Posted by On 2:15 AM

Why Hungary and Poland are turning “illiberal”

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Analysis: Western Europe has looked on with mounting bewilderment and exasperation over the past few years at the political trajectory of Hungary, Poland and several other former communist states. Countries that, since 1989, were committed to common European values, including liberal democracy, respect for human rights a nd the rule of law, are now implementing an altogether different political model. The perceived interests of the “nation” are taking centre stage and governments are subject to far fewer checks and balances.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, was once a fiery student leader and champion of liberalism. Now he preaches the virtues of “illiberal democracy”. Orbán routinely portrays himself as the defender of “Christian values” that, in his view, are threatened by globalisation, mass immigration and the supposedly sinister machinations of international business leaders. George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist has become a particular target of baseless attacks.

In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party has assumed political control over state-funded radio and television. By July 2016, 164 journalists and news anchors had either resigned or been dismissed. In December 2017, the government’s continuing efforts to curb the indep endence of the judiciary prompted the EU Commission to formally declare that there is “a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland”.

In the same month, the EU launched infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary for failing to take appropriate steps to resettle limited numbers of asylum seekers, in accordance with decisions previously taken by member states.

Some months earlier, the European Court of Justice dismissed cases brought by Slovakia and Hungary in which the latter had sought to argue that the EU’s scheme for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers was unlawful. In characteristically robust language, Hungary’s serially undiplomatic foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, described the judgement as “outrageous and irresponsible”.

A number of ex-communist states, particularly Hungary and Poland, have rejected an ideology founded on individualism, human rights, economic transparency and multicultu ralism. They are turning instead towards an alternative social, political and economic model in which the cultivation of “traditional values” and distinct national identities is of paramount ideological importance. The new model is also frequently characterised by widespread, often systematic corruption and an increasingly authoritarian political culture.

Winners and losers

The reasons for this shift lie both in the communist and pre-communist past. Following the collapse of communist governments in 1989, little thought seems to have been given to the troublesome historical baggage that these societies would have to contend with in effecting a successful transition to liberal democracy. There seems to have been an unspoken assumption that the removal of the communist apparatus of repression would be largely sufficient to allow western values, such as liberal democracy and respect for human rights, to flourish.

Yet, with the exception of the former Czechosl ovakia, there had been little sustained experience of genuine democracy in the region prior to the establishment of communist regimes following World War II. Even before the imposition of communism, Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with most other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, were heirs to a repressive and overwhelmingly authoritarian political culture.

This may go some way towards explaining the relative ease with which Hungary’s Fidesz government, for example, has been able to undermine democratic checks and balances without eliciting more vigorous or sustained opposition from the general public. As the powers of Hungary’s constitutional court were drastically curtailed and public broadcasting increasingly treated as a government mouthpiece, there was little real sense among ordinary voters of anything important having been lost.

Central and Eastern Europe’s predominant historical experience as victims, rather than beneficiaries, of colonialism m ay help to explain the region’s resistance to admitting non-European asylum seekers. As identified by István Bibó in The Misery of the Small States of Eastern Europe, published shortly after World War II, there is an enduring sense among the peoples of the region of having had to fight for independence and even for the preservation of national identities during a succession of alien occupations, whether Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian or Prussian.

This overwhelmingly traumatic historical experience has been compounded by almost a half century of Soviet domination as well as subjection to Nazi German tyranny during the Second World War. None of this has helped to foster openness to other cultures, let alone a willingness to embrace multiculturalism as experienced in many countries in Western Europe.

Economic factors, particularly the plight of many pensioners and of other economically vulnerable sections of central and eastern European societies, have also contributed t o the current political climate. The establishment of market economies in the region created clear winners and losers in countries such as Poland.

These societies are now far less egalitarian than under communism. While a new class of businessmen, lawyers and media personalities can indulge their taste for expensive foreign holidays and luxurious German automobiles, there is widespread poverty. In particular, residents of many rural areas and of towns and cities that have been ravaged by deindustrialisation are struggling.

As Jacques Rupnik, a former adviser to Czech president Vaclav Havel, recently observed: “the ‘decoupling’ of liberalism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe has a lot to do with the post-1989 confusion, and indeed collusion, between political and economic liberalism”. Rupnik poses the question: “Does this explain why Central Europe travelled from (economic) neo-liberalism to (political) illiberalism?”

