Funds for Chain Bridge

The government will provide HUF 7 billion in supplemental central funding for the renovation of the Chain Bridge and the Castle Hill Tunnel, as requested by the Budapest metropolitan council. The cabinet has asked that the renovation should not take longer than 18 months. Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister's Office, said that though this criterion would require serious organising, it was feasible. The renovation will also cover Széchenyi Square on the bridge's Pest side.


Fitch rating solid

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Hungary's Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at “BBB-“, just over the investment grade threshold, in a scheduled review. The outlook for the rating is “positive”. "Hungary's ratings balance strong structural indicators compared with 'BBB' peers against higher public and net external debt, and risks from policy unpredictability and pro-cyclical fiscal policies," Fitch said. "The Positive Outlook indicates the improving trend on net external and government debt."


EC aid at border

The European Commission will pay EUR 54 million to Hungary, covering part of the EUR 900 million the country has spent on protecting its southern borders since the start of the migration crisis, by which they recognise that Hungary has been protecting the EU's external borders, the minister heading the Prime Minister's Office, Gergely Gulyás, has said. The EC has approved more than 300 million euros of the total expense and will transfer the currently available 54 million euros in the near future, he said. When the border fence was being built, everybody was debating whether it was indeed necessary and if Hungary was actually protecting the EU's external borders, Gulyás noted. The EC was not providing the funds directly for the construction of the fence but to contribute to other security expenses.


Ferencváros choose Rebrov

Ukrainian coach Serhiy Rebrov will manage Hungarian first-division soccer team Ferencváros. "We negotiated with great names but finally opted for him. His achievements at the helm of Dynamo Kiev speak for themselves," Ferencváros CEO Pál Orosz said. Rebrov, 44, is currently ranked 47th on the list of top managers, and during his term in Kiev he was 14th for a while. Orosz did not disclose the duration of Rebrov's contract. Most recently, Rebrov coached Saudi team Al-Ahli. As manager of Dynamo Kiev from 2014 to 2017, he won two championship titles and took the Ukrainian Cup twice. He replaces Thomas Doll of Germany, who resigned from Ferencváros after nearly five years by mutual agreement.


Széchenyi statue attacked

A statue of Hungarian statesman István Széchenyi has been vandalised in Satu Mare, northern Romania. Someone painted “This is Romania" in Romanian on the plinth, along with the red-yellow-blue of the Romanian national flag. Satu Mare mayor Gábor Kereskényi said the message was "an attack on all inhabitants" of the town. Széchenyi, a 19th-century Hungarian politician dubbed "the greatest Hungarian", stood for a united, prosperous and free Europe, he said. "The concept of progress is not exclusive to Hungarians and isn't directed against anyone. All respectable people agree with it..." Kereskényi said. Diverse nationalities had lived alongside each other peacefully for nearly 30 years, but during the past months "certain politicians have been using impressionable people of suspicious backgrounds" to incite Hungarians and Romanians against each other.


Ruling parties strong

Support for the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrats has remained high, with at least a third of every demographic group expressing favour, pollster Nézőpont says. Citing a poll prepared in August, Nézőpont said the only opposition party that has over 10 percent support is Jobbik. Among all voters, 41 percent support the ruling parties, the opposition Socialists-Párbeszéd alliance has 6 percent, Democratic Coalition (DK) 4 percent, LMP 3 percent, Momentum 2 percent, the satirical Two-tailed Dog Party 1 percent and the Mi Hazánk Movement also 1 percent. The Fidesz-Christian Democrats would have received 54 percent on the party list if an election had been held in August, a 1 percent drop compared to July. Jobbik would have received 17 percent, unchanged from July, and the Mi Hazánk Movement founded by Jobbik dissidents would have received 1 percent. DK would have received 7 percent, 1 percent up from July, and LMP would have reached the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament. The joint list of the Socialists-Párbeszéd would have received 9 percent support in August.


It’s the Sziget nation

This year's Sziget Festival in Budapest drew a record 565,000 fans, organisers have reported. Chief organiser Tamás Kádár said earlier that the 2018 festival cost one billion forints more than 2017 and a further increase of HUF 500 million is planned for 2019, with correspondingly attractive performers.

