from Georgians' especial reverence of Saint George. Another theory, popularized by the likes of Jean Chardin, semantically linked "Georgia" to Greek andLatin roots, respectively, γεωργός ("tiller of the land") and georgicus ("agricultural"). The supporters of this explanation sometimes referred to classical authors, in particular Pliny and Pomponius Mela, who wrote of "Georgi" tribes, which were named so to distinguish them from their unsettled and pastoral neighbors. According to some scholars, "Georgia" could have been borrowed in the 11th or 12th century from the Syriac gurzān or -iyān and Arabic ĵurĵan or ĵurzan, derived from the New Persian gurğ or gurğān.

History

Prehistory:

The territory of modern-day Georgia has been inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC. Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond.

Antiquity:

The classic period saw the rise of the early Georgian states Diaokhi (XIII BC) of Colchis(VIII BC), of Sper (VII BC) and of Iberia (VI BC). In the 4th century BC a unified kingdom of Georgia—an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hi- It is said that Georgians were erarchy—was established. The two early Georgian kingdoms of late antiquity, known to Greco- named because they revered Roman historiography as Iberia (Georgian: იბერია) (in the east of the Saint George. country) and Colchis(Georgian: კოლხეთი) (in the west), were among the first nations in the region to adopt Christianity (in AD 337, or in AD 319 as recent research suggests). In Greek mythology, Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and theArgonauts in Apollonius Rhodius' epic tale Argonautica. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers. Known to its natives as Egrisi or Lazica, Colchis was also the battlefield of the Lazic War fought between Byzantine Empire and Persia. After the Roman Empire completed its conquest of the Caucasus region in 66 BC, the Georgian kingdoms were Roman client states and allies for nearly 400 years. In 337 AD King Mirian III declared Christianity as the state religion, giving a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts, and ultimately playing a key role in the formation of the unified Georgian nation. King Mirian III's acceptance of Christianity effectively tied the kingdom to the neighboring Eastern Roman Empire which exerted a strong influence on Georgia for nearly a millennium, determining much of its present cultural identity.

Middle Ages:

The early kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages. This made it easy forArabs to conquer most of eastern Georgia in the 7th century. The various independent regions would not be united into a single Georgian Kingdom until the beginning of the 11th century. Although Arabs captured the capital city of Tbilisi in AD 645, Kartli-Iberia retained considerable independence under local Arab rulers. In AD 813 the prince Ashot I – also known as Ashot Kurapalat – became the first of the Bagrationi family to rule the kingdom. Ashot's reign began a period of nearly 1,000 years during which the Bagrationi, as the house was known, ruled at least part of what is now the republic. Bagrat III (r. 1027–72) united western and eastern Georgia. In the next century, David IV (called the Builder, r. 1089– 1125) initiated the Georgian golden age by driving the Seljuk Turks from the country and expanding Georgian cultural and political influence southward into Armenia and eastward to the Caspian Sea. The Georgian Kingdom reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period has been widely termed as Georgia's Golden Age or Georgian Renaissance during the reigns of David the Builder and Queen Tamar. This early Georgian renaissance, which preceded its West European analogue, was characterized by the flourishing of romantic-chivalric tradition, breakthroughs in philosophy, and an array of political innovations in society and state organization, including religious and ethnic tolerance. The Golden age of Georgia left a legacy of great cathedrals, romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem "The Knight in the Panther's Skin". David the Builder is popularly considered to be the greatest and most successful Georgian ruler in history. He succeeded in driving the Seljuks out of the country, winning the major Battle of Didgori in 1121. His reforms of the army and administration enabled him to reunite the country and bring most lands of the Caucasus under Georgia's control. David the Builder's granddaughter Tamar succeeded in neutralizing opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the downfall of the rival powers of the Seljuks and Byzantium. Supported by a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus, and extended over large parts of present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, and eastern Turkey, until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death. The revival of the Georgian Kingdom was set back after Tbilisi was captured and destroyed by the Khwarezmian leader Jalal ad-Din in 1226. The Mongols were expelled by George V of Georgia, son ofDemetrius II of Georgia, who was named "Brilliant" for his role in restoring the country's previous strength and Christian culture. George V was the last great king of the unified Georgian state. After his death, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Georgia was further weakened by several disastrous invasions byTamerlane. Invasions continued, giving the Kingdom no time for restoration, with both Black and Whitesheep Turkomans constantly raiding it's southern provinces. As a result, Georgian Kingdom collapsed into anarchy by 1466 and fragmented into three independent Kingdoms and five semi-independent principalities. Neighboring empires exploited the internal division of the weakened country, and beginning in the 16th century, the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively. The rulers of regions which remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. However, subsequent Persian and Ottoman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions. As a result of incessant wars the population of Georgia dwindled from 5 million in the 13th century to 250,000 inhabitants at the end of the 18th century. Eastern Georgia, composed of the regions of Kartliand Kakheti, had been under Persian suzerainty since 1555. With the death of Nader Shah in 1747, both kingdoms broke free of Persian control and were reunified through a personal union under the energetic king Heraclius II in 1762.

Georgia in the Russian Empire:

In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, which recognized the bond of Orthodox Christianity between Russian and Georgian people and promised eastern Georgia protection. However, despite this commitment to defend Georgia, Russia rendered no assistance when the Turks and Persians invaded in 1785 and in 1795, completely devastating Tbilisi and massacring its inhabitants. This period culminated in the 1801 Russian violation of the Treaty of Georgievsk and annexation of eastern Georgia, followed by the abolishment of the royal Bagrationi dynasty, as well as the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Pyotr Bagration, one of the descendants of the abolished house of Bagrationi would later join the Russian army and rise to be a general by the Napoleonic wars. On December 22, 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on January 8, 1801, and confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on September 12, 1801. The Georgian envoy in Saint Petersburg reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin. In May 1801, under the oversight of GeneralCarl Heinrich Knorring Imperial Russia transferred power in eastern Georgia to the government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lasarev. The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until April 1802 when General Knorring compassed the nobility in Tbilisi's Sioni Cathedral and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia. Those who disagreed were temporarily arrested. In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Persian army and saved Tbilisi from conquest now that it was officially part of the Imperial territories. Following the annexation of eastern Georgia, the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti was annexed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler Solomon II died in exile in 1815. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against the Ottoman Empire, several of Georgia's previously lost territories – such as Adjara – were recovered. The principality of Guria was abolished and incorporated into the Empire in 1828, and that of Megrelia in 1857. The region of Svaneti was gradually annexed in 1857–59.

Declaration of independence:

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918 in the midst of the Russian Civil War. The parliamentary election was won by the MenshevikGeorgian Social-Democratic Party. Its leader, Noe Zhordania, became prime minister. In 1918 the Georgian–Armenian War erupted over parts of Georgian provinces populated mostly by Armenians which ended because of British intervention. In 1918–19 Georgian general Giorgi Mazniashvili led a Georgian attack against the White Army led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the Black Sea coastline from Tuapse to Sochi and Adler for independent Georgia. The country's independence did not last long. Georgia was under British protection from 1918–1920.

Georgia in the Soviet Union:

In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army. The Georgian army was defeated and the Social-Democrat government fled the country. On February 25, 1921 the Red Army entered the capital Tbilisi and installed a Moscow directed communist government, led by Georgian BolshevikFilipp Makharadze. Nevertheless the Soviet rule was firmly established only after a 1924 revolt was brutally suppressed. Georgia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian SFSR uniting Georgia,Armenia and Azerbaijan. The TSFSR was disaggregated into its component elements in 1936 and Georgia became theGeorgian SSR. Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, was prominent among the Bolsheviks, who came to power in the Russian Empire after the October Revolution in 1917. Stalin was to rise to the highest position of theSoviet Georgian girl holding a poster and candles during the 2008 Russostate. From 1941 to 1945, during World War II, almost 700,000 Georgians Georgian War fought in the Red Army against Nazi Germany. (A number also fought on the German side.) About 350,000 Georgians died in the battlefields of the Eastern Front. On April 9, 1989, a peaceful demonstration in the Georgian capital Tbilisi ended up with several people being killed by Soviet troops. Before the October 1990 elections to the national assembly, the Umaghlesi Sabcho (Supreme Council) – the first polls in the USSR held on a formal multi-party basis – the political landscape was reshaped again. While the more radical groups boycotted the elections and convened an alternative forum (the National Congress) with alleged support of Moscow, another part of the anticommunist opposition united into the Round Table—Free Georgia (RT-FG) around the former dissidents like Merab Kostava andZviad Gamsakhurdia. The latter won the elections by a clear margin, with 155 out of 250 parliamentary seats, whereas the ruling Communist Party (CP) received only 64 seats. All other parties failed to get over the 5%-threshold and were thus allotted only some single-member constituency seats.

Georgia after restoration of independence:

On April 9, 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia declared independence. On May 26, 1991, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as a first President of independent Georgia. Gamsakhurdia stoked Georgian nationalism and vowed to assert Tbilisi's authority over regions such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia that had been classified as autonomous oblasts under the Soviet Union. He was soon deposed in a bloody coup d'état, from December 22, 1991 to January 6, 1992. The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called "Mkhedrioni" or "horsemen". The country became embroiled in a bitter civil war which lasted almost until 1995.Eduard Shevardnadze returned to Georgia in 1992 and joined the leaders of the coup — Kitovani and Ioseliani — to head a triumvirate called "The State Council". In 1995, Shevardnadze was officially elected as president of Georgia. At the same time, simmering disputes within two regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, between local separatists and the majority Georgian populations, erupted into widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars. Supported by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with the exception of some "pockets" of territory, achievedde facto independence from Georgia. Roughly 230,000 to 250,000 Georgians were expelled from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasian volunteers (including Chechens) in 1992–1993. Around 23,000 Georgians fled South Ossetia as well, and many Ossetian families were forced to abandon their homes in theBorjomi region and moved to Russia. In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the November 2 parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili,Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shevardnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms were launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities. The new government's efforts to reassert Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Ajaria led to a major crisis early in 2004. Success in Ajaria encouraged Saakashvili to intensify his efforts, but without success, in breakaway South Ossetia. These events, along with accusations of Georgian involvement in the Second Chechen War, resulted in a severe deterioration ofrelations with Russia, fuelled also by Russia's open assistance and support to the two secessionist areas. Despite these increasingly difficult relations, in May 2005 Georgia and Russia reached a bilateral agreement by which Russian military bases (dating back to the Soviet era) in Batumi and Akhalkalaki were withdrawn. Russia withdrew all personnel and equipment from these sites by December 2007 while failing to withdraw from the Gudauta base in Abkhazia which it was required to vacate after the adoption of Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty during the 1999 Istanbul summit.

