Category Archives: Budapest

What’s happening in the capital

Telenor Android Workhop – Focus on Sustainability

Telenor’s fourth Android event scheduled to coincide with the Earth Day focused on sustainable solutions, Telenor Hungary writes in a press release.

Android Workshop Planet revealed how smartphones and their apps can contribute to an environmentally conscious and responsible lifestyle and presented XperiaTM neo, Sony Ericsson’s latest environmentally friendly handset.

Being a responsible company, Telenor is committed to contributing to sustainable growth and raising customer awareness of the options and benefits of an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Its strategy focuses on two major areas: reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions and making customers more environmentally conscious. In line with this commitment, Telenor cut its CO2 emission by 7.7% in 2010 compared to the year before. Under the handset take-back programme launched in 2004, Telenor customers have returned more than 81 tons of old and recyclable handsets to date.
Pursuant to an agreement between the European Commission and handset vendors, operators will sell uniform battery chargers for mobile phones starting from 2012. This change will benefit all stakeholders as the price of mobile handsets is likely to decline (as they’ll no longer be bundled with chargers) and the volume of waste will also be lower since households will need only one charger that shouldn’t be replaced even if they buy a new handset.

As a large enterprise and a mobile operator, Telenor wants to set a model for others to follow also in environmental protection. Therefore, it provides its customers with environmentally friendly solutions such as electronic invoices instead of hardcopy ones. This move saves a lot of time, power and fuel. Telenor customers opting for an electronic invoice save 2.2 tons of paper and 40 trees per year today. If all customers moved to electronic invoices, they could save as much as 200 tons of paper and about 3,300 trees per year.

Mobile technology offers many other opportunities for more predictable and environmentally conscious living. Smartphones, for example, can prevent excessive fuel consumption. If you reduce your time spent driving by only 30 minutes, you can save more energy than the annual energy consumption of a mobile operator per customer and the annual power consumption of a mobile handset combined. Companies can use tele- and videoconferencing to eliminate business travel and reduce their environmental footprint. Every 1,000 kilometres of flight saved reduces per capita carbon emission by 120 to 150 kilograms. The required calls can be easily made using a smartphone or a tablet PC.

“Some simple smartphone apps can help make the world a healthier and better place to live. The traffic layer of GPS and Google maps available also in Hungary, for example, helps you avoid traffic jams. This way, you can save time and fuel and reduce your car’s emissions. Virtual products such as e-books are now available also for Android-based handsets. Downloading e-books you can save the energy used for producing and transporting books and spare many trees”, said Richárd Halmay, head of Corporate Responsibility of Telenor Hungary.

Telenor decided to organize its fourth Android event with sustainability in mind to contribute to more environmentally conscious living. At Android Workshop Planet, experts and NGOs presented apps enabling a more responsible lifestyle. The speakers of WWF Hungary and Telenor introduced the role of mobile communications in sustainable growth and in the successful operation of a non-profit NGO.

The event featured also XperiaTM neo, Sony Ericsson’s new smartphone produced in an environmentally friendly way. The handset delivered with less packaging material, an e-manual and a high-efficiency battery charger is member of the vendor’s Greenheart portfolio. It has been manufactured using recycled plastic and waterborne paint. XperiaTM neo offers a combination of Sony’s most state-of-the-art technologies. Its Reality Display powered by the Mobile BRAVIA® Engine provides a brilliant view and a crystal clear image, while Sony’s award-winning small screen-optimized Exmor R™ technology enables the user to take good quality photos and HD videos even under dim lighting conditions. The handset offers a special multimedia experience with the new Android Gingerbread release.

Old buldings in Budapest opens up to visitors

Around fifty old buildings in Budapest will be open this weekend to visitors as a part of an initiative by the OSA Archives and contemporary Architecture Centre to give the public access to the 100 year old buildings.

The 100 year old buildings will be open on April 9 and April 10. April 10 is the 100th day of the year, OSA said on wednesday. The buildings that will be open are amoung others the Goldberger House, the OSA headquarters in Arany Janos Street in Budapest. A school in Varosmajor Street will also be open, this building was designed by the architect Karoly Kos in Art Noveau style. According to OSA the project aims to add a new event to the calendar of Budapest.; the annual public celebration of the buildings that reach 100 years old in that year. OSA said that this centenary event will give residents living in the buildings the opportunity to get to know each other and the often hidden treasures in their house. Most of the buildings in the project are residential, but there are also schools, clinics, water towers, museums and more on the plan. Full information of the project is found on their website: www.budapest100.hu

One person fined for smoking so far.

