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Hungary defies protests to pass into law 'anti-Soros' university bill

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By Alasdair Sandford  with REUTERS
Hungary defies protests to pass into law 'anti-Soros' university bill

<p>Hungary’s president signed into law on Monday a controversial bill on foreign universities seen as targeting an international school founded by US financier George Soros.</p> <p>Sunday saw one of the biggest protests in Budapest against Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government, people calling in vain for the president to veto the measure.</p> <p>It’s said to symbolise the clash between two philosophies: international openness as promoted by Soros, and Orban-style nationalism.</p> <p>From now on foreign universities are required to have campuses both in Budapest and their home country. </p> <p>The Central European University – founded in the Hungarian capital in 1991 after the collapse of communism – is the only international college with no branch abroad. </p> <p>Now there are fears it could be forced out – despite the protests and the backing of hundreds of international academics including 17 Nobel laureates.</p> <p>The law passed through parliament in a matter of days.</p> <p>Orban said on Monday that Hungary was the victim of a “disinformation campaign”, saying the government did not close down universities but simply insisted that they were governed by the same rules.</p>