2008 military conflict with Russia:

2008 saw a military conflict between Georgia on one side, with Russia and the separatist republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other. In response to the shelling of Georgian towns around South Ossetia, supposedly by South Ossetian militias well equipped with Russian military supplies, Georgia massed military forces near the region. Russia also massed larger military forces near the border with South Ossetia. On August 7, Georgian forces began a massive artillery attack on the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, which started after months-long clashes between Georgian police and peacekeepers, and Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. On early August 8, Georgian Army infantry and tanks, supported by Interior Ministry commandos, began pushing into South Ossetia, supported by artillery and multiple rocket launcher fire and Su-25 strike aircraft. After several hours of fierce fighting, Georgia had captured numerous villages throughout South Ossetia, and had captured almost all of Tskhinvali from Ossetian militia and Russian peacekeepers. A Russian peacekeepers' base stationed in South Ossetia was shelled, and personnel were killed. Units of the Russian58th Army, supported by irregular forces, subsequently entered South Ossetia through the Russian-controlled Roki Tunnel, and a three-day battle left the city of Tskhinvali heavily devastated. Georgian forces were driven out of South Ossetia, and Georgian villages were burned by Ossetian militia to prevent refugees from returning. The Russian Air Force launched a series of coordinated airstrikesagainst Georgian forces in South Ossetia, and multiple targets inside Georgia proper, but met heavy resistance from Georgian air defenses. The Georgian Air Force also managed to carry out air attacks on Russian troops throughout most of the battle. At the same time, the separatist Republic of Abkhazia launched an offensive against Georgian troops in the Kodori Valley with the support of Russian paratroopers, marines, and naval forces. Georgian troops offered minimal resistance and withdrew Russian paratroopers launched raids against military bases in Senaki, Georgia, from Abkhazia. The Russian Navy stationed a task force of sixteen ships off the coast of Abkhazia, and in a brief naval skirmish with Georgian missile boats and gunboats, sank a Georgian Coast Guard cutter. Following their defeat in South Ossetia, Georgian forces regrouped at Gori with heavy artillery. Russian forces crossed into Georgia proper, and all Georgian forces retreated toTbilisi, leaving some military equipment behind. Russian forces entered the city and occupied numerous villages completely unopposed. Irregulars such as Ossetians, Chechens and Cossacks followed and were reported looting, killing and burning. Russian troops removed military equipment abandoned by retreating Georgian troops in Gori, and also occupied the port city of Poti, where they sank several naval and coast guard vessels moored in the harbor, and removed captured military equipment, including four Humvees. Georgia lost a total of 150 pieces of military equipment (including 65 tanks), 1,728 small arms, and 4 naval vessels during the war. On August 12, President Medvedev announced an intent to halt further Russian military operations in Georgia. Russian troops withdrew from Gori and Poti, but remained in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it recognized as independent countries. Georgia, on the contrary, considers those territories to be under Russian occupation. Russia also created temporary checkpoints in several locations inside Georgia, but gradually withdrew from them. Because of the intensive fighting in South Ossetia there were many disputed reports about the number of casualties on both sides, which targets had fallen under aerial attacks, the status of troop movements, and the most current location of the front line between the Georgian and Russian-Ossetian combat units. South Ossetian and Russian officials claimed the Georgian Army was responsible for killing 2,000, and later 1,400 South Ossetian civilians. These allegations have not been substantiated, and Human Rights Watch and European Union investigators in South Ossetia accused Russia of exaggerating the scale of such casualties. The actual death toll, according to the Russian Prosecutor's Office, is 162. Another 150 South Ossetian militiamen were also killed. Russian casualties totalled 67 dead or missing, and 323 wounded. Abkhaz forces lost 1 dead and 2 wounded. Georgian military casualties totaled 170 dead or missing, 1,964 wounded, and 42 taken prisoner. Georgian civilian casualties stand at 228, with a total of 12 police officers killed or missing. A Dutch journalist, Stan Storimans, was also killed.


Predictable and plannable 2013 budget required, Orban

HUNGARY Ta m á s F e l l e g i : I M F a g r e e m e n t s expected in the autumn (Online 18 May) Tamás Fellegi, outgoing chief negotiator with financial organisations, announced at a Budapest financial summit on Thursday that IMF/EU negotiations can start in July, with an expected agreement in the autumn. Mr. Fellegi said that certain sectors of the Hungarian economy were experiencing serious difficul- Photo: Károly Árvai ties; he said that they must be able to maintain a balance of income and expenditure. Financing of the economy has decreased in Hungary and it is the Hungarian Government’s task to ensure an increase in this, but many external factors must also be taken into account. Mr. Fell e g i emphasised that for this reason the IMF/EU agree- Photo: Károly Árvai

ment is of outstanding importance. In parallel with preparations for talks Hungary must update its convergence programme, said the outgoing chief negotiator. He also said that ECOFIN will decide on the excessive deficit procedure on 22 June. Mr. Fellegi said that ’In relation to agreements, it is important to maintain continuous contact with market players. All key players must be made aware of the fact that Hungary is not playing for time, and is not attempting to play the “Turkish Card”’. He said that the IMF/EU agreement is needed for the financing of the country and by everybody whose economic and political interests are linked to the stability of the economy.

The parliament has voted on the telecom services tax (Online 18 May) The next step is taken in order to establish long term fiscal sustainability and reduce general government debt. Due to the slowing of the European economy and the protracted eurozone crisis, the European Commission forecasts lower growth for 2012 and 2013, and therefore the government has decided to implement measures aimed at fiscal improvement. The measures aimed at fiscal improvements – which include provisions both for cutting expenditures and increasing revenues – enable Hungary to achieve in a sustainable way the formerly projected deficit targets of 2.5 percent for 2012 and 2.2 percent for 2013. One of the revenue-boosting measures is the telecom services tax, for which a basic principle has been that it should be applicable to a large number of people and should have a low tax rate. Another principle has been that the new tax should fit well into the ongoing tax reform in which liabilities have been shifted from incomes to consumption and sales. Every economic study concludes that taxes on consumption and sales are the kinds which distort the economy and hamper growth in the smallest possible degree. Furthermore, taxes on consumption and sales are more proportionate from a social viewpoint, because the wealthy pay more as they also consume more.

After the above requirements had been met, last week the government submitted to parliament the bill on the telecom tax, which has been adopted without amendments by the National Assembly earlier today. The new tax is a sales-type liability, which is levied on fixed line or mobile phone calls or messages via the electronic telecommunication network of Hungary. The tax is 2HUF/minute and 2HUF/SMS or MMS. The tax bearer is the service provider, which is obliged to declare the tax and pay it until the 20th of the month after the call was made or the message forwarded. The exception to this rule is the first period, July, when the tax shall be declared and paid in September instead of August. Tax liability, however, is in place already in July. According to the regulation adopted now, tax is exempted for emergency calls, calls and messages to charity donation numbers, test calls and calls to European harmonized numbers. The objective of the exemptions provided by the law is to exempt the service provider from paying tax in certain cases of common interest and technical calls related to network maintenance. In addition, the service provider is exempt of paying tax for up to 10 minutes of monthly usage for private customers. The objective of this exemption is to prevent the service provider from raising service fees with reference to the tax on the one

hand. On the other hand, this provision provides an opportunity for the service provider to establish a pricing policy which favors private customers, that is, to offer better prices for private persons. Furthermore, the tax is capped for the subscriber, as the payable tax is limited at 700HUF/month/phone number for private customers and 2500HUF/month/phone number for corporate customers. As far as fiscal revenues are concerned, 44-45bn HUF annual revenues are expected from the new tax. As it is implemented from 1 July, revenues for this year will be half of that amount. The government does not believe that the new tax will be shifted to subscribers, because market competition will prevent it. This argument has been also proven right by the consumer price indices of the sector in the last couple of years. Furthermore, tax shifting is not justified as from 1 January 2013 crisis tax for telecom service providers will be phased out and thus tax liabilities of the sector will be also reduced. The sectors which are eligible for paying the telecom services tax will substantially assist Hungary to improve fiscal balance, reduce the level of government debt and thereby establish a stable economic background for enterprises which have been investing or plan to invest in Hungary.

New legislation provides many guarantees of security for nationalities (Online 18 May) On 17 May, Deputy Minister of State for Church, Civil Society and Nationality Affairs Csaba Latorcai had talks in Nagyvárad/ Oradea with the German Minister of the Interior Christoph Bergner. Both sides agreed that Germans in Hungary play an essential, bridge-building role in relations between the two countries. Mr. Latorcai said that nationalities living in Hungary are extremely important to the Hungarian government, and it sees the country’s centuriesold diversity as being an extraordinary asset. The Deputy Minister of State drew attention to the fact that the Hungarian parliament had adopted a new Act on nationalities in December 2011, linked to Hungary’s new Fundamental Law and as a result of wide-rang-

ing consultations. This provides stronger guarantees of security and wider rights to nationalities living in Hungary. In addition to this, the new Act on Parliamentary Elections provides the opportunity for representatives of nationalities to win seats in the Hungarian parliament. If a representative cannot gain a seat through the preferential quota, there is a possibility to delegate a spokesperson for that nationality. The Office of the Minister of State for Church, Civil Society and Nationality Affairs maintains close and constructive links with nationalities living in Hungary, representing their interests at the highest level possible and protecting their rights. Proof of this is that in several specific cases it has provided assistance in matters affecting nationalities (for example, the

right to the use of names for nationality self-governments, nursery provision and EU competitive tenders). Mr. Latorcai said that it had succeeded in providing a satisfactory outcome for the German theatre in the Hungarian town of Szekszárd, and that soon the same will occur for the German school in the town of Baja. Christoph Bergner, who oversees emigration and national minorities’ affairs and those of federated states, said that Germans in Hungary play an outstanding role in relations between Hungary and Germany, and Hungary and the rest of Europe. He described as ‘reassuring’ the guarantees provided by the new Act on nationalities to nationalities in Hungary – including Germans.

