HUNGARY will hold elections in April under a new system the opposition says is an attempt by Prime Minister Viktor Orban to keep power. The April 6 election will include only one round of voting instead of two, cuts to the number of lawmakers and a ban on paid campaign ads.
Mr Orban, whose Fidesz party and a smaller ally secured a two-thirds majority in the legislature in 2010, seeks to be the first head of government since communism to serve two consecutive terms.
FOOTBALLERS' SEX TRIAL
THE trial of Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema opened yesterday with both French footballers facing three years in prison for having sex with Zahia Dehar, an underage prostitute. Mr Ribery (30), a Bayern Munich winger and Mr Benzema (26), a Real Madrid striker, also face fines of up to €45,000 on charges they paid for sex with Ms Dehar while she was under 18.
Neither attended in person at the start of the trial in Paris. Ms Dehar, who has rocketed to fashion stardom thanks to Karl Lagerfeld since the charges were made, was absent from court, where she has been cited as a witness.
X-FACTOR SINGING VISA
A FILIPINA caregiver who has won Israel's version of the X-Factor will be allowed to stay in the country to pursue a music career, the Immigration Authority said yesterday. Rose Fostanes (47), won the television singing contest, but her visa only allowed her work in Israel as a caregiver, not in show business.
Ms Fostanes was granted an artists' visa, allowing her to stay in Israel and work as a singer. She impressed the judges with a tear-jerking rendition of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' on the show's final.
DE NIRO'S 'DAD' FILM
ROBERT De Niro has made a documentary about his father called 'Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr,' which has premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
De Niro Sr was an abstract expressionist painter, part of the post-World War II art scene which produced such talent as Jackson Pollack. He was even endorsed by the famed art collector and socialite Peggy Guggenheim. He died in 1993 at 71.
BUMBLEBEES could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely used pesticide, a study suggests. Experts fear smaller bees will be less effective at foraging for nectar and carrying out their vital task of distributing pollen.
Tests in the UK showed how a pyrethroid pesticide stunted worker bumblebee larvae growth, causing them to hatch out reduced in size.