In pictures: Top trunks The Woodland Trust is calling on people to nominate England's "Tree of the Year", in an effort to increase appreciation of Britain's brilliant boughs.
SHORT NEWS FROM HUNGARY
Invitation: Smiling Hospital Charity Gala, 3 February The Smiling Hospital Foundation invites you to the Grand Gala on Saturday 3 February, from 7 pm to midnight, at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. This annual Black Tie event features an impressive Live Auction, plus a Silent Auction and Raffle, live music and dance, and this year a 'Speed Painting Show', '3D Gallery Experience', and 'Interactive Painting Surprise'.
International Women's Event: New Zealand Day, 25 Jan Invitation to Xpats from International Women's Club in Budapest: Let us take you to unique adventure at the lonely planet as they call it, but never being lonely with your friends from IWC, New year starts with New Zealand, enjoy a fresh Pavlova on a very special morning.
‘Porgy & Bess’ Opera Breaks Tradition In Hungary The first premier at the Hungarian State Opera might go down in opera history as a world sensation. András Almási-Tóth is to put The Gershwins®’ Porgy and Bess® on stage with Hungarian singers at the Erkel Theatre thus breaking the restriction of almost forty years that only allowed all-black casts to perform the piece.
Opinion: Debate About Boycotting General Election Left-wing commentators agree that the opposition has little chance to defeat Fidesz in the next election, and wonder whether the Left should boycott the ballot. In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai contends that the political playing field is so uneven that the opposition has no chance to challenge Fidesz. He wonders if it makes any sense for them to run in the April election at all.
'Mulled Wine Festival', 19 - 21 January Hungary makes fine mulled wine - you know the hot beverage usually made with red wine along with various spices, and sometimes raisins. It is naturally alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of mulled wine. You are invited to try this traditional winter drink this weekend near Allee Shopping Center between 12:00 - 22:00.
Video: Light Aircraft Carrying Migrants Lands In Hungary A light aircraft carrying 11 migrants entered Hungarian air space and landed near the town of Kállósemjén, in northeast Hungary, The migrants, three Afghan and eight Vietnamese nationals, were apprehended near Kállósemjén following an extensive search that included the use of search dogs and thermal cameras.
More than 2 million .eu Internet addresses
.eu has become the third largest Internet top level domain in Europe Since the general launch of the European Internet top level domain .eu in April this year, more than 2 million Internet address ending with .eu have been registered. The domain promoting a European Identity has proven to be the most popular with the Germans who have registered 631 012 names followed by the Brits (373 798 names) and the Dutch (237 259 names)
The new Internet top level domain .eu has, in a very short time, become the third largest domain in Europe and the seventh largest internationally. This happened recently when .eu passed the Dutch ".nl" in popularity. Now only Germany's ".de" and the British ".uk" have more registrations within Europe while globally .eu is still catching up to .info, .org, .net and .com.
"When we opened .eu for the public in April 2006 year we were convinced it would prove popular, but no one anticipated these high numbers. We are pleased to see that people from all European countries have shown an interest in conveying a European identity on the Internet," says Marc Van Wesemael, Managing Director for EURid which is the not-for-profit organisation appointed by the European Commission to operate .eu.
On EURid's web page for .eu statistics you can see a complete list of how many .eu domain names are registered per country of the domain name holder. See http://status.eurid.eu
About EURid - The European Registry of Internet Domain Names
EURid is a not-for-profit organisation appointed by the European Commission to register and manage .eu domain names. EURid was founded in April, 2003, with headquarters in Brussels. Regional offices will be established in Stockholm, Pisa and Prague. The founding members, DNS.BE, NIC-SE, IIT CNR, operate the country top-level domains for Belgium (.be), Sweden (.se) and Italy (.it). The registries Arnes, for the Slovenian domain (.si) and CZ NIC, for the Czech domain (.cz) are associated members.
Credit Suisse starts coverage of EMEA generics pharma sector
Credit Suisse has said on Tuesday it has initiated coverage of the EMEA Generics sector with an 'Overweight' position and coverage of the six major companies within the group. Hungary's Richter was started on 'Neutral'.
The emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East continue to undergo an array of healthcare reforms that are having a significant impact on product and service providers against a strong economic backdrop, ' Dr. Ravi Mehrotra of Credit Suisse said.
The analyst added that he expected the EMEA economies/governments to inject an incremental cc. USD 10 billion into healthcare spend over the next five years.
The EMEA Generics sector has been a strong performer over the last year (Credit Suisse EMEA Generics Index +49%), despite the recent rebasing seen over the summer. The sector is by no means inexpensive, in our view, with a sector average 2007E P/E of 17.7x vs. 16.4x for European large-cap Pharma, 17.7x for biopharmaceuticals and 23.6x for biotech. However, we believe the above-mentioned drivers could provide significant upside potential to our estimated c16% 2006-12 earnings CAGR for the EMEA Generics sector. This could drive longer-term sector multiple expansion, Mehrotra said.
The analyst emphasised his medium- to long-term bullish stance on the sector overall, which he said could allow even Underperform-rated stocks to deliver actual share-price performance, especially considering the consolidation potential within the sector.
Romania to set CEC bank bids deadline for October
Romania will set a new, October deadline next week for improved offers in the sale of its fifth-largest bank, Casa de Economii si Consemnatiuni (CEC), Reuters cited Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu as announcing on Friday.
Romania has repeatedly put off the sale of CEC, one of the few chances left for investors to get a major foothold in the fast-growing emerging European market, hoping to knock the price higher.
