150,000 visitors for caveThe

Tapolca Lake Cave Visitor Centre, near Lake Balaton, has had almost 150,000 visitors since its opening early last year, head of the Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate Zoltán Puskás said on Tuesday. Nature conservation developments worth HUF 390 million, co-funded with European Union money, were completed at the park last autumn, Puskás said.

Hosszú top swimmer again

International swimming association FINA has selected Hungary’s Katinka Hosszú best female swimmer of the year for the second year in a row. Hosszú won ahead of American Katie Ledecky and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom. At a meeting of its bureau in Budapest on Sunday, FINA announced that the aquatic world championships will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2021, and in Doha, Qatar, in 2023.

Miskolc slum clearance ‘won’t stop’

The local government of Miskolc is committed to carrying on eliminating slums on the city’s outskirts, Mayor Ákos Kriza said on Tuesday. Kriza said the city would appeal to the Kuria, the supreme court, against a decision of Hungary’s equal opportunities authority (NEKI) that was upheld by a court on Monday.

NEKI said last summer that Miskolc council had been in breach of the law when it evicted people from slums mainly inhabited by Roma families. Kriza said eliminating the slums was “one of the most important of the city’s policies” and the policy enjoyed broad support, including backing by 35,000 residents who signed a petition. The mayor insisted that Monday’s court decision only meant the council should prepare a more detailed action plan for continuing. “This is all we are obliged to do and nothing more,” he said, adding that NEKI was exaggerating the substance of the court ruling. Miskolc would not offer housing to anyone who “fails to pay bills, to criminals or people who cannot keep to the norms of social behaviour”. Last August the local government had the larger part of an apartment block on the outskirts demolished. Nine apartments in the municipally-owned building were pulled down, while the remaining one, which a family refused to vacate, was left intact.

Teachers plan protest, strike

Teachers are preparing to hold a nationwide demonstration over demands for better conditions, union head Piroska Galló said on Monday. The chairwoman of teacher trade union PSZ said the strike committee had formulated 25 demands, including a drastic reduction in the curriculum and the number of compulsory classroom hours. Unless the demands were met they would strike. One demand is fair salaries because in the current system teachers do not get paid based on how much they work. They also want to see the pressure lifted from students. The curriculum is too demanding and the days are too long for the younger students, PSZ says. Galló confirmed that the strike committee held informal talks with Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog last Friday. According to Galló, Balog indicated that the government is not prepared to make the changes demanded, thus the union opted for the demonstration. If the government refused to meet any of the demands, there would be no other choice than to strike, and this could happen as early as March.

Promenade named for LantosA

promenade connecting Viza and Révész streets was named after Hungarian-born former United States Congressman Tom Lantos in Budapest on Monday in a ceremony marking the politician’s birthday. Addressing the event in District XIII where Lantos used to live, US Ambassador Colleen Bell said Lantos had done much to benefit Hungary and had been proud of being Hungarian. She said Lantos had worked for the good of both the US and Hungary, for strengthening Hungary’s relations with the West and towards ensuring stability, security and well-being in his home country. Bell said that although naming the promenade marked only a minor change on Budapest’s map, it reinforced the values the congressman stood for. He had firmly believed that, as allies and friends, the US and Hungary could thrive together, and the promenade symbolised the bonds between the two countries.

A message by US Vice-President Joe Biden was read out, saying Lantos made it his “life-long work to fight against the evil that he had seen first-hand and to defend others against the suffering it caused”. Lantos had never forgotten his Hungarian roots, Biden wrote. It was fitting that the street section running in front of his one-time school now bore his name.

Pompeii relics for Szeged

Some 120 objects unearthed at the site of the ancient Roman city Pompeii will be exhibited in the Mora Ferenc Museum of Szeged in summer. The 2000-year-old relics, borrowed mostly from the Archaeology Museum of Naples and to be presented in central Europe for the first time, will be displayed with contemporaneous objects from other Hungarian museums. Ottó Fogas, head of the Szeged museum, said that so far the collection has only been on display in large museums such as the British Museum. The Szeged exhibition will last for six months.

2024 Olympics venues chosen

Budapest City Council has approved the venues if it secures the 2024 Olympic Summer Games.

The two venues are made up of altogether seven clusters: the Danube area of Margaret Island, the Olympic Park and Obuda Island, with the second venue encompassing the Heroes’ Square, Puskas Ferenc Stadium, Fair Centre and Nepliget (People’s Park). The venues were approved with 21 votes for, one against and nine abstentions. The council rejected an initiative by the Socialists, green LMP, the Democratic Coalition and the Dialogue for Hungary party in which they again proposed a referendum on the Olympic bid. The proposal said the Olympics is a “very good” opportunity to carry out urban development projects, and the bid would further encourage completing development projects currently on the agenda.

The bid would allow completion of a complex development concept as opposed to simple “isolated projects”. Budapest’s bid follows the model of the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona with a so-called centralised poly-cluster configuration promoting larger scale developments. Under the proposal, the Olympic Park near the Danube in southern Budapest would feature the track and field stadium, some other sports facilities and the Olympic village.

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