Did Czech Etymologist escaped India with help of Secret Agents?

Darjeeling, city at the traditional border of India and Nepal
It happened on Sunday 19th October 2008. In the morning, the Etymologist Emil Kucera left his room in Darjeeling hotel Sailung. He packed, took his backpack and left for Nepal. He escaped around the famous 8000m mountain Kanchenjunga and was successful – in a week, he already talked to his friends in Tabor. The escape was probably the only possibility, how not to be imprisoned for collecting of beetles. His colleague, who was freed of charges, got back 3 weeks later than him, you can imagine how long it would take until Kucera would get back.

MF Dnes published an article, stating that they have an information from high intelligence service officer, stating “We helped him. It is logical, we help a Czech, who gets in such trouble abroad.” MF state they consider his information as credible, but they also say is is not possible to 100% verify the information; the secret police can’t comment those cases which could harm interests of the Czech Republic in the world.

Some parts of the case still weren’t satisfactory explained. Like: How could he get to the border without anyone noticing him, when his face was medially known? How that no one patrols the border? How about the second passport? How it was possible he got it so fast to Darjeeling? To whom it was sent? Was it really sent by his girlfriend? Those questions evoke many conspiring theories, but the case is over. Even when India can think different – the court still haven’t decided whether he is guilty at the last action in court. If he didn’t escape, he would have still have been imprisoned.


Kundera is not going to litigate

The famous writer of Czech origin living in France, Milan Kundera, is in the end not going to litigate Respekt magazine. Originally, he was going to do it because of an article, stating that Kundera allegedly in 1950 informed against an Czechoslovak agent Miroslav Dvoracek to the secret police. Dvoracek was later sentenced to many years of prison. Dilia agency, which represents the introvert writer, announced the information.

Milan Kundera originally demanded an apology. Respect magazine has not yet apologized, though. Dilia continues: “Mr. Kundera is not going to sue Respekt. Why not is his personal decision. It doesn’t mean though, he would accept anything from what Respect wrote about him.” The article aroused various emotions on both sides, but many renowned people, including Vaclav Havel, stood by him. It is still not clear what happened back then.


Prague Parking Zones Changes in 2009

Prague citizens and visiting drivers in Prague appreciate the change the Prague City Hall plans to do in March – the long forcible dogma about parking in paid zones in Prague 1,2,3 and 7 should change. Some streets marked with the blue strip, where now can park only the locals, are to be changed into ‘mixed’ zones this spring. So it will be possible to pay parking fee at the closest parking machine, or newly using an sms.

Something else is going to change as well though – when one will be going to park in the historical centre of Prague, one will have to pay in the newly established system of toll. It should be only at field test at first, but if will be useful, it should transform into fully operational toll system, which will bring more money into Prague strongbox, and less traffic into the centre.


New Book by Vaclav Klaus for all against Lisbon treaty

Vaclav Klaus doesn’t give up easily, and his struggle against passing the Lisbon treaty in the Czech Parliament continues. On Monday, another of his books, called ‘Prezident Republiky k Lisabonske smlouve’ (The President of the Republic to Lisbon treaty) is published. On the cover, there is a changed flag of the EU; yellow stars form a question mark instead of the circle.

The President wants to warn the public, but also those who are going to decide about accepting the document, what dangers could await the country, if the treaty would be accepted. Whether it will be accepted in the end are going to decide both the houses of the parliament. A part of the ODS and the Communists are against. If ODS supports it, another politicians say to leave the party; and possibly move to SSO.

Last farewell to Kaplicky will be with presence of Public

The Family of architect Jan Kaplicky specified the program of funeral, which is going to take place in Prague. The last farewell to the famous architect will be open to all who are interested as the private part was cancelled, allowing anyone to participate. The event was moved to 27th January, the date at which was originally planned public farewell (the funeral itself was planned on a different day).

The ceremony itself is going to be at the Prazska Krizovatka, which is the former church of st. Anna at the Old Town, and among others Petr Hapka and Krystof Michal are going to sing, the architect Eva Jiricna and Pavel Bobek and other Kaplicky’s colleagues and friends from all around the world. According to the family members the ceremony is going to take four hours and there will be no coffin (Kapliky wanted to be cremated).

Dj Tocadisco in Prague

The First completely sold out edition of the new club concept PURE from United Music hosted world Nr. DJ Armin van Buuren in December in Slovansky dum, Prague. Now comes the second edition, which takes place in Mecca, and it is headlined by one of the most popular house DJ and producer in the world – Tocadisco.