The National Core Curriculum is modern and durable, Zoltán Balog (Online 18 May) The new National Core Curriculum (NAT) was accepted by the Government. Praising the new document the Minister of Social Resources said: „It can be a cohesion to our nation.” The new National Core Curriculum was presented by the Minister of Social Resources and the State Secretary for Education at Thursday’s press conference. The Government’s spokeperson András Giró-Szász said: „With the new government taking over the control it turned out that there had been a number of state systems needing a full revision. The shortcomings of the hungarian public education system were identified as such by many audits. Beside the new Public and Higher Education Acts the National Core Curriculum is intended to correct the errors of the education system.”- he said. „The education is a basic task of the Government however the institutions retain their autonomy and pupils can have access to the same standard of education in all parts of the country.” – he added.

Zoltán Balog praised and acknowledged the efforts of the State Secretary for Education who was able to manage the preparation of the Core Curriculum during the organizational transformation of the Ministry. The minister called it a durable and modern document and pointed out: „By creating a common knowledge the new Core Curriculum can be a cohesion to our nation.” „Education and learning are one of the most important resources and the National Core Curriculum was made accordingly. It represents a national public property which is the minimum of our national literacy.”- he said. „Yesterday’s decision was preceded by years of preparation works and it is strongly supported by prestigious people in the field of culture. –he said. „The National Core Curriculum (NAT) is the third most important document after the Public and Higher Educaton Acts.”-the State Secretary said. „The Core Curriculum is of high value, modern, and in line with the

latest trends in the EU.” „The new National Core Curriculum is partly a return to the old traditions and the minimum standards of national literacy were also determined with it.” – she said. „Works on the Core Curriculum have not yet been completed as the collection of the framework curriculums are currently being prepared. It is an obligation and right of the schools to choose from these curriculums. Under certain controlled conditions there is room for experimentations and therefore a chance for equal treatment.” – she stated. She also spoke about the circumstances and conditions that had a great impact on the Core Curriculum. A team of experts of around 150 people participated in the preparation works on the new Core Curriculum ranging from teachers to academicians. The final document was approved by a Patronage Board. The document will soon be put forward to the Parliament and will be valid for a period of five years.

Large-scale equestrian festival at Ópusztaszer (Online 18 May) This weekend, between 18 and 20 May, an equestrian festival will be held in Ópusztaszer which is the largest of its kind in the Carpathian Basin. The aim of the

event is preservation and revival of equestrian traditions. The festival is part of the First European Hussar Convention and will stage the Ópusztaszer heats for the

‘National Gallop’. Hundreds of horses and riders from Hungary and abroad are taking part in the festival.

Statement of the MFA on the Summoning the Head of the Hungarian Mission to Bucharest (Online 17 May) The Foreign Ministry of Romania summoned Oszkár Füzes, Hungary’s Ambassador to Bucharest on 16 May 2012. In the absence of the Ambassador, Ádám Balázs fulfilled the request as chargé d’affaires ad interim. The Romanian party raised objections against MFA Parliamentary State Secretary Zsolt Németh's earlier criticism on the new Romanian government’s minority policy. Fur-

thermore, they expressed disapproval of the content and the organisation of the planned reburial of József Nyírő. The chargé d’affaires ad interim informed the Romanian Party that the Hungarian Government considered the reburial of the Transylvanian writer to be a piety and cultural event. The Hungarian diplomat emphasised that the Government of Hungary was open and looked forward to cooperating with

the new Government of Romania. Hungary does not understand the Romanian decision on the Hungarian Faculty of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Târgu Mureș, which is a major step back, as it infringes upon the fundamental acquired rights of Hungarians in Transylvania. The Hungarian party deems it important that the governments of the two states settle the open issues by way of negotiations.

Budget and general govt debt data according to the EU Commission forecast (Online 17 May) The European Commission has recently published its study titled General Government Data of spring 2012, which provides a comprehensive overview of the fiscal balances and general govern-

ment debt of EU countries for 2011 as well as relevant projections for 2012 and 2013. According to the figures published by the Commission, with regard to fiscal balances of 2011 Hungary has been a top performer in

Europe: our surplus of 4.3 percent is much more favourable than the GDP deficit of 4.5 percent in the EU and 4.1 percent in the euro-zone.

N e w B loc k A dde d t o C linic a l C e nt r e of t he U niv e r s it y of Sze ge d (Online 16 May) Minister of National Development Zsuzsanna Németh laid the foundation stone of the new clinical block of the University of Szeged on 15 May 2012. In the framework of the New Széchenyi Plan, two projects will be implemented in Clinical the Centre of the University of Szeged. One of them will be a new 265-bed photo: Step&Vals Kft. facility to be erected next and connecting to the current 410-bed New Clinic, including the reconstruction and modernisation of the existing edifice. The other is the improvement of the university’s emergency care health unit into n upto-date 19-bed department offering practically full-scale professional in service order to create the conditions of one-stop- photo: Csaba Pelsőczy emershop

gency health care for the entire region.Minister for National Develo p m e n t Zsuzsanna Németh attended the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone as a special guest, accompanied by Minister of for State Care Health Miklós Szócska of the Ministry of Human Resources, who also gave an address. “The hospital investments made at the centre of Csongrád county as well various as sites other that prove health care is developing and is in progress in Hungary”, he stressed. According to the plans, the project worth an aggregate of HUF 12.3 billion and invested into the improvement of the SzentGyörgyi Albert Clinical Centre of the University of Szeged may be completed by the end of 2013.

Cutback on designer drugs (Online 16 May) Besides the slow increase in illicit drug use, the conof designer drugs sumption dramatically increased in Hungary between 2009 and 2011. These psychoactive substances with more or less unpredictable effects are spreading apace especially among the youth. Due to their rapidly changing composition, prohibiting and penalizing them presented serious problems. The Government has implemented new instruments against the distribution of drugs, and the early results have already been achieved. In the course of the modification of

the Health Law, as an Annex of it, a so called List „C” was created, which came into force on 2nd April 2012, and in which those substances with psychoactive effect are enlisted with their generic formulae. In the future the possession and the distribution of all the modified substances can be derived from these generic formulae will classify as enlisted in List „C”, therefore result in applying sanctions. The new psychoactive substances appearing in the Early Warning System can be included in the list within a short period of two or three weeks. All persons who import or transfer

across the country, produce, possess or distribute such enlisted substances commit a crime and can be imprisoned for up to three years. According to the current draft Panel Code those persons who commit these crimes in or in the neighbourhood of schools, cultural or other protected institutions are to be judged more seriously. From 2nd April on the vast majority of the websites trading with designer drugs has closed down, and the number of the hospitalization cases due to substance use has been decreased by more than 90%.

H unga r y will c e m e nt t ie s wit h India t hr ough t r a de , J á nos M a r t ony i 14 (Online May) Interview with Foreign Minister János by Martonyi The Hindu on May 13, 2012. Hungary and India may have figured relatively low on each other's economic and strategic radar till now, but the Hungarian side is hoping the forthcoming visit to New Delhi by its Prime Minister Victor Orban will help reset the bilateral relationship and revitalise trade and investments. Speaking about the visit, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs Janos Martonyi recently said in an exclusive interview to The Hindu that Mr. Orban's visit later this year should be seen as a part of Hungary's new foreign policy of “going global”. “In the last 20 years, Hungary was absorbed by the region; our basic objective was to integrate with the Western alliance… now it is time to look beyond our regional borders,” said Mr. Martonyi. Mr. Orban is expected to visit New Delhi, with a message that his country is ready to forge alliances with a country it shares “deep rooted cultural ties” with. Historically, Hungary and India have enjoyed close and friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. The Hungarian people remember India's role in the 1956 Uprising in their country; how India's intervention with the then Soviet Union saved the life of Dr. Arpad Goncz who subsequently served as President of Hungary from 1990 to 2000. The visit, the dates of which are yet to be finalised, will come at a time when India and the European Union, of which Hungary is a member since 2004, are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. And Hungary, keen to tap the “growing Indian market”, is only too happy to cooperate. Mr.

Martonyi said if India were to open its market for Hungarian wines, it would give a tremendous boost to the industry. The Hungarian exports have hitherto been confined to high technology, industrial products, automobiles, telecom and IT, but Mr. Orban's government is keen for developing exports in agricultural and food products and services, too. India, Mr. Martonyi explained, holds promise as a potential market for Hungarian goods and services. “Contacts [are] being intensified and we hope in the next one or two years the figures of trade and investment will be higher,” he noted, adding that Prime Minister Orban's visit will be preceded by that of the Speaker of Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér. Indian companies have invested $1.3 billion in Hungary, but there is scope for more. “This is also the purpose of the highlevel visits, which are now in preparation, to attract more Indians to come to Hungary. We have a fairly central position in this part of Europe and we have a well developed structure and [we] are economically stable. Despite all the rumours in the media, we are one of a few European countries where deficit is under 3 per cent,” he pointed out. Eager to engage more with India on a bilateral level, Mr Martonyi said: “Hungary is in a new phase and has a new approach; it has a new priority

for foreign policy. In the present stage of trade and investment, India has now tremendous potential. Trade be should more, much given the size of India and the export potential and capacity of Hungary”. The Minister said Hungary is keenly watching the ongoing negotiations between the European and Union India on the and FTA, wants the negotiations to be completed soon. “Given the fact that India is one of the most important strategic partners of the EU, we think that this could be a very welcome development, if the negotiations could be completed and signed and ratified. EU-India relationship is more complex. India is the largest democracy in the world ... we have fundamental, global interests in common, like security and many other areas. Hungary is interested in the early conclusion of the negotiations, because we believe India's market would give us tremendous possibilities. We want to see how far and to what extent India will be willing to open its market for services.” The Minister said a scholarship exclusively for youngsters from “developing countries” would soon be announced and he expressed the hope that it would benefit Indian as well as Asian students. Hungary was also keen to increase tourism between the two countries. On India's claim to a permanent seat in the Security Council, Mr. Martonyi said: “We have always supported India for the permanent seat in the UN Security Council. We have been advocating this for years. We know is not easy, given the complexity of the ambition around the world, but we just think this will be fair. It is very simple; you can't exclude from the seat 1.3 billion people.”

