Tony Allen, 'the best drummer' comes to Prague

Tony Allen founded, together with Fela Kutim the founding stones of afrobeat and until now he belongs to the most respected and most working drummers. He is ageless music catalyzer, who was since the 60s until present always at the right time in the right place. Years ago, Fela Kuti have said about his he plays like five drummers at the same time, Brian Eno talks about him like the best living drummer in the world.

The breakpoint of his career came when he published his album N.E.P.A. When he introdued a new musi music hybrid; the synthesis of afrobeat, electronic music, dub, rap and R&B which he called ‘Afrofunk’. When 90’s were finishing, another generation of fans and musicians discovered him. In the last years he records with The Air, Jarvis Cocker, Susheela Raman, rapper Ty or with Charlote Gainsbourg.

Tony Allen comes on 25th of February 2008 to Palace Akropolis in Prague. Price: 455 – 400 czk.

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The Israeli – Gaza truce goes as Schwarzenberg predicted

The times, when wars were won by unconditional capitulation are gone. How can we say Israel won the war with Hamas, that controls Gaza? Because they have proposed peace as the first ones, by which announcing the world they have achieved their aims.

It is good to see for Europe, truce is not when somebody decrees it, but when the momentarily more powerful side decides the fight was worth it, like Israel did right now. The development is very close to what Schwarzenberg predicted, who expressed his understatement for the Israeli action, than the hectic Nicholas Sarkozy.

The truce, as it was fought for means Israel is effectively going to control the terms of coexistence, without being under fire as it was until now.

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Vaclav Havel's health state improves

The health state of the Czech ex-president slowly improves, even when stays quite serious. It should not be dangerous, but it improves only slowly. That was stated by the leader of medical consultation Martin Holcat. Havel going to stay at least a week or ten days on the intensive care unit. It all depends on his health state. The ex-president have undergone a small surgery, during which the source of irritation was removed from his neck.

The post-operation state was complicated by mucus at a part of Havel’s right lung. On Friday, doctors found liquid in Havel’s left lung. After intensive rehabilitation the situation improved, Havel is being visited by his wife, who is close-by during his whole stay in Motol. She brings him home meals regularly. The ex-president has no special diet and eats the same food as the rest of the patients.

Moscow and Kiev gas agreement

Transit through Ukraine is to be renewed in shortest time, Putin promised after long night negotiations. The Prime Ministers of both countries Vladimir Putin and Yulia Timoshenko have finally made an agreement this weekend, an agreement which should unblock the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe.

In the moment contracts will be ready, the gas can start flowing. But it is not possible to say, whether there will be any new complication like so many previous times. Putin and Timosenko said they are going to watch the contracts being subscribed, but what is going to do i.e. Ukrainian president Victor Juscenko who has sharp disputes with his prime minister.

The development of the last days proves Moscow have it, once again, their way, and that the power is firmly in the hands of Vladimir Putin and not the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Putin demonstrated again Russia is not going to – like in the case of Georgia – make nay compromises. He doesn’t mind the west turning against him.

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Czech Josef Machacek won Quad category of Rally Dakar

The 31st edition of the Dakar, the first one in Latin-America, had a Czech winning his league; Josef Machacek became the winner of Quad category in the Rally Dakar race. The Czech rider for Yamaha didn’t find a challenger in his category for the fifth time. Machacek triumphed with the luxurious advance of two and a half hour.

The winners in other categories are Marc Coma in the bike category, Giniel De Villiers in the car category and Firdaus Kabirov in the truck category. In total, 113 bikers, 13 quad riders, 91 car teams and 54 truck teams finished the race.

At the age of fifty Machacek was one of the oldest participants of the south American adventure, but he showed his back to his younger rivals. From the 25 quads at the start his Yamaha was the first behind the target line.

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A Farewell to Jan Kaplicky

There are groups who claim Kaplicky was knackered. People spend the day after his death by medially challenging his opposers. Truly, hard to say whether the dispute around the Blob library shortened his life, or if he died from happiness that his daughter Johanka was born to be a strong and healthy kid. At least he died very, very happy. I feel sorry for his wife, who is going to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with bitterness from now on.

Jan Kaplicky designed buildings in Czechoslovakia already, but, as a lot of Czech intelligence, he had to escape the communists for emmigracy in Britain. He gave Britain some remarkable buildings, which got ahead the whole century by its 21st century design, use of materials and energy. He didn’t want to return to Prague, because he knew Czechs are not ready to accept his ways. Unfortunately he was right.

