Veteran Hungarian film director Peter Bacso dies at 81

Budapest  - The veteran Hungarian director Peter Bacso - best known for The Witness, his biting satire on the absurdity of the communist system - has died at the age of 81.

Wednesday's death of a legend of Hungarian cinema was announced by the Association of Hungarian Film Artists. No further details were given, but Bacso was known to have been suffering from a lengthy illness.

Bacso was born in 1928 in Kosice, now in Slovakia. He enrolled in the Budapest Academy of Theatre and Film in 1946 and worked as a scriptwriter after graduating in

Bacso was living in the Hungarian capital as the Hungarian communist party consolidated its power through intimidation and terror. He directed his first film in 1963.

Russia, Hungary move forward on South Stream pipeline

South Stream pipeline Moscow - Russia and Hungary agreed to set up a joint venture to build the Hungarian stretch of the South Stream pipeline, Russian Premier Vladimir Putin said Tuesday after talks with his Hungarian counterpart Ferenc Gyurcsany in Moscow.

Russian gas export monopolist Gazprom and Hungary's energy firm MOL also plan to build new underground storage facilities in the agreement inked Tuesday, Putin was cited by news agency Interfax as saying.

Forint hits record low, stock market recovers slightly

Forint hits record low, stock market recovers slightlyBudapest  - The Hungarian forint continued its downward spiral, hitting a new record low of 317.45 against the euro in early trading on Friday.

Although in afternoon trading the currency firmed to around 313 against the euro, this latest dip is worrying news for one of the EU's most fragile economies.

The weakening forint is bad news for ordinary Hungarians, who face increasing monthly repayments on foreign currency mortgages and loans. The forint was trading at around 250 to the euro last summer, before Hungary was hit hard by the global financial crisis.

Anxiety as Hungarian currency hits another all time low

Anxiety as Hungarian currency hits another all time low Budapest - The Hungarian forint fell to a record low of 312 against the euro on Wednesday morning, heightening concern over Hungary's ability to meet its external debt obligations and putting further pressure on Hungarians with foreign currency loans.

Finance Minister Janos Veres sought to dismiss fears that Hungary was on the brink of a sovereign default, saying that its central bank has over 20 billion euros (25 billion dollars) in its foreign currency reserves.

Thousands attend funeral of murdered Roma father and son

Budapest  - Several thousand mourners gathered in a Hungarian village on Tuesday for the funeral of a Roma father and son who were gunned down the previous week as they fled their burning home.

Csorba Csaba, 27, and his five-year-old son were shot with hunting rifles before dawn on Monday, February 23. It is suspected that the family home in Tatarszentgyorgy, 40 kilometres south-east of the capital Budapest, was first set ablaze with petrol bombs.

Although the motive for and precise details of the attack have not been proven, it is widely assumed to have been racially motivated and the case has become a symbol of rising racial tension surrounding Hungary's Roma minority.

Hungary to push for East Europe bailout fund at EU summit

HungaryBrussels  - The European Union should set up a fund of up to 190 billion euros (240 billion dollars) to keep the crisis-hit countries of Central and Eastern Europe from collapse, Hungary said ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on Sunday.

"Despite cautious economic policies, Eastern Europe is being affected disproportionately by the global financial and economic crisis ... Failure to react could cause a second round of systemic meltdowns that would mainly hit eurozone economies," a paper drawn up by the Hungarian government said.