Presenting in one concise package the year’s most fascinating stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that went on every day.
A painting by Hungarian Róbert Berény (1887-1953) recently found after 90 years of being thought missing, has been sold at auction for HUF 70 million. Art historian Gergely Barki spotted the “Sleeping Lady with Black Vase” while watching television with his daughter at Christmas 2009. The painting was used on the set of the US comedy “Stuart Little”. Barki later learnt that it had also been used on the set of soap operas. It took him five years to bring the painting back to Hungary. “Sleeping Lady” was the avant-garde artist’s principle work from 1928 and portrays his second wife, Eta Breuer. The Virág Judit gallery offered nearly 220 items at its January auction in Budapest, including the Berény.
FEBRUARY: Tax officer slain, colleague seriously hurt
A suspect, a man aged 35, has been detained after a tax officer was stabbed to death and his partner was seriously injured in a block of flats in Budapest’s District XX. Tax authority NAV said the two officers were doing their job at the time. Ambulance staff were unable to save the life of one officer and the other was taken to hospital in critical condition, but survived.
A Buddha statue found to contain the 900-year-old mummified remains of a monk has been withdrawn by its owner from an exhibit in the Hungarian National History Museum, the museum’s spokeswoman has said. Mónika Kiss-Stefán confirmed that the owner had the statue removed, without explanation. Under the lending contract the owner may recall the object at any time, she added. The removal came around the time reports in the Chinese press suggested the statue may have been stolen from a temple in Fujian province in 1995. A paper in Fujian said local officials will seek the statue’s return if the suspicions prove correct. Acquired by a private collector in the Netherlands in 1996, it was to have been on display in the Natural History Museum’s “Mummy World” exhibit until May 17. Chinese news agency Xinhua, citing the local Cultural Relic Bureau, said the statue was stolen from the village of Yangchun in Fujian province in 1995.
APRIL: Big game sell-out despite boycott
Fans from both sides boycotted the most anticipated game in Hungarian club football league but a capacity crowd of more than 21,000 still attended the Ferencváros-Újpest game. Both sides have issues with their respective clubs’ and the Hungarian Football Association’s (MLSZ) approach to fan groups, and strict security measures. National league matches can be attended only by supporters registered with MLSZ or a club. In addition Ferencváros uses a “vein scanner” for allowing entry, which is essentially a machine generating a code based on the palm of a hand. This is then matched with the card of the supporter, who needs both to enter the stadium. Fans believe that this method allows for abusing privacy but the club disagrees. Thousands of supporters demonstrated in Újpest and in Ferencváros by watching the game on big screens. The rivalry dates to 1905 when Újpest – now Budapest’s District IV – was a separate town. Ferencváros dominated the match and after a scoreless first half it won 2-0.
MAY: Woman hurt in Oktogon stone fall
A young woman suffered serious injuries when a huge block of stone fell from a building at Oktogon and landed on her. She laid in the street completely motionless until medics arrived. A comment on news portal index.hu’s Facebook page said she had to be resuscitated but was eventually stabilised. The fire department then removed dangerous stones from the building.
JUNE: HUF 5 billion jackpot won
After 37 weeks, a lucky individual got all the five numbers right and won Hungary‘s second-largest jackpot ever. The five lucky numbers were: 18, 55, 56, 83, 90. The record jackpot of HUF 5.1 billion – which likely would have been broken the following week – was won in November of 2003.
Hungarian-trained world-class racehorse Overdose has died from a serious stomach disease at the age of ten. Overdose was considered to be the best horse to emerge from Hungary since the great Kincsem in the 1870s, which died of the same disease. Overdoes triumphed in its first 14 races and attracted purchase offers up to EUR 5 million. Six years ago the horse fell ill with laminitis, a chronic inflammation of the hoof, but it returned to racing in 2010. At its owner’s request, Overdose was buried in Alag at a horse training centre. Overdose fathered three foals with a fourth on its way.
Twenty-one people were hospitalised after two trains collided head-on between Acsa-Erdőkürt and Nógrádkövesd, in northern Hungary. The trains – which were carrying 30-40 passengers – did not derail, Imre Kavalecz, spokesman for rail information service Mávinform, said. The Aszód-Balassagyarmat line is single-track, meaning trains have to wait on a passing point. The train travelling from Aszód was delayed, so the passing point for the two trains was changed. The collision happened because the train from Aszód did not wait for the other one.
SEPTEMBER: Camerawoman fired for tripping refugees
A camerawoman working for N1, an online news channel of the radical Jobbik party, was fired after she was caught on tape while tripping a running refugee, who was carrying a child. Another video shows the woman trying to trip a girl. The incidents happened in Röszke. “Today our colleague behaved unacceptably during the events at the reception center,” N1 editor-in-chief Szabolcs Kisberk said. “Her employment was terminated with immediate effect.” N1 did not name the employee.
The athletics centre of Budapest’s Sports University has burned down in mid-October, causing millions of forints damage. Lajos Mocsai, the rector, said the indoors facility caught fire just before 5am and an adjacent wall fell down along a ten-metre section. Firefighters managed to control the fire with water cannons within a little more than an hour. Some 250 students from a nearby dormitory had to vacate but were able to return the following day. Mocsai said many relics of sports personalities had been destroyed in the fire.
NOVEMBER: Csányi on billionaire list
Sándor Csányi, Hungary’s richest man, has been included in Forbes magazine’s World’s Billionaires List. Tabloid Blikk said Csányi, who has built a food industry empire while heading Hungary’s biggest commercial bank, is the first Hungarian to be included. Blikk said his assets had increased by HUF 120 billion in the past year “at least on paper”, noting that Forbes had included his holdings and investment fund in Singapore this time around.
DECEMBER: Fat fines for diet claims
Competition office GVH has fined several dietary supplement companies a combined HUF 14.1 million for misleading consumers about their products containing devil’s tongue extract. GVH said companies advertising dietary supplements must comply with the regulations governing the advertising of food products, which stipulate that health effects cannot be attributed to such products and health claims can only be made within narrow limits, in accordance with strict European norms.