After he was persuaded by his friend to try for the new national library and winning the international contest, Kaplicky was sucked into the Czech self-censoring surroundings, which he was prepared to fight. But he didn’t expect he is to became another Klaus’s stepping stone to fame, and his winning design was about to be crashed by Klaus’s influence.

Was it the frustration from us Czechs that killed him? I don’t think so. He was an artist who always aroused controversy, and he was ready to fight until the end (viz his Paroubek connection). The Czech Republic bought him much more – love to Eliska, his wife, he was in love like a novel character. His heart didn’t make it through such happiness, and there is a lot of people who is going to miss him. Lets remember him for what he has done for Czech reputation and architecture in the world.

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Vaclav Havel in Hospital Again

This Wednesday, the team of the ex-president Vaclav Havel doctors looked seriously and gloomy. Yesterday the press conference was much more relaxed. Their patient feels better.

On Monday morning, Havel’s breathing obstacles worsened, he had problems swallowing, left to IKEM to be checked-up.

The doctors came to conclusion his state is serious and that he must be hospitalized. In the evening he was already in Motol, being taken care of the neck specialist Jan Betka. They found out Vaclav Havel suffers from abscess in his neck.

At the very evening, doctors decided it must be removed and Havel was successfully operated. The next day it was clear the irritation was much wider – it spread into one of his lungs (the bad one), which was in addition blocked up by sediment of blood and mucus.

Doctors se 14-member consultation team which takes care of him. He gets antibiotics, breathes with a mask and tries to exercise the lungs and expectorate the mucus.

Unusual Rats in Prague Zoo

Zoo Prague brings us one of the biggest rats of the world in the brand new exposition at the top floor of the Indonesian jungle pavilion – the Phloeomys pallidus, or ‘cloud rat’. With respect to their noculturnal life the exposition was conceived as a night one, illuminated by ‘moonlight’ only.

Their house is full of branches for climbing and shelters which substitute for the natural caverns.

The massive 2kg rats introduce themselves in the brand new exposition in the upper floor of Indonesian jungle pavilion, this Saturday 17th January.

Zoo Prague have been keeping these uncommon rodents from the north of Filipino island Luzon since 2007 and in 2008 the first baby cloud rat was brought up. The baby celebrated its first birthday and it is the very one you are going to see in the pavilion.

This breed of rodents belongs at the world zoos to rarities and specialities for the experts.

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Ice bar at Hilton hotel, Prague

Like if there was not enough ice in Prague, Hotel Hilton Prague introduced their news in the form of specially illuminated Ice bar build from ice blocks on the roof of the building. The ice bar is going to be opened every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 7th February. The bar opens at 22, closes at midnight.

Tickets to the bar cost 590 czk for 15 minutes and include welcoming drink of Taittinger champagne, company of hostess “ice girls” oyster bas and unlimited capacity of ice drinks made with vodka.

Hilton Prague is a luxurious hotel, the biggest in the Czech Republic. If offers also other past-times like Fitness club Cybex health club & spa, Casino Atrium or shops and boutiques offering various possibilities of free time use. Travel Trade Gazette magazine World Travel Awards gave Hilton the 2008 prize for the best Czech hotel.

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  • Ice bar at Hilton hotel, Prague [January 16 2009, 11:34 AM]

Czech Entropia statue: Slovakia is other country that protests

Czech caricature sculpture Entropia in the atrium of Brussels seat of the European Council was switched on yesterday, with great concern of officers and politicians. Cars at German angular highways started driving and the maquette of the Czech Republic shows on its banner ‘collected quotes’ of Vaclav Klaus about climate. The sculpture moves, plays and puffs. The author David Cerny, who was the architect of the sculpture con arrived as well.

The caricatures aroused great emotions, some countries made their objection, and beside Bulgaria it is newly also Slovakia. Slovakia is against ‘their csabai’ sausage with Hungarian tricolore. The caricature, however, aims directly – Slovakian president Fico stands for the rather extreme right-hand voters, who wish to ‘get rid of Hungarians’, the problem is Hungarians form an inseparable part of Slovakia nation.

