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Stephen Hawking’s voice will be beamed 3,500 light years into space


As Hawking's ashes were interred between the graves of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton at a memorial service on Friday at Westminster Abbey, an antenna in Spain beamed his voice out into space, toward a black hole. Hawking,a committed atheist who spent much of his life researching black holes, died in March at age 76 after battling a motor neurone disease for 55 years.

His voice will be set to original music

Greek composer Vangelis — yes, the "Chariots of Fire" guy — set the physicist's voice to an original piece of music for the occasion. It is meant to send a message of peace and hope, Hawking's family said in a statement.Mark McCaughrean, senior adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency, told CNN the musical piece is about six-and-a-half minutes, with a voice-over by Hawking in the middle. He said it's pretty somber and is about considering the Earth as a place people come from and need to look after.Scientists were to use the Cebreros antenna in central Spain to send the recording toward 1A 0620-00, the nearest known black hole — some 3,500 light years from Earth. It's one of the most famous black holes in the universe, McCaughrean said.After the ceremony, the music was due to be played at a reception for people in attendance. Every person there will receive a CD with the piece of music, which will be released to the public at a later date."It's a nice story overall, and we're very honored to have been asked to do this," McCaughrean said. "Hawking is a highly influential scientist and public figure. This is a lovely, beautiful symbolic gesture."The recording will become locked just outside the black hole — but black holes don't last forever, McCaughrean said. They evaporate over billions and billions of years by emitting Hawking radiation — named for the late physicist, of course."It's his own radiation which will actually cause it to disappear in the end," McCaughrean said.Related: Hawking's theory on everything, in his words

Hawking's family loves the idea

Hawking's family is thankful for the memorial service — and that his voice will travel to space."We are so grateful to Westminster Abbey for offering us the privilege of a Service of Thanksgiving for the extraordinary life of our father and for giving him such a distinguished final resting place," Hawking's children said in a statement."This is a beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space and his explorations of the universe in his mind," Stephen Hawking's daughter, Lucy Hawking, said.Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the scientist in a 2004 BBC biopic, wereamong those giving readings at the ceremony, according to the Stephen Hawking Foundation.Addresses and readers were also given byAstronaut Tim Peake and two of Hawking's oldest professional friends, cosmologist Martin Rees and Kip Thorne, an American physicist and Nobel Prize winner.A public lottery decided which 1,000 members of the public wouldjoin the Hawking family and their guests at the service. Around 25,000 people applied for tickets."We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe," said the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, when the location for the internment was announced. Isaac Newton was buried at Westminster Abbey following his death in 1727, as was naturalist Charles Darwin a century and a half later in 1882.Related: A sense of humor 'as vast as the universe'

Hawking's legacy

Many considered Hawking to be the greatest scientist of his generation, overcoming a debilitating disease to gain a worldwide following for his brilliant work in theoretical physics.He was born in Oxford, England, in 1942 on the 300th anniversary of the death of astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.Along with fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time began with the Big Bang and would end in black holes.He also published hugely popular books that allowed readers to join him in probing the mysteries of the universe. His landmark "A Brief History of Time" sold more than 10 million copies.Why I'm grateful to Stephen HawkingIn 1963, shortly before his 21st birthday, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuro-degenerative disease, and although he required a wheelchair and a speech synthesizer, Hawking lived for many years beyond the prognosis.

CNN's Ben Westcott also contributed to this report.

Original Article




6 of the best concert halls in Budapest


(CNN) — Budapest has proved a first-class sanctuary for music aficionados throughout the years, drawing some of the finest musicians from around the world.

Today, the Hungarian capital embodies the remnants of its rich musical history, with grand concert and music halls honoring the likes of composers Franz Liszt and Ferenc Erkel.

The breathtaking Hungarian State Opera House is one of the finest examples of neo-Renaissance architecture in the world, while the juxtaposing Béla Bartók National Concert Hall stamps a modern and contemporary feel onto the city's imposing skyline.

From the wondrous interior of the Liszt Music Academy to the flamboyant Vigadó, here are six of the best concert halls in Budapest when you travel here:

1. Vigadó Concert Hall

The oldest of the major music venues in Budapest, Vigadó Concert Hall is a typically Hungarian mix of Moorish, Gothic and romantic styles.

It was built by architect Frigyes Feszl, who started work on the building in 1859 and completed it in 1865.

Since the very first premiere took place here, names such as Johannes Brahms, Johann Strauss Jr., Sergei Prokofiev and Gerhard Richter have graced its stage, and the grandeur of its interior decoration makes up for any weaknesses in its acoustics.

Located in the center of the city, overlooking the River Danube, the Vigadó opened its doors after a ten-year refurbishment in March 2014, and has remained one of the city's most popular music venues ever since.

2. Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera was designed by Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading 19th century architects.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Constructed to rival Vienna's similar-looking opera house, the Hungarian State Opera House is a tumultuous neo-Renaissance affair with added Baroque features.

Completed in 1884, it boasts a grand chandelier that weighs three tons and almost three kilograms of gold was used to gild the cherubs and nymphs of its sumptuously ornate interior.

The venue's former directors have included Gustav Mahler and Otto Klemperer and while some of its more recent productions have caused controversy, there's no denying the quality of its acoustics or the ability of the performers and musicians that grace the stage here. The ballet productions get top marks, too.

What's more, the price of tickets won't break the bank, so you can treat yourself to a seat in the stalls or a glass of fizz on the balcony overlooking Andrássy Avenue, Budapest's Champs-Élysées style boulevard.

Please note, the Opera House is closed for refurbishments until 2020, but tours of the building are still available. In the meanwhile, shows are being performed at the Erkel Theatre.

3. Liszt Music Academy

Founded by Franz Liszt himself — a statue of the composer presides over its entrance — this prestigious concert hall and music conservatory is housed in a magnificent Art Nouveau building .

Liszt Music Academy reopened in 2013 after a two-year renovation that revived the gold, pink and black hues of its original 1907 interior.

The building's frame was also strengthened, and a sophisticated air-conditioning system was installed — cunningly concealed behind the laurel leaf decoration on the ceiling.

Its backstage facilities are second to none, while the seats in the concert hall allow for ample legroom.

Liszt Music Academy, Liszt Ferenc tér 8, 1061 Budapest, +36 1 462-4600.

4. Erkel Theatre

Erkel Theatre, Budapest

Erkel Theatre became part of the Hungarian State Opera in 1951.

Attila Nagy

The Erkel Theatre houses the largest auditorium in Hungary and has been the Hungarian State Opera's second performance venue since 1951.

Although it was opened as the People's Opera in 1911, very little of the original design remains following several rounds of renovations over the years.

But despite its drab 1950s exterior, a visit to the Erkel Theatre is still quite an experience. Some great shows are performed here throughout the year and the acoustics are exceptional.

As for the interior, it's beautifully decked out in Art Deco simplicity, with light walls set against dark wood.

Erkel Theatre, II Janos Pál papa tér 30, Budapest; +36 1 814-7100

5. Béla Bartók Concert Hall

Perhaps the finest acoustics in the city — some say the whole of Europe — are found in the Béla Bartók Concert Hall, positioned south of the city center in the Palace of Arts (or Müpa, to give it its popular Hungarian abbreviation).

Opened in 2005, the 1,500-seat venue takes its name from the great Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, and boasts a sleek modern interior devised by the world's top concert hall designers.

The result is superb — the local joke is that you can hear the mistakes better too, which is enough to make any musician nervous.

While Béla Bartók Concert Hall hosts major international orchestras, it also has folk, pop and jazz on its program.

6. Budapest Music Center

Budapest Music Center

Budapest Music Center features a 350-capacity concert hall, and a jazz club and restaurant.

Courtesy Budapest Music Center

The newest concert hall in the city since moving to new premises, Budapest Music Center is an intimate chamber music venue with just 350 seats.

Opened in 2013, its headquarters are housed in a former residential building, preserving the old neo-classical shell of the exterior.

However, inside is a very different story, with carefully engineered acoustics and a decor that's modern without being ostentatious.

A very satisfactory blend of old and new, the venue also houses the Opus Jazz Club, part of the same complex.

Nathan Kay is a well-traveled freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. His interests lie in tech, news and travel writing.

Original Article




The secrets of Hungary’s Parliament building


(CNN) — Striking an imposing and impressive figure on the edge of the River Danube in the heart of Budapest, Hungary's Parliament building is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival architecture in the world today.

Ranked among TripAdvisor's top 15 landmarks, this architectural marvel proved more popular than London's Big Ben, Athens' ancient Acropolis and Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in its 2017 Traveler's Choice Awards.

Attracting nearly 700,000 visitors each year, Hungary's Parliament building is one of the busiest and most intriguing tourist destinations in Europe, with more than a hundred years of history behind it."I believe this is the nicest building in the whole country," Parliament building tour guide Ildiko Jambor tells CNN Travel. "It's not only a museum, it's a work place for over 800 people.

"Inside, we have offices, chambers, a post office and a library. We also have a hairdresser and a doctor working here."

Here we take a look at the secrets this monumental wonder holds deep within its walls.

Visionary design

Inaugurated in 1904, the Parliament of Budapest — or the Országház — is the creation of architect Imre Steindl who ironically went blind before its completion, leaving him unable to appreciate his finished masterpiece.

