Monthly Archives: July 2008

“Defenders of the hospital” and Hospinvest

Those of you who read my blog regularly surely remember the story of the Ferenc Markoth Heves County Hospital and Hospinvest, a company that manages several other hospitals in the county and elsewhere in the country. However, here is a brief summary. The county hospital, situated in the city of Eger, was (and still is) in terrible financial shape. Every year the county government was called upon to cover the hospital’s losses. Moreover, both the physical plant and the hospital’s medical equipment were in desperate need of capital investment. The county simply didn’t … Read the rest

Another bomb scare in Budapest

Almost every few weeks while excavating the foundations of a new building in Budapest workers find an old bomb from World War II. And they are big: half a ton, a ton, and this last one, two tons. Why have so many gargantuan old bombs suddenly surfaced? The reason, it seems, is that new office buildings and larger apartment houses must have underground garages, often consisting of several levels, which requires much deeper excavation. And it is very deep underground that these mega-bombs found their not quite final resting place.

Mind you, there must be many … Read the rest

U.S.-Hungarian relations

Apparently ever since Hungary began successful negotiations with Russia concerning the Southern Stream, a new pipeline carrying natural gas through Turkey and the Balkans to Italy, Hungary, and Austria, the United States has been miffed with Ferenc Gyurcsány. Washington was worried, despite Hungary’s protestation to the contrary, that Hungary’s commitment to receive Russian natural gas through this new pipeline meant its abandonment of the Nabucco project of the European Union, still in the planning stage and strongly endorsed by the United States. Gyurcsány kept repeating that Hungary simply didn’t want to rely on only one source of natural gas. … Read the rest

Hungarian higher education

This past weekend Hungarian students found out whether they got into college. Great excitement preceded the announcement that was made public on the internet; students could also inquire about their fate via SMS. Well, they didn’t have to worry too much: five out of six students were admitted to a college or university of their choice.

There is a new point system. Its introduction was so successful (at least this is how the ministry of education interpreted the results) that while last year only 75% and two years ago only 70% of applicants gained entrance to … Read the rest

That cursed turul statue

For months now the fate of the turul statue erected in Buda about three years ago has been in limbo. The turul is a mythical bird resembling an eagle or a falcon. According to legend there was a woman named Emese who was visited by an eagle/falcon in her dream. She became pregnant and gave birth to Álmos (in Hungarian dream is “álom”), the man who eventually led the seven Hungarian tribes to their new homeland in the Carpathian basin. The legend was most likely born when the Hungarians lived … Read the rest

Followers of Arrow Cross? Hungarian neo-nazis?

This blog was inspired by the recent far-right gathering at the controversial statue of the mythical eagle that ostensibly gave birth to the founder of the House of Árpád, the ancestor of the first kings of Hungary. Fortunately at this gathering there was no major violence although two newspapermen were roughed up a bit. Predictably there was a lot of verbal abuse against Jews and others who aren’t protected/endorsed by the eagle. What was interesting and unusual about this particular gathering of the extreme right was that for the first time Fidesz and KDNP … Read the rest

Lajos Papp, the world famous cardiologist

I humbly confess that I had never heard of Lajos Papp as a world famous cardiologist, as some people call him, before his name kept cropping up in extreme right-wing circles. To my mind, he is the parody of all those semi-mad nationalists who think that God just dropped them into the twenty-first century by mistake and that their real selves rode next to Chieftain Árpád leading the Hungarians into the Carpathian basin at the end of the ninth century. For everybody’s edification here is Dr. Papp’s, pardon, Professor Papp’s portrait.Papp Lajos 

I corrected myself … Read the rest