Viktor Orbán picks another fight with the West, this time over the Southern Stream   Leave a comment

Originally posted on Hungarian Spectrum:

I know that everybody is intensely interested in the Hungarian government’s latest brainstorm, the introduction of an internet tax, but I would rather wait with an analysis of this latest scandal until it becomes clear what the fate of the proposal will be. So far the reaction to this new tax has been so vehement that the government most likely will have to retreat. When an article in the right-wing Válasz predicts that “if we had an election today Fidesz would lose big,” I think it’s time to order a quick turnabout. I would like to add just one observation on a related topic: the Hungarian budget must be in a sorry state if an additional tax must be levied on soap and detergent, allegedly because they are harmful to the environment. Let’s not contemplate the detrimental effect of curtailing the use of soap because this would take us too far afield.

So, instead of dealing with the effects…

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Posted October 24, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

The Hungarian government turns up the heat on the NGOs   Leave a comment

Originally posted on Hungarian Spectrum:

Yesterday I wrote about Viktor Orbán’s pro-Russian policy, which does not endear him to Washington. Another sore point is the Hungarian treatment of certain NGOs and the attacks of late on independent organizations that receive money from the Norwegian Civic Fund. Barack Obama specifically mentioned the importance of NGOs as watchdogs over rogue states like Hungary. One would think that Viktor Orbán might try to mend fences with the U.S. by retreating a bit on this issue and not pursuing the controversial attacks on the Ökotárs Foundation, the distributor of the Norwegian Civic Funds. But no, these attacks have shifted into even higher gear.

In May the government ordered KEHI (Kormányzati Ellenőrző Hivatal = State Audit) to investigate the case. The Norwegians consider the investigation illegal because in their opinion the money Ökotárs distributed among several NGOs was not part of the Hungarian budget. The money never entered the Hungarian treasury in any way. The funds came…

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Posted October 24, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

United Nations Day – teaching resources   Leave a comment

Originally posted on teflgeek:

It is nearing the end of October and that traditionally means pumpkins, black cats, sweets or candy, and a bunch of superstitious nonsense that if it wasn’t for the whole “sweets and candy” component, would probably have disappeared a long time ago.

So this year, I have lobbied for United Nations Day to be the focus of our end of October activities instead!  And apparently I was convincing enough that my colleagues agreed with me….  Ooops.

So I thought I’d take a look to see what teaching resources are out there to help students understand what the United Nations is – and how you and your school can help promote awareness of our primary global institution.

What I found…..

The UN itself, appears to be living in a pre-technological age.  Their website is woeful, but if you want to look at it – it is here.

The UN Cyberschool…

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Posted October 20, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

The state of the churches in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary: An exchange of views   Leave a comment

Originally posted on Hungarian Spectrum:

Today I’m republishing an exchange of letters between György Hölvényi, a Christian Democrat who is a member of the Fidesz European Parliamentary delegation, and H. David Baer, associate professor at the Texas Lutheran University. The reason for the exchange was an article that appeared in The Economist entitled “A slippery Magyar slope.” The article was about the “ill-named law on ‘the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on the Legal Status of Churches, Religious Denominations and Religious Communities.’” Hölvényi, who before becoming a MEP was deputy undersecretary in charge of the government’s relations with churches, national minorities and civil society, came to the defense of the much criticized law. Since the article in The Economist was republished by Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), Hölvényi sent his reply to that organization, which subsequently included it in its newsletter. Baer, an expert on Hungarian religious affairs, decided to respond. His reply was also published in…

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Posted October 20, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

These Tragic and Tremendous Weeks in History, 18 October – 8 November.   Leave a comment

These weeks in history – 19 October: The First Battle of Ypres begins

(and continues until 22 November)

The Race to the Sea continued into October after the stalemate of the Aisne and culminated with the first battle at Ypres. German attacks were met with strong resistance by the remnants of the original British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and new troops recently arrived from Britain and India, alongside French and Belgian units.