The answer, at least in part, must be “yes”.

Stephen I Pogany, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related news

Timmermans said the Commission agreed today to trigger the procedure which could eventually lead to Poland losing its voting rights in EU bodies EU launches sanctions procedure against Poland A 2012 photo of Luxembourg foreign affairs minister Jean Asselb   orn Minister welcomes ECJ ruling on Hungary & Poland Jean Asselborn deplores the lack of democratic rights for NGOs in Hungary Asselborn criticises Hungary & Poland Polish ambassador Piotr Wojtczak spoke of the difficult relations between Poland and Luxembourg at the Centre culturel Schéiss on 4 May. Polish ambassador criticis es Lux. governmentPicture Report Source: Google News Poland | Netizen 24 Poland


Posted by On 2:15 AM

Philippines: Tropical Storm Tembin/Vinta - Rapid Assessment Report (January 2018)

08 Jan 2018 Philippines: Tropical Storm Tembin/Vinta - Rapid Assessment Report (January 2018) Reportfrom Save the Children Published on 05 Jan 2018 â€" View Original preview Download PDF (1.93 MB)

Date(s) of Assessment: 28-31 December 2017

Name and Location of Site(s) Assessed:

  • Lanao del Sur, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

  • Lanao del Norte, Region X


On 20 December, the Low Pressure Area in northeast Mindanao, Philippines has developed into a Tropical Depression and was named by the Philippine state weather bureau as Vinta (with international name: Tembin). Vinta/Tembin intensified and has developed into a Tropical Storm category as it moved towards the landmass of Mindanao. It was reclassified into Severe Tropical Storm before making landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental at around 1:45am on 22 December. It traversed Mindanao and crossed provinces westward and exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) at 8am on 24 December.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that a total of 161,628 families or 767,994 persons were affected in 1,131 barangays/villages in eight regions.(1) As of 30 December 2017, the government is still validating the 163 reported deaths (64 in Region IX, 75 in Region X, and 24 in ARMM) and another 163 persons missing. Most of the dead and missing were reported in the hardest-hit provinces of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Zamboanga del Norte. The provincial provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur declared the entire province under the state of calamity. Meanwhile, four municipalities in Zamboanga del Norte; one municipality in Zamboanga del Sur, one municipality in Zamboanga Sibugay, and three municipalities in Palawan declared their town under the state of calamity.

TS Tembin has dumped a massive amount of rainfall that triggered widespread flooding, flashfloods, and mudslide in provinces it crossed including the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte. The flashflood and mudslide swept away houses and belongings including learning essentials; caused heavy damage to schools, barangay halls, child development centers, and health centers; damaged water pipelines and water intake boxes; washed out agricultural crops such as corn, coconut, and rice; and instantly killed livestock such as cows, horses, and goats. Children’s behavior changed after typhoon â€" they would cry after hearing heavy rainfall on the roof or howling winds, or ar e restless at night.

TS Tembin has triggered major needs on education, child protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene; food security and livelihood; and disaster preparedness at the school and community level. It is should be highlighted also that most of the schools affected in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte are schools hosting internally displaced children due to the Marawi City Conflict and Displacement. The challenging situation created by the conflict and displacement has become more challenging now that school facilities and equipment were damaged by TS Tembin.

Providing immediate assistance to the severely-affected schools and community would be life-saving and would lessen the risk of families to negative coping mechanism such as pulling out the children from schooling due to lack or absence of money, trafficking, child labor, recruitment to armed groups, or violence against children and women.

Save the Children can build on our existing humanita rian response to the Marawi Conflict and Displacement to make sure that children have access to education, protection, and development. Partnerships built between the Department of Education and civil society organizations can optimize the work we do for children.


From the areas surveyed, Munai and Salvador in Lanao del Norte; and Madalum, Madamba, and Bacolod Kalawi in Lanao del Sur province are being recommended for interventions on education, child protection, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), non-food items (NFIs), and food security and livelihood.

The recommendation is made on the basis of lack of access to immediate support due to impassable bridge and roads, scale and extent of damaged to schools and houses, number of affected families, and long-term needs of the affected schools and community to build their capacity and mitigate the impact of hazards in the future.