In August, Romania picked Greece's National Bank of Greece and Hungary's OTP as frontrunners to buy CEC.Romania, which has just received a nod from the EU to join the 25-nation block in 2007, had originally hoped to book EUR 700 million from the sale of a 69.9% stake in CEC, its oldest bank.
CEC, the people's bank under communism, has over half of the country's bank branches and covers remote rural areas, which will likely see substantial EU aid money after joining the bloc next year.
Eight Hungarian firms plan Serbia bioethanol plant - agency
Eight Hungarian companies, a U.S. firm and a German bank, will launch next week a EUR 380 million project to build Serbia's biggest bioethanol plant, officials said on the last week.
The new plant - the largest green-field investment in Serbia this year - will be built over the next 24 months near Zrenjanin, some 70 km north of Belgrade.
The leader of the programme is a consortium of eight specialised companies from Budapest, financially backed by Chicago-based CSLM Group and Commerzbank', Reuters cited the office of the Zrenjanin mayor Goran Knezevic as saying in a statement. However, they would not disclose the identity of the Hungarian investors, due to sign the agreement in Zrenjanin on 25 September.
Along with the plant, the investors plan to build a river port and a railway track to ship raw material and bioethanol. According to local media reports, the plant will need around one million tonnes of wheat and 500,000 tonnes of maize a year.
Serbia has 11 small bioethanol plants, which use molasses and cereals to produce around 28,000 tonnes of bioethanol a year, slightly more than half their annual capacity.
Saxo Bank kicks off global investment challenge
Online investment bank Saxo Bank unveils its first-ever multi-product, live money, global trading competition. Year-long World TopInvestor competition will launch on 19 February.
Top traders from all over the world will vie to become the world champion in trading foreign exchange, stocks, futures, and derivatives. Traders from more than 120 countries will trade for the next twelve months in the inaugural World TopInvestor competition, sponsored by Danish-based online investment bank, Saxo Bank, in collaboration with its Portuguese white label partner, DIF Broker, Saxo Bank said.
Much of the competitor traffic for World TopInvestor will be driven by Saxo Bank's global roster of white label partners, who market the bank's online multi-product trading platform under their own identity. In addition to Portugal's DIF Broker, partners from the US, UK, Australia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary are confirmed to participate. The duration of the competition has been set at 12 months, explains concept originator Paulo Pinto, CEO of DIF Broker, which launched a similar competition in 2005-2006 in Portugal.
The success of that initiative led directly to the decision to take the contest global, in collaboration with Saxo Bank. The World TopInvestor competition is open to qualified, experienced investors familiar with the risk involved in trading in these markets. Competition rankings will be posted online daily by Saxo Bank partner banks and brokerage firms, as well as on the competition website, www.worldtopinvestor.com. The grand prize, offered by Saxo Bank, is a mandate to manage a significant portfolio on its signature SaxoTrader.
Wizz Air closes Sale and Lease Back transaction for 4 new A320 aircraft with GECAS
Wizz Air, one of Central and Eastern Europe's leading low cost airlines and GE Commercial Aviation Services' (GECAS) on Wednesday announced the closing of a sale and lease back transaction for four new Airbus A320 aircraft, all to be delivered in first half of 2008.
The aircraft are included in the earlier announced contract between Wizz Air and Airbus Industries to purchase up to 44 A320 family aircraft - Wizz Air said in a statement. The aircraft will be powered by International Aero Engines V-2500 engines and will come with a single class configuration of 180 seats, consistent with all Wizz Air's A320's. Under the terms of the transaction, GECAS will take ownership of the aircraft upon delivery from Airbus and Wizz Air will then lease them back from GECAS for an 11-year lease term.
József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air said: This transaction is another important step forward in delivering our growth plan to reinforce our leadership in Central and Eastern Europe. We look forward to establishing a long term mutually beneficial relationship with GECAS. 'We are delighted to help fuel Wizz Air's growth by leasing these aircraft', said Declan Hartnett, senior vice president and region manager, Europe for GECAS. 'We remain committed to our role as a major financier of aviation assets in the fast-growing Central and Eastern European region.'
GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) is the commercial aircraft financing and leasing business of GE and part of GE Infrastructure. GECAS has a fleet of 1,400 owned aircraft it leases to more than 225 airlines in some 70 countries, and it manages nearly 300 aircraft for others. GECAS offers a wide range of aircraft types and financing options, including operating leases and secured debt financing, and also offers productivity solutions including spare engine leasing, spare parts financing and management, and pilot training. GECAS has offices in 23 cities around the world.
Turkey: Unemployment drops to 9.3%
Turkish Unemployment dropped to 9.3% in September-November period. Corresponding figure for last year was significantly higher at 10.1%. The drop in non-farm unemployment is even more striking: to 11.9% from 13.1% a year ago.
When compared to previous three-month period, unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points on the back of seasonal effects. As usual, job creation was strong in nonagricultural sectors, with non-farm employment increasing by 712 thousand. An interesting point to note here is that the pace of job destruction in agriculture has slowed down markedly in recent months.
In January-September period, agriculture sector shed 660 thousand jobs a month, on average. In contrast, employment in agriculture dropped by 104 thousand over last year in October. Consequently, total employment increased by 608 thousand over same period last year.
Although headline unemployment rate is declining, there is still considerable slack in labour market. Note that there are almost 2 million people who are not seeking jobs but ready to take up one. When this is taken into account, 'hidden unemployment' is at 15.9%; down only slightly from 16.1% last year. This slack in labour market should help keep wage pressures in check. (www.reporter.gr)
Chief editor: György PINTZ, Hungary - Contact us for any reason at <email>