Construction started in 1885 when Steindl was a healthy 46-year-old, but nearly 20 years later his eyesight had significantly deteriorated and he passed away on October 8, 1902, just weeks before the building was fully completed. However, a further two years was spent finalizing its inner works and decoration.

House of the Nation

Hungary's Parliament building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary.

Országgyűlés Hivatala

Positioned on the UNESCO-listed Banks of the Danube, the House of Parliament is a functioning lawmaking body.

The Országház, which translates to the House of the Nation, is the seat of the National Assembly and holds regular debates, including those attended by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

"Each member of the Parliament has his own desk and the tables all have a voting system," explains Jambor.

"A chip card is placed to activate a voting system, which has four buttons. 'Yes,' 'No,' 'Abstain' and the fourth is used to request time to speak. We have screens on both sides to show the results of the voting, too."

Over 199 members of Parliament are based here as well as the nearly 600 staff who assist them.

During the week, when parliament is in session, tours are restricted but limited access can be granted to the first plenary session of each week, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Symbolic features

Budapest's parliament building - interior

There are 96 stairs on the main staircase, a nod to the year of the settlement of Hungary.

Országgyűlés Hivatala

The building was designed with symbology in mind. Steindl cleverly incorporated key numerical facts within its structure to illustrate the importance of its construction.

The dome of the main Parliament building is 96 meters high, which symbolizes the year of the settlement of Hungary — 896. There are also 96 steps on the main staircase, which take visitors up to a magnificent hallway.

Finally, 365 towers are incorporated throughout the building, one for each day of the year.

The famous crown

The Holy Crown of Hungary, or the Crown of St. Stephen, has been displayed in the central Dome Hall from the year 2000.

Since the 12th century, more than 50 kings have been crowned with this priceless art piece, which is protected by two rotating guards at all times.

"They change every single hour and carry a sword, which is actually not sharp," adds Jambor. "But we always have a third solider who has a gun."

Dating back to the year 1000, the crown is beautifully molded from gold and decorated with 19 enamel "pantokrator" pictures along with pearls, semi-precious stones and almandine.

It's still one of only two Byzantine crowns in existence, the other being the Monomachus Crown, which is also housed in Budapest, at the Hungarian National Museum.

Record breaking structure

Budapest - Parliament building

The impressive structure is located on the UNESCO-listed Banks of the Danube.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

It's one of the tallest buildings in Budapest as well as the third largest national assembly building in the world.

Covering an area of 18,000 square meters, Parliament building has 691 rooms, 28 entrances, 10 courtyards and 29 staircases.

"The Grand Stairway is the nicest, widest and most decorated one," says Jambor. "It used to be the royal staircase."

Within the Grand Stairway there are eight, four-ton granite columns, of which only 12 can be found in the world today.

While the front facing façade overlooks the River Danube, nowadays the official main entrance is positioned on Kossuth Lajos Square, which is effectively the back of the building.

However, the main gate, found downstairs behind red curtains, is used when an important delegate is received for the first time.

Unique ventilation system

Parliament building houses a unique cooling and heating system, one of the more modern in Europe.

During the winter months, heating is provided by a sophisticated boiler positioned in a nearby building which pumps steam through pipes into Parliament.

A hugely sophisticated system at the time of its creation, Steindl apparently designed it as such because he "didn't want to place chimneys on the top of the building."

The sweltering summers here are now eased by a conventional air conditioning system, but from the 1930s to 1994 ice blocks were positioned in underground mines to cool the building down.

Gold trimmings

Budapest's parliament building - interior

The lavish decor incorporates Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival architecture.

Országgyűlés Hivatala

The lavish building was decorated using more than 40 kilograms of 22 to 23 carat gold, including rare gold leaves.

This is on display in many areas, particularly in the staircases and intricate ceiling designs.

While these gold accents may equal a hefty amount when accumulated, they have almost no weight on their own.

However, it would be near impossible to shave that amount of gold from the walls without being noticed, so would be thieves shouldn't get too excited.

Memories of war

Up until 2013, Hungary's Parliament building was littered with bullet holes from two world wars and the revolution of 1956.

Much of the remnants of those tragic events have been lost over time, but contractors chose not to repair a few square meters around a window on the Kossuth Lajos Square side, so some bullet holes can still be seen.

Also, one of the bronze lion statues destroyed during World War II has been replaced, and stands on the right hand side as you face the entrance. The lion on the left is the original work of sculptor Béla Markup.

The House of Lords

Budapest Parliamanet building interior

The National Assembly meets in the Lower House for debates.

Országgyűlés Hivatala

The House of Magnates — or the Főrendiház – was operational from 1867 to 1918 and then between 1927 and 1945, in the Upper House of the Parliament building, reserved for aristocrats.

Today there are no "Lords" in Hungary and the old Upper House is used as a conference and meeting room and can be visited by tourists. The National Assembly is always conducted in the Lower House of Parliament.