After his first successful appearance in front of thousands of visitors at Prague Sessions with Paul van Dyk in September 2008, this will be his first individual show in a club in the Czech Republic. Dj Tocadisco (a Spanish word for a turntable) entered the dance world with his first hit „Nobody Likes The Records That I Play“. Followed by Word tour, and many remixes for artists like Moby, New Order, Pet Shop Boys and many more.

Releasing now hit singles like „You’re No Good For Me“, „Music Loud/Crazy Cursor“, remix „Walking Away“ and mega-hit Morumbi. Cooperates with David Guetta on hits like Love Dont Let Me Go or Tomorrow Can Wait. Besides of unbelievable producers career performs Tocadisco at most important dance events around the globe.

Together with Dj Tocadisco, the second edition of PURE will introduce local star Michael Burian, Rehab resident Nesquik, and more DJ´s on second Rehab stage.

Date: 13th February 2009, Tickets: 650 czk (www.ticketpro.cz) / VIP: 1050 czk. Club Mecca in Prague, the mecca of house music in Prague.


Viselec returned to Prague

The unusual statue of the nowadays very medially interesting author David Cerny is now in Prague again. It tours the world, hanging out in various cities, where it shock its citizens. Last time it was in in Michigan city of Grand Rapids where it caused a real turmoil. The statue depicts Sigmund Freud in life size, hanging by one hand from a traverse, which is placed at roofs of various buildings. In Michigan, people got scared it is a real self-murderer and called the fire brigade and the police.

Viselec toured various cities like London, Berlin or Stockholm, and his return to Prague is but a short stop before it will go on; righ now, it is at the corner of Betlemske Namesti and Husova street at the old town. It was made from fibreglass, David Cerny’s favorite material, and it is distinctive by the typical feature of its author – it arouses emotions. As all the art should, if it doesn’t want to disappear from the memory.


Planned Demonstration for Blob

The virtual group on the Internet – the Facebook profile called ‘pro knihovnu’ (for the library) – transformed into a civil initiative ‘Demokracie Slavi’ (Democracy celebrates). The initiative associates supporters of Jan Kaplicky, who unexpectedly died last week, and his library. The group now organizes manifestation called ‘postavme se ke knihovně čelem’ (lets support the library) which should take place 5th February in the centre of Prague. The exact location is going to be specified later.

The event is designed to rouse interest of the public and revive the debate about building of the new National Library building according to Kaplicky’s design. The organizers expect this is going to be a long-term battle, and plan to form civil association in the future. On the Internet page, about 1500 people have already announced the are going to the demonstration. According to one of the initiators, one of the reasons why continue in the battle is the fight against apathy.


Cerny Reurns Money for Entropia

The author of the controversial sculpture Entropia David Cerny pledged himself he is going to return the money he got for the plastic, which was hung in Brussels and represents the Czech Republic during the Chairmanship. The state paid for it 1,9 million czk, the half a year rent in Brussels was supposed to be 1,2 millions czk, but according to the new contract it only one czk.

The government official says, after Cerny confessed Entropia was not created by 27 artists, but by Cerny and his team, that the artist swindled them. That the whole action was a con was found out after the Bulgarians started to argue against their country being depicted as a country of Turkish (squat) toilets.

Those 1,9 million czk wasn’t enough for the artpiece, the rest (approximately 10 million czk) was paid by a private sponsor. It is clear the plastic will be sold for much more when the chairmanship ends.


Planned Skyscrapers at Pankrac again centre of dispute

The topic, which is a grateful subject for many articles returns every few months to be in the centre of attention again. What is it about? Pankrac is a fast developing part of Prague which is going to became the new business centre of the metropolis. In the context of a lot of business decisions taking place right there ECM developers decided to build a twin skyscraper building. These have thirty levels and are more than 100 metres tall. And, after the last week, are even closer to being build.

The Town hall of Prague denied appeal against the territorial decision, by which giving the developers the chance of finally getting their building licence. Now, the protesting association Arnica probably have the last instance to call to – the UNESCO, that doesn’t like the idea Prague would have any skyscrapers, and raises a warning finger to Prague: if you build it, you will be crossed out from the list of historical cities.

The locals are afraid especially of the traffic being thickened, with more noise and worse air. The flats in the planned building are from bigger part already reserved, and housing in the centre will always be something of an interest. The building is probably going to be build, becoming the first in the new wave which will change Pankrac from the ground up.


A part of Bulgarians Want Back to Entropia

The Czech Republic have agreed to meet wishes of Bulgaria and covered the Bulgarian map of squad toilets with black cloth. The controversial plastic of Entropia by David Cerny was made as an artpiece of Czech European Chairmanship and aroused various passions. The installation, against which Sofia protested is placed in Brusselles building of the EU Council.