Primary country

Philippines Tropical Cyclone Tembin - Dec 2017
  • Content format:

    • Assessment
  • Language:

    • English
  • Theme:

    • Agriculture
    • Education
    • Food and Nutrition
    • Health
    • Logistics and Telecommunications
    • Protection and Human Rights
    • Shelter and Non-Food Items
    • Water Sanitation Hygiene
  • Disaster type:

    • Flood
    • Land Slide
    • Tropical Cyclone
  • Vulnerable groups:

    • Children
Source: Google News Philippines | Netizen 24 Philippines


Posted by On 2:15 AM

ISL 2017-18: Delhi Dynamos' Miguel Angel Portugal rues individual mistakes and set-piece vulnerability

Delhi Dynamos FC coach Miguel çngel Portugal speaks during the press conference The coach of the beleaguered outfit felt that his system is working but individual mistakes have cost Delhi Dynamos...

Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal feels that his team's struggles in the Indian Super League (ISL) season is down to vulnerability in set-pieces and individual mistakes from his players.

The former Real Madrid player asserted that his methods are working but errors have let the team down.

"We have had two problems so far - in defence and in attack. We have had a lot of opportunities to score but we have not done so. We play well in midfield but the defence has a problem," he said ahead of Delhi Dynamos' away tie against Chennaiyin FC.


  • ISL 2017-18: Lack of options on bench come to hurt Mumbai City FC
  • ISL 2017-18: Eelco Schattorie to join NorthEast United as assistant coach
  • ISL 2017: Chennaiyin FC vs Delhi Dynamos - TV channel, stream, kick-off time & match preview

"The problem in defence is our setpiece defending. Chennaiyin FC will try to exploit that weakness. But we will try to defend well. The teams have been scoring from our own mistakes rather than their skill.

"We are trying to rectify this situation."

The 62-year-old went on to defend his methods at the capital-based club and pointed out that silly errors have let the team down.

"It is a bad Christmas for me. It is not nice when you lose six matches on a trot. But I think the team played well during these games.

"I think our system is good and if our players play well, we will win. The success of the system depends on the players. If all players played well, you will win," re-asserted Portugal.

Article continues below

He expressed hope that Delhi will put an end to their losing streak on Sunday against Chennaiyin FC and backed his players to come good.

"Chennaiyin are playing for the first position but we are going for a win. I think my team will play well and we have confidence in ourselves," he said. "Probably, we might bring in some different players (for the Sunday game).

"This game is a must-win for us after the losses. When you win five or six times, it is possible that you might win the next game. It is also possible that you might win the next game after losing five or six games."

Source: Google News Portugal | Netizen 24 Portugal

no image

Posted by On 2:14 AM

President says Romania won't move embassy to Jerusalem

Romania won’t make any decision on moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until progress in the Middle East peace process is achieved, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Friday.

The two state officials talked about the status of Jerusalem and the recent UN resolution on the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

The Israeli PM thanked Iohannis for Romania’s “abstain” vote on the United Nations’ resolution calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resolution says that any decisions regarding the status of the city are “null and void” and must be cancelled. It also urges UN member states to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

The resolution was approved by 128 states, with 35 absta ining and nine others voting against. Romania was among the countries that abstained.

Romania’s official position is that Jerusalem is a central theme in the peace negotiations and the city’s status should be decided after a direct agreement is reached between the parties involved. Romania also considers that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a durable solution by implementing the “two-state solution”, Israel and Palestine, which would coexist in peace. Palestine’s Embassy to Bucharest saluted the Romania’s position on this issue.

After US president Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, some Romanian politicians rushed to say that Romania should consider doing the same. Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), was one of them.

Media: Romania, among countries that could move embassies to Jerusalem

[email protected]

Source: Google News Romania | Netizen 24 Romania


Posted by On 2:14 AM

Russia 'simulated full-scale war' against Nato, says military commander

Russian war games held last September “simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato“, the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces has claimed.

Riho Terras confirmed Nato’s fears that the Zapad (or “West”) exercises were used to simulate a conflict with the US-led alliance and show off Russia’s ability to amass large numbers of troops at extremely short notice in the event of a conflict.

The drills â€" which were held in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and its Kaliningrad outpost between 14 and 20 September last year â€" depicted a fictional scenario concerned with attacks by militants, according to Russia’s defence ministry.