At one point on 31 October the British line was breached and Ypres lay undefended. Only a rushed attack by the 2nd Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment atablised the situation.

A platoon of the Worcester Regiment march to the Western FrontA platoon of the Worcester Regiment march to the Western Front

Casualties were high on both sides. The Germans had a high percentage of young and inexperienced soldiers known as the Kindercorps. One unit suffered 75 per cent casualties. The Germans called the battle The Massacre of the Innocents. On the British side the losses meant the effective end of the Old Contemptibles, the BEF. 

Negotiations in Lesko, 18-23 October:

In the early hours of 18 October the Hungarian Peace Delegation in Moscow took off for Lesko, the HQ of General Petrov, in Marshal Stalin’s own plane. Domokos Szent-Iványi’s negotiations with the Hungarian generals at the Transylvanian front were concerned with the swift, decisive action that the Russians wanted from the Hungarian military. They wanted to build up a force from the Hungarian POWs they held and attack the Szálasi forces with Hungarian troops under the command of General Miklós. In order to give a political foundation to such a military action the Russians wanted to quickly create some kind of temporary Hungarian Government-in-Exile. Back in Moscow, Faragho and Teleki had been asked to make suggestions as to the formation and membership of such a government. For Szent-Iványi, it seemed obvious that the Premier of the Cabinet should be one of the three generals at the front. General Miklós had a unique advantage over the other two as he had been the Head of the Regent’s military Cabinet and could therefore be considered by the Russians as being from the top tier of Hungarian politics, competent in military matters, and free from any taint of civil collaboration with the Nazis. Szent-Iványi rejected the suggestion that he himself should become Foreign Minister, instead putting forward his own candidate, Baron György Bakách-Bessenyey, who had the great advantage of being of Jewish origin. When the discussions ended at midnight on 21st, Szent-Iványi felt that he had been able to show both the Russian and Hungarian negotiators that he was a friend of Russia and the Russians… not an opportunist, a job-seeker, not to say a carpetbagger. He returned to Moscow on 23rd where Faragho and Teleki informed him of their discussions on the forming of a Democratic Hungarian Government. 

The Last Verses of Miklós Radnóti, 24 & 31 October 1944: 

As Radnóti’s work company marched on they arrived first at Mohács, on 24 October. From there they were sent on towards Germany (the Austrian border), via Szentkirályszabadja. Out of the 3,600 who had set out from the Serbian mountains, only a handful survived. The words Der springt noch auf refer to Miklós Lorsi, a violinist who was murdered at Cservenka by an SS man on a horse. Having been shot once, Lorsi collapsed; but soon after, he stood up again, staggering. He is still moving, called the SS man, taking aim a second time, this time successfully.

The surviving servicemen ended up in German concentration camps. Radnóti, however, was too weak to continue the march. Separated from the rest of the group with twenty-one of his comrades, he was shot at the dam near Abda on or about 8 November, 1944.

Razglendnicaák (Postcards): 

The oxen drool saliva mixed with blood.

Each one of us is urinating blood.

The squad stands about in knots, stinking, mad.

Death, hideous, is blowing overhead.

Mohács, October 24, 1944

I fell beside him and his corpse turned over,

tight already as a snapping string.

Shot in the neck. “And that’s how you’ll end too,”

I whispered to myself; “Lie still, no moving. 

Now patience flowers in death.” Then I could hear

“Der springt noch auf,” above, and very near.

Blood mixed with mud was drying on my ear.

Szentkirályszabadja, October 31, 1944.

These weeks in history: 19 October – 8 November 1989 in the GDR

Following Erich Honecker’s resignation on 18 October Egon Krenz’s promise of Change and Renewal was too little too late to satisfy the demand for sweeping reform. The more conciliatory Krenz appeared to be, the greater was the call for radical change. At the end of October, 300,000 demonstrators in Leipzig and Dresden called for the removal of the Communist regime. The border with Czechoslovakia was reopened on 3 November. On 4 November, half a million people jammed East Berlin’s streets to hear a concert carried live on East German and West German television. The whole event was intended to rally support for reform while preserving the socialist system. But the protesters had by then grown brave.

