Compact archive August 2006

Parking lots P+R expand

Parking lots Park+Ride are very popular in Prague and it is expected growing number of these types of this transport style in capitol city.

Park and ride offers to park in distant places, which are easily accessible by cars and than continue into Prague centre by metro, tram or even bus.

Prague now has sixteen P+R lots with two and thousand places. The newest are at Skalka, Depo Hostivar and Chodov metro stations. Constructed lot will be in Letnany at north of Prague.

The compare of cost with a prize of parking lot in the centre is remarkable: It is only ten crowns for whole day and they are open from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. next day.

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The king of Kambodia returns to Prague

Norodom Sihaony, a Kambodian king will visit Prague in this September. His invitation were approved yesterday by Czech government.

The king studied in Prague at elementary school, a conservatoire and a ballet at DAMU (Theater school) so he can speak Czech fluently. He will accept the freedom of the city Prague for his propagation of Czech capitol.

Norodom Sihamonu was born in 1953 in Phnompenh as a son of king of Kambodia. His father was deposed in 1970. When civil war ended, whole royal family were kept in house arrest even the king were the head of the state. Norodom become a king in year 2002 after abdication of his father.

Prices of fuel are decreasing

It was five weeks ago when the liter of gasoline cost average over 32 crowns. Now the prices are returning back below 30 crowns line.

Cheapest fuel is now in Jihlava and Trebic towns. The cost is 28,90 CZK. Both filling stations owns ONO company. The average cost is now 31,71, because stations at high roads are much expensive.

The cost is lower because ends summer driving season. Analytics says that the cost can be hardly cheaper. It is expected other direction. Hurricane season Iran embargo and other events like coming winter adumbrate that the cost of a gasoline will rise again.

Little gorilla has been rescued

Young gorilla Moja, that she is precious of Prague, has been saved by an attendant Marek Zdansky. It happened yesterday and both of them were in danger.

Zoo attendant just came to work and he noticed that group of gorillas were sitting near gap on the rain. Then he saw that young gorilla Moja is in the water with face under water. He immediately jumped into ditch and pulled the gorilla out. He has to go to ground where was whole group of gorillas where was also 315 kilograms wight male Richard. Then Zdansky shook Moja to wake her up. Moja started to scream. Fortunately mother of Moja only take her and went back into pavilion.

Gorillas couldn’t do nothing to help the young one because they can’t swim. The attendant made this large risk also Moja is the first gorilla born in any Czech zoo. Moja was borned 13th December 2004, but her sex has been recognized by DNA test as lately as this May.

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Trucks appear on Czech roads during weekend

This weekend brings heavier traffic on Czech roads. It is last holiday weekend and therefore many families will return back to their homes. 1st September on Friday also begins changes in traffic. Trucks will be now able to ride during some part of weekend what was prohibited until now.

Trucks are allowed to ride on Friday evening and on Saturday morning. Time where camions have to stay off the road is only on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Police want to be prepared for this situation and therefore will reinforce police on roads and policemen will also gain air support of a helicopter.

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Party on Charles Bridge is cancelled

Prague mayor Pavel Bem and the Prague council are strictly against idea of total Charles Bridge’s closing. Their decision says that company could makes their commercial party only during one day with a duty of a path at one side of the bridge for tourists.

This conditions are for Louis Vutton company unacceptable and therefore they decided to cancel this part of veteran cars race. Prague doesn’t want to loose the race so the company now discusses with Prague council about other places.

The mayor is also afraid that the bridge could be damaged and whole closure of the bridge could be disappointing for tourists. Bem says that is necessary to create directions how and with which conditions is possible to rent monuments in Prague. The bridge was rent for different reasons, but it was only particularly or during a night like in Mission Impossible movie.

International Folklore Fair 2006

Today begins International Folklore Fair, where are presented twenty-one folklore groups from the whole world. The performance of groups is not an only thing. People can see creating of huge wooden sculpture of a clown or traditional old-Bohemian crafts. Products ban be bought by special medieval coins – gros (a penny), which can be changed in special exchange offices at the place.