Bulgarian officials are happy for now, but on the contrary, the signatories of an Internet petition say censorship of Cerny’s work by the Bulgarian government is a shame for the country and its citizens. They demand the maquette to be displayed again. The petition has been signed by some 470 Bulgarians at home and abroad until today. They state that the possibility of expression one’s opinion is a fundamental value of democratic society.

On the request of Vaclav Klaus, demanding the Czech government would apologise, reacted Mirek Topolanek – he denied it. According to him it is enough the author have apologised already. Klaus is ridiculed by the display of his ‘brilliant quotes’ running on the image of the Czech Republic


Underground Prague Highway should save the Wenceslas Square

In two years, the most hated part of expressways in the Czech Republic, the heritage of the communists which cuts the Czech nation on the Wenceslas Square from their National Museum should be gone. The traffic, which torments the upper part of the Wenceslas Square should be moved to underground in two years.

The Prague City hall and Prague 2 argue about how long the tunnel should be. Meanwhile the city representatives want it only at the National Museum, Prague 2 would like to see the tunnel reaching Nuselsky most. According to them, only a little number of people go from Wenceslas Square to Vinohrady compared to the amount of people who have to cross the expressway at I.P.Pavlova.

Prague 2 let to make their own study from Metroproject the company which cooperates with Metrostav in creating Prague Metro, so the Prague artery would go from Nuselsky Bridge to Hlavni Nadrazi. The negotiations have begun and it will probably end in some kind of a compromise.


'Support Blob' Initiative Set on the Internet

The architect Jan Kaplicky left last week, his project of the new building of the National Library in Prague (so called Blob) lives on. A meeting for support of this project is going to take place soon in coming days. The organizers assembled on the Facebook profile called ‘PRO KNIHOVNU’, which pays a tribute to Kaplicky and his Blob library. They haven’t stated yet, when or where is a demonstration going to take place in Prague, the organizers want to wait until the architect will be ceremonially buried.

Meanwhile politicians negate the very possibility the library would be build in Prague, a collection for support originates right now, formed by famous or competent people of public life; architect Jan Kasl, documentaries Olga Sommerova, rector of AMU Ivo Mathe. In the advisory board there are film-maker Jan Sverak, artist Jiri Cernicky and designer Alan Zaruba.

It is not the last activity which is connected to the project. Also a book is going to be published, by the ex-director of the library Vlastimil Jezek. The book called ‘Stripky chobotnice’ (Shatters of the Octopus) is going to be sold on 2nd March, exactly two years after Kaplicky was proclaimed the winner of the international contest.


The Danish investigate, if Tycho Brahe was poisoned in Prague

A team of Danish archaeologists prepare for their way to Prague. They want to find an answer to the question, why their famous astrologist Tycho Brahe died 408 years ago. And to find out, whether his possible murder was ordered by the man, whom Danish chant in the king’s anthem; King Kristian IV.

We Czechs tell a legend about him, according to which he died when his bladder burst, as he didn’t dare to leave the ceremonial dinner with the emperor. The Danish, however, suspect that he was poisoned. That’s why they want to exhume his remains, which rest in Tyn Church at Prague Old Town Square.

The Tomb was opened first in 1901, when his remains were moved into a new coffin, his beret, stocking and sleeve was moved into the National Museum collections, his moustache went to Denmark. And it was his moustache, which undergo research, revealing that it contains 100 times more mercury than is normal.

The other proof of debatable theory about murder should be the diary of the astronomists’s relative Eric Brahe, who was, according to Danish theory, hired by the king in anxiety from the Tycho’s love affair with king’s mother.

Cormorants and Cocaine flowing to Prague

Two quite different things, aren’t they? And still, they are united in one aspect – there was hardly more or them (or it) in Prague in the past years.

Prague became a paradise for cormorants, whose lines count up to two thousands, according to the last additions of the Charles University. The ornithologists explain it is because rivers and ponds of the last days were frozen, not so Vltava, and the nutriments there are are very alluring. For most of the Prague citizens the black, exotically looking birds offer a welcomed rarity. Cormorants are intelligent birds, who hunt fish in packs. Normally, only few hundreds of them come to Prague in winter.

Cocaine, in Czech nicknamed ‘koks’ or ‘kokes’ (cockesh) – those words are, according to police, used increasingly often. They also state every third person who like dance parties have experiences with it. ‘Ecstasy is out, cocaine is in’. The increased demand came with increased supply, and prices of the drug went down. Still, Pervitin (metal-amphetamine) is the most widespread drug of this kind in Prague, but Cocaine is no longer the drug of only the rich.