People power: Demonstrations in East Berlin at the Wall and in the centre of the city. One more puff and we'll blow the Wall down!People power: Demonstrations in East Berlin at the Wall and in the centre of the city. One more puff and we’ll blow the Wall down!

One by one, poets, musicians, and writers recited or sang satires about East Germany and its failings and demanded full democracy. Stefan Heym, a dissident, said he felt as if the windows had been pushed open and suddenly fresh air was coming in. The huge rally made it clear that the people no longer had any interest in preserving the East German state.On 7 November, Krenz fired his entire cabinet and the following day, two-thirds of the Politburo. Still this was not enough, so Krenz called Gorbachev in the Kremlin to ask for advice. The Soviet leader suggested that the opening of the borders would let off steam and avoid an explanation. In the next few days, another fifty thousand people fled the country. The German Democratic Republic was on the verge of total disintegration. Hans Modrow was proposed as prime minister. Krenz hesitated but finally decided that he had no alternative but to open the borders to the West.

The HSWP HQ in Budapest.The HSWP HQ in Budapest.

In these three weeks, the whole international order was transformed, and so too was the political and constitutional order within Hungary.  In early October, the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party officially abandoned Marxist-Leninism, and on the 23rd, the anniversary of the 1956 Uprising, it changed the country’s name from the Hungarian People’s Republic,the typical styling of countries in the Soviet bloc, to the Republic of Hungary. In Budapest, for the first time, a ruling Communist Party behind the iron curtain, abandoned its own ideological basis and proclaimed its belief in democracy and democratic socialism.The shift towards a capitalist free-market economy was already well underway.

An article from '5 Perc Angol' (Five Minutes' English'), Oct 2014.An article from ‘5 Perc Angol’ (Five Minutes’ English’), Oct 2014.

Posted October 19, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

Four Oxford titles shortlisted for ESU Awards   Leave a comment

Originally posted on Oxford University Press:

PSU_shortlistWe are delighted to announce that four of our titles have made it to the shortlist for the English-Speaking Union’s English Language Awards 2014!

The Oxford Online Skills Program has been shortlisted for the ESU President’s Award which celebrates and encourages the widespread use of technology in the teaching and learning of English. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English,Focus on Content-Based Language Teaching and International Express have been shortlisted for the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards, which recognise the best book published each year in the field of English language teaching and learning.

The Oxford Online Skills Program supports and develops Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing skills online using a sequence of media-rich activities, enhanced with video, animated presentations, interactive info-graphics and striking photography, to engage students. The judges commented, The Oxford Online Skills Program contains high quality content for students, across…

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Posted October 18, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

Is it always preferable to employ only native English speaking teachers?   Leave a comment

Originally posted on Oxford University Press:

Is it always preferable to employ native English speaking teachers?

Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos

There are widely-held perceptions that numerous language schools refuse to hire non-Native English Speaker Teachers (nNESTs). In this guest article, teacher, teacher trainer, and founder of TEFL Equity Advocates, Marek Kiczkowiak, shares his thoughts on how this can have negative effects on students and teachers alike, and looks at an alternative, more egalitarian hiring model, that emphasises qualifications and experience, regardless of their mother tongue.

Dear Student,

I would like to tell you a few things about your English teachers which you might not have been aware of. As a teacher, I really care about your language progress and I would like you to understand what characteristics make certain teachers unforgettable, so that you can make an informed choice and pick the best language school.

It is very common for language schools to advertise only for and hire exclusively native speakers (NSs). I am sure…

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Posted October 18, 2014 by teambritanniahungary in Uncategorized

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