Folklore groups are for example from Bulgaria, Romania, Columbia, Mexico or Cook Islands. The exhibition are twice a day, from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. for kids, main programme starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

People can also see dance groups from Prague House of Children and Youth who will present historical, country, sport, cheerleader and classical dances every day from Thursday to Saturday.

The Fair opening ceremony is today at 8 p.m. and the event ends on this Sunday.

Theme:

Cigarettes will be more expensive

Czech Government will raise costs of cigarettes. Next raising starts with a new year. Cigarette distributors are slowing down the cost by a forward buying of duty stamps. This step will bring economic shock for smokers, because the new raising will meet the old one from the beginning of this year almost in same time. The cost of a pack of cigarettes will be raised by 20 crowns instead of fifteen.

Czech most popular cigarettes Petra, will cost 66 crowns instead of 44. This makes a pack more expensive by one third. The Government follows European union directions and this step will bring money to state budget.

It is expected decreasing number of smokers. Phillip Morris is the strongest cigarette producer in Czech Republic. Sixty per cents of cigarettes sold in CZ are made by this company, but smokers are starting to by cheaper brands. Shares of the company have half cost now.Czech smokes 24 milliards cigarettes every year.

Prague defend citizen parking lots

The system of parking zones is spreading in Prague. Green and yellow zones are for travellers from outside of Prague in cost from 15 to 40 crowns as well as underground garages. Blue lines are for resident population, who has one-year ticket in cost of 700 crowns. Now City hall started to defend these places against reckless drivers without permission.

Prague has started with a tow of cars in Platnerska street yesterday as a demonstration of their plan. Four tow tracks were used and if necessary than can be all thirty four tow cars in streets. They can tow up to 300 cars a day. Raising number of tow tracks in street starts next week. Prague wants to return rights of paying residents back. Towing in cases of bad parking is possible from July when new road law came into effect.

The owner has to pay 1450 crowns for the tow plus a fine. Every day cost 200 crowns at a tow parking place. When an owner would get to his car in time of towing he would pay 850 crowns plus a fine.

It was counted over 15 000 violations in two months, 1600 cars were towed. Now about forty per cents of cars stand at blue lines without permission.

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Night zoo continues

As you can read read in our last article about Prague zoo, visitors has unique chance to visit the zoo in the night. This offer has unexpected success and the zoo decided to continue until the end of September.

Night walk in Prague zoo offers chance to see night life of other animals, sleeping herd of antelopes, hear howl of wolves and much more. The tour is every Friday and Saturday in 8.00 p.m. 8,30 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. It takes two hours.

Tours should be reserved in advance because each group can have a maximum of 25 people. The bookings can be done via mail (pr@zoopraha.cz) or using the telephone (296 112 230).

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Sprayers want more legal places

Prague has this weekend meeting of sprayers in Prague Harfa. Sprayers protested against lack of legal places in Prague, where they can show their art without a fear of being caught.

Sprayers has not enough of wall for spraying. Now it is mostly Barrandov bridge, walls near former chocolate factory Orionka in Modrany and at Tesnov. The meeting was visited by thirty people and it was followed by “painting” the walls of former factory and hip-hop music.

Unfortunately sprayers doesn’t use only allowed places, but mostly some Prague house wall. Another popular target were trams and metros but better security prevents it now. Prague protects some places by using a special substance.

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Tomato battle

A small town Radvanovice in Northern Bohemia was a place where was made a tomato battle – Rajcatovina. As it was in two recent years two “armies” in strength of fifty men fought at both sides. Their ammunition were of course overripe tomatoes.

Thirteen tons of tomatoes were used for destroying enemy blow-up balloons. After that the battle changed to free-for-all fight and target was also an audience.

These battle – La Tomatina has long tradition in Spain, where thousands of people use this ammunition.

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Prague will need outer circuit as fast as possible

Infrastructure of Czech highways is continuously becoming connected and more dense. This good new brings in upcoming months problems for Prague.

