News

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).

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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'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.

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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.

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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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.

Classic ID's may be in the last Czech season

A bell tolls for the paper Ids we are used to in the Czech Republic. So to have one’s personal identification number, family status and address nicely written on a piece of paper in plastic may be history in 2010. The revolution should come with new electronic cards with a chip and four electronic registers, in which the data should be saved.

The government decided on the yesterday meeting, when they supported the proposal of Interior Minister Ivan Langer. The laws, which are a part of Langer’s reform of public service, needs to be passed by the parliament, senate, and signed, but if that happens, 2010 would bring the ‘OP’. “Electronic id card means not only great simplification for a citizen, but also higher security. The public service knows almost everything about us, still it forces us to bring information again and again.” Ivo Brokes from eStat also explains, that the very giving identification number is dangerous, and should not be practiced in the future.

The project of Prague card Opencard works very well. Maybe the 21st century really requires we had our cards equipped with a chip.

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