Romanian ghost ride twinkles, Dracula shows the teeth, and David Cerny apologises. “We are sorry we cheated the Czech government” He said he didn’t want to take offense and that he is willing to put those countries who wish to down from the plastic. When he said that, the crowd of hundreds of euro-officers sounded surprisingly with disapprovement . “Here is where the sculpture belongs” the British officer Alexandra comments. Source: MF

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Architect Kaplicky Died

The world famous architect Jan Kaplicky died yesterday. Tragically, it happened on the same day, when his wife Eliska gave birth to their first child, Johanka. According to the police speaker Jan Mikulovsky pedestrians found a laying man in Prague Dejvice “An elderly man collapsed in Ceskoslovenske armady street at half past eight pm.” a woman who passed by called an ambulance, than a police unit tried cpr. The police officers and later the ambulance attempts ended without success. Jan Kaplicky died 14th January 2009 at the age of seventy one.

Kaplicky was never too old, together with his young colleagues in his Future Systems in London worked on change of traditional conception of architecture, used innovative materials, cared about ecology and tried to use natural energy and light. His team uses know-how of NASA research and boat and plane industry – materials that are strong, light, persistent, seamless. Two of Kaplicky’s buildings were by The Independent listed among the most significant modern buildings – the shopping mall Selfridges in Birmingham and the journalist platform on the London cricket stadium Lord’s.

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Congress Centre: Traffic During Chairmanship

Czech EU Chairmanship reflects in life of many Prague citizens. Because of security reasons of protection for politicians and officials, the police prepared a wide range of security arrangements. Among the hardest ones is the no-walk security zone surrounding the Congress Centre, where most of the prepared negotiations are about to take place. Also, there is no-parking now at Pankracke square, expect complications when convoys with politicians go through the city.

The travellers in the public transport won’t notice it that much. Maybe when they exit the metro station Vysehrad, they won’t be able to go to Vysehrad through the terrace below the Congress Centre. Drivers, used to park in underground garages under the close-by hotel Holiday Inn are off luck. Parking places are going to be closed.

For drivers, the main obstacle is going to be the traffic around the Congress Centre. When delegations go in or out, traffic surrounding the Congress Centre may be modified.

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Prague rediscovered ice-skating again

When you come to a sport department in a mall, there are empty shelves in the winter part. They were packed with dozens of ice skates before the Christmas. And because frosts didn’t drop, men, women and children ice-skates disappear from the stores, second-hands and rental services on. “Two chilly days and we sold forty pairs of used ice-skates. We are just astonished and order new goods fast.” states Pavel Fiala, who has two premises selling winter equipment in Prague. “What is sold most fast are the adjustable children and lady ice-skates.”

If you like ice-skating, you don’t have to go outside Prague. At the moment it is still very cold, there is enough ice even at Vltava river cutoffs, but basins and ponds can be even better. The pond at Motol is ready, all you need is to rent some ice-skates there and start off. At park Hvezda, one can even try snow-kitting, which means skiing or snowboarding with a special kite. Weather forecasts promise the weather will stay frosty, at least until the end of January.

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DJ Sven Vath in Prague

Sven Väth in younger times Have you ever wished to see and hear the legenday german producer and DJ Sven Vath? It becomes real in April. Sven states on his webpage that 10th he plays in Prague Club Mecca. It should be within the party Acapulco, the resident party of Czech DJ and beauty Lucca.

Sven Väth (born 1964 ) is a DJ who has produced an extensive range of work since his career began in 1982. He was also one of the founders of legendary trance music labels Harthouse and the now-defunct Eye Q, as well as being among the very first DJs to play trance records.

In 1995 Mixmag rated his album Accident in Paradise one of the top-50 dance albums of all time; although the title track is a fast techno piece, the rest is far more sedate, such as the track “Coda,” which features merely a flute and a harpsichord.

Ticket prices: 490 czk to 30th March, 590 to 10th April, 700 czk at the spot. There is only 800 tickets on sale so I would recommend buying it online at ticketpro. Legendary producer and DJ Sven Vath in Prague Club Mecca on 10th April 2009.

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Smarter Cash Dispensers start in the Czech Republic

Local banks in Prague and in the Czech Republic started to euip a new wave of more intelligent cash machines. The trend starts with few tens of new machines, which serve for money drawings and finding out the balance, recharging mobile credit, but can also transfer money to other accounts, so it is possible to use it for paying the bills.

The service, which spreads in western Europe at the present time, is provided by UniCredit Bank in the Czech Republic; their 51 cash machines however transfer money until the next workday. There should also be deposit online machines. There are two of them placed at two Prague premises, at Smichov and in Cestlice.

