Building 'will be icon'

The House of Hungarian Music, to be built as part of the Liget Budapest Project in the City Park, has won the award for best public building in Europe at the International Property Awards in London. The company's technical deputy director, Attila Sághi, said the building designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is expected to become one of Budapest's iconic buildings. It is scheduled to open at the end of 2021, though the structure is to be completed within nine months. The environmentally friendly building next to the lake will feature interactive exhibitions presenting Hungary's rich musical heritage, and will run music pedagogy workshops and present music events indoors and outdoors. It aims to create a continuity of indoor and outdoor spaces, linking the natural and the built environment. From among the category winners, a jury will pick the buildings for the World's Best on December 2.


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# Candles lit in Hungarian cemeteries on All Saints' Day


Collision captain let out

The captain of a cruise ship that collided with a sightseeing boat in Budapest in May has been placed under criminal supervision after a non-binding court ruling, the captain's attorney, M. Gábor Tóth, has said. The 64-year-old Ukrainian captain of the Viking Sigyn would thus be released from custody, but the municipal chief prosecutor's office said it will appeal. After the Viking Sigyn and a sightseeing boat collided, seven South Korean tourists were rescued from the water but the other 26 and a crew of two Hungarians drowned. The captain is under suspicion of failing to provide assistance after the collision.


'Easier' to do business

Hungary has moved up one place to 52nd in the World Bank's annual ease-of-doing business ranking. The score was 73.4, compared to 86.8 for the leader, New Zealand, and 20.0 for Somalia, in last place. Ahead of Hungary was Poland, in 40th place, the Czech Republic, 41st, and Slovakia, 45th. The World Bank noted in the Doing Business report that Hungary had upgraded the internal electronic tax system while reducing payroll tax. Hungary had also raised its overtime allowance to 400 hours per calendar year, making employment regulation more business-friendly. "Authorities could benefit from the experience of Hungary where employers have the freedom to use fixed-term contracts of up to five years for tasks of a permanent nature," the World Bank said.


# CV-22b Osprey of US Air Force in exhibition flight above Budapest


Martyrs monument instated

A reconstructed post-World War I monument dedicated to the martyrs of the communist Red Terror in 1919 has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and House Speaker László Kövér next to Parliament. "We are commemorating the victims of political terror today," Kövér said, referring to the assassination of former prime minister Istvan Tisza 101 years ago. He said "the 1,000 or so people who took the entire country hostage after the 1919 communist takeover were driven by angry anti-Christianism, ardent internationalism, an intense hate of the nation, conscious efforts to disintegrate families and false slogans". The Hungarian republic of councils, lasting for 133 days in 1919, claimed over 500 victims. The monument replaced a memorial of Imre Nagy, Hungary's prime minister during the 1956 Uprising, which was relocated to nearby Jászai Mari Square.


Winter shelter 'growing'

Homeless shelters in Hungary have started expanding their capacities to welcome an additional 1600 people over winter, the Human Resources Ministry says. The shelters can house more than 10,000 people in total, according to the ministry. Daytime warming shelters across the country have room for more than 7600 people. Rough sleepers in need of long-term care can turn to the rehabilitation institute for homeless people and specialised shelters that have room for a total of 674 people, the ministry says. This year, the government would be spending 12.1 billion forints on caring for the homeless, up from an annual budget of over 9 billion forints in recent years. A 2016 survey among Hungary's homeless by the Shelter Foundation found that two-thirds reside in rural areas and their conditions are continuously deteriorating. Out of the 10,206 people surveyed, 3422 slept in public spaces and 6784 in homeless shelters.


# Rubens, van Dyck and the Splendour of Flemish Painting exHibition opens in Museum of Fine Arts


Győr mayor quits

Zsolt Borkai, the re-elected mayor of Győr who was linked to a sex scandal, has resigned after the first meeting of the city's assembly. Borkai, who recently left the ruling Fidesz party, said in an open letter that he had intended to carry on leading "despite the relentless stream of accusations". He had changed his mind to avoid the "events around him" from hindering the development of Győr. Video footage published shortly before the October municipal elections showed Borkai cavorting on a yacht. He was re-elected by a narrow margin then quit Fidesz a few days later.


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Hungary remembers victims of 1956 revolution


Tourism in 'golden age'

Hungary's tourism sector is "enjoying a golden age", the head of the Hungarian Tourism Agency says, arguing that the sector has never been as well funded. The number of tourists last year was 1.5 times the country's population, Zoltán Guller told the Tourism Summit 2019 conference. The rise in the income of hotels exceeded the global average and the number of foreign tourists visiting was double the European Union average, he said. Occupancy rates at four- and five-star hotels are averaging about 80 percent. Guller said the agency would continue its planned developments and engage in more modern marketing. It will design and build new sightseeing boats for the River Danube and Lake Balaton. Next summer it will organise "Europe's most beautiful fireworks display" and in the autumn it will open the Hungarian pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai. Guller said that by 2022 the number of guest nights in commercial lodgings would reach 50 million and the tourism sector would account for 16 percent of GDP. Then the goal would be to improve the quality of life of the sector's workers and local residents through tourism.


More flights to China

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has welcomed new direct flights connecting Budapest and Chengdu and Xi'an after talks with airline China Eastern in Shanghai. Chengdu and Xi'an are the capitals of Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, respectively. This brings the number of flights between China and Hungary to 11, he noted. Competition to attract Chinese holidaymakers is harsh in Central and Eastern Europe because they are good spenders and so contribute greatly to the target country's economy, Szijjártó said. He was in Shanghai for the second China International Import Expo.


# Arnold Nagy riding Fantázia (in front) wins National Gallop for the City of Temerin (now located in Serbia)


Polt, Handó to top posts

Parliament has re-elected Péter Polt as the public prosecutor for another nine years and appointed Tünde Handó, the outgoing head of the national judicial office, to the Constitutional Court for 12 years. Polt's re-election proposed by President János Áder was approved by 134-24 votes. His current mandate was approved in December 2010 and will expire next month. He also held the post between 2000 and 2006. Handó's appointment was approved by 134-27. She was nominated by the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance and will take over from István Stumpf.


Gross wages up 11.5%

The average gross wage for full-time workers grew an annual 11.5 percent to 358,876 forints in August, the Central Statistical Office says. Net wages grew at the same pace, to 238,653 forints. Calculating with 12-month inflation of 3.1 percent in August, real wages were up 8.1 percent. Commenting on the data, Finance Minister Mihály Varga noted that in the first half of 2019 the economy grew an annual 5 percent, leading to persistent growth in wages, especially in the service sector, industry, construction, commerce and agriculture. The current investment boom has also led to increased demand for labour, he said, adding that the higher minimum wage both for skilled and unskilled workers had put upward pressure on wages in sectors such as agriculture in which wages are lower than average.


Vona quits Jobbik

Gábor Vona, the former leader of nationalist Jobbik, has left the opposition party. Jobbik said he will head a think-tank, the Second Reform Foundation, dedicated to preserving Hungary's traditions. The leader since 2006, Vona withdrew from party politics after the April 2018 general election. Jobbik originally cast itself as a radical nationalist party before rebranding as a moderate right-wing force.


# Quadruplets born in Debrecen


Sell-out at new stadium

Tickets for the inaugural match at Budapest's Puskás Ferenc Arena, a state-funded, UEFA category 4 stadium that can seat almost 68,000, sold out hours after they went on sale. Hungary will play Uruguay in a friendly on November 15.

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