Simplified naturalisation – a success story (PR) The ministerial commissioner responsible for implementation regards simplified naturalisation as a success story. Tamás Wetzel said in an interview given on the occasion of the approaching two-year anniversary of the establishment of the Government, interest in simplified naturalisation is effectively unabating and, according to their calculations, half a million citizenship applications may have been received by the end of next year. He pointed out, while in 2010 the authorities were required to process a mere five thousand applications in one year, the number of applications has now increased fortyfold. Tamás Wetzel said, the legal environment is satisfactory and appropriate; some minor changes may be made to the citizenship law in the autum. As a result, for instance, forms may become simplified and registration in Hungary after the taking of the citizenship oath may also become simpler. According to the information provided by the ministerial

commissioner, HUF 830 million was used in the first year for the organisation of naturalisation and sums in the magnitude of billions may be required in the next few years as well. In reference to the fact that Parliament passed the amendment of the citizenship law in May 2010 and applications may be submitted as of January 2011, Tamás Wetzel said, by now applications are received for processing in 2200 registry offices, at 92 foreign missions, in the 23 customer service offices of the Office of Immigration and Nationality and in all the government offices. So far, 250 thousand applications and 110 thousand requests for name changes have been registered and almost 157 thousand individuals have already taken their citizenship oaths. Seventy per cent of the applications originate from Transylvania, and 18 to 20 per cent from Vojvodina. Applications have been received from more than 60 countries; applications were submitted, already in the first week, in

Abu-Dhabi, Qatar and Tanzania, and much to administrators’ surprise, one application was posted from Yekaterinburg. The oldest new citizen is a 103-year-old from Máramarosziget in Transylvania. The procedure takes 5 to 6 months to complete. This is significantly faster than before when applicants were required to wait for as long as more than two years for the approval of their citizenship applications. Pursuant to the law, Hungarian citizenship may be requested by individuals, or their descendants, who were Hungarian citizens before 1920 or between1938 and 1945, speak Hungarian and in whose case there is no disqualifying public or national security circumstance. In deviation from previous legislation, the law does not prescribe registered residence in Hungary, verification of housing and living in Hungary and the passage of the constitutional studies examination for the acquisition of simplified naturalisation.

Year of Hungarian kindergartens beyond the borders (PR) The series of events entitled 2012, year of Hungarian kindergartens beyond the borders, which was launched by Hungary’s State Secretariat for Hungarian Communities Abroad began in Kopács in Croatia. The Hungarian Government has allocated HUF 100 million for the programme. A „road show” with 24 stations in the Carpathian Basin has been launched as part of the programme of the year of Hungarian kindergartens beyond the borders for the demonstration of good Hungarian kindergarten teaching practices. At the sessions, children, teachers and parents may acquaint themselves with the craft of „story weaving” and may share the experience of creating tales based on common Hungarian folk story traditions. As part of the „road show” in the Carpathian Basin, story weaving and the Timár method are introduced from among the best practices on offer for demonstration. The method of story weaving was presented to participants by folk musician and teacher Éva Fábián and ethnographer Zoltán Szabó, Head of Depart-

ment of the House of Traditions. The Timár method was introduced by Böske Timár, Artistic Director of the Csillagszemű Dance Ensemble and her students. Böske Timár established the ensemble, a unique enterprise both in Hungary and in Europe, with her husband, choreographer Sándor Timár in 1993, in which they work with 450 children from the age of 3. The dance ensemble Csillagszemű represents Hungary throughout the world, from major cities in Europe, through Brazil to New-Zealand and Japan. As part of the road show, the representatives of the two best practices will visit different locations. The event will travel to Zagreb, followed by Újvidék, Bácskossuthfalva, Nagybecskerek, Torontálvásárhely and Székelykeve in Vojvodina. In Slovenia, the kindergarten in Dobronak and Lendva will host the event, in Austria, the road show will visit Felsőőr and Felsőpulya, while in Felvidék, Slovakia, Kassa, Kolon, Tornagörgő and Pozsonypüspök will be the venues visited. In Transcarpathia, Ungvár, Munkács, Nagyszőlős and Aknas-

zlatina, while in Transylvania, Temesvár, Resicabánya, Nagyenyed, Kolozsvár and Marosvásárhely feature the programme as venues. The plenary meeting of the Hungarian Standing Conference approved the document entitled Policy for Hungarian Communities Abroad – Framework for the strategy for Hungarian communities abroad on 24 November last year. The strategic purpose of this document is to increase Hungarian communities beyond the borders in numbers and to promote their intellectual, economic and legal growth. Based on this, the State Secretariat for Hungarian Communities Abroad launched the 2012, year of Hungarian kindergartens beyond the borders programme. The purpose of the programme is to draw attention to the importance of parents living in Hungarian regions beyond the borders enrolling their children in kindergartens teaching in Hungarian as the native language and subsequently selecting a school providing education in Hungarian.

Scout movement an important base for the preservation of national identity (PR) Bence Rétvári, Minister of State for Public Administration and Justice delivered a lecture on the relationship of the scout movement and the Balaton Zánka Children and Youth Centre organising holidays for children and young people. The politician underlined in the context of the historical background of the movement that the scout movement has in the past one hundred years always constituted an important base for the preservation of national identity. In Hungary, the movement is not organised on a country but

on a national level; Hungarian scouts constitute a single organisation together with Hungarians living beyond the borders. It is a further characteristic of the scout movement that it is open to everyone on religious foundations, independently of party politics, and voluntary participation is one of its core values, Bence Rétvári said, who is a scout himself. The scout movement has some 30 million members in 200 countries, while the Hungarian member organisation has 300 teams and 8 thousand active

members; in the past 20 years, 50 thousand young people have joined the ranks of the scouts. This is an enormous community which the State cannot ignore. The Minister of State outlined the strategy of the scout movement up to 2020, as part of which Zánka should become a communal base for scouts and the centre should be filled with valuable contents and young people. Scouts believe that Zánka is also suitable as an international event venue.

Economy Development and Local Government Committee of Hungarian Standing Conference met (PR) The agenda of the Budapest meeting of the Economy Development and Local Government Committee of the Standing Hungarian Conference held on 10 May featured, inter alia, the establishment of a business region in the Carpathian region. At the meeting held in the House of

Hungarians, Kristóf Szatmáry, State Secretary for Economic Regulation, Chair of the Committee stated that the establishment of a network of ten offices is extremely important in the interest of creating a single Carpathian Basin economic region. The operation of this network incor-

porates in an integrated manner the professional skills that economic chambers are able to offer and the governmental intentions and means represented by the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency. The first office opened on 4 May in Kolozsvár, Transylvania.

14 (Online Prime May) Minister Viktor Orbán stressed after the 14 May 2012 faction meeting of the governing Fidesz-KDNP that alliance Parliament must remain in session until mid-July under circumany bestances the cause situation in Europe may require decisions which may involve Parliament. At the meeting, the Prime Minister also proposed a new Fidesz faction leader in the person of Antal Rogán. At the meeting, Viktor Orbán said we must be prepared for the eventuality that the European economy will continue to remain unpredictable also in the months to come. He referred to the situation in Greece, and also to the uncertainty in France. The Prime Minister therefore drew the attention of government-party MPs to the fact that the outlines of the 2013 budget must be prepared by the middle of the summer, and consequently, only part-decisions will be required within the larger units of the budget in September. He said they will attempt to create a predictable

and plannable budget for the Hungarian economy, as far as permitted by the current circumstances in Europe. The Prime Minister hopes that the new economic system that has been built in Hungary for the past two years as an ongoing process and has stabilised the Hungarian financial situation will, on the whole, be able to render a better performance than many would believe. At the same time, we must be cautious; we should lay down plans over-secured twice over as the crisis in Europe demands that every country pursue a prudent, conservative planning philosophy. He confirmed, nonetheless that if extra revenues emerge, they would like to use these for the reduction of the

public burdens, taxes and contributions encumbering live labour. We cannot, however, about speak such any measures before the end of September or of beginning October as one cannot foresee the economic processes determining the whole of the any year sooner than in October. As regards the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union, the Prime Minister stressed the Hungarian Government is committed to starting the negotiations and would like to bring them to a successful closure as soon as possible. He expects Mihály Varga, the new leader of the IMF negotiations to mediate the economic criteria, with regard to which changes may be required in Hungary’s economic policy. Viktor Orbán informed governmentparty MPs of the changes in the Government and in the faction leadership, and proposed Antal Rogán as the new Fidesz faction leader who will replace János Lázár appointed to head the Prime Minister’s Office.

Government adopts the National Core Curriculum (Online 18 May) After several months of specialist and public consultations, at its meeting on Wednesday the Government adopted the National Core Curriculum, which is planned to take effect in 2013. The new Curriculum is the work of 150 specialists, inacacluding and demics teachers. Its adoption was announced by the new Minister for Human Resources, Zoltán Balog, and Minister of State for Education, Rózsa Hoffmann. As a result of thorough work by pedagogical specialists and public consultations, a curriculum has been arrived at which is rich in value, mod-

ern and in line with EU trends. It answers an important deficiency felt by teachers, as there has been no regulation of content in education since 2003. The Curriculum is closely linked to the new Act on Public Education and Higher Education, and the aims of that Act.

The new Curriculum aims to guarantee that children receive high-quality education in today’s most relevant areas, with such subjects as economy and finance, food safety, transport safety, information technology and telecommunications, healthy lifestyles and lanforeign guage culture. A review of educational content was essential, as public education has been unable to meet contemporary needs for decades, and has been unable to reduce or halt the marginalization of disadvantaged groups within society.

Navracsics holds talks with Russian justice minister in St Petersburg (Online 17 May) Tibor Navracsics, the minister of justice and public administration, held talks with Russian justice minister Aleksandr Konovalov in Saint Petersburg on Thursday on the sidelines of the 2nd International Legal Forum. Navracsics, who is also deputy prime minister, told MTI by phone that they

had overviewed the implementation of a Hungarian-Russian justice cooperation agreement signed in 2011. He said cooperation had been successful, for instance Hungary's participation at the legal forum, dubbed by Konovalov as the "legal Davos", is also part of this agreement and Russian experts had recently visited Bu-

dapest to discuss legal aid. Navracsics said he had agreed with Konovalov that in case Russia extends the Saint Petersburg forum into a series of talks, Hungary is ready to host events. Navracsics arrived in Russia from Finland on Wednesday and will return to Hungary after the forum.

