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Hungarian writer and political activist found dead in Italy
Gergely Homonnay , a Hungarian writer and political activist close to opposition party DK, was found dead in Rome.
Homonnay has been living in Rome for a while. He published three books, each of which presented the events of the world from the perspective of his cat, Erzsi.
He was also known as a journalist and blogger, and has become an opposition activist in recent years, close to the DK. He was also a loud advocate for gay rights.
According to the Italian media, Homonnay went to a gay club in the early morning of January 1, and lost his life in the private bath of the club. Suspicious liquids and powder have been found beside him, which are still being investigated by the Italian police.
According to Italian paper La Repubblica, Gergely Homonnay was still alive, but had difficulty breathing, and was essentially unconscious when the owners of the club called for an ambulance.
The newspaper also reported that Homonnay went to the club at five in the morning accompanied by a man, who left later. Following the New Year's celebration, Homonnay went down to the Turkish bath, reserved strictly for members of the club, and was found unconscious there.
La Repubblica also said that local police were also investigating Homonnay’s phone calls and messages to find out who he spent his last hours with.
Police also visited a friend in Rome whom he had not met for some time, but the man could not offer any help according to the newspaper, as Homonnay had been living alone in the San Giovanni area for some time.
Omicron gains momentum in Hungary
The presence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 60 of the 100 positive cases per day. That is, 60 percent of new infections are caused by Omicron, according to the findings of a private lab, Neumann Labs.
However, according to official information published Tuesday, only 11 percent of the cases are due to the new variant. Hungarian authorities also said that they registered a total of 100 cases so far.
Miklós Nyíri, the managing director of Neumann Labs, told commercial television channel RTL Klub that the new mutation is spreading rapidly in Hungary as well.
As he said, they have about a hundred positive cases a day in the lab, and sixty out of the last hundred have been diagnosed with Omicron, meaning that sixty percent of new infections are already caused by the Omicron variant.
Miklós Nyíri said that out of about 1000 tests a day, there will be 100 positive cases. This astonishingly rapid upswing we are experiencing is in line with what has already been reported from several countries around the world: the Omicron is a very fast-spreading variant.
Hungary on Thursday reported 6,454 Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 1,276,433.
This number is more than a 90% increase compared to last week, while the daily infections registered at the end of December ranged between 2 and 3 thousand infections.
In the past 24 hours, 80 people have died from the disease, taking the toll to 39,679 in the country, while 1,133,345 have recovered. Currently, 3,101 patients are being treated in hospitals, including 307 on ventilators, figures from the government's coronavirus information website showed.
As of Thursday, 6,272,718 people have received at least the first shot of a vaccine, while 5,996,472 had two jabs, and 3,198,951 got their booster shot, according to the website.
Local media is already talking about the start of the fifth wave, although the fourth is still ongoing.
The situation is similar to that of January last year, when the second wave has not yet ended while the third has already begun.
Based on the experience of the countries that were first hit with the Omicron: it is certain that the number of new infections will skyrocket in the coming weeks, but the number of those in serious condition might not follow so steeply.
Orbán-Putin summit again in February
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó had a busy day in Moscow last week: he first received the "For Friendship" award from Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for his achievements in developing bilateral relations, and then announced that 2021 was the most successful year ever in terms of Hungarian-Russian cooperation.
In order to duly mark this milestone, the leaders of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban decided to meet in the next month.
"Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet with President Vladimir Putin in early February, preparations are underway, because we would like to have some milestones in our relations in 2022 as well,” Szijjarto announced on his Facebook page.
The main topics of the planned meeting are:
- the Paks Nuclear Power Plant project,
- the National Vaccine Factory, also calibrated for the production of Sputnik,
- the cooperation in space technology,
- the strengthening the role of the Záhony (East) region in rail traffic,
- The promotion of Hungarian food exports to Russia.
Szijjartó has not yet provided precise information on the location of the meeting, but based on the reluctance of the Russian leader to travel during the pandemic, chances are high that the meeting will take place in Russia.
After having announced the meeting with Putin, Orban received an endorsement of a senior player in global politics, former American President Donald Trump.
In light of the upcoming Hungarian general elections, Trump said that Orban really loved his country, and the former POTUS supported his 2022 re-election.
Trump threw his support behind the Hungarian Prime Minister, who has been courting the leaders of the far-right, nationalist figures from France or Italy, and who daunted America’s allies in the EU, by gradually increasing his strong hold over the media and the judiciary.
"Viktor Orbán of Hungary truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people," Trump said in a statement. “He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming Election. He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my Complete support and Endorsement for reelection as Prime Minister,” the statement of Trump said.
Hungarian President János Áder is to announce the date of the general elections shortly, they are expected to be held in April.
Viktor Orbán turns to supporters for financing his electoral campaign
The mailboxes of Hungarian voters were flooded with letters and checks in the first days of January, in which Viktor Orbán, the country's prime minister, asked them to financially support the campaign of his ruling party, the Fidesz.
General elections are to be held in April, and President János Áder is expected to set the exact date in the upcoming days.
"I am writing to you because we are facing a crucial decision. The stakes are high: Hungary will either continue to move forward or shall return to the Gyurcsány era, full of failures,” Orbán wrote.
The Prime Minister also writes about his fears of attempts by Brussels and the “Soros Empire” to intervene in the elections, although Orbán’s political formation has a qualified majority in the parliament, Fidesz is in control of the National Electoral Commission and of the Media Council, not to mention its power over all of the armed forces and a system of security surveillance system that had been already used by the government against opposition figures, journalists or businessmen.
In his plea for money, Orbán’s usual topics such as the threat of illegal migration and the many challenges posed by the epidemic, were also present.
"I am asking you to contribute to this fight and support the Fidesz campaign with your donation," the head of government said in the letter.
The Prime Minister sent an amazingly similar letter to this one in 2018, also with a check, asking fellow Hungarians to help protect the country from George Soros.
International investor and philanthropist Hungarian-born George Soros is financing an international network of human rights NGOs, including Hungary, employing a range of experts who have been increasingly critical of Orbán’s policies in the last twelve years.
Since then, he has become a “public enemy” of Orbán, despite the fact that he had personally enjoyed the financial support of Soros in his younger years.