Significant surroundings

Hungary's Parliament building

A tribute commemorating the 1956 Hungarian Revolution sits in front of the building.

Pixabay, Creative Commons

In front of the Parliament building in Kossuth Lajos Square sits a spectacular memorial to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a nationwide uprising against the communist regime of the Hungarian People's Republic.

The imposing Kossuth Memorial, as well as the equestrian statue of Hungarian leader Francis II Rákóczi are also within the surrounding area, while a statue of poet Attila József is positioned on the south lawn, and Martyrs' Square, which houses a statue of former Prime Minister Imre Nagy, is located opposite.

The famous changing of the guard takes place at 12:30 p.m. each day in Kossuth Lajos Square, without any barriers to bystanders — provided they keep out of the way of the soldiers performing their duty.

How to get there:

Parliament is accessible using Line 2 of the Budapest Metro and via tram line 2, from the Kossuth Lajos Square station.

Entrance fees: Non EU adults $21, EU adults $8.40, Non EU students, $11, EU students $4.50. Free admission for children under the age of six.

Nathan Kay is a well-traveled freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in print and online journalism. His interests lie in tech, news and travel writing.

Original Article




Meghan highlights feminist credentials after elevation to royal family


After a ceremony that shook up royal tradition, a biography of the new Duchess of Sussex has appeared on the website of the British royal family, and it firmly emphasizes her activist credentials. High on the page, in a bold font, is a quote from a speech the then Meghan Markle delivered on International Women's Day in 2015: "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist."It is a quote that says much about the newest member of the royal family, whose decision to walk unaccompanied partway down the aisle of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle set the tone for an unconventional royal wedding. The last public glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was on Saturday evening when they swept out of Windsor Castle in a vintage Jaguar convertible and drove south to Frogmore House, where Harry's father, Prince Charles, hosted an evening reception for 200 of the couple's friends and family.Fireworks lit up the sky as guests, including the tennis star Serena Williams and the Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, celebrated alongside members of the Royal Family.For the evening reception, Meghan changed into a bespoke, lily-white Stella McCartney high-necked dress. She wore an emerald-cut aquamarine ring that once belonged to Harry's mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Harry switched into black tie after wearing military dress for the ceremony.All 600 guests were invited to an afternoon reception, hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle's St. George's Hall. They heard Elton John — who was a friend of the late Princess Diana and played at her funeral — perform three songs, while Harry's best man, Prince William, acted as compere.Rather than a conventional sit-down meal, guests were served canapes featuring langoustines and asparagus and "bowl food" that can be eaten standing up. A famously nontraditional lemon-and-elderflower sponge cake chosen by Harry and Meghan was cut and served.

A novel evening soiree, too

In the evening, Harry drove Meghan from Windsor Castle to Frogmore House in a Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero — a vintage E-Type, originally built in 1968, converted to run on electric power. It bore the number plate E19 05 18, the date of the wedding.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leave Windsor Castle in an E-Type Jaguar. The registration plate bore the date of their wedding day. In another break with tradition, Meghan is understood to have made a speech at the evening party.Prince William is reported to have made what was described by British newspaper the Daily Mail as a "naughty" speech. The newspaper reported that midnight snacks of candyfloss and "dirty burgers" were on the menu, along with cocktails called "When Harry met Meghan."The couple chose Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" for their first dance, the Telegraph reported. A guest told the newspaper there was laughter and tears of joy when Prince Harry made a speech. "He couldn't get very far, as every time he said 'my wife' everyone cheered, and he had to go back to the beginning," said Veronica German, director of the charity Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link. "It was very funny."A friend of Prince Harry told The Sunday Times that Prince Charles "gave the most lovely, moving speech welcoming Meghan to the family."On Sunday the royal family thanked everyone who supported the wedding, from the more than 100,000 who came to Windsor to those who followed the day from around the world.

'I am proud to be a woman and a feminist'

After Meghan and Harry were married, a new page appeared on the royal website that listed the Duchess of Sussex's campaigning history.It notes that her activism began as a child: "Aged 11 she successfully campaigned for a company to alter their television advert that had used sexist language to sell washing-up liquid," the biography says. It highlights her work on women's empowerment through the UN Women and World Vision organizations, featuring the quote from a speech she delivered to a UN forum on International Women's Day in New York in 2015. "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist," it reads.The biography also contains a section on the Duchess of Sussex's career and education, mentioning her role as Rachel Zane on more than 100 episodes of the TV series "Suits," and her foreign language skills in Spanish and French."Alongside her successful career as an actress, Her Royal Highness also wrote and edited a lifestyle website called The Tig which she used as a platform to discuss social issues such as gender equality in addition to articles on travel, food and fashion," the biography notes.

