World Briefs: Moscow angry at U.S. fines over Jewish WWII booty

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Omar Idilbi of the Local Coordination Committees activist group said the government attack took place on Tuesday and left at least 37 people dead.

He said his figure has not been updated since Wednesday and that more bodies have been found since then.

Youssef al-Homsi, an activist based in Homs, also said at least 100 people were killed, including dozens of women and children.

He sent The Associated Press via Skype a list of 100 names said to have been killed on Tuesday. In addition to whole families, the list included individual names of 15 women and 10 children.

HUNGARY

Homeless face winter, fear return of penalties

BUDAPEST — Homeless men and women huddle on street corners amid Budapest’s majestic domed palaces, shivering under old blankets and cardboard boxes in frigid winter weather.

It’s an image that critics say Prime Minister Viktor Orban doesn’t want the world to see.

And if he has his way, the homeless could be fined and even jailed for sleeping outside — even though some of the country’s homeless shelters already are overflowing and short of beds.

Mr. Orban’s punitive ideas for the homeless have set him up for his latest clash with the constitutional court and civil rights groups as he tries to reshape the country in a hard-line image by centralizing power.

Since winning power in 2010, Mr. Orban and his party have undermined independent institutions and democratic standards in a nation that was once an icon of democratic struggle for throwing off communism in 1989.

Now Mr. Orban is carrying out an informal referendum at town hall meetings around the country to gauge support for a constitutional amendment that would enshrine punishments for the homeless in the charter itself.

Hungary’s homeless policy has revived accusations by human rights groups that Mr. Orban’s ruling Fidesz party cares little about the country’s disadvantaged.

In just one recent controversy, one of the party’s founding members, journalist Zsolt Bayer wrote in a newspaper column that many of the country’s Gypsies, or Roma — an impoverished minority that faces entrenched discrimination — “are animals” and “unfit for coexistence.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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