Compact archive July 26, 2006

Winter sports refresh summer Prague

Hot weather is almost synonymous with an invitation to go for a swim. Sadly, it is also associated with the spread of the dangerous water bacteria. River swimming places thus cannot be sure about the future quality of their water. Nevertheless, there is something quite certain – they make up for it with additional programme.

For example, Zlute lazne (free translation: Yellow spa) has a unique skating ring with artificial surface. It is probably your only chance to wear bathing suit and ice skates at the same time without asking for pneumonia. If you fear the looks of the passers by as you head off for your swim holding skates, you can borrow them at the place.

Fans of winter sports also had a chance to witness snowboardists and skiers jumping to Vltava river from eight-meter high yesterday. This was a part of Watermania 2006.

In the case you missed this event and truly love winter sports, you can try bobsleighs on a 800 meters long track in Prosek. For more than one minute you can enjoy summer “bob-sleighing” at a speed that can approach scary 60 kilometres per hour there.

Czech National Bank will host the aristocracy

Congress hall of the Czech National Bank is the place, where descendants of Czech nobility meet tomorrow. This event constitutes a part of celebrations organised to commemorate the anniversary of the dying-out of a royal dynasty of the Premyslids seven hundred years ago.

They will festively receive the commemorative coin issued by the bank you could read about two days ago. We thank this dynasty for the very establishment of the Czech kingdom.

The guests coming to the celebrations, which are going to last two days and are to take place in Palace gardens, bear famous names such as Schwarzenberg, Lobkowitz, Waldstein or Czernin. Czech castles and mansions lent for the occasion portraits of the Premyslids and other important royals to be exhibited in the Gallery of Ledebursky palace.

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Congress Centre for sale

Prague’s town-council is the sole shareholder of the Congress Centre. A decision was met to sell most of the shares to another investor. The council wants to retain only minimum of shares that would entitle it to have some decision-making power. Three per cent of shares should be sufficient for convening a general meeting.

Even though the centre is currently prosperous, it is deeply indebted due to the reconstruction from the year 2000, which cost three bn Czech crowns. Prague was aiding the centre to meet its financial obligations with an annual subsidy of almost one hundred million crowns till 2004. Town-council does not want to continue with this any longer. The decision for privatisation was also influenced by the apprehensions about the cost of future renovation works.

The investor should enhance the prestige of the centre and attract thus to Prague more “congress tourists”. These visitors stay on average in the capital city longer and also spend here higher sums of money.

Modernization and reconstruction of the building should be accompanied by brushing up the surroundings. All of these alternations are necessary for the Congress Centre to offer services and environment required by the organizers and participants of top international conferences.

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Happening to support building of US missile base

Happening to support the presence of the American base in the Czech Republic took place on Strelecky (Sharpshooters’) Island on Vltava river yesterday. It was organised by LiRA – standing for Liberal Reform Party.

Prague happening proved to be a failure for its organisers – apart from LiRA members and journalists there was no interest shown on the side of the public. This is not surprising given most of the people are against the base being here.

The organisers were disappointed because they wanted to explain the reasons, why the Czech Republic would benefit from the US presence. They claim the advantages should be economical as approximately one thousand new jobs would be created – mostly in the tertiary sector. We should also enjoy greater safety and gain strategic importance.

American defence missile base will be built either in the Czech Republic, Poland or Hungary. It should be designed to shoot down long range missiles and prevent them thus from reaching targets both in Europe and in the US.

Prague - destination not only for tourists but also for future employees

Prague is the long-standing winner in the category of the most popular touristic destinations in the Czech Republic. The runner-up is (instead of the usual south Bohemia) the area of Krkonose mountains – something hardly surprising given the long-lasting winter we have just had.

Where are the tourists from? Most popular are we among Germans but also in the Great Britain and in Italy. Nevertheless, there were almost 15 per cent fewer Brits than during the last year. The culprit is the re-direction of cheap flights into the Baltic area.

The Czech Republic (and often Prague) is also attractive for people seeking an employment opportunity – there are more than hundred thousand citizens of the EU currently employed here. Most of them come from Slovakia or Poland and earn here higher salaries.

Nonetheless, there are also rising numbers of Germans (over two thousand), the British and French who come despite several times lower earning prospects than in their homeland. They work mostly as specialists for transnational companies.

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Trams returned to Vodickova street

Yesterday evening put an end to ten days without any trams passing Wenceslas Square because of the collapse of the house in Vodickova street. The reasons for the accident are still unknown and the investigation continues.

The trial empty tram explored the terrain at seven o’clock in the eventing and trams with passengers came half an hour later. The trams have to abide by a very strict speed limit of ten kilometres per hour. The remains of the house, now secured by a steel construction and scaffolding, can be passed only by one tram at a time to reduce the vibrations caused. Ten lorries removing the rubble were needed to clear the area.

The return of trams into Vodickova street easies public transport situation in the capital city slightly but more changes are expected in the course of the next few days.

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Anti- and Pro-Israeli demonstrations to take place again

Today two more demonstrations expressing opposing views about the current Middle-East conflict will take place in Prague simultaneously. We reported about the demonstration in Old Town Square recently. Today’s protests should take place in Namesti Miru in the evening.

The Anti-Israeli demonstration is organized by more than ten different organizations such as Muslims living in the Czech Republic, the Communist Youth Association, Humanist Movement and others. They want to express their disagreement with Israeli military operations and show thus solidarity with the Lebanese and Palestinian people. In their view neither human rights nor Geneva conventions are respected. This meeting should be seen as an appeal for a peaceful end to the crisis.

Simultaneously a Pro-Israeli demonstration should also be taking place. The organizers, who oppose radical Islam, want to point at the reasons behind the conflict – repeated missile attacks and terrorism such as kidnapping and unprovoked attacks upon civilians. These actions are believed to constitute a long term terrorist campaign directed against the very existence of Israeli state.