The Budapest Times is unrivalled among English-language print publications in the capital for its coverage of the week’s most important national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily in a major European city. Here, in one concise package, we present some of the important and fascinating news developments of the past seven days.
Left-leaning daily Népszava is looking for investors and contributors because its Swiss owners say they are no longer able to finance the paper, Elza Láposi, the managing director of Népszava Lapkiadó publishing company, said on Tuesday. Népszava was launched in 1873 as a social-democratic newspaper and was the official organ of trade unions until it was privatised after the regime change. It has a staff of about 70. Láposi said it needs at least 10,000 new subscribers or monthly funding of HUF 10-15 million to survive. She said the allocation of state advertising is “shameful”. While Népszava with a circulation of 14,000 had received HUF 29 million from such ads during January 2013 to June 2014, competitors Magyar Nemzet and Magyar Hírlap printing a combined 45,000 copies had received a total HUF 1.5 billion. Pictured is editor-in-chief Péter Németh at Tuesday’s press conference.
A company owned by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani has purchased the former Hungarian Ballet Institute building and plans to make it a hotel, the online edition of Hungarian weekly Heti Válasz has reported. The building, originally called Dreschler Palace, is opposite the Opera House on Andrássy út. Heti Válasz, which did not specify the purchase price, identified the sheikh’s company as Luxembourg-registered Balett Properties SA, which bought the building from Portugal’s QPR Investimentos SA. Hamad is chairman of the board of directors of Qatar Islamic Bank and is on the board of directors of Credit Suisse Group. The House of Thani has ruled Qatar since the mid-1800s.
Four-year plan for capital’s new congress centre
Preparations have started to build a congress centre with a capacity of 4,000-5,000 people and the project is planned to be completed in four years, the government commissioner in charge of priority projects in Budapest has said. Balázs Fürjes said Budapest lacks a modern congress centre that meets 21st-century requirements and a capacity of at least 4,000. The project is being prepared based on international experience, Fürjes added. It would be important for the new centre to be designed by Hungarian architects and built by Hungarian firms.
US envoy wants better Central Europe gas security
Natural gas supplies must be developed between central and southeast European countries to increase energy security in the region, US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Carlos Pascual has said. Pascual led a delegation to a two-day forum in Budapest organised by the Foreign Ministry focusing on energy security in the region. He held talks with Hungarian government representatives and Ukrainian government officials attending the forum. Pascual said the event discussed ways to make viable the interconnectors linking gas networks, for instance between Hungary and Slovakia, and Hungary and Romania. Croatia could become an important player once the LNG regasification terminal is completed on Krk island, he said.
Hungarian polymath Otto Herman was honoured with a video animation commemorating his life, projected onto the slopes of Gellért Hill on the Night of Museums on Saturday. The video presented Herman’s works in science, ethnography, linguistics and archaeology, and spectators were able to watch from between Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge from the Pest side of the Danube.
Chinese e-commerce giant to launch Hungarian website
Chinese online retail giant Yiwubuy is planning to launch the Hungarian website hu.yiwubuy.com where customers will place orders in English and Hungarian directly with wholesalers. Yiwubuy provides product details to customers, and offers commercial consulting on services and on communication relating to supply and demand. It is owned by Zhejiang China Commodities City Group, which incorporates Zhejiang-based processing companies in the form of an e-commerce group. Speaking in Budapest, Yiwubuy CEO Wang Jianjun said his company is hoping to work together with local partners looking to buy Chinese products.
Hungary and Turkmenistan have signed bilateral cooperation agreements during the visit of the country’s president to Budapest. Hungary-Turkmenistan trade turnover is “relatively modest” but Turkmenistan’s economic modernisation programme offers good opportunities for Hungarian companies, President János Áder said after talks with his counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedow. Áder said he trusted that bilateral ties would develop in the next few years. Turkmenistan was a dictatorship for years after declaring its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. After the sudden death of de facto ruler Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006, his successor repealed some of Niyazov’s most idiosyncratic policies, including banning opera and the circus for being “insufficiently Turkmen”. Although the 2008 Constitution permits the formation of political parties and the first multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2003, political gatherings remain illegal unless government-sanctioned.
Spas expect bright summer for ticket sales
The nation’s spas expect ticket revenue to rise 4% this summer, Szabolcs Juhász of the Hungarian Spa Association said this week. Based on revenue in January-May this year, spas expect to generate HUF 40 billion in summer, Juhász said. Revenue for spas in eastern Hungary rose 1.6% last year and in western Hungary by 7% on 2012, he said. Those in Budapest and its environs had added 3.9% to revenue in 2013 over 2012.