#
Sziget welcomes its 9 millionth visitor. the girl from switzerland received a lifetime pass to the festival


The costly capital

Real estate prices continued to rise over the past 12 months in Budapest, with the biggest increase in residential Hűvösvölgy on the Buda side, business daily Világgazdaság has reported. Property prices per square metre exceeded 600,000 forints on average in mid-August, up 20 percent on a year ago, the paper said, citing a recent survey by the portal Ingatlan.com. But leafy Hűvösvölgy had seen an unprecedented 66 percent rise, bringing the per square metre price on the market to over 1.1 million forints. Demand in Hűvösvölgy's affluent 2nd district and the adjoining 12th district was fuelled by relatively low supply. Prices also went up at an unprecedented rate for pre-fab homes in the outskirts, with the highest, 43 percent growth in Pesterzsébet. There, the per square metre price rose to 405,000 forints during the period.


Kurdish pair ‘backed terror’

Csongrád County prosecutor's office has charged a Kurdish man and woman with supporting a terrorist group. The suspects are accused of supporting militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organisation, in northern Iraq between 2010 and 2015. The indictment says the man, who is a Turkish citizen but of Kurdish nationality, joined the group in 2009, and the woman of Iranian citizenship joined in 2010. They are both said to have received military training and served under the PKK in Iraq. Their job was allegedly to transport clothes and food to the units returning from and fighting in Turkey. The prosecutor's office said that in 2014 the suspects were transferred to Syria to carry out logistics operations under the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, the PKK's local affiliate. The suspects had become romantically involved in Syria. They had fled to Iraq, married and in 2016 set off for Europe with the help of people smugglers. On 6 December 2017 they had submitted asylum applications at the transit zone in Hungarian border town Tompa, which were rejected.


More for electric vehicles

The government ended a subsidy programme for the purchase of electric vehicles in August but will replace it with a simpler scheme in October, the Innovation and Technology Ministry has said. The 2 billion forint funding allocation for the previous programme will be topped up with 300 million forints, the ministry said. Legal and natural persons may apply for up to 1.5 million forints in funding per vehicle under the programme. The subsidies have supported the purchase of more than 1,000 electric vehicles since their launch in 2016.


Mandela park wanted

A park in Budapest's south-western District 11 should be named after Nelson Mandela, the city council has decided. The decision will require approval by the district council. Nobel Peace Prize winner Mandela (1918-2013) was the Republic of South-Africa's first black president, in 1994-1999. A street in the northern District 3 will be named after Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Archbishop of Warsaw, who was well known for his principled stand against Nazism and communism.


M1 widening set

A 43-kilometre section of Hungary's motorway M1, connecting Budapest with Vienna, will be upgraded and extended with a third lane, Innovation and Technology Minister László Palkovics has said. "M1 is Hungary's most overloaded motorway, practically the sole transit traffic artery between the two capital cities,” he said. “With traffic approaching the tolerance limit, the motorway cannot be used by a lot more vehicles." Upgrading costing 25 billion forints would start now and should last until late 2019. Construction of the third lane should begin in 2021.


Virus fears allayed

Hungary is not in danger of succumbing to an epidemic of West Nile virus, the chief medical officer, Attila Kovacs, has said. Reports of the illness primarily involved people in chronic health, with a weakened immune system, he said. West Nile virus had been present in Hungary for 50 years and there were usually 10-40 cases reported each year. Last year there had been 23 registered cases, and an increase this year was due to an early start to the season.


Hungary luring investors

Hungary is the world's seventh most favoured investment target, according to the IBM Global Location Trends 2017 report, state secretary for communications Tamás Menczer has said. In terms of high value-added foreign investments, Hungary is also at the forefront, ranking 16th, he said. Menczer noted a favourable economic environment for investors, one of the lowest personal income tax rates in Europe and its lowest corporation tax. Based on 2017 data Serbia came first, next Lithuania then Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not adjusted for the size of population the United States was first, China second and Mexico third.


Quicker foreclosures: DK

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has criticised the speeding up of property foreclosures that it says has been signalled by the head of the chamber of court bailiffs. DK deputy leader László Varju said that although the party has no knowledge of any specific bill on quicker home evictions, they believe ruling Fidesz wants to encourage foreclosures. Varju said evictions were being carried out on 15 properties a day, mostly for mortgage debts, which showed that Fidesz "has sided with the banks … This will not be the year of families but rather the year of banks."


# Hungary celebrates its 1122nd birthday on 20 August

# the Hungarian team in Kyrgyzstan at the opening ceremony of the World Nomad Games, an international competition dedicated to ethnic sports practised in Central Asia

# A competitor jumps in the Danube at the river crossing event of the Budapest Urban Games

# Former prime minister Péter Boross (left) turns 90

# Castle wall climbing competition in Eger

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