Deposit cashomats are to be placed during the first half of the year. If there will be interest in depositing this way, there will be more of them. They cost twice as much as the regular ones, but they economize the traffic at branches.

Skoda Auto moves the Release of their first Cross-country car

The very first off-road car made by Skoda Auto, called simply ‘Yeti’ is going to be sold in September. The company so moved the release of half a year. In consequence to this decision, the company doesn’t want to present the new model on the March motor show in Geneva, because there would be too big a gap among the exhibition premiere and sale start.

The car will have its premiere in Frankfurt, it will be possible to buy in September. This term corresponds with introducing Yetti much better. The Skoda Car factory wants, according to their speaker, to prepare the customers in advance for the model; there will be official photographs, media are going to have chance of testing it.

There were still small changes between the concepts and the real car, at the present moment there are some last tests taking place. Yeti is made in a newly reconstructed historical Skoda factory.

Russian Gas Didn't Arrive to EU... Why?

At first, it seems crystal clear. Ukraine doesn’t want to pay world prices of gas to Russia, and so it blackmails Moscow by stopping the transit through its territory, respectively by stealing so much from Russian supplies to Europe Ukrainians wouldn’t freeze and Kiev could negotiate better price with Moscow.

Maybe we could believe that, if that wouldn’t be the case of business run almost solely by mafia, if we could say there is democracy in Russia, and not the “sovereign democracy” which is only a facade. So the whole action with stopping the gas seen in wider context brings new explanations.

The whole matter can be nothing but a performance of Kremlin with three base aims – to corrupt Ukrainian convergence with the EU, punish Kiev for the December agreement with the USA about strategic partnership and to put through expensive and problematic project of Baltic gas main.

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Humorous Mosaic made Bulgarians angry

Bulgaria is going to send a protest note about the plastic of the artist David Cerny called Entropia. Sofia principally protests against the map which symbolises Bulgaria being created like if compounded of squat toilets. The vice-prime minister Vondra, who is supposed to ceremonially show the sculpture tomorrow, was taken by surprise as well. He said they consider further steps.

Bulgarian officials were criticizing the decoration of Czech Chairmanship really hard yesterday. According to their speaker Betina Jovevo it is “extremely offensive”. The author of the art piece is Czech artist David Cerny, even when it was originally supposed to be created by 27 artists of all the union countries. But Cerny admitted he made the sculpture with two of his friends, and the names of 27 other artists were made up. So he has responsibility for what is going to happen now. We will know on Thursday.

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Gas still not flowing to the EU, Russia blames Ukraine

The gas crisis is probably not over yet, Russian gas still doesn’t flow to Europe. According to Gazprom the problem is Ukraine, which reportedly block the way of gas to Europe. The ITAR-TASS agency stated Gazprom slowly started to restore the supply of gas, which goes through Ukraine, for European customers. But as no gas arrived, bot the quarrelled sides blame each other for who is responsible for the contemporary situation.

One of the states, who suffers from the Russian-Ukrainian dispute the most is Slovakia. The conflict put their government in front of Sophie’s Choice; either to start the second block of nuclear plant in Jaslovske Bohunice and count with lawsuit from the side of European commission, or to listen to the EK and de facto threaten not only their business, but also their citizens.

Russia ended gas transport last Wednesday 7th January, assuming that Ukrainians have been consuming gas intended for Europe. Situation in some countries is critical, biggest problems have Bulgaria and Moldavia. The crisis is going to accelerate construction of other gas routes from other countries and demonstrates Russian power.

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Two New Czech Political Parties

They are new, right-hand and have opposite programmes. The first one is called Strana svobodných občanů (SSO) – the Party of Free Citizens and the second one is Liberálové.cz (LIB) – Liberals.

The SSO programme is against the Lisbon treaty of the EU, also it demands referendum for the question of Euro Adoption.

The first aim of SSO is to succeed in June Euroelections. The new party has a ram on green background in their logo. This animal, according to their chairman Mach symbolises the way to freedom and new beginning. Ram is also resolute and systematic.

The LIB party comes with the idea of forming United European States. They feel there is a great number of liberal-thinking voters, who don’t find an advocate for them.

The Liberals also endorse the ‘new generation’ of politicians, who are devoted to European integration and are not burdened with corruption scandals of the past. LIB also aims to succeeding in elections to the European parliament.

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