N a v r a c s ic s br ie f s Finnis h of f ic ia ls on H unga r y 's jus t ic e r e f or m (Online 16 May) Talks between Tibor Navracsics, the minister of justice and public administration, and Finnish politicians in Helsinki on Wednesday focused on reform of the justice system and public administration. Navracsics, who is also a deputy prime minister, told MTI by phone that he had met Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and discussed current events unfolding in the European Union, especially the Greek situation and its effects on the economic political climate. He also briefed Katainen about Hun-

garian measures in public administration and efforts to boost the economy's competitiveness. Talks with Finnish Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson focused on the experiences of the reform of the justice system in Hungary. Navracsics said he had presented the reasons for reform and briefed on changes implemented so far. He also told Henriksson about the ongoing consultations with the Council of Europe concerning Hungary's media law and judiciary. A meeting with Finland's minister for

councils, Henna Maria local Virkkunen, focused on the reform of public administration in both countries. Finland is in a similar situation as Hungary was before the reform, Navracsics said. Later in the day, he is also scheduled to meet the chairman of the Supreme Court, the heads of the constitutional and legislative committees and the group leader of the National Coalition Party, which is the Finnish member in the European People's Party.

Gross average wages increased by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the year (Online 18 May) In Q1 2012 gross average wages of the national economy increased by 4.4 p e r c e n t , whereas net wages excluding family tax benefits increased by 1.6 percent in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year – the KSH has reported earlier today in its statistical release. In the national economy gross average wage of the full time employed was 222 700HUF in March 2012 which corresponds to a rise of 2.7 percent compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Net wage – which was 144 200HUF – has been practically unchanged compared to the figure of last year which was a period of a

sharp wage hike. Net wage calculation, however, does not take into consideration the favourable impact of family tax benefits which can be claimed for children. The average gross wage for public sector employees has risen even more dynamically by 5.8 percent and is currently 238 300HUF, whereas net

wage is 154 000HUF after an increase of 2.7 percent. The gross average wage for employees of budgetary institutions – exc l u d i n g employees of public employment schemes – increased by 1.8 percent in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year, and it is currently 204 300HUF. Employees in the financial and insurance sectors have continued to be top wage earners, followed by employees in the information and communication, after that the energy industry sector. The lowest paid employees were in the hotel trade and catering sectors.

Nuclear revival within reach (Online 17 May) Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy Pál Kovács represented the Hungarian Ministry of National Development at the plenary session of the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) held on 14-15 May 2012 in Bratislava. High-ranking government officials, representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament, the managers of large power engineering companies, and the delegates of sectoral trade unions and non-government organisations met on the seventh occasion this year. The findings of the stress tests performed in European nuclear power plants and extension of the European

nuclear safety regulation were mentioned during the forum. In relation to the European Union's energy plans set out in Roadmap 2050, the parties also discussed issues related to the future of nuclear energy and nuclear transparency. Slovakian head of government, Robert Fico and Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas pointed out that on both countries considered stress closed, welcomed the tests favourable findings and encouraged the earliest possible implementation of their findings in practice. The forum participants stressed the need of support from the European Commission to low-carbon technolo-

gies. According to the expert opinions referenced by the speakers, unless nuclear power plants are expanded, Europe's carbon emission reduction commitments were unfeasible in energy generation and transport. ENEF, established at the European Commission's initiative, is a platform of organisations interested in nuclear energy in the Member States of the European Union. The purpose of its operation is the promotion of a regular exchange of ideas between the nations on the current issues, improvement opportunities and developments in the field.

Successful Tender for Solar Collectors by the Ministry of National Development (Online 17 May) The total amount requested in the applications submitted for the sub-programme to support the establishment of solar collector systems covers the HUF 2.97 billion available for this purpose under the New Széchenyi Plan Green Investment Scheme. Once the deadline extended to 15 May 2012 was over, the Ministry of National Development closed the scheme. Altogether 5,686 applications were received, more than 2,300 of which have been assessed favourably up to now. Evaluation of the remaining applications is in progress. The tender financed from the rev-

enues of the international sale of carbon quotas offered an opportunity for power engineering modernisations to promote the use of renewable energy carriers. According to the National Energy Strategy, carbon emission may be reduced and energy efficiency improved, among others, by increasing reliance on solar power. Responses to this new scheme have proved that the Government’s intentions set out in the National Action Plan for Renewable Energy Utilisation coincide with the requirements of the potential applicants. Once the submission deadline was over at midnight on 15 May 2012, the

Ministry of National Development closed the grant scheme and stopped receiving tender documents. Any subsequently submitted application will be automatically rejected without evaluation. The scheme started by the ministry facilitates reduction in the overhead and power costs of the approved households. This programme will secure orders for the Hungarian small entrepreneurs of this sector. The projects implemented with support under this tender will contribute to the fulfilment of Hungary’s commitments undertaken in the field of climate protection.

Nowhere People 16 (Online May) Mr LásFelkai, zló State Secretary of Ministry of Interior and Mr Gottfried K ö f n e r , UNHCR’s Regional Representative for Central Europe opened a joint exhibition the about world’s stateless people entitled “Nowhere – People Hazátlanul” which will be held on 16-31 May 2012 in the Palace of Arts (MÜPA). Stateless per- László Felkai (Photo: Gergely Botár) son shall mean isfactorily resolved yet and is one of any person who does not hold a na- the main challenges of the internationality and is not considered as a tional community. In 2011 was the national by any state under the oper- 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convenation of its law. Situation of stateless tion on the Reduction of Statelesspeople settled through international ness. legislation is high on the UNO agenda About 12 million people around the since the establishment of the organ- world do not have citizenship of any ization. This issue has not been sat- country. Stateless people are often

unable to enjoy a wide range of rights and are prevented from fully participating in society, their rights are not fully respected - they are unable to legally, work freely travel and have prevented access education to health and care. H u n g a r y a earned prominent place in the international humanitarian community thanks to its accession to the international conventions relating to the protection of stateless people and to the good practices. Hungary ratified the 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness. Our country has a world quality reference national procedure for the recognition of stateless people which is a best practice in Europe.

Conference on Green Growth 15 (Online May) At the Smart Economy Hungary conference oron ganised Tuesday in Buby dapest CoSignum and the National Institute for Envir o n m e n t (NeKI), State Secretary for Environmental Affairs Zoltán Illés and State Secretary Norbert Csizmadia spoke about photo: Ernő Horváth the new Waste Management Act and the relation between environthe ment and the economy. The State Secreretary minded those present that the standpoint of the delegates at the OECD conference had also been that it is not possible to plan ecoand nomic financial policy without taking account into environthe ment, natural resources and Zoltán Illés (photo: Ernő Horváth) conservation. Nature "kicks back" very soon in re- phasised Zoltán Illés. sponse to any negative action. As an The politician stressed that the state example he mentioned that Hungary must play an even greater role in both is a country that is very rich in water, conservation and waste managebut if the population is not prepared ment. As a step in the right direction, to connect to the sewage system, this Zoltán Illés mentioned the fact that at leads to pollution of water stocks. present the collection and utilization This is why the increase of the soil of waste is already conducted on the stress charge was necessary, em- basis of the Danish model by a stateowned, non-profit company. He also

emphasised the fact that state responsibilities must be performed by the state, and that for example flood protection is better by managed the state than it would be by local government. Zoltán Illés announced that Parliament is to expected the adopt ManWaste agement Act by S e p t e m b e r, and that the 33 implementation and orders instatutes cluded in the draft of the Act would also be published by then, creating a transparent situation regarding the issue. Norbert As Csizmadia, State Secretary Planning for Coordination of the Ministry of National Economy put it, long term development is determined by the state of national resources, employment and high added value production, meaning that green technologies mean a way forward for Hungary with regard to all three criteria. For this reason, development of the green economy was also given great emphasis in the new Széchényi Plan, reiterated the State Secretary.

University campus to be built in capital 14 (Online May) The Government has decided on the commencement of one of the largest projects in the capital, the Ludovika University Campus project, and the funding necessary for its implementation, Balázs Fürjes, Government Commissioner for priority Budapest projects said. As part of the project, the building of the former Ludovika Military Academy that operated in the capital at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire will be refurbished in order to serve as the headquarters of the National Public Service University, and the adjacent Orczy Park will also be developed and will accommodate the university campus. The project worth HUF 24.5 billion in total will begin at the end of 2012 with the refurbishment of the Ludovika Building, and the university may relocate to its new seat in 2015. The project to be completed over a period of four years will cost a net HUF 24.5 billion in total, a significant proportion of which will be financed

from EU funding and the sale of the vacated university properties. The Government will allocate HUF 4.7 billion for the first phase which includes the renovation of the Ludovika main building and the preparation of the rest of the construction works, Balázs Fürjes, Government Commissioner for large projects, who is also in charge of this project, said. The refurbishment of the main building that has been delayed for a decade and a half will begin at the end of 2012 and will be completed by 2015. This building will accommodate the National Public Service University. The Government established this university as of January this year by virtue of the merger of the Zrínyi Miklós National

Defence University, the College of Higher Education for Police Officers and the Economics Faculty that demerged from the Budapest Corvinus University. This institution will serve as the largest domestic centre for standardised public administration training and further training. Additionally, the project will also extend to the nearby more than two-hundred-yearold Orczy Park and public areas in the vicinity, Fürjes said. As a result, a university campus may come into being in a fully renewed environment, with a wide range of services. According to plans, the park will also accommodate a swimming pool and a sports hall. The former riding school will undergo extensive renovation, and an outdoor riding track and a three-kilometre riding path may be built. The boating lake will be renewed. The development of the Bárka Theatre located in the park also forms part of the project; the theatre will be converted into a university stage.

Ponta Government revoked appeal submitted against suspension of MOGYE decision (PR) Romanian Parliament conducted a vote of confidence on 7 May on the government of the Social-Liberal Alliance (USL) headed by Victor Ponta, President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which obtained the support of both UNPR and minorities. PDL and RMDSZ did not support the government – the leaders of the Alliance met with Victor Ponta in the morning of the same day to discuss possible cooperation. After the meeting, the acting Prime Minister pointed out, the dialogue with RMDSZ must be continued; at the same time, the idea that RMDSZ should join the government has not emerged. The Romanian Government led by Victor

Ponta revoked the appeal which the Ungureanu Government, in office at the time, submitted on Monday against the decision adopted by the Marosvásárhely Court last week which suspends the government decision establishing MOGYE’s new faculty. The decision on the revocation of the appeal was announced by Prime Minister Victor Ponta on 8 May, after the first meeting of the new Romanian Government. According to RMDSZ President Hunor Kelemen, the programme of the Ponta Government is the first draft in the past 22 years which is completely void of measures concerning national minorities living in Romania; minorities are

not even mentioned in the programme. The new cabinet has already prevented the establishment of the Hungarian Faculty of the Marosvásárhely University of Medicine and Pharmacology (MOGYE), the current amendment of the franchise legislation discards proportionate representation and is planning to introduce a system of individual constituencies for the November general elections and the Government announced that the minority legislation left unpassed by Parliament since 2005 would be approved without a chapter on cultural autonomy.