Unconventional ceremony

It was clear from the start of Saturday's ceremony that Meghan would challenge convention, walking unescorted down the aisle of the nave in St. George's Chapel, followed by her 10 bridesmaids and page boys.Only when she reached the chapel's Quire was Meghan accompanied for her final steps to the foot of the altar by Prince Charles.A diverse array of guests from blue-blood royals to Hollywood celebrities looked on as Meghan arrived, in an elegant boat-neck wedding gown designed by Clare Waight Keller, the first female designer of the French brand Givenchy. The ceremony went on to feature a rousing, fiery address from Chicago bishop Michael Curry, the Kingdom Choir gospel singers and a solo spot from the first black winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year contest, 19-year-old cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason."By having so many multicultural elements in the ceremony, finally we had a royal occasion that not only represented modern Britain but sent a real positive message to the world," Sandro Monetti, a British journalist now based in Los Angeles, told CNN."Small details can have a big impact. Finally the royals are in the 21st century and look young, vibrant and cool again." Chopra, the actress, who is a friend of Meghan, paid tribute to the couple's trailblazing style in an Instagram post, saying: "You my friend … were the epitome of grace, love and beauty. Every choice made at this wedding by you both will go down in history, not just because it was your wedding but because this incredible wedding stood for change and hope."

Straight back to work

Harry and Meghan have opted not to take a honeymoon right away. For their first royal engagement as a married couple they will attend Prince Charles' 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. This isn't without precedent. In 2011, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, waited a couple of weeks before heading off on their honeymoon in the Seychelles.From Australia to India, the trailblazing wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dominated front pages of newspapers around the world and was a huge social media moment, with #RoyalWedding hashtag tweeted 3.4 million times Saturday.Curry, the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church in the United States, who gave the powerful sermon, summed up the event's appeal. "You could visually see a relationship — we saw that. And it was contagious in the room, you could feel it in the church and people were happy. They were happy and joyful and thankful, and you know what, we need some joy in this world," he said after the ceremony.

Original Article




11 of Budapest’s best festivals


(CNN) — Straddling the picturesque Danube, Budapest provides the perfect backdrop for a festival and this city definitely knows how to put on a show.Barely a month goes by when the Hungarian capital isn't playing host to some sort of event celebrating food and drink, music, dance or the arts.

For those keen to go and join the party, we've rounded up some of the most entertaining festivities happening in Budapest throughout the year.

Rosalia Festival

Rosalia Festival is dedicated to rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Courtesy Rosalia Festival

Each year, Budapest jumps the gun on summer over a weekend in May for the Rosalia Festival.

Created by the organizers of September's wine festival, it's Hungary's only event dedicated to celebrating rosé wine, as well as champagne and sparkling wines.

Taking place over three days, it features a Rosé Garden, tastings, jazz concerts, Hungarian food stalls and special events for children.

Dates: May 31 to June 2, 2019

Sziget Festival

Sziget Festival

One of the biggest music festivals in Europe — Sziget Festival takes place every August.

Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

For more than 25 years, the week-long Sziget Festival has been taking over the Danube river island of Óbudai-sziget every August, showcasing more than 1,000 performers and drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the world.

It's one of Europe's biggest music festivals, attracting performers including 2019 headliners Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

Revelers soak up the lively ambience as dance artists put on theatrical performances on the site and everyone goes for a dip in the Danube along the sandy beach.

Dates: Aug 1 to 13, 2019

Budapest Summer Festival

Held throughout June, July and August, the Budapest Summer Festival brings some of the world's top classical musicians and ballet dancers to Margaret Island, located in the heart of Budapest.

There's a varied program of opera, ballet and classical music — with a bit of jazz and pop thrown in for good measure — most of which takes place in the enchanting setting of the Margaret Island Open-Air Stage.

Look out for the performances held in the open-air stage set up in the shadow of Margaret Island's historic water tower.

Dates: June to September

Budapest Summer Festivals, Open-Air Theatre, 1122 Budapest, Városmajor; +36 1 375-5922

Budapest Christmas markets

Budapest winter activities

The Christmas market on St. Stephen's Square is one of Budapest's top draws in winter.

Courtesy Hungarian National Tourist Office

Prepare to be utterly charmed by Budapest's Advent Christmas fair, which is held annually in the square in front of St. Stephen's Basilica.

From late November to early January, the area is filled with market stalls selling trinkets, toys, crafts and plenty of irresistible Hungarian food and drink.

Those who visit on Sunday can watch the Advent candles being lit.

To top it all off, there's a small but perfectly formed ice rink in the center, adding a further dollop of festive magic.

Even more treats are on offer at Vorosmarty Square, where the city's main Christmas market is held.

There are more than 100 stalls selling gifts and food — all of which have been personally vetted by a jury — ensuring the quality is high.