Royal Navy tracks Russian warship through North Sea on Christmas Day

But in an interview with Germany’s top-selling newspaper, Bild, Mr Terras said: “Let me be clear: with the exercise Zapad 2017, Russia simulated a large-scale military attack against Nato.

“It was not targeted towards the Baltic states only, as it was a theatre-wide series of exercises spanning from high North to the Black Sea.”

He added: “The scale and extent of the entire exercise was far greater than officially stated.”

Instead of being a “purely defensive” exercise, as Russia claimed, Zapad was used to simulate a “full-scale conventional war against Nato in Europe”, the newspaper previously reported, citing two analysts from a western intelligence service.

The report claimed the drills involved far more troops than the 12,700 that Russia’s defence ministry claimed took part.

Another 12,000 Russian soldiers took part in exercises in regions “near the Estonian borders”, and more than 10,000 in the area near the north of Finland and Norway, the sources said.

World news in pictures

  • 45 show all

World news in pictures

  • 1/45

    French President Emmanuel Macron observes a minute of silence in front of the plaque commemorating late police officer Ahmed Merabet to mark the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in Paris

  • 2/45 January 6

    Nicolaos Solis from Greece kisses the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul

  • 3/45 5 January 2017

    Women mourn the death of a family member following a landslide in Kinshasa. Thirty-seven people died overnight when torrential rain and mudslides swept though shanty homes.

  • 4/45 4 January 2017

    Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Mosab al-Tamimi, 17, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral near the West Bank city of Ramallah

  • 5/45 3 January 2018

    People take part in pro-government rallies, Iran

  • 6/45 2 January 2018

    Indonesian bus passengers watch as Mount Sinabung spews thick smoke in Karo, North Sumatra

  • 7/45 1 January 2018

    People take part in the traditional New Year's Day swim in Scheveningen, Netherlands

  • 8/45 31 December 2017

    Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations

  • 9/45 30 December 2017

    An Indian muslim lifts a stool with a metal rod pierced through his cheeks to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rafai Papa Miyan Sai at the Shah-E-Alam Dargah shrine in Ahmedabad

  • 10/45 29 December 2017

    A New York apartment fire killed at least 12 people, including a baby, with four more critically injured. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference from the scene that 'it is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century.'

  • 11/45 28 December 2017

    Afghan women mourn inside a hospital compound after a suicide attack in Kabu l, Afghanistan

  • 12/45 27 December 2017

    Pope Francis greets newlyweds during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI in The Vatican

  • 13/45 26 December 2017

    Rohingya refugees walk next to a pond in the early morning at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

  • 14/45 25 December 2017

    Members of ice swimming club "Berliner Seehunde" (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake in Berlin as part of their traditi onal Christmas ice swimming session, in Berlin, Germany

  • 15/45 24 December 2017

    Mourners carry the body of 19-year-old Mohamed Sami al-Dahdouh, a Palestinian youth from Jabalia who was killed in clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City

  • 16/45 23 December 2017

    Policemen evacuate a baby after the Cagayan River swelled caused by heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Tembin. People have died and others are missing as the storm struck the southern Philippines unleashing floods and landslides across a region of 20 million people.

  • 17/45 22 December 2017

    Carles Puigdemont gives a thumbs up after the Catalonia Regional Election results

  • 18/45 21 December 2017

    A white SUV sits in the middle of the road as police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where it ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne.

  • 19/45 20 December 2017

    This combination of pictures shows Syrians covering one eye with their hands, in the rebel-held town of Douma, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in gover nment shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria.

  • 20/45 19 December 2017

    South Korean and U.S. Marines take part in a winter military drill in Pyeongchang, South Korea

  • 21/45 18 December 2017

    Belgian police officers stand guard outside the trial of Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspects in the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris, at a courthouse in Brussels, Belgium

  • 22/45 17 December 2017

    Members of the International Space Station expedition 54/55 , Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (C), NASA astronaut Scott Tingle (R) and Norishige Kanai (L) of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during the send-off ceremony after checking their space suits before the launch of the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan

  • 23/45 16 December 2017

    The former wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela (R), and the candidate for the African National Congress presidency and ex-wife of the incumbent South African president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma greet each other as they attend the 54th ANC National Conference at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg on December 16, 2017. Thousands of delegates from South Africa's ANC party gathered on December 16, 2017 for a five-day meeting to elect their new l eader in a divisive race seen as a pivotal moment in the country's post-apartheid history. he winner will be well placed to be the next president, but the ANC has lost much popularity since Nelson Mandela led it to power in the euphoric 1994 election that marked the end of white-minority rule.