Election fraud in Serbia, VMSZ claims (PR) Parliamentary, provincial and local municipality elections as well as early presidential elections were held in Serbia on 6 May. 6,759,322 persons were eligible to vote, of whom 3,912,904 cast their votes. Consequently, the turnout ratio was 57.8 %. At a republican level, the highest number of votes were obtained by the nationalist Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) representing 24.04% of the votes cast, while the rival Democratic Party (DS) obtained 22.06% of the votes. With these results, the progressives obtained 73 seats, while the democrats acquired 67 parliamentary mandates. The Socialist Party (SPS) gained 14.51% of the votes, and thereby obtained 44 seats in Parliament. The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) obtained 6.99 % (21 mandates), „Change” led by the Liberal Democratic Party gained 6.53% (19 mandates), while the United Regions of Serbia 5.51% of the votes (16 mandates). As regards minority parties, the Alliance of Hungarians in Vajdaság gained 1.75% of the votes which represents 5 seats in the Skupstina. The Sandzak SDA obtained 2 seats with 0.71% of the votes, while the „Together” minority list (a joint Hungarian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovak and Macedonian list) acquired 1 mandate with 0.64% of the votes. The „Together” list featured two Hungarian parties, the Democratic Fellowship of Vojvodina Hungarians and the Hungarian Civic Alliance, however, Emir Elfić, President of the Bosniak Democratic Union occupied the winning position on the list. Consequently, on a national level, from among the Hungarian parties only the Alliance of Hungarians in Vajdaság succeeded in obtaining a mandate. The party previously had 4 representatives in the Serbian legislature, and therefore the party’s national result in terms of the number of seats obtained may be regarded as a success. However, the leadership of the party levelled some grave accusations as regards the fairness of the elections; according to VMSZ President István Pásztor, votes were stolen from the party at several levels of the elections. „Between the casting and counting of the votes and the closure of the polling

stations and Tuesday evening, VMSZ lost approximately 30 thousand votes under as yet inexplicable circumstances. Based on the Sunday night and Monday data, I obtained 91 400 votes in the presidential elections, and this has now, strangely, dropped to 63 262. When the committee published this result, the bags containing the Topolya, Kishegyes, Szabadka and Magyarkanizsa ballot papers were still in Szabadka. On a national level, in two days, our performance decreased from 95 375 to 67 841 votes. Based on the first number of votes, our party would have been entitled to seven parliamentary mandates; now we only have five. On a provincial level, after 20 per cent of the votes had been processed on Sunday night, we were informed that VMSZ obtained 6.4% of the votes; after 100 per cent of the votes have been processed, it is now claimed that we only have 6.15 per cent”, the President of the party stated at his press conference. President of the Serbian Progressive Party, Tomislav Nikolic, too, complained about the fairness of the presidential elections and spoke about „brutal” fraud. The party president claimed they had caught the democrats stealing ballot papers, and the Republican Election Committee, too, experienced irregularities in several places. In spite of the comreceived, republican plaints elections are not likely to be repeated. Based on the national results, a democratic-socialist government coalition is expected to be set up in Serbia; negotiations between the parties have already begun, however, a final decision is only expected after 20 May, the second round of the elections. The Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, United Serbia and the Alliance of Hungarians in Vajdaság all emerged as possible coalition partners. In the first round of the presidential elections, Boris Tadic (Democratic Party) and Tomislav Nikolic (Serbian Progressive Party) obtained the first two positions, and the electoral competition will therefore be decided between them in the second round. Twelve candidates were nominated in the elections; for the first time, a Hungarian in the person of István Pásztor amongst them. Pásztor made it clear already before the elections, he runs as candidate in

the presidential elections in order to secure a better bargaining position for VMSZ if Pásztor withdraws in the second round of the elections in favour of the democratic party candidate. This promise may, however, be revoked if it transpires about the votes stolen from VMSZ that the Democratic Party had anything to do with this. „As regards the second round of the presidential elections, none of what I have said to date holds valid any more. As to what will hold valid with respect to the second round of the presidential elections has yet to be determined.” Electors also voted for the composition of the Vojvodina Provincial Parliament on 6 May. According to the data of the Provincial Election Committee, most mandates, 16 in total, were obtained by the democratic party coalition; the Serbian Progressive Party acquired 14 seats, while the Socialist Party of Serbia gained 9 mandates. The League of Social Democrats in Vojvodina has 8 seats, the Serbian Radical Party has 5 mandates, while the Alliance of Hungarians in Vajdaság and the Democratic Party of Serbia may each delegate 4 representatives to the provincial parliament. Provincial MPs are elected in a combined system; one half of the 120 mandates are distributed pro rata, while the other half is distributed in two-round majority elections. Consequently, the final composition of the provincial parliament will be decided on 20 May. The number and ratio of Hungarian mandates obtained in the provincial local government elections are key for the Hungarians of Vojvodina. The Democratic Party continues to remain highly popular in the province; this is confirmed by the fact that they obtained the relative majority of the votes in the following towns/localities: Szabadka, Újvidék, Ada, Óbecse. The Serbian Progressive Party came first in the Nagybecskerek and Temerin local municipality elections. The Alliance of Hungarians in Vajdaság won in Magyarkanizsa, Zenta, Topolya and Kishegyes. The smaller Hungarian parties are mostly unhappy with their election results which is not surprising; they only succeeded in obtaining a higher number of votes than VMSZ in a few small localities.

20th birthday of the Los Angeles Consulate General (PR) The Hungarian Consulate General in Los Angeles was opened on 21 March 1992. On the 20th anniversary of the event, Ambassador Balázs Bokor, Los Angeles Consul General gave a ceremonial reception in the Bel Air Crest Club House. The reception was attended by senior representatives from the local American-Hungarian community, including a number of persons who were also present at the opening reception 20 years ago. The Los Angeles Consulate General makes every effort in its consular district extending to 19 US federal states to support local Hungarian communities, to preserve their Hungarian identity and to develop Hungarian-US relations in every possible walk of life. The past 20 years have seen many an achievement

that we have reason to be proud of. Particular mention should be made of the great emotional joy that was induced in the WestCoast Hungarian community by the introduction of the preferential naturalisation procedure, thanks to which citizenship oath-taking ceremonies have been held more than ten times to date at the Los Angeles Consulate General. In his ceremonial greetings, the Director of the US State Department, Office of Foreign Missions in Los Angeles underlined that the activities of the Los Angeles Hungarian Consulate General are in every respect exemplary. According to the Director, it was in consequence of the efforts of the Los Angeles Hungarian Consulate General that the Los Angeles United Hungarian House became widely known and re-

spected and has become an important cultural centre both for the local American-Hungarian community and Americans who have sentimental feelings for Hungary. In addition to a number of awards, Steven Geiger, the local president of the Mensch Foundation International handed over the „Mensch Award” to Consul General Balázs Bokor for the support he provided with the administration of the affairs of the local American-Hungarian Jewish community. As part of the 20th anniversary ceremony, the Hungarian Consul General presented Zoltán Gidófalvi, the President of the San Diego House of Hungary with the Hungarian Gold Cross of Merit in acknowledgement of his cultural and communal activities.

Conference on past decades of healthcare 18 (Online ‘This May) Conference has great significance, as it creates an excellent forum to discuss healthcare related questions,’ said Miklós Szócska, of Minister for State Health at a unique professional workshop organized by Figyelő, atby tended several previous Ministers of Health of Hungary. Photo: Károly Árvai Patient rights legal status of medical doctors. guaranteed by laws ‘Hungarian healthcare was on the Health and social sectors united rise during that period, since it al- Judit Csehák, who was the Minister lowed for the emergence of major for Health, Social and Family Affairs laws having an impact on health- from 2002 highlighted that these 3 care,’ said Mihály Kökény, who was areas should join forces, because the third Minister of Welfare of the there are close ties between healthcare and the social background. The Horn Governbement, tween 1996 1998 and and as such was also responsible for health the sector. The politician told the audience that he feels his biggest achievement as Minister was that Hungary was the first in the region to introduce patient rights regulations and establish patient rights institutions. ‘In addit i o n , significant de- Photo: Károly Árvai velopments were brought about, in part with the Minister said that they carried on the help of the World Bank, such as the Public Health Programme launched renewal of medical equipment in during the previous Government. She emphasized that during this pehospitals,’ recalled Mihály Kökény. The Minister also mentioned that he riod, health workers received a 50 regrets not having been able to real- percent wage increase. Judit Csehák ize the regional modernisation pro- added that they should have also ingramme they developed, which troduced professional requirements would have helped bring about the in order to inspire greater performance. The Minister considered it a decentralization of the health system. Health sector preparations for EU accession Árpád Gógl (1998-2000) highlighted that during his time as Minister, they manto aged establish functioning systems for healthcare, training and postgraduate training. At the beginning of his leadership in the Ministry, his was Photo: Károly Árvai task made easier by the already existing legal back- failure that the President of the Reground, said the Minister. ‘During this public of Hungary did not sign the period, preparations for EU acces- Hospital Act and the Government did sion were started, but no major not submit the draft Act on the legal health sector difficulties were identi- status of health workers to Parliament. fied,’ explained Árpád Gógl. The Minister emphasized that shap- Legal harmonization in healthcare Kökény described his second Mihály ing a proper training programme for residents was one of the accession term as a Minister (2003-2004) as a period burdened with complicated requirements in the health sector. ‘The National Health Development Res e a r c h Institute was established and the vaccination system comwas pleted during this period,’ recalled Árpád Gógl, and added, ‘the privatization of genand eral paediatric practices, the development of the ambunetlance work, as well as the prede- Photo: Károly Árvai cessor of the Act on the protection of non-smokers several conflicts and felt that it was less successful compared to his first were also born at this time.’ An outstanding milestone: adoption term. EU accession was during this period, reminded the Minister, thus of the Hospital Act István Mikola, the second Minister of there was a lot of work carried out in Health of the Orbán Government, this field, legal harmonization and the spoke about his greatest four preparation of the sector for accesachievements during his one-and-a- sion provided numerous tasks, therehalf year term as Minister between fore he considers this preparatory 2001-2003. A significant achieve- the greatest success of this period, ment was the adoption of the “For A which also proved to be a substantial Healthy Nation” Public Health Pro- learning period. gramme. As part of this 10-year pro- Health programmes gramme, general organized breast Jenő Rácz, who led the Ministry of cancer screening was introduced. Health between 2004 and 2006, em‘Another major result was the prepa- phasized: everyone appointed to this ration of the programme of financing position, will have to face financial pharmaceuticals, restricting profits of and economic problems. During his pharmaceutical producers,’ recalled term, they continued the health prothe Minister. The third achievement grammes initiated during the previthe politician highlighted was the in- ous cycle and at the same time troduction of full health insurance re- developed the child health, the emerof conservative gency, the oncology and the cardioimbursement dentistry, which was previously a se- vascular health programmes – rious public health issue. István reminded the Minister. Mikola thinks, the biggest success of ‘This was complemented by the his work as Minister was the adop- health chapter of the “100 Steps Protion of the Hospital Act, covering the gramme” of the Government, as well operation of hospitals as well as the as the health related parts of the Eu-

