Museum design rewarded

The design for a new Ethnographic Museum, part of the Liget Project in Budapest, has been awarded the prize for the best public service architecture in Europe at the International Property Awards in London. The award was presented to Benedek Gyorgyevics, Managing Director of Varosliget Zrt., which is heading the project in one of Europe’s oldest public parks. Judged by the world's top 80 international experts, the award was an important recognition of a public investment, Gyorgyevics said. And the prize was a commendation not only of Hungarian architecture but of Hungarian innovation and culture, too. The new Ethnographic Museum is designed by architecture firm NAPUR.

PM signs for Bush

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has written a message of condolence in a book opened for President George H.W. Bush at the US Embassy in Budapest. Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, died on November 30. Orbán was welcomed at the embassy gate by David Cornstein, the US ambassador, and the two men held talks after Orbán signed.

# The nation‘s Christmas tree erected in Kossuth square


Fidesz feeds off Jobbik

The ruling Fidesz-led alliance's base has strengthened while the fortunes of its main right-wing political foe, the Jobbik party, have waned in a poll involving personal interviews of 2000 voting-age adults by Nézőpont Institute between November 10 and 27. Fully 53 percent of decided voters support Fidesz, up 2 percent since the October survey and up 6 percent since the April general election. Nézőpont said it appeared extra Fidesz support was at the expense of Jobbik, whose base was 15 percent of the think-tank's latest sample, down from 17 percent in the previous survey and a 4 percent decline since April. MiHazank, the party formed by former Jobbik politicians, increased its voter base to 2 percent. The core support of the opposition Socialist Party's alliance with Parbeszed stayed on 10 percent while its support among all respondents nudged up a point to 6 percent, or around half a million potential voters. Altogether 38 percent of Nézőpont's entire sample backed the ruling alliance, or around three million voters. Jobbik's support in this category fell from 10 to 9 percent, or around 800,000 sympathisers.

Croatia tip in Euro 2020

Croatia is favourite in qualification group E for the Euro 2020 football championship, Hungary's Italian coach, Marco Rossi, has said. Wales, Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan are also in the group, with the top two going through to the finals. "Croatia is by far the best squad in the group," Rossi said on the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) website. “As for the others, it will be mainly up to us what results we achieve. The Croats don't need to be introduced to anyone, the runner-up in this year's World Cup represents a different quality than the other four teams. Hungary will probably wage a tough battle with Wales and Slovakia for the second place. Nor should we underrate the Azeri team." MLSZ president Sándor Csányi said "Hungary and Hungarian fans will in any case benefit from the European Championship because Budapest will co-host the tournament." It will be held in 12 cities in 12 countries.

# Christmas nostalgia tram runs again. Check for schedule

MP out over slurs

Conservative opposition Jobbik MP István Szávay has said he will resign his parliamentary seat. Commercial news channel Hir TV had presented a sound recording in which Szávay told a party congress he had verbally and physically insulted a woman in a pub who he said called him a "stinking Nazi". He confirmed that the recording including anti-Semitic comments was authentic but said he was only joking in saying he had physically insulted her. His resignation was taking "responsibility in a proportionate manner" for everything that had been "said in a secretly recorded private conversation six months ago".

Religious film wins

The historical drama “The Devoted” directed by Zsolt Pozsgai has won the main prize for best feature film at this year's Monaco International Film Festival. Taking place 500 years ago, the film tells of the meeting and famous religious debate between John Calvin, a founder of the Protestant church, and Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesuits. The film was made to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

# Szepetnek in Zala County makes gingerbread copy of the village

Dyeing method acknowledged

Blueprint dyeing, a traditional Hungarian cloth dyeing technique, has been admitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s intangible world heritage list. The technique, which was nominated jointly by Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, spread in central Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. A pattern was traced on cotton or silk with a water-resistant material and then the fabric dipped into indigo dye, giving it a characteristic and often intricate beauty. UNESCO countries signed an agreement on preserving such heritage in 2003. Of Hungarian achievements, the Kodaly music education method, the Mohacs Buso festival, the "dance house" method to preserve Hungarian folk dances, Matyo folk art and traditional falconry have been listed.

'End EU funds abuse’

The opposition LMP and Jobbik parties are supporting a European citizens' initiative to "Stop fraud and abuse of EU funds". The initiative requires a million signatures to be submitted in the next 12 months from at least seven member states for the EC to decide on taking action. At a press conference held by the two parties, LMP co-leader Laszlo Loránt Keresztes said corruption had been prevalent in Hungary since the democratic regime change, and had by now "reached a historic level". He said graft was the reason why rural areas have been lagging behind in development, forcing many young Hungarians to work abroad. Tibor Bana, Jobbik's deputy leader, urged making EU funding transparent. He called it "outrageous" that it was "law-abiding Hungarians" who had to pay the fine levied on the country by Brussels for tendering irregularities "linked to the pals of the prime minister". The initiative can be signed on the parties' homepages.

# White tiger born in Győr Zoo

20% of women abused

One in five women suffer abuse in Hungary, clinical psychologist Hajnalka Kalamár has said on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Because it's uncomfortable to share, many women don't reveal they've been abused, thus the actual number could be much higher, Kalamar said on public television news channel M1. One woman dies from abuse each week in Hungary, she noted.

‘Left-leaning’ media blasted

Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communication and relations at the Prime Minister's Office, has slammed coverage of recent Hungarian events in English-speaking left-leaning media outlets. Kovács said that at The New York Times, "the editors and publishers ... are hot and bothered about the [Hungarian] prime minister's 'right-wing, nativist, nationalist politics’." And "the Manhattan clique is joined ... by a columnist at The Guardian, a former professor at CEU by coincidence, who mourns the sad day when the CEU was forced out of Hungary", referring to the Central European University relocating US-accredited courses to Vienna. "Except it wasn't." The part of CEU that is fully accredited in Hungary continues to operate in Budapest, he said. "To progressive elitism ... the most perilous threat comes from the democratically elected governments of nation states who dare to defend the Judeo-Christian roots of our European culture, our national identity and sovereignty and say no to unbridled immigration."

# The statue of Sisi, the former queen of Hungary, unveiled in Budapest‘s Madách square

Q3 GDP figure raised

Gross domestic product in the third quarter grew by an annual 4.9 percent, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) has said in a second reading of data. The KSH raised the figure from 4.8 percent in a first reading on November 14, mainly on the better-than-expected performance of market-based services and strong growth in higher value added branches of industry.

6000 may be HIV+

About 2000-2200 people in Hungary have tested HIV positive and 3000-4000 could be infected but unaware, János Szlávik, senior doctor at the Del-Pest Centrum Hospital, said ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. Szlávik said 200-300 new patients are registered annually, and more screening facilities should be set up and home HIV tests should be made available in pharmacies. He urged that people at higher risk of infection should take the test.

# Chain bridge lit in blue on Saint Andrew‘s day, Scotland‘s official national day

Bank HQ on way

The International Investment Bank will relocate its headquarters to Budapest, most likely in the second half of 2019 but the full relocation from Moscow will take 2-3 years.

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