U.S. rejects talks with Hungary over higher education law

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

The United States has no intention of negotiating with Hungary about its new higher education law, which could force a top university founded by U.S. financier George Soros out of the country, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday. The Central European University (CEU) found itself in the eye of a political storm after Hungary’s parliament passed a law last month setting tougher conditions for the awarding of licenses to foreign-based universities. The law has triggered a series of street protests – the most recent on Sunday – against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government less than a year before a parliamentary election. Orban had proposed talks with the U.S. about the law, saying the reforms were meant to level the playing field for all universities in Hungary. But Tuesday’s response dashed any prospect of a compromise through talks with Washington. “The Government of Hungary should engage directly with affected institutions to find a resolution that allows them to continue to function freely and provide greater educational opportunity for the citizens of Hungary and the region,” the State Department said in a statement. “The U.S. Government has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary,” it said. Orban’s government said it had a clear interest in reaching an agreement “but unfortunately no support for this process has been forthcoming from the U.S. federal government.” Washington again urged Hungary to suspend implementation of the law, but Budapest rejected accusations the reforms were discriminatory or that they threatened academic freedom.

AG Jeff Sessions demands proof ‘sanctuary cities’ complying with immigration law

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will require cities and other local jurisdictions to prove that they are complying with federal law mandating that they share information with federal immigration authorities – or risk losing millions in grant funds. The directive issued Monday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to redefine terms of President Trump’s controversial executive order that would punish so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The general term describes more than 300 local government that have limited their cooperation with immigration officials. Sessions also said that the order would not put at risk all federal grant money, but would apply only to those funds administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.