Budapest Wine Festival

Every September, Buda Castle becomes one giant civilized party in the late summer sun when scores of wine producers show off their latest vintages in a relaxed, yet convivial atmosphere.

Buy a glass and take it round for tastings at the various stalls, picking up Hungarian snacks along the way.

Four festival stages take turns with music and entertainment throughout the four-day event and there's also a Harvest Parade around Buda Castle celebrating folk music and dancing.

Dates: September 5 to 8, 2019

Budapest Fish Festival

Budapest Fish Festival

Traditional Hungarian cuisine meets international creations at the Budapest Fish Festival.

Courtesy Budapest Fish Festival

Hungarians spend the winter months keeping warm with a dish called halászlé — a red hot fisherman's soup brimming with paprika and river fish.

When early March comes round, many head to the three-day Budapest Fish Festival to feast on this spicy dish and plenty of other types of fish.

Heroes' Square is the setting for cooking contests, wine tastings, folklore music and fun for the kids — not to mention stall after stall of mouthwatering dishes.

Dates: March 2, to 4, 2019

Budapest Fish Festival, Heroes' Square, Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146

Danube Carnival

The Margaret Island Open-Air Stage and a host of other open-air venues around the Danube become filled with color during this week-long festival of folk dance in June.

Several hundred international dancers and musicians bring their own cultural sounds and dances to mingle with traditional Hungarian styles at the annual event.

The Carnival Parade that goes along the Danube Promenade to Vorosmarty Square is one of the festival's main highlights.

Dates: TBC

Festival of Folk Arts

Festival of Folks Arts

Festival of Folk Arts brings top Hungarian craftsmen to Buda Castle.

Janos Peter photography

Craftspeople from all around Hungary descend on Buda Castle every August for a three-day celebration of crafts made in the country for hundreds of years.

Visitors can take part in workshops and watch the experts in action as they spin, weave, carve, paint, demonstrating skills that have been handed down over the generations.

The festival includes folk dances and performances and — this being Hungary — plenty of food stalls offering delectable traditionalRead More – Source




Hollie Doyle partners breakthrough winner at Royal Ascot


Record-breaking rider Hollie Doyle claimed her first Royal Ascot success with a last-gasp triumph aboard Scarlet Dragon in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.

Doyle enjoyed a stellar 2019, riding 116 winners – more in a calendar year than any other female jockey, becoming only the third woman to reach a century after Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon.

The Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon was a largely unconsidered 33-1 shot for the finale on day four of the showpiece meeting and remained well back in the field rounding the turn for home.


However, Doyle kept her cool and managed to weave a passage between horses to pick up both the front-running West End Charmer and Deja, beating the latter by half a length.

Doyle becomes the third female jockey to ride a Royal Ascot winner after Gay Kelleway in 1987 and Hayley Turner, who on Thursday landed the Sandringham Stakes for the second year running aboard Onassis.

Doyle, who has regularly been in the winner’s enclosure since the resumption of racing, said: “I can’t talk, it feels amazing, it’s so weird I’ve done it on this horse, as he was my first big handicap winner as an apprentice so to do it on him and for Mr (Henry) Ponsonby (owner) is great.

“I used to find him incredibly keen as an apprentice, he was one of the reasons I knew I had to strengthen up. I have to thank Mr Ponsonby, he’s given me so many opportunities. I know this lad well now, the day we won the Old Rowley Cup I had to sit and suffer on him a bit, but he travels really well and it suited him today.

“This means a huge amount – you arrive every year with high hopes, but it’s very hard to come across winners.”

She added: “This is the icing on the cake given how well it has gone since the resumption. I can’t really put it into words and there are so many people to thank.

“Hayley has been there and done it and ridden Group One winners, I can hardly imagine doing that myself, but I know it’s possible one day.

“My aim is to improve year on year ability-wise so I’ve been lucky to get the opportunities, but I’ve still got a long way to go.

“I’ve finally for once in my life beaten Tom (Marquand, her partner) to something (Royal Ascot winner). Luckily we’re in separate cars so it won’t be an awkward journey home.”

Read from source

Supersonic, nuclear, with lasers


(CNN) — From blended wing airliners powered by nuclear fusion to a new generation of spacecraft designed to carry tourists to the moon, it's hard not to be mesmerized by Oscar Viñals' boldly ambitious aircraft designs.

The Barcelona-based designer's futuristic concepts resemble something from a science fiction film. But the designer isn't affiliated with NASA or any other aerospace research organization.

He doesn't even hold a degree in aerospace engineering. However, his daring visions of the future have captured the imaginations of flying enthusiasts the world over.

"Technology often comes in radical waves of disruption, rather than through progressive change," he tells CNN Travel.

Futuristic concepts

None of Viñals' concepts are likely to become a reality anytime soon.