ropean Union’s financial programming peof riod 2007-2013,’ said Jenő Rácz added, and election ‘the campaign contained an additional health programme.’ Difficulties and failures Á g n e s Horváth, the second Minister of Health of second the Gyurcsány Government, reminded that during the ministership of her predecessor, Lajos Molnár, several rather important acts had been adopted and the task of their stabilization was left to her. The Minister mentioned three issues which she considered a failure: the success of the referendum for the abolition of the visit fee; the withdrawal of the Health Insurance Act, as this prevented the fulfillment of the insurance reform. Ágnes Horváth felt that the third greatest failure was that the Capacity Act they had adopted is still in force, even though the intention of the leaders of the health sector was to keep it in force only for a year. risk Single pooling T a m á s Székely, the of Minister Health for the beperiod 2008 tween and 2010, highlighted that Hungary needs a social insurance system based on a single risk pooling. That is why he began his ministership with the review of the Health Insurance Act, he added and emphasized that this period was significant in regard to the utilization of EU funds, as well as to the financing protocol related legislation. The crisis is making healthcare developments difficult ‘It was very interesting to listo the ten predecessors, because the current Government is atto tempting carry on some their of achievements, other while ones have albeen ready dissolved,’ said Miklós Szócska. The Minister of State for reHealth that minded current the Government had to face severe difficulties in the field of health as well, and these problems were further engraved by the fact that although at the time of the change in government, the growth-friendly economic policy looked like a possibility, however, since the deepening global economic crisis or the situation in Greece, the situation has changed drastically, further deepening difficulties of the health sector as well. Miklós Szócska said that the first serious achievement of Orbán the Government the was change in the methodological of paradigm health policy, which supports involvethe ment of professionals in the preparation of legislation from the first moment. The Minister of State mentioned another important partial achievement, which was the wage raise of health workers, a health sector crisis inherited from the previous Government. ‘The increase in wages is only “fire-fighting” which helped maintain operation, but progress must be made in the future,’ declared Miklós Szócska. The Minister of State mentioned another issue, which is the almost complete lack of possibility in making strategic resource generating decisions in the middle of a global economic crisis. In addition, he promised that the Government would continue the public health programmes it started. This is about humans Miklós Réthelyi emphasized the importance of healthcare and said that humans are the nation’s resource. As the Minister for National Resources, he had to co-ordinate several very different areas. ‘However,’ Miklós Réthelyi added, ‘these various fields are all inter-related and it is very important that they learn from and build on each other.’

Special accounts help children in care (Online 18 guardian HUF May) A coopaccounts, eration agreewhich would be ment has indexed to the been signed interest rate of by the Secrethe Hungarian tary of Social, National Bank. Family and Miklós Soltész Youth Affairs also told that of the Ministry the ageement of Human Reincludes that sources and OTP Bank OTP Bank in would support Budapest on the housing of 15th May adoptive fami2012 in order lies by a yearly to ensure that allocation of the bank twenty million would deHUF which velop a valuecould be used keeping and by 4-5 families personalized a year with a offer for the maximum of management five million of the savings HUF per famof children in Antal Kovács, Miklós Soltész (photo: Gergely Botár) ily. care. Antal Kovács, The agreement concerns more than rates of the guardian deposits have vice CEO of OTP Bank, highlited that twenty-six thousand children and shown a relevant growth and are be- as a leading bank they consider sonearly twenty-seven thousand young coming unified. He added that OTP cial responsibility as a high priority adult in care or leaving care and its Bank has undertaken the develop- and they would like to support those value is about 47 billion Hungarian ment of financial solutions, which with special circumstances in a way Forint as Miklós Soltész informed. would ensure the value-keeping of which could enable them to plan their The Secretary of Social, Family and this type of savings. In order to make own future. With regards to their ofYouth Affairs told that the relevance it sure the overnight interest rate of fers he stated that the personalized of the non-exclusive agreement is the guardian Forint Accounts would accounts and securities acounts that the leading Hungarian bank be tied to the average of the inflation guarantee flexibility and value-keepwould provide a special service for of the previous three monts. OTP ing for the customers, which will be the savings of children with special Bank would still offer the current spe- charaterized by a higher than avercircumstances. Furthermore, he em- cial time deposits as well as the spe- age interest rate and more phasized that the overnight interest cial options of six-months and favourable conditions. two-years time deposits for the

GDP figure driven by international trends (Online 15 May) European economic data published today clearly shows that Europe still faces serious challenges in the area of growth. Eurostat’s latest figures show a significant slowdown in the EU27 and the eurozone. European economic developments illustrate the importance of the Hungarian government’s policy of opening up to the East, and its attempt to increase the country’s economic security through new strategic alliances. Transparent and predictable economic policy is extremely important in this international economic environment. As has been demonstrated,

the Government continues to be committed to the reduction of government debt and the budget deficit – a commitment which strengthens international trust in the country. Over the last two years the Government has enacted an extraordinary level of fiscal consolidation, making it one of the leading countries in Europe in this regard. As a result of this, the European Commission’s latest forecasts show that Hungary will be one of only four Member States where government debt will fall in the next two years – creating the foundations for future stability and growth.

Seeing the formation of negative cyclical trends in foreign markets, at the beginning of this year the Government started preparation of economic stimulus measures, in order to achieve increased economic growth for the rest of the year. The key to growth is job creation, and so the State is supporting Hungarian SMEs and foreign investments adding value and creating jobs. One of the latter is the Mercedes plant in Kecskemét, which started production at the beginning of the second quarter, and which will have an extremely positive effect on the next set of GDP figures.

Agreement with Kosovo (Online 15 May) Mr. Lóránt Balla, Ambassador of Hungary to Kosovo and Mr. Bajram Rexhepi, Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo signed an Agreement between the Government of Hungary and the Government of the Republic

of Kosovo. The Agreement on the readmission of persons residing illegally on the territory of their States and the Protocol was implemented on 15 May. Therefore the first bilateral agreement between the two countries has

been signed. The two parties expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation until now and hope that the relations in the area of interior affairs will continue to deepen further.

Dutch cultural diplomat received the Hungarian “Pro Cultura Hungarica” award (Online 15 May) The Hungarian Minister for National Resources decorated Mr. Jan Kennis, Dutch cultural diplomat – current vice president of SICA – with the award Pro Cultura Hungarica. The decoration was handed over, in the name of the Minister by H.E. Gyula Sümeghy, Ambassador of Hungary to the Netherlands during a short ceremony at the Embassy on 11 May 2012.

Mr. Jan Kennis worked as a cultural and press attaché at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Budapest between 2005 and 2010. He was the driving force behind numerous high profile cultural festivals and events, such as the LOW DutchFlemish Cultural Festival in Budapest, the “Nincs Lehetetlen” (“Nothing is impossible”) Festival, and his active participation con-

tributed to the success of the cultural events of the “My City Budapest” project. During his time spent in Hungary and since then onwards, Mr. Jan Kennis played/ plays an active part in the deepening of Dutch-Hungarian cultural relations. Owing to his achievements, the interest for Dutch culture in Hungary and that of the Hungarian culture in the Netherlands has significantly grown.

Adjusted data signal slight improvement in industrial output 15 (Online May) Workday-adjusted industrial output was 0.6 p e r c e n t in higher March 2012 than the year b e f o r e , whereas on the basis of seasonallyand workdayadjusted statistics in the third month of the year output was 0.6 p e r c e n t higher than in the previous month. Unadjusted data signal a decline of 1.6 percent in industrial production. For the future a very positive piece of data is the 17.1 percent year-on-year increase of new orders in the surveyed month. Out of the sectors of national economy, manufacturing and energy industry output declined by 0.9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, however mining output, which is a relatively less significant sector, increased by 7.7 percent in March 2012 in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year. Within the manufacturing industry there were six sub sectors which reg-

istered growth: out of the larger ones the output of manufacturing of transport equipment and food, beverages and tobacco products increased by 10 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. From the smaller sub sectors the output of the manufacturing of rubber and plastics products and other non-metallic mineral products was 3.9 percent higher, and the manufacturing of basic metals and fabricated metal products increased by 2.3 percent. The 5.4 percent decline of the manufacturing of computer, electronic and optical products,

which is the second most significant sub sector, had the single largest negative impact on industrial production. On the side of sales, industrial exports increased by 0.5 in percent March 2012, which result is attributable to the 9.9 percent export growth of transport vehicle manufacturing and the 8 percent decline of the exof port manufacturing of computer, electronic and

optical products. Domestic sales were 7.6 percent lower in March 2012 compared to the level of the previous year, but the domestic sales of manufacturing products registered only a decline of 3.6 percent in the surveyed month. It is a favourable indicator for the upcoming period that due primarily to the 21.2 percent growth of new export orders for the automobile industry, total new orders of manufacturing sectors increased by 17.1 percent. In addition, total orders were 24.4.percent higher in the surveyed month.