Until now the public space inspectors have fined one person for smoking in the forbidden to smoke zones at a BKV Public Transport stop – says Istvan Miklos, the vice chief of the FVKF – Public Area Fascility Management Service to inforadio.hu.
It’s been forbidden to smoke at public transportation stops since Ferbruary,  but it’s only been two weeks since the fining of those breaking these rules started, reports index.hu

The BKV stops have become cleaner, since they forbade smoking, said
Istvan Miklos to InfoRadio.  He emphasized that: most people keep respect the ban, and thus protect others by not lighting their smoke.

Approximately 100 European citizens evacuated from Libya by Malév aircraft

Photo: malev.com

The Malév Boeing 737-800 carrying Hungarians and citizens of other European countries trapped in Libya touched down at Budapest’s Ferihegy International Airport yesterday evening. The special flight arrived with a total of 96 passengers (including 24 Hungarians) from 10 countries.

The Malév jet was met by Minister of Foreign Affairs János Martonyi and Minister of Defence Csaba Hende. Nearly 50 journalists were at the airport to record the arrival of the flight from Tripoli. Speaking to journalists, the foreign minister mentioned his especial thanks to Sándor Pintér, interior minister, and János Hajdú, head of the Anti-Terrorism Centre (TEK). Furthermore, he expressed his gratitude to Malév Chief Operational Officer Géza Fehérváry, who was also the captain of the special charter flight, and the entire crew who flew into Tripoli. The foreign minister also mentioned the work of the staff of the embassy in Tripoli, who are remaining in Libya.
As regards the repatriation of those who arrived on the aircraft, János Martonyi congratulated everyone for the exemplary cooperation. He said he considered the fact that citizens of 10 European nations, including Romanians, Lithuanians, Poles, Czechs and the Czech ambassador, were brought out to be of particular symbolic significance. This is an excellent example that we Hungarians are capable of working together when we have to, he stressed.


Csaba Hende commented that this “brilliantly executed rescue mission” was decided on by the government at a late evening session on Saturday, when it was agreed that an aircraft of the national carrier would be despatched to Tripoli. Under no circumstances will Hungary leave one of its citizens in trouble, and if needs be we will go for everyone, even to the ends of the earth, he said. The defence minister, too, thanked everyone for their cooperation. Money was not an issue; the important thing was human life and the security of Hungarians, he emphasized.

The crew of the Malév Tripoli flight and the Malév experts who readied the flight fulfilled this unusual mission faultlessly. In addition to maintaining constant liaison with the government and TEK, flight preparations were conducted extremely swiftly, as were the necessary flight authorizations, as a consequence of which flight MA1304 was able to depart for Tripoli on Sunday morning, and where, having touched down, it was only able to make the return journey after a lengthy wait. The reason for the delay was that passengers for the Malév service were able to get into the airport only with great difficulty owing to the chaotic situation at the terminal. Thanks to the efforts of the Hungarian embassy, the Anti-Terrorism Centre, the charity organization Baptist Aid and the crew of the Malév flight, the Boeing was able to take off on the return leg to Budapest at 5.30 pm Hungarian time. It landed at Ferihegy just after 8 pm local time.

Flight crew:

Capt. Géza Fehérváry, chief operational officer, corporate chief pilot
Capt. János Keszőcze, B737 chief pilot
Capt. Zoltán Kozma, manager Flight Supervisory Office
Miklós Werner, first officer, deputy head training

Frigyes Kontra, chief purser
Márton Tegze, chief purser
Iván Reiner, flight attendant
Zoltán Császár, flight attendant

courtesy of malev.com

Source: Malev.com Press Release
All images courtesy of MALÉV.

3 girls killed in Budapest disco panic.

The panic incident on Saturday night at the club West Balkan near Nyugati Station resultated in 3 girls dead.

