Quite a drop

Hungarian producer Kreinbacher's 2013 Prestige Brut in Magnum has won the title World Champion Classic Brut from a non-traditional grape at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London. The jury also voted Prestige Brut 2013 Magnum Hungary's best champagne. Kreinbacher's Brut Classic 2015 Magnum was selected Best in Class.

Wage growth at 10.1%

The average gross monthly wage stood at HUF 321.200 in August, up 10.1 percent on August 2017, the Central Statistical Office says. Gross wage growth has been in the double digits since early 2017, lifted by an agreement on minimum wage increases as well as a labour shortage. The average net monthly wage was 213,600 forints, also up 10.1 percent. Péter Virovácz, an ING Bank analyst, said the rise was considerably lower than the market expectation of 12.3 percent. Weaker-than-expected wage growth is mainly down to a lagging public sector, he said. In August, however, the private sector had outperformed on wage growth, exceeding the average for this year.

# Halloween and All Saint's Day in Hungary

# Halloween and All Saint's Day in Hungary

Jaguar to open centre

British car maker Jaguar will set up a new technical development centre in Budapest to focus on introducing new models. The facility will open early next year and employ 100 Hungarian engineers. Jaguar has similar "classical workshops of intellect" only in the UK, Ireland, the US and China.

Fitter than ever

Budapest Mayor István Tarlós has opened a new wellness centre comprising 12 pools within the Csillaghegy open-air spa that occupies over 7800 square metres in District III. The Csillaghegy baths is one of Budapest's oldest and largest such facilities that has now become one of the most modern, Tarlós told the event. It is part of a development scheme under which seasonal spas could remain open all year round, he said. The 3.9-billion-forint development at the facility now named Csillaghegy Arpad Spring Spa was funded by the Budapest municipal council and its company Budapest Spas and Thermal Baths.

# Hungary marks anniversary of 1956 Soviet reprisal

# Parkour competition in Salgótarján. Parkour is a training discipline in which practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment

Protest supports CEU

A few thousand people gathered in Budapest to express solidarity with Central European University, in a demonstration staged by Momentum Movement. Momentum leader András Fekete-Győr told them the government "wants to expel CEU from Hungary" because Prime Minister Viktor Orbán "is terrified of all those that have thoughts". He gave the prime minister until December 1 "to take his dirty, corrupted hands off the university" and called on Hungarians "to defend what belongs to them". The CEU has said that unless the university can emerge from its legal limbo by December 1, the new student intake for its American-accredited masters and doctoral programmes will study at the CEU's new campus in Vienna. CEU president and rector Michael Ignatieff said the decision by the trustees will come into effect on December 1, though hopefully a solution to the stand-off is still possible. Otherwise CEU would move to Vienna "given we cannot continue to operate legally in Budapest". Ruling Fidesz said Momentum "promotes the interests of businessman George Soros", and opposition MPs are backed by the US billionaire and "they are now paying their gratitude in front of the Soros university". CEU was "operating undisturbed" and the "hysteria around it is but a political ploy".

Games bid backed

The government is offering a financial guarantee to support Budapest's bid to host the 2023 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships. The IAAF will pick the host on December 4. President of IAAF Sebastian Coe has said Budapest is a preferred candidate. The IAAF puts the cost at 31.5 billion forints.

Festival books Norwegian

Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard will be guest of honour at the 26th Budapest International Book Festival next April. He is best known for his six-volume "Min Kamp" (My Struggle) autobiographical novels. In 2010 the series broke sales records in Norway, according to Oslo publisher Forlaget Oktober. It has been translated into 22 languages. Past guests of honour include Austrian poet Ernst Jandl, Hungarian-born Israeli author Ephraim Kishon, and Nobel-prize winners Imre Kertész of Hungary, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Guenter Grass of Germany.

# A road in Pest County covered with candy bars after an accident

Museum revamp finishes

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, formally reopening Budapest's renewed Museum of Fine Arts, noted the importance of preserving Hungary's culture, identity and sovereignty "amidst a European culture fight". He said: "We live in peace with our own culture and history which is a great gift in today's world. This is something we must value highly. ... We believe in ideals that have stood the test of time and hope that there will come a common order for which we can all strive; the Fine Arts Museum is an embodiment of that hope."

Mobile payments 'violation'

The Court of Justice of the European Union has said the establishment of a national mobile payment system and the exclusive rights granted to state-owned Nemzeti Mobilfizetési (NM) violate the EU's Service Directive. The court ruled that the system is not compatible with the provisions of the Service Directive relating to the freedom of establishment and noted that the measures taken by Hungary represent disproportionate restriction on the freedom to provide services. Since 1 July 2014 NM has operated the national mobile payment system, the use of which is mandatory for the mobile payment of public parking charges, road tolls, fares on public transport and fees connected with all the other services offered by a state body. The European Commission brought an action against Hungary believing that the payment system it adopted constitutes an unlawful state monopoly and infringes the provisions of the Services Directive. Hungary said the system satisfies a public need and can be considered a service of general economic interest – thus the provisions of the Directive apply to it only to a limited extent.

Chinese are coming

China Eastern Airlines, the world's seventh-largest airline company, will launch a direct flight between Shanghai and Budapest next summer, probably four times a week. China has become the world's top tourist-sending country and the number visiting Europe is expected to rise 70 percent over the next five years, according to Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó, who said they also tend to be the biggest spenders. There is strong competition among countries to attract them. The only direct air link between Hungary and China at present is the Budapest-Beijing flight. In the first eight months of 2018 the number of Chinese visiting Hungary rose14 percent and their number is projected to exceed 250,000 for the whole year. The Czech Republic expects to receive more than 500,000 Chinese tourists this year, and Prague has direct air links with three Chinese cities.

# The Danube at its alltime low in Budapest

# Almond tree in Pécs selected as tree of the year

Referendum bids fail

The National Election Committee (NVB) has rejected referendum bids submitted by two opposition parties on university tuition and scrapping health-care privileges for top government officials. Párbeszéd submitted questions on ensuring that state university tuition remains in the public sector and is free. NVB said the questions failed to define the term tuition and were otherwise too vague. Also, the budget law would have to be changed, it said. The Socialists submitted the questions on scrapping senior officials’ health-care privileges, but NVB said this concerned personal matters that are defined by parliamentary powers, and rejected the initiative for otherwise being ambiguous. The two parties vowed to appeal the decisions at the Kúria, the supreme court.

Inflation up to 3.8%

Consumer prices rose an annual 3.8 percent in October, up from a 3.6 percent increase in September, the Central Statistical Office said. It attributed the increase to higher vehicle fuel and tobacco prices. Prices in the category of goods that include vehicle fuel rose 7.8 percent, lifted by a 16.2 percent jump in fuel prices, while tobacco and spirits prices were up 5.1 percent, raised by a 7.3 percent increase in tobacco prices. Food prices rose 4.6 percent, household energy prices by 1.3 percent, consumer durable prices by 0.2 percent and service prices by 1.9 percent.

Gas 'enough for winter'

Natural gas reserves amount to 4.6 billion cubic metres, enough to cover 60 percent of full demand in the heating season, the innovation and technology ministry says. Hungary's own gas production equals one sixth of the total consumption, while the rest is imported mostly through pipelines via Ukraine and Austria, the ministry adds.

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