For them to come to fruition, the technologies that would make them possible would need to move beyond the purely conceptual stage.

Yet he remains adamant about the feasibility of his designs — from a theoretical point of view at least.

"I don't intend my designs to be just beautiful or eye-catching," says the designer, who's spent most of his professional career as a freelance graphic designer for competitive motor racing teams.

"Every one of them is backed by in-depth research and the expectation that one day they can serve as the basis of a real project.

"Clean aircraft, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, portable nuclear fusion, active flux control systems.

"Many of these things are now in laboratories, at concept stage, and I think much of this will eventually become a reality."

Self-taught designer

Viñals' ambitious, speculative designs seem well suited to the times, when nascent, disruptive technologies are starting to redefine what we can expect from the aviation industry in decades to come.

His lack of formal aerospace engineering background hasn't proved to be an obstacle either, as he's immersed himself in an intensive self-study program.

Viñals has also invested considerable sums of money in state-of-the-art tools, such as professional-grade aircraft design software.

The Magnavem concept aircraft is powered by a compact fusion reactor.

Courtesy Oscar Viñals

The result is an eclectic mix that fits Viñals' vision of a future where different technologies evolve in parallel, each covering a specific market niche.

"For shorter journeys we will use electric and hybrid aircraft of different sizes, while for longer distances we may have hypersonic aircraft that go suborbital — an option for the most affluent or adventurous passengers — or supersonic aircraft able to carry a few hundred people," he tells CNN Travel.

"The latter could be powered by new propulsion technologies such as compact fusion reactors or ramjet systems.

"Finally, giant aircraft with up to three floors powered by hybrid engines could be like the ocean liners of yesteryear, carrying hundreds of passengers at any one time."

Limitless possibilities

A common thread throughout Viñals' portfolio, besides the dazzling nature of the designs, is a focus on environmentally-friendly technologies.

Take the AWWA Sky Whale, an aircraft design with self-repairing wings that can carry 755 passengers, for example — or the AWWA-QG Progress Eagle, a triple-decker aircraft with zero carbon emissions.

Take a first look at the AWWA-QG Progress Eagle, a concept aircraft that would generate its own electricity and be 75% quieter than current airliners.

He's enthusiastic about the prospects for nuclear fusion as a zero-emissions source of energy with virtually limitless possibilities.

"Yes, it's still years away, but far from being in the realm of fantasy, even big names in the industry are investing in this," he says.

"Lockheed Martin, for example, has been working on a portable nuclear fusion reactor for quite a few years."

In fact, Viñals' aircraft are not only emissions-free, but would also make a positive contribution towards keeping our skies clean.

Some of his concepts would be fitted with a device to capture and withdraw carbon from the atmosphere and he's even envisioned a laser-fitted aircraft that would be able to pulverize all sorts of man-made debris from space (MKS-1B LSJC Space Debris Cleaner).

Of course, only time will tell how much of this will one day become a reality.

Viñals has been approached by firms and investors active in the field of aerospace innovation with a view to tapping into his creativity and insights and opening up a way for him to make aircraft design a full-time occupation.

But in the meantime, it's clear that he intends to continue envisioning a perhaps not-so-distant future.

Miquel Ros is an aviation blogger and consultant. An economist by background, he's worked for Flightglobal and Bloomberg. He currently covers the airline industry through

Original Article




Dance music superstar Avicii dead at 28


He was 28."It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii," a statement to CNN read. "He was found dead in Muscat, Oman this Friday afternoon local time, April 20th. The family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time. No further statements will be given."Avicii was one of the most successful touring DJs in the industry, working with artists including Madonna. He had a crossover pop hit in 2013 with "Wake Me Up."But he also saw the downside of fame in the electronic dance music genre known as EDM."It's very easy to become too attached to partying," he told Rolling Stone last year. "You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic."He retired from performing in 2016 after a string of health issues, including acute pancreatitis.Avicii told Time in 2013 that the illness was caused by excessive drinking."Yeah I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much," he said. "Then I got a pancreatitis attack [at 21], which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking."The DJ explained in a 2017 posting on his site that he had no intention of giving up music completely, writing "We all reach a point in our lives and careers where we understand what matters the most to us.""For me it's creating music," he wrote. "That is what I live for, what I feel I was born to do."Avicii also wrote that he was heading back into the studio to make more art."The next stage will be all about my love of making music to you guys. It is the beginning of something new," his posting said. "Hope you´ll enjoy it as much as I do."The social media tributes from fellow musicians and artists poured in as soon as the news broke on Friday afternoon. Some tweets have been shared thousands of times. Producer Hardwell shared a photo of himself with Avicii and wrote a tribute in which he thanked him for "changing the world with your amazing music.""Devastating news about Avicii, a beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented with so much more to do," fellow superstar DJ Calvin Harris tweeted. "My heart goes out to his family. God bless you Tim."