The club had a permission to operate, but only until 22:00 and with a maximum of 300 guests.  Still, according to the Saturday night party’s organizor over 2000 people were in the club when the panic erupted.  The whole incident resulted in people beeing sent out of the club in just their t-shirts.  Several eye-witnesses tell about pushing that started out in the cloak room, where, according to one boy: “Was so full that you didn’t have to keep yourself standing up, as there were people all around, holding you up”.  Many others report about people suddenly tipping over, and with a domino effect taking a huge part of the crowd down, where there were several people on top of each other.  One apparantly affected girl says “It was just so full of people that it tipped over, and then I had to be pulled out by eight people.  I am very grateful for those that helped me”

The clubs owners say that they don’t assume any responsibility, as the location was rented out for a party, and that they were present with their own crew.

According to Hungarian TV station, RTL Klub’s news, the clubs owners had been tricking the local authorities with their license applications by withdrawing them after having submitted them. Then placing their applications at the back of the line and by this they were able to operate freely while the application was in for concideration.

The below videos might give an impression of the panic of the many people trying to exit, as well as the huge crowd wanting to get in:

The Washington Post attacks Orbán once again.

After The Washington Post on Sunday went on to write about something that can be described as the Putinization of Hungary, this time it’s The Washington Post’s Eastern European expert, Anne Applebaum writes in the newspaper’s Tuesday edition that the Hungarian democracy is at danger, newssite index.hu reports.

“Jeopardizing democracy in Hungary”, was the title of the column Anne Applebaum wrote in the Tuesday edition in The Washington Post.
It is because of the new media law that she is worried about the Hungarian freedom.

The author, famous for her research on communist crimes, is the wife of the Polish Foreign Minister, but her writings are independent of the Polish governments viewpoints.
Applebaum was celebrated by Tibor Navracsics and Laszló Kövér last week.

She warns that while in Belarus the dicatorship is kept in power with violence, the democracy in Hungary is evolving towards a one party system by administrative means.
She looks at the new media law as a step towards this direction.

Applebaum writes that “Indeed, when the authors of the American constitution worried about the “tyranny of the majority,” they might have had Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, in mind.”

The column is found here.

Google Street View in Hungary?

Jóri András, data protection ombudsman looks to be saying yes to accept the Google Street View into Hungary, given that they agree on the terms he has set up.
Google’s Hungary office is in talks with the ombudsman, but are rather silent about the progress of the talks.

It looks like the strict data protection policy that has in the past years hindered Google to create panoramic street images in European countries. for then presenting them on their Google Maps Street View, is loosening.

Last week the Germans, who have traditionally acted strict in regards of protecting their personal data and photos gave up and now twenty German cities may be viewed in panoramic photos, among them being Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.   The German solution did however only come to life after a comprehensive compromise had been reached, with property owners being individually able to decide whether they wish to have their buildings and gardens appear on the Google Map Street View site, or have their property censored.  As a result the company had to remove 244.000 buildings from the map service,  which means that of 8,5 million German real estate owners about 3 percent chose to hide.  The most ironic example being Google’s own Munich office in Dienerstrasse 12 being  censored out of the Street View.

Pizza Hut out of Hungary?

The first ever Pizza Hut to be opened in Hungary has recently shut its doors.  The business that was located on the corner of Király and Nagykörút  and opened 18 years ago.

Not long ago the chain’s other downtown restaurant in Károly körút was closed.  The company running the chain, Amrest Kft.’s quarterly report tells that the number of restaurants have dropped to two: In Pólu Center and Aréna Plaza.  At the start of this year there were five restaurants.

The food delivery service has also stopped, while it’s still possible to order take away food, it has to be collected at one of the two restaurants.

The very first Pizza Hut opened in 1992 in Hungary.  Besides Budapest, there were restaurants operating in Győr, Pécs, Miskolc and Szeged.  In 2006 a 12 new restaurants were opened in Hungary.  According to the Wikipedia article about it’s Hungarian business at the it’s peak there were 22 restaurants operating throughout the country.   According to Amrest’s 2006 report they started the year of 2006 with 12 restaurants, but since then they have been closing one after the other.

An interesting note might be that the number of KFC restaurants, also operated by Amrest Kft. has grown.