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Hungary has taken the helm of the European Union, even as a controversial new law that has sparked concerns over media freedom in the country comes into force.

The country will have the six-month rotating presidency at a crucial time for the 27-nation bloc. Chief amongst the issues Hungary will have to grapple with are the eurozone debt crisis and negotiations over the EU's long-term budget.

Alarm bells are ringing in Brussels, however, about Hungary's domestic political agenda.

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, came to power in April, when his centre-right Fidesz party won an unprecedented two-thirds majority in the parliament, giving him the power to change laws and amend the constitution with little opposition.

Critics say he has set about creating a one-party state, with independent institutions either abolished or taken over by his allies.

The latest issue to raise alarm among other EU countries has been the creation of a new watchdog agency to regulate Hungarian media content, with effect from Saturday.

Shares of Imax Corp. (IMAX: News ), a large-screen movie theater chain, surged more than 4% on Friday after the UK newspaper Daily Mail reported that Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. (SNE: News ) might be preparing to acquire the company for $40 per share. The report also said that diversified media and entertainment conglomerate Walt Disney Co. (DIS: News ) might be interested in acquiring Imax.

However, Imax said Friday that it was not aware of any corporate developments to account for the stock trading activity on the same day.

Shares of Imax have increased over the past year, buoyed by improving revenue and the success of 3D blockbusters. As of September 30, 2010, there were 470 IMAX theatres comprising of 348 commercial and 122 institutional, opereview in 45 countries.

In November 2007, Imax signed a four-picture deal with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA). The agreement marked the company's first multiple 3D picture deal with a Hollywood studio.

In April this year, Imax signed a deal with Warner Bros. to release up to 20 titles in Imax between 2010 and 2013. In January, Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA), Sony and Imax announced a joint venture to develop the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network in the U.S.

IMAX, which has a market capitalization of $1.79 billion, closed Friday's regular trading session at $28.07, up $1.21 or 4.50% on a volume of 25.38 million shares.

The new year will bring important changes to U.S. health insurance rules, as new provisions related to last year's health-care overhaul take effect.

The new rules are designed to help those caught in Medicare's prescription drug "doughnut hole," offer seniors more preventive care, and limit how much of customers' money health-insurance companies can keep for overhead and profit.

They all go into effect Saturday.

These provisions were not affected by a Dec. 13 federal court ruling in Virginia that declared another piece of the new health-care law - the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance - unconstitutional.

The judge allowed implementation of the overhaul to continue until a higher court rules on the issue.

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