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Thousands protest ‘slave law’ in Budapest

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Protesters threw smoke grenades at police who responded with tear gas in Budapest on Sunday as thousands of people rallied against a new “slave law” passed by the government of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

More than 15,000 people, according to local press reports, joined the demonstration — the first rally since Orban returned to power in 2010 to bring together all opposition parties, from greens to the far right, under the same banner.

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The protest was called by unions and opposition parties outraged at reforms that hike the annual overtime hours that employers can demand from 250 to 400 hours and allows payment to be delayed by up to three years.

The government says the changes are needed by employers short of manpower and will benefit those wanting to work extra hours.

Sunday’s protest ended up at Parliament Square, where protesters chanting “Orban get lost!” have been gathering since the law was adopted on Wednesday.

Protesters led by two opposition lawmakers later marched to Hungary’s public television headquarters to read a petition but were refused access.

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Protesters then hurled missiles and smoke grenades prompting police to respond with tear gas, as they have done in previous days.

AFP / PETER KOHALMIProtests in the past week have been the most violent in Hungary for over a decade with dozens arrested and at least 14 police injured

“They don’t negotiate with anyone. They just do whatever they want. They steal everything. It’s intolerable. It cannot go on,” said one protester, Zoli, a transport worker.

Protests in the past week have been the most violent in Hungary for over a decade with dozens arrested and at least 14 police injured.

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Other reforms passed by parliament, which is dominated by Orban’s ruling party, include a bill paving the way for new “administrative courts” to oversee public administration cases.

The justice minister Laszlo Trocsanyi, a close Orban ally, would oversee the courts, leading some to warn the premier could have near-total political influence over the judicial system.

Anger over the legislation has prompted opposition parties across the spectrum, who accuse Orban and his ruling Fidesz party of steering Hungary toward authoritarianism, to join forces.

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Pro-government public and commercial media have portrayed the protesters as anarchists and “mercenaries of George Soros”.

The Hungarian-born US billionaire Soros has long been accused by Orban of plotting to destabilise Hungary.


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Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview

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The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.

Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.

"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.

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2020 Election

‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News

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Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.

Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.

"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.

"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment

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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."

The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.

"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.

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