A change of approach in elderly affairs (Online 17 May) 2012 is the European year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in the European Union. This term refers to a social and individual practice whereby quality of life in old age can be improved. This does not only include economic activity and staying in the labour market but also active participation in social, cultural and civil life, as well as social reintegration. The goal of year 2012 is to call attention to all the tasks that result from the increased and further increasing age of the population and are necessary to keep the sustainability of the support system in the future. In order to strengthen families and improve the demographic situation – beside many other factors – there is a great necessity to recreate those family networks that support families with children in reconciling work with child-raising and building on the experience of the older generation and also make it possible for the grandparents’ older generation to receive care within the family. The widespread exposition of the European Year’s programmes and

objectives is intended to promote a change in approach about ageing and elderly people. We should raise awareness to the abilities of the older generations, whether talking about involvement in the labour market or voluntary work. The goal is to start a process that fills up ageing with new content. The other goal of the campaign year is to contribute to establishing a relevant ageing policy. The programmes in Hungary were accepted by the government as part of the European Year. The programmes of the Ministry aim at promoting an active old age, intergenerational solidarity and a change in the approach of the society by highlighting the values and experience represented by elder people, strengthening communities, activity, learning, healthy lifestyle and emphasizing the role of persons and institutions who undertake generous work towards the elderly. In pursuance of the above the Ministry announced two contests as early as the end of last year. The goal of the “Way of Life” contest was getting to know our parents’, grandparents’ life and era. More than 2500

people applied for the contest with their historical memoirs, their grandchildren cooperating with them in many cases. The “Age-Fellow” contest aimed at strengthening communities of old people and opened the door to support cultural, educational, health and sport programs of pensioners’ clubs and associations. There were professional lectures, author-reader meetings, conferences, presentations, brochures, trips, community programmes, tradition preserving programmes, free time and sport activities, as well as different courses among the thousands of received applications. Day of Generations Looking after the elder generation is also related to family policy, as old people are parents, grandparents, great-grandparents themselves and this determines their everyday lives. Therefore, the Ministry organized a monumental open-air event called “Day of Generations” on 28 April 2012 at Millenáris Park which focused primarily on solidarity and cooperation between generations within the theme of active ageing.

Address by János Hóvári at the Freedom Day Reception of the Republic of South Africa (Online 15 May) It is an honour and a great pleasure for me that I can share this special moment of celebration with you here in Budapest. It is a privilege that we can mark this outstanding day together with our colleagues and friends from Pretoria with whom we have conducted today very useful talks on various bilateral and multilateral issues. During our discussions we were pleased to note that the excellent relationship between our two countries is strong and in the future will become even stronger. We have established that there is still enormous potential in developing our friendly and close relations. Hungary is offering her capabilities in the framework of the ten-year infrastructural development program of South Africa, as well as in the field of agriculture, medical industry and water management. We also support the active accession of our NGOs to the EU projects which offer palpable benefits to the people of South Africa. Our talks today are just a beginning; we still have a lot of work ahead. Ladies and Gentlemen, When you look into the very heart of what April 27th means for the people of South Africa, it strikes you that our two geographically distant countries have so many important values in common. For many years the courage and dignity of our people under oppression was a beacon to the world. The wind of change finally reached our lands around the same time: Hungarians overthrew the communist regime in 1989, while South Africans swept away the apartheid system in 1994.

Freedom Day, which is marked in South Africa as one of the most important national holidays – just like our own Freedom Day–, is not the exultation of a victory above another nation. It is the celebration of the equality of human beings and the complete expansion of civil rights. However, now we all are aware that it is not enough to achieve freedom; we have to take care of it day by day. Threats of a doomed political system might not linger around anymore. Nonetheless, there are new challenges in our modern world that can potentially overshadow our earlier successes. Poverty, debt, a difficult economic environment, the lack of social security or a reliable education system – potential diseases even for a modern, developed, industrialized country – could easily generate similar inequalities that were imposed by a twisted one-party political system before. It is the responsibility of the state- the democratic representatives of the people and as a loyal and devoted executive, - to safeguard the democratic foundations and institutions of a nation. Ladies and Gentlemen, Africa is a truly amazing continent with endless treasures of our Earth in the sense of natural resources, as well as human culture. Hungary believes that these treasures should be exploited primarily for the benefit of the local population in order to promote the welfare, modernisation and the democratic future of the African nations. The more developed countries should give a helping hand in technology transfer by offering partnership. South Africa, however, is a

partner not only in a regional context, but also in a global framework. We are honestly glad to see that South Africa is taking more and more responsibilities for tackling global challenges. Hungary is ready to explore more about the world. We are determined to expand our global attention and deal with issues that are not solely an interest to our country, but we would like to understand contexts of other regions as well. We are keen on engaging ourselves in constructive conversations to shape a more comprehensive picture of the whole world. We know that South Africa is a valuable partner, and we can count on you on in our efforts. There is already a small history of establishing diplomatic relations between our countries, and we agree on and share the same values as guiding principles to our nations. South Africa is also home to a relatively small, but strong group of Hungarians, who settled mostly in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. They represent a special link and serve as an additional engine in further boosting the already close ties between our two countries. Dear Deputy Minister Fransman, Dear Ambassador Netshitenzhe, On the occasion of your National Day please accept my best wishes in your valuable work for a prosperous Republic of South Africa. I do hope that despite being away from your land, you feel at home in our country, and your celebration today with your Hungarian friends remains as a good experience in your memories.

Conference on Hungarian-US relations Martonyi: the shared values that we profess create a bond between the two countries (PR) Many a shared value that we profess, including democracy, freedom and human rights, creates a bond between Hungary and the United States; however, we do not necessarily always choose the same path in conquering the challenges we face, Minister for Foreign Affairs János Martonyi said at the Budapest conference held on 10 May on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the US. The beginning of Hungarian-US diplomatic relations dates back to 17 December 1921. The United States opened its embassy in the Hungarian capital and Count László Széchenyi handed over his ambassadorial credentials in Washington 90 years ago. Bay Fang, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of

European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department stressed, the two countries may be proud of what they have achieved to date as allies and partners. At the conference organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Budapest US Embassy and the Central-European University (CEU), János Martonyi said Hungarian-US relations are „stable and significant”, and are important for millions of people. He underlined, relations between the two countries date from far further back than 90 years; many Hungarians have proved themselves in the United States in politics, science and arts alike. Hungary is proud of them and of the fact that they have enhanced Hungary’s reputation, he added. Bay Fang said the two countries may confidently face the challenges of the

21st century because there is a strong partnership between them as a bond. John Shattuck, Rector of the CEU stressed in his opening speech that relations between individuals and families tie the two countries together; almost every Hungarian family has some distant relative in the United States, and many Americans have Hungarian roots. US-Hungarian political scientist, Professor Andrew Ludányi said that while the Hungarians arriving in the United States as of the 1890’s primarily left their country in the hope of a better living and were not much concerned with US foreign policy, immigrants that settled in the US after World War I mostly abandoned Hungary for political reasons and paid closer attention to the development of Hungarian-US relations.

János Martonyi meets Argentinian Hungarians (PR) During his official visit to Argentina, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs János Martonyi met representatives of Hungarian communities. On 13 May the Minister attended a Mass to mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of Cardinal József Mindszenty (1892-1975) in the Mindszentynum Centre, which was established in 1979, and is one of the oldest institutions of the 30,000-40,000-strong Argentinian Hungarian community. Over the past four decades the centre has served as a major spiritual and intellectual focal point for local Hungarians. After the Spanish language Mass the Minister greeted congregants from the Hungarian community with a few

words. He underlined that the Hungarian government is endeavouring to place relations between Hungary and Hungarian communities abroad on new foundations. He pointed out that Hungary counts on the support of Hungarians outside its borders in creating a positive perception of Hungary and Hungarians, and in developing economic and cultural relations between the kin state and the host states. At the Hungarian Embassy three recently naturalised Hungarian citizens took the oath of citizenship in Mr. Martonyi’s presence. One of these was Juan Mártony, Hungarian honorary consul to Montevideo, who has represented Hungary for more than a decade in

Uruguay, and who is of SlovakianHungarian origin. The Minister presented the Order of Merit of Hungary (Knight Cross) to Zsuzsanna Kesserű Haynal, Editor-in-Chief of Argentín Magyar Hírlap. Today the newspaper is the only regularly published Hungarian language press product in Latin America, and is read not only by Argentinian Hungarians, but also in other Hungarian communities in Latin America. The central message of Mr. Martonyi’s meetings was that Hungary’s new, globally oriented foreign policy relies on Hungarians living all around the world, including the 150-200,000 Hungarians in Latin America.

Eurovision Hungarian participants to come to Baku again (Online) Members of Hungarian Compact Disco group which represents the country at the Eurovision Song Contest-2012 will come to Baku again in future. "This is our first visit to Azerbaijan, but hopefully not the last one because we had such a great time here and we still want to have more great time here," group members said in an interview with Trend. They told people in Azerbaijan are very lovely, welcoming and very friendly. "Baku is a very beautiful city, but we would say it is still changing as a lot of construction is carried out here," they said. The group members said they had a brief tour to old city, which they found very beautiful. In Baku they especially liked the building of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Baku Flame Towers, the Seaside Park. So, this beauty encouraged them to make a clip in Baku for their next

song. "When we will have a couple of days off, we will walk around the city. We will shoot a video here in Baku for one of our next songs," group members told. Regarding similarities between Hungarian and Azerbaijani peoples, the group members said both peoples are lovely and have great hospitality, as well as the two countries have similarities in some foods. Speaking about Baku Crystal Hall, the singers said the conditions created here are really perfect. "When we first stepped in the arena, we were surprised. Also from the distance when you look at it from the city, it looks absolutely beautiful," Compact Disco group members stated. Answering the question on their favorites in the contest, the group members said they like a lot of contest participants.

"We like Azerbaijani participant to Eurovision 2012 Sabina Babayeva and we have met with her, she has a very nice song. We also like participants from Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia," group members stated. The four band members of Compact Disco have been performing and recording music together since 2005, but only four years later their first album was launched. Now they are one of the most popular bands in Hungary. The Hungarian four-member band Compact Disco is comprised of Behnam Lotfi - one half of the techno producing team Collins & Behnam - and three former members of the funk-pop outfit Brownfield: vocalist Csaba Walkó, keyboard player Gábor Pál and bass player Attila Sándor.

72 Issue | Zarb-e-Jamhoor e-Newspaper | 20-26 May, 2012  

The Worldwide Events/Zarb-e-Jamhoor e-Newsletter circulates by email. The weekly Worldwide Events/Zarb-e-Jamhoor newspaper that specially fo...

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