Hungarian space enthusiasts to mark anniversary of Gagarin flight

Budapest, April 10 (MTI) – Puli Space Technologies, a group of young Hungarian professionals and space enthusiasts competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, is organising events in Budapest to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Puli Space Technologies will bring a performance of music composed with sounds from space together with a visual show to the capital’s Mucsarnok on the evening of April 12. First Orbit, a film that revisits Gagarin’s orbit on the historic flight with the cooperation of the European Space Agency and the International Space Station, will be also be screened for the first time in Hungary.

On April 15, Puli Space Technologies is organising an evening of entertainment at the Corvinteto, high above Budapest’s Blaha Lujza Square. If skies are clear, visitors can see the stars through a high-powered telescope.

Puli Space Technologies is one of 29 registered teams competing for the 30-million-dollar Google Lunar X PRIZE, a competition to send a robot to the Moon that travels at least 500 metres and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth.


Socialists call on President Schmitt not to sign constitution

Budapest, April 9 (MTI) – The main opposition Socialist Party has requested President Pal Schmitt in a letter not to sign Hungary’s new constitution, party spokesman Zsolt Torok said on Saturday.

Torok said Schmitt must decide “whether he serves the Hungarian people or Prime Minister Viktor Orban”. He added that Schmitt had recently signed laws that serve “to cripple and rob” people and “attempt to curb the constitution and democracy.”

As examples he quoted laws that curb the powers of the Constitutional Court, “steal” pension savings from private funds, restrict the right of workers to go on strike, as well as the introduction of an “unjust tax system” and the new media law.

The parliamentary debate of Hungary’s new constitution is underway but the Socialists, as well as the green Politics Can Be Different (LMP), have refused to participate.


Demonstrators from 23 European countries demand more jobs, higher wages

Budapest, April 9 (MTI) – Some 45 trade unions from 22 European countries are represented by 5,000 people and an additional 35,000 Hungarians have joined a demonstration demanding more jobs and fair wages in Budapest on Saturday, the chief secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) told MTI.

The demonstration in Heroes’ Square has been organised to coincide with the informal meeting of European finance and economy ministers (ECOFIN) in Godollo Palace, said John Monks.

The demonstrators are scheduled to march along Andrassy Avenue at 13.30 and international and Hungarian trade union leaders will deliver speeches on Octogon Square in the afternoon.


Skateboarding priest opens skate park

Budapest, April 9 (MTI) – Hundreds of people on Saturday attended the opening of a skate park in Lenti, southwestern Hungary, an initiative of Father Zoltan Lendvai, YouTube’s “Funny Skateboarding Priest”.

Lendvai uses his skateboarding skills to better connect with young people and encourage them to come to church. His unconventional evangelism was filmed by a student in 2010 and the video was posted to YouTube, where it has been seen more than 280,000 times.

The local council of Lenti provided land for the skate park, next to a football pitch, but much work, material and money was donated to create the park, which Deputy Mayor Lajos Toth called “a dream come true”.

Lendvai acknowledged a long list of individuals and companies who supported the initiative with work, materials a few thousand forints or a hundred thousand. Then he got on his board.

The skate park was built by Varis Top, a company based in Lendava, in nearby Slovenia. CEO Silvijan Civre said he thought the priest’s plan was a “fairy tale” at first, but now concedes that not only children but adults, too, believe such tales can come true.

The skate park opened at a temporary location but is expected to be moved to its permanent site at the end of June.


Constitution – President hopes parties will expound views in Parliament

Budapest, April 9 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt hopes that the parties which have boycotted the drafting of Hungary’s new constitution will change their mind and return to Parliament to voice their position on the document there, instead of opting for other forums, a senior official of the Presidential Office told MTI on Saturday.

Schmitt is scheduled to expound his views on the new supreme law in Parliament on April 11, PR office chief Norbert Kiss said.

He added that home policy issues had not featured on the agenda of the Arraiolos Group meeting of nine European presidents in Budapest this weekend but the constitution had come up as a topic in bilateral consultations.

President Schmitt emphasised that adopting a new constitution was a precondition for a strong Hungary in a strong Europe.

Earlier on Saturday the main opposition Socialist Party asked President Schmitt in a letter not to sign Hungary’s new constitution.