  • 24/45 15 December 2017

    Palestinian protesters wave the national flag during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City as demonstrations continue over US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

  • 25/45 14 December 2017

    Hamas supporters take par t in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in Gaza City

  • 26/45 13 December 2017

    Democratic candidate for US Senate Doug Jones thanks supporters as he holds his wife Louise's hand

  • 27/45 12 December 2017

    Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather during the funeral ceremony of prominent spiritual leader Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, who died on Tuesday at the age of 104, in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel.

  • 28/45 11 December 2017

    A Palestinian protester kicks a flaming tire during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah

  • 29/45 10 December 2017

    Demonstrators set US and Israeli flags on fire during a protest against Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Istanbul

  • 30/45 9 December 2017

    People gather to watch the bikers' procession during the funeral ceremony in tribute to late French singer Johnny Hallyday in Paris

  • 31/45 8 December 2017

    A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops

  • 32/45 7 December 2017

    Firefighters monitor a section of the Thomas Fire along the 101 freeway, north of Ventura, California.

  • 33/45 6 December 2017

    Palestinians burn an Israeli and a U.S. flag during a protest against the U.S. intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Gaza City

  • 34/45 5 December 2017

    Former Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, flashes a victory sign after he was freed by his supporters in Kiev

  • 35/45 4 December 2017

    A man exercises in a park on a winter morning in Kolkata, India

  • 36/45 3 December 2017

    A supporter of Salvador Nasralla, presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, puts a balloon on the shield of a soldier in a protest while the country is still mired in chaos over a contested presidential election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

  • 37/45 2 December 2017

    A man dressed as Santa Claus skiis down a mountain during the Saint Nicholas Day at the Alpine ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland

  • 38/45 1 December 2017

    A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital on World Aids Day

  • 39/45 30 November 2017

    An activist pours gasoline as an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump burns during a protest action against Duterte's plan to set up a Revolutionary Government, along a street in metro Manila, Philippines

  • 40/45 29 November 2017

    South Korea's Hyunmoo II missile is fired during an exercise at an undefined location in the east coast of South Korea

  • 41/45 28 November 2017

    People fall as police fire tear gas to try control the crowd trying to force their way into Kasarani Stadium to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi

  • 42/45 27 November 2017

    Rohingya refugee Amina Khatun, 5 5, rests at the bank of the Naf river after crossing it on an improvised raft to reach Bangladesh, in Teknaf. Two of her sons were killed by gun fire when her village was attacked by Myanmar military, she says

  • 43/45 26 November 2017

    Mount Agung volcano is seen spewing smoke and ash in Bali

  • 44/45 25 November 2017

    A Pakistani protester throws a tear gas shell back towards police during a clash in Islamabad

  • 45/45 24 November 2017

    Zimbabwe' s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives ahead of his inauguration ceremony to be sworn in as president in Harare

Under the Vienna document, a Cold War-era treaty that sets out rules for military exercises, war games numbering more than 13,000 troops should be open to observers who can fly over the drills and talk to soldiers. Nato sent one expert to a visitor day in Russia and two to a visitor day in Belarus.

The intelligence analysts also told the paper the drill rehearsed a “shock campaign” against Nato countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, but also Poland and the non-Nato states of Sweden and Finland.

It practised “neutralising or taking under control air fields and harbours” in the Baltic states, as well as simulating bombings of “critical infrastructure” such as “air fields, harbours, energy supplies” in western Europe.

“The num ber of troops participating in the exercises significantly exceeded the number announced before the exercise â€" the scenario was a different one and the geographical scope was larger than previously announced,” Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said at the time.

  • More about:
  • Russia
  • Nato
  • zapad
  • Estonia
  • Belarus
  • Kaliningrad
  • Riho Terras
  • Jens Stoltenberg
Reuse contentSource: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia