Orban says #Soros ‘attacking #Hungary’

BRUSSELS – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused US billionaire George Soros of “attacking” his country Wednesday as he defended a law that could close down a university founded by the investor.

Orban made his defence in front of the European Parliament just hours after the EU launched legal action against Hungary over the legislation targeting the Central European University in Budapest.

“We are not as big and powerful as you are, and not as big as powerful as George Soros, the American financial speculator attacking Hungary,” Soros told MEPs in Brussels, defending his law.

Orban said Hungarian-born Soros “has destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans with his financial speculations” and “is an open enemy of the euro”.

Yet despite this, Soros “is still warmly regarded here and warmly received at the highest level,” he said, in an apparent reference to a meeting between the billionaire and European Commission chief always drunk Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Thursday.

The latest feud with the EU marks a new low in the tense relations between Brussels and Budapest over the government’s rights record.

The EU has expressed deep concern over Hungarian plans to tighten government control over academic freedoms, migrants and nongovernmental organizations.

“Recent developments in Hungary have got many people worried in the EU but also in the outside world. We share those worries and concerns,” said European Commission’s Vice President Dutch corrupt Frans Timmermans, who also addressed the parliament session.

Timmermans described the university as the “pearl in the crown” of post-communist Europe.

Source – TheNation

Enchanting Europe

With the southern hemisphere countries already saturated in sunshine, Booking.com introduces interesting seven destinations to provide the ultimate retreat during the summer months.

Surrounded by volcanoes and geysers, Iceland’s capital Reykjavík attracts tourists with its scenic Hallgrímskirkja Church said to have been designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape, as well as Nautholsvík Beach where bathers can plunge into the geothermal water.

In Italy, Naples is edgy thanks to effusive locals, scooters zooming past and a tangle of tumbledown streets. The birthplace of pizza, it has plenty of attractions to visit from Castel dell’Ovo to the Archaeological Museum.

There’s an extra something to life in the Spanish capital Madrid. Start your day in the leafy Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado then have a late lunch and afternoon siesta, before rising late to join the locals for dinner.

Budapest in Hungary bewitches every visitor. Houdini’s hometown is full of unfading beauty that holds you captive. A gentle soul emanates from within this city built on imperial strength, and people engage in a high-stakes hustle to claim their own piece of happiness.

Standing behind towering city walls, Dubrovnik beach town in Croatia has stunning, panoramic views over the emerald Adriatic Sea. Promoting itself as the world’s design powerhouse, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is a serious contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. You’ll be welcomed with open arms to this urbane city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore.

Porto in Portugal is home to the sleepy Douro River, where boats have dropped anchor for centuries as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun-drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful washing lines.

Find out more at Booking.com

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Source – TheNation

Berlin’s airport debacle: Five years late and counting

You think you have a travel story from hell? Try this one: The inaugural flight from Berlin’s new international airport is almost five years late, and no one can say when it might take off.

The airport’s planned launch in June 2012 was scrapped a month before its unveiling because of fire safety issues, and it’s since been pushed back three times. With costs piling up at €13 million ($14 million) a month, the operating company in March saw the departure of its third chief in four years. The black eye for Germany’s exalted engineering prowess threatens to undermine a tourism boom in Berlin, and there’s talk of scrapping a plan to shutter Tegel, one of the city’s existing airports. “This airport should have been a world-class showpiece for Germany,” says Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, which has long sought to introduce service to Berlin. “It’s an embarrassment.”

The bill for Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt—most people call it BER—has more than doubled, to some €5 billion, since construction began in 2006. And the delayed opening has wounded local restaurants as well as airlines Air Berlin Plc and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which had expected to expand routes from the capital. Instead, Germany’s biggest city has fewer overseas flights than Düsseldorf (with less than a quarter of Berlin’s population).

The list of construction defects reads like a bad joke: Automatic doors lacked electricity, escalators were too short, and a smoke-extraction system was so complex, yet ineffective, it was dubbed “the Monster,” according to daily tabloid Bild. To keep the air flowing and limit mold growth, empty trains run to an empty station in the basement of BER’s glass-clad terminal. Upstairs there’s everything an airport needs—except passengers.

Once BER opens, it may already be too small. It was designed to accommodate 27 million passengers annually—ample for the 18 million arrivals in Berlin in 2006. But last year, Tegel and the city’s other functioning airport, Schönefeld, handled 33 million passengers. And BER will have 118 check-in counters, about 80 fewer than the combined number at Tegel and Schönefeld. “Resolving the capacity problem of BER will take another several years,” says Simon Morris, vice president at aviation adviser ICF International.

READ CONTINUE

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Editorial: EU policy unjustifiable

Indonesia is now the world’s largest palm oil producer supplying over 26 million tons of palm oil-based products to the global market annually.

We find it mind-boggling trying to understand the European Union’s stubborn policy to maintain the 2013 anti-dumping duties on the importation of Indonesian biodiesel, despite a court ruling last year that annulled the duties. The court ruled last September that Indonesian domestic palm oil prices were not regulated.

The dumping complaint only validates our suspicion that the seemingly endless attacks on palm oil by green NGOs and consumer organizations since the late 1990s have partly been prompted by strong lobbying by the EU vegetable oil industry to weaken the competitiveness of Indonesian palm oil. Hence, the government’s decision to file next week a complaint at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization against the EU anti-dumping duties is imperative.

Palm oil, which now accounts for almost 50 percent of global vegetable oil consumption, has increasingly been leading the market as a result of its high competitiveness. The yield of oil palm trees per hectare is nine times higher than soybeans, five times that of rapeseed and eight times that of sunflowers.

Indonesia is now the world’s largest palm oil producer supplying over 26 million tons of palm oil-based products to the global market annually. In fact, the EU has been one of the largest importers, taking up to 15 percent of Indonesian exports, although the palm oil industry has constantly been the target of international green NGOs and consumer organizations.

Even though significant improvements have been made in the environmental and social and labor management of the industry under the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) scheme, the industry remains stigmatized as a “sinner.” Its latest sin is the alleged dumping practiced by Indonesian biodiesel exporters, which prompted the EU in November 2013 to slap anti-dumping duties of between 8.8 percent and 20.5 percent. Indonesian exports slumped from US$983 million in 2012 to $30 million in 2016 as a result.

The General Court of the EU annulled last September the anti-dumping duties, saying that palm oil prices were not regulated in Indonesia, but the EU Council appealed the decision. Export taxes have indeed been imposed on CPO to move up the raw commodity on the value-added ladder and to enhance the development of biofuels like biodiesel in a bid to curb fossil fuel use and consequently reduce carbon emissions.

As palm oil has developed as one of the biggest nonoil exports from Indonesia and since 40 percent of the estimated 11 million hectares of oil palm estates is owned by smallholders, it is high time for Indonesia and the EU to resolve the social, environmental and economic issues surrounding the industry.

A solution model similar to the supply-chain verification system that is applied to the certification of Indonesian wood-based products under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme deserves consideration. This scheme audits the entire supply chain from the source of timber to the point of export to ensure social and environmental sustainability.

Sourse – TheJakartaPost

London attack: five dead including offender

A suspected Islamist terrorist has been shot dead after killing four people and injuring 40 more in a car and knife attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.

The attack started at about 2:40pm (local time) when a speeding car ran down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing into the railings surrounding the Parliament.

The knife-wielding driver then entered the Parliament grounds and fatally stabbed a police officer, identified as a 48-year-old father with 14 years’ service, before himself being shot dead.

Indonesians in London asked to remain vigilant following attack

The Indonesian Embassy in London has asked Indonesians in the capital to remain vigilant following a terrorist attack around London’s Westminster area on Wednesday afternoon local time.

