Presenting in one concise package the week’s most important and fascinating national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily.
M3 stations revamp ‘unsure’
Budapest Municipal Council will not have enough money to upgrade the Metro 3 stations unless the budget for the line’s revamp is raised from central coffers, Mayor István Tarlós has said. If the budget remains “capped” at HUF 140 billion, plans to upgrade the stops will have to be abandoned, Tarlós said. The offers the capital has received so far for their upgrade are so high that the city and Budapest transport company BKV do not have the funds to cover them, he said. The Ministry of National Development had told the municipal council that the government would be unable to cover the extra cost. Minister in Charge of the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár said earlier that the government considered the M3 upgrade a priority and the city council should decide whether it is necessary to revamp the carriages only or the stops as well. “We will finance whatever the capital decides to do,” Lázár said. He hoped Tarlós would not conclude from disputes with various ministries that they wanted to hinder the project.
Duna House shares on sale
The initial public offering of 150,000 shares to the public by real estate broker Duna House began on Monday and ends on October 27. The shares include as many as 75,000 at a 10pc discount, though these will be limited to 250 per investor. Duna House also plans to sell 750,000 shares to institutional investors in a private placement. If demand is strong, Duna House reserves the right to raise the public offer by up to 450,000 shares from the private placement. There will also be an over-allotment option for a further 90,000 shares. Duna House is offering the shares to the public for between HUF 3900 and HUF 5250 per share. The final price will depend on prices in the private placement and will be announced two days after the private placement ends. Duna House launched an initial public offering almost a year ago but suspended it after the government submitted a bill establishing a cap on mortgage brokers’ commissions.
Communist agents list sought
The far-right Jobbik party has called on the government to release the full list of Hungary’s communist-era agents and informants as the 60th anniversary of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution is commemorated. “It is a shame on the Hungarian political elite that 60 years after 1956, access to the files of the era’s secret services is still restricted,” spokesman Ádám Mirkóczki said. He criticised the opposition Socialists and ruling Fidesz for “collaborating” to prevent the release of the list. Mirkóczki said that instead of lavish ceremonies it would be “a due act” by the government to commemorate the anniversary by allowing unrestricted access to the files to discover which agents later managed to fill political and business positions in post-communist Hungary.
Good for smokers’ health
Cigarette sales have fallen about 40 percent since the government introduced a state monopoly on retail tobacco sales, data from the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) show. About 7.8 billion were sold last year, down from 12.5 billion in 2012. Since July 1, 2013, tobacco may only be sold in dedicated, licensed shops with a concession. The NAV data suggest more smokers started rolling their own as the excise tax on the regular product rose. Sales of loose-leaf tobacco climbed to 6461 tonnes in 2015 from 5179 in 2012.
Social media scores for news
An increasing number of Hungarians access news via social media, a survey by Kutatópont has shown. Altogether 65 percent of Hungarians use the internet and 67 percent have a profile on social media. Of the latter, 74 percent read news from this source and 60 percent shared the information online at least once a month. In the representative survey of 2000 people between September 1 and 15, people rated the significance of their new sources on a scale of 1 to 5, awarding television 4.2 points, friends and family 4.1 and the internet 3.3. Some 71 percent of social media users said they regularly read news items there and 40 percent said they also shared some items. Fully 66 percent said they were most interested in tabloid news. Fully 62 percent said they regularly read news on public affairs and 27 percent said they shared these items. According to the survey, 37 percent of people with social media profiles read news items daily. Altogether 67 percent said it was possible they had first come across a news item on social media.
Good Friday good news
Good Friday is to be declared a non-working holiday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced at a 1956 memorial meeting of the synod of Hungarian Reformed Churches. He said next year’s 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation in Europe would be the right time to help believers celebrate Good Friday by introducing this holiday.
New hospital at Kelenföld
The government has decided that the capital’s new south Buda “super” hospital with over 1000 beds should be built near Kelenföld railway station, Minister in Charge of the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár says. The location took into consideration the proximity to the M1 and M7 motorways as well as the metro and bus junctions nearby, Lázár said. The Ministry of Human Resources is assessing two plots and talks have begun with the owners. An 8- to 10-hectare site is needed for a building of 100,000 square metres. Lázár said it will be the government’s most significant health development project in Budapest. At the request of the prime minister, the ministry would give junior doctors a fairer wage deal following September’s general pay rise.
Quaestor fraud denied
Csaba Tarsoly, the former head of failed brokerage Quaestor, has testified in court that neither he nor his colleagues committed any crimes. Tarsoly is accused of fraud and embezzlement. He told the court that he and the others are actors in a “show trial” which aims to create criminals rather than seek justice. Their “denigration” continues so that Quaestor clients do not have to be compensated because of the shortcomings of the state, he added.