The Wing of Palace at Prague Exhibition Ground is Back

About three months have passed from the devastating fire at the Prague Exhibition ground, and the left wing is back on its place already. Or at least it seems to be back on the first sight. But there is more than meets the eye – not even prince Potemkin wouldn’t be ashamed of this creation. It is only an imitation, as the speed with which the object was ‘repaired’ is only due to large assembled hall, which was covered with sheets, on which the Industrial Palace Facade is printed out.

The provisional hall is going to stand at the place of the destroyed part of the palace until the real works of repairs will be initiated. Those, because of negotiations among Prague Town hall and the object’s renter, Incheba company, which probably not going to start until the next year, are to start quite later.

The left wing of the industrial palace was destroyed in the half of the October by fire, which was, according to police, caused by a technical failure. At one of the stances were stored explosive spray tins, which exploded.


Czech Entropia sculpture: Bulgaria under black cover

Bulgarian part of Entropia disappeared after a week. Czechs have fulfilled the wish of Sofia government that the squat toilet depicting Bulgaria in the plastic of Jan Cerny should be removed. They have done it in the night from yesterday to today.

The sculpture attracts attention and some Internet forums speculate, which prestigious European gallery is going to buy it and for how much. One gossip talks about Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation offering about two millions euro for the sculpture. David Cerny refused to comment now.

The plastic aroused emotion of especially Bulgarians, on both sides. Even at our article at abcprague the reader’s opinions vary from real delight the humour is aimed directly, to the exact opposite of those blaming us for mystification. We try not to lean towards any side, but if one was to Bulgaria, one can’t deny they are there…


Jan Palach statue finally placed in the Czech Republic

It is forty years since the month Jan Palach burned himself and the sad anniversary is being remembered by a new memorial in Melnik, Jungmannovy Sady park. Three and a half metre tall, highly abstract statue represents the burning body. The author is Andrés Beck. The festive disclosure took place with presence of the president Vaclav Klaus, who emphasized in his speech the Czech nation should never forget Palach’s act of heroism.

The 20yo student of philosophical faculty UK who went to grammar school in Melnik, immolated himself on 16th January 1969 as a protest against Soviet forces invading Czechoslovakia. He died three day later in a hospital.

The fate of the statue was not clear – it was supposed to be brought a a gift by Nicolas Sarkozy to Prague, however its representatives haven’t found a place for it. The leader of Czech diplomacy Karel Schwarzenberg suggested it would stay in France, the name Dijon came in debate. Than the mayor of Melnik Miroslav Neuman stated they planned a monument for Palach close to the grammar school where Palach studied, and that they would accept the memorial gladly.


The gas crisis over? Russia and Ukraine made an agreement

Gas will arrive to Slovakia on Wednesday the soonest, but it could be the full stop after the gas crisis. Russia and Ukraine have signed agreements for ten years yesterday. Gas should arrive not only to Ukraine, but also the transit should continue to European customers.

The Ukrainian Prime minister Julia Tymoshenko declared: “It is a historical moment – ten years of calm and foreseeable behaviour in European and Ukrainian gas supply.” One catch still remains, though; price, which doesn’t have to relish with Ukrainian president Victor Juscenko, who demanded higher prices of gas transit through Ukrainian territory.

In consequence with continuing obscurities abound Russian supplies of gas to Europe the chairman of the European commission José Manuel Barroso agreed with the Turkish prime mister Recep Tayyip Erdoga on the necessity of gas pipeline, supporting Europe with gas from Azerbaidzhan.


The prices of flats in Prague getting lower, especially prefabricated

The real estates in Prague cheapens. Buildings which are in worse shape, which most often means the ex-soviet blocks of flats are sold at three quarters of their price now. A flat with three rooms at Cerny Most cost 3,5 million czk, now real agents sell it about half a million cheaper.

Financial crisis, which stoke also the market with realities, distinctly changed the conditions at Prague realities market. If one wants to buy a flat on the suburbs or in at prefabricated housing, now there is a very good chance of getting a fine deal.

At the ‘good address’, however, the prices are not going down, quite on the contrary, parts of Prague like Vinohrady, Smichov, Brevnov, and the traditionally most expensive Old Town, Little Quarter and Hradcany are still rising prices. The quarters which are ‘cheaper’ now are Petrovice, Komorany, Jizni Mesto, Zahradni Mesto or Cerny Most. If you want a tip of location where the price is going to raise but is ok now, try Zizkov. Also, now newly foreigners can apply.

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