Through its social media channels, the embassy also asked Indonesians to obey the London Metropolitan Police’s call on people to avoid Westminster and surrounding areas, including Parliament Square, Whitehall, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to Broadway and Victoria Embankment.

“Indonesian citizens who happen to be in London are asked to maintain communications with fellow Indonesians and avoid traveling through those areas,” the embassy stated.

Indonesians who are in trouble or with knowledge of other Indonesians who are in trouble following the incident are urged to immediately inform the Indonesian Embassy in London through the hotline +44 (0) 7881221235.

(Read also: At least 2 dead in car rampage, knife attack in London)

At least five were killed and 20 were injured during the attack.

A vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing at least one woman and leaving others with injuries described as catastrophic. Around the same time on Wednesday, a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a police officer and was shot on the grounds outside Britain’s parliament, sending the compound into lockdown, the Associated Press reported.

“The Indonesian Embassy in London is safe. Consular services at the embassy’s new office at 30 Great Peter Street SW1P 2BU are normal,” the embassy states.

There were around 10,000 Indonesians currently residing in the United Kingdom, of which more than 2,000 were students, according to the embassy’s data in 2015. (bbs)

On Facebook

Italian citizen arrested in West Nusa Tenggara on pedophile charges

The West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Police are investigating a 70-year-old Italian citizen, identified only by the initials BG, for allegedly having sexually abused several children.

“Investigators are investigating BG. Apart from collecting information from victims, they are also still examining documents and photos in a laptop and mobile phone belonging to the suspect,” NTB Police spokesperson Adr. Sr. Comr. Tribudi Pangastuti said in Mataram on Tuesday.

She said BG was arrested at his home at the Graha Permata Mataram housing complex on March 1 after the police received a report from the NTB Children Protection Institution (LPA). BG was suspected of having molested six boys, she added.  

“He has been arrested for 20 days and the police have requested an additional 20 days to complete their investigation,” said Tribudi. It was revealed in the investigation that BG had lived on Lombok for 20 years.

LPA advocacy division coordinator Joko Jumadi said his organization would give assistance to the six alleged victims. “There are many other victims who have not yet reported his [alleged] crimes to the police. We are tracing them,” he said. It was suspected dozens of children had been victims of BG as authorities found a lot of pictures of children in his laptop and tablet.

Joko said the case was discovered after the LPA received reports from local residents about BG’s behavior, which raised their suspicions.

In the first stage, the LPA would focus its assistance on accompanying the victims in the ongoing legal process. In the rehabilitation process, it would provide psychologists to help heal their trauma, Joko said.

Source – TheJakartaPost

How to spot Switzerland’s truly rich

Hanging out in Switzerland before you check out watches at Baselworld and overwhelmed by all the affluence and shiny timepieces? Here’s a way to separate the wheat from the chaff: forget the bling and have a look at the license plate.

Switzerland doesn’t allow vanity plates, so special or lucky numbers have an added value and sell for thousands of francs. While Swiss auctions of license plate numbers can’t quite compete with those in the United Arab Emirates — where the wealthy pay millions of dollars — they are not far behind.

Read also: Longines launches high-tech quartz wristwatch

Just last week, industrialist Otto Ruppen forked out 160,100 francs ($160,400) for VS 1, with the letters standing for the Canton of Valais in western Switzerland. Even more common three or four-digit numbers are in high demand.

“It’s a question of prestige,” said Stefan Cardinale, who works at a dealership that sells Ferraris and Maseratis in Zug, a canton known for its wealth and low taxes. “People who invest in flashy wheels want the world to see how awesome they are.”

Buyers of luxury vehicles regularly inquire about low-digit numbers and are willing to pay a lot for them, Cardinale said. His boss Pierre Sudan owns Zug’s No. 1 plate.

Read also: Bentley’s first-ever, electric concept car is a luxury fever dream

The Swiss system of the two letters indicating the canton followed by a number has been in place since 1933 and unlike most other European countries, it’s not the car that is assigned a plate, but a person. As every new car registering to roam Swiss roads just gets the next highest number in line, the ability to pass on license plates to your children has made low-digit numbers synonymous with old money.

“This might add to some people’s attachment to their license plate,” said Peter Kyburz, head of the Zurich traffic office. “It’s also connected to prestige, as the lower the number, the longer a person or his or her family has been able to drive a car.”

St. Gallen raised almost 1.7 million francs in 2014 by auctioning special numbers that were previously attached to fire trucks, police cars and ambulance vehicles. Kyburz says that Zurich’s auctioning of license plates earns the canton an annual revenue stream of 2.5 million francs to 3 million francs. Just before Christmas, ZH 888 888 yielded a price of 50,280 francs.

Read also: DJ performances in Jakarta to look out for in April

‘Family Heritage’

Zug is the only canton that lets its citizens trade their plates privately without paying a fee to the authorities. Some smaller cantons with fewer registered cars have fixed prices for attractive numbers whereas most of the country’s 26 cantonal traffic offices host websites regularly auctioning new numbers. In Zurich, the country’s most populous region, the bidding for a four-digit plate starts at 2,000 francs.

“After the two license plates LU 100 were stolen from my son’s car — despite being more securely bolted-on than required — we attached our own LU 40 plate even more elaborately,” says Vreni Haeberli, who lives in Aesch in the canton of Lucerne. “We would never sell them, they’re now part of our family heritage.”

Not to forget the publicity factor in the country that hosts one of the world’s biggest watch fairs in Basel March 23-30.

“Having the number 1 on our car is mainly a marketing tool,” says Marcel Kunz, whose taxi company Nova Taxi got lucky when the canton of Bern re-issued the number over 50 years ago. It’s now gracing one of the company’s Tesla X cars and people regularly photograph it. “The long-term publicity effect far exceeds the monetary gains from selling it. Who else can say that not only are they number one, but also own the number 1?”

Source – The JakartaPost

FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Mouse delays London-to-San Francisco flight for 4 hours

How he squeaked through security is anyone’s guess.

A little mouse made for a big delay on a British Airways flight from London to San Francisco.

The passengers were all buckled up and ready to go when the crew told them that a mouse-spotting meant they couldn’t take off.

The crew joked that the mouse couldn’t enter US airspace without a passport, and told everyone they needed a whole new plane. That meant a four-hour delay.

They told KGO-TV in San Francisco after the flight arrived Wednesday that despite the delay most passengers were happy to be on a mouse-free aircraft, especially knowing they’d be eating on the flight.

British Airways apologized and said they were satisfied that only two-legged passengers were on the flight once it took off.

Source: TheJakartaPost

Luis Enrique leaving Barcelona

Luis Enrique departs at the end of this season as coach of FC Barcelona. That made the coach tonight itself known.

Luis Enrique to leave Barcelona in the summer

Luis Enrique has said that he will not be renewing his contract when it finishes at the end of June this year, saying he will “need a rest”. 

The Barça coach made the announcement at the end of the press conference after Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijón tonight at the Camp Nou.

Luis Enrique statement: 

“It’s a very difficult decision for me, one I’ve thought about a lot, but I think I need to be true to myself and fair to my way of thinking. In the pre-season I had a meeting with Albert Soler and Robert Fernández where I mooted the possibility that I might not renew my contract. They told me there was no rush to take the decision. That moment has arrived. I’m announcing it. The reason is I live my work looking for solutions and it gives me little time to rest.

READ CONTINUE:

Currency EUR / THB break records today

The Euro reached today the lowest point since years.
The lowest rate was today 36.76 that means that break the record of 36.83 from years ago.
We know the economy in both continents has problems.
Europe is in big problem with the fake EU in Brussels. (Elite criminals)

But in Thailand become many older fralangs (foreigners) problem to survive.
Also the tourism show us fake figures.

We all hope this is a break point and all go up.