Original Article




UK government loses key Brexit vote


The House of Lords voted 348 to 225 to amend the government's EU Withdrawal Bill, which will now return to the House of Commons where the defeat is likely to spur renewed opposition.The amendment requires the government to report to Parliament by October 31 on what steps it has taken to remain in the customs union, which allows goods to flow freely across the European Union.The government opposed the amendment. Prime Minister May had previously said Britain will not remain in the customs union after Brexit takes effect.The House of Lords is now considering other amendments to the proposed legislation.

What is the customs union?

The customs union enables the 28 EU member states, and other countries such as Turkey that have signed up to its rules, to function as a single trading area.In practice, it means that cars made in France can be sent to Italy without facing tariffs or a customs check at the border. Goods made outside the union are allowed to circulate freely once they've gained initial entry.Related: Why does the custom union matter?However, membership prevents a country from negotiating its own bilateral trade deals with other nations.The ability to agree new trade deals — with the United States or China, for example — is central to Prime Minister Theresa May's vision for Britain after Brexit. In a speech in September, she ruled out staying in the customs union.The government said it regretted the defeat. "The fundamental purpose of this bill is to prepare our statute book for exit day, it is not about the terms of our exit," a spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said in a statement."This amendment does not commit the UK to remaining in a customs union with the EU, it requires us to make a statement in parliament explaining the steps we've taken."Our policy on this subject is very clear. We are leaving the customs union and will establish a new and ambitious customs arrangement with the EU while forging new trade relationships with our partners around the world."However, Andrew Adonis, who sits in the House of Lords on the opposition Labout benches, said: "At long last, a voice of common sense on Brexit has made itself heard in parliament. It is simply impossible to do Brexit without a customs union so the House of Lords has spoken up for good and responsible government."However, even with a customs union Britain will still be worse off if we leave. That is why we need a people's vote on the final deal."

Original Article




Incident follows Polish PM’s claims Jews implicated in Holocaust


Profanities were scrawled across a noticeboard outside the embassy and a swastika had been drawn on the entrance gate. Israeli police have opened an investigation into the incident.Tensions between the two countries have ratcheted up since Poland passed a controversial new Holocaust-related bill earlier this month.The law, which, which makes it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust, also bans the use of terms such as "Polish death camps" in relation to Auschwitz and other such camps located in Nazi-occupied Poland. Violations would be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.Israel has been vociferous in its criticism of the new law, accusing Poland of attempting to rewrite history.But Morawiecki's comments on Saturday at a security conference in Munich prompted a fresh wave of anger.Replying to an Israeli journalist when questioned about whether a person could be imprisoned for claiming there were Polish collaborators in the Holocaust, Reuters reported Morawiecki as saying, "Of course it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators."Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has been fiercely criticized for his comments.The comments sparked an outcry from Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who phoned Morawiecki to register his disgust.Netanyahu labeled the comments as "unacceptable" and insisted "there was no basis for comparing the actions of Poles during the Holocaust to those of Jews." Netanyahu added that the "distortion regarding Poland could not be corrected by means of another distortion."Israeli President Reuben Rivlin described Morawiecki's remarks as a "new low."Read: Poland's Holocaust law should terrify youA Polish government spokesperson sought to clarity Morawiecki's comments, insisting they were not "intended to deny the Holocaust, or charge the Jewish victims of the Holocaust with responsibility for what was a Nazi German perpetrated genocide.""The Prime Minister has repeatedly and categorically opposed denial of the Holocaust — the murder of European Jewry — as well as anti-Semitism in all its forms," the spokesperson said in a statement."Attempts to equate the crimes of Nazi German perpetrators with the actions of their victims — Jewish, Polish, Romani among others — who struggled for survival should be met with resolute, outright condemnation."Poland was the center of Ashkenazi Jewry before the Holocaust, with around 3.5 million Jews living in the country before the outbreak of World War II in 1939. By the end of the war, just 10% of the community remained. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust overall.Polish Holocaust law sows 'distortions,' Poland's chief rabbi saysAccording to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, between 30,000 and 35,000 Polish Jews were saved with the help of non-Jewish Polish citizens.Despite more Poles being honored as Righteous Among the Nations — non-Jews who helped Jews during the Holocaust — than any other country, there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers. Recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.Earlier this month, Poland's deputy foreign minister Bartosz Cichocki told CNN that the new law was "not meant to revise the history whatsoever, this is meant to guard the truth about the Holocaust.""We have to realize that when he or she says that the Polish state or the Polish nation is responsible for the Holocaust, they diminish the responsibility of the real perpetrators," Cichocki added.

CNN's Oren Liebermann reported from Jerusalem. James Masters wrote from London.

Original Article

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