Prague is a focus point of most highways in Bohemia. Star type of highways brings problems for Prague now. New finished parts of highways will bring more cars into Prague. Capitol city has a problem with proper infrastructure for heavy traffic. An arterial leading through centre of Prague is totally unfit and unfinished inner circuit is now at maximum of a capacity.

Works on outer circuits continues, but one of important parts connecting highways to Pilsen and to Brno will be finished soonest in year 2009. The rest have even more problems. 17 kilometers out of 83 is built, but it is not certain where exactly the circuit will lead at many other places. Second problem is very common: a lack of money. Total cost is 84 milliards crowns and complete finishing of outer circuit is expected between years 2015 and 2020.

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Hussite parade at Charles Bridge

Yesterday brought much more of history into Prague centre. A parade of Hussite warriors from 15th century marched across the Charles Bridge to Kampa island. At the top of parade rode on a horse Jan Zizka in full armor, a great leader of Hussite armies. Sound of drums could be heard in a wide surrounding.

People could see at Kampa medieval swordsmen, knights, a medieval market – a fair and jugglers. The meeting also offered medieval music.

This event was a small presentation of Medieval Festivities in Tabor town in Southern Bohemia. The festivities are between 15th and 17th September and visitors can see a lot from medieval times.

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How does Prague use funds from Europe Union?

Capital city of Prague used most of money fro European to repairs and reconstructions. From 1,33 milliard crowns it is 1,14, that mean almost ninety per cents.

Most expensive has been repair of Broumarska street in Prague 14. 213 millions crowns were taken from funds. Very important repair of Petrin funicular costs 50 millions. Other project are elevators in Florenc station for 43 millions and Camera system in Prague for 50 millions.

The rule of using funds says, that European union will pay fifty percents of the cost, the rest is equally divided between Czech state and an applicant like city or city department. Over eighty projects has been realized this year.

Czech company produces second product made from nanothread

Nanothread will now have a new use. Elmaco company cooperated with Liberec Technical university and created new use for nanothread: a sound isolation.

This is a second product created by this cooperation. The first one was a patch for better healing of wounds. The team as first in the world constructed a machine for industrial producing of nano threads. Nano threads are three time lighter than materials used in present time and is very universal.

Elmaco wants to start cooperation with a company who creates materials absorbing sounds. Elmaco as a first middle-size company has open branch in Japan, where it want to expand to Asia and Australia. The company now cooperate with Ireland Alltracel Pharmaceuticals in producing of wound-cover materials. First products can be bought next year.

Stolen guitars has been found

As we inform, collection of guitars in cost eleven millions crowns has been stolen this July in Prague. Police found thieves and eighth out of eleven guitars.

Two thieves were already punished for crimes, one of them is drug addicted and also producer of pervitin. Police caught them after investigation and collecting of evidence 8th August. With regard to crimes what were committed and founded equipment to pervitin producing, older offender can spend in jail up to twelve years. The young one can could be sentenced to five years.

Still three guitars are missing. They are FENDER guitars in cost of hundreds of thousand, made between 1950 and 1980. It is most possible that guitars are already sold. Police still search for them.

Speedway Grand Prix in Prague

This Saturday is in Prague world championship of speedways. The tournament has a jubilee in Prague for this time. Prague prepared additional programme with Grand Prix.

Lower part of Wenceslav square will be a place where people can see from 10 p.m. motorcycle veterans like brands Cechie/Bohmerland, Harley-Davidson, BMW or Jawa.
In 2 p.m. all bikes will start their journey to stadium Marketa, where Speedway Grand Pix start in 7 p.m.
Marketa Stadium in Ladronka offer programme from 1 p.m. for adults as well as for kids.

This Grand Prix has in Prague ten jubilee and no stadium in the world can compare with.
More information can be found in Speedway pages.

Martina Navratilova presents her pictures

Martina Navratilova, world tennis legend is preparing an exhibition of her pictures in Congress centre. The exhibition has Czech a premiere 7th October and it was created with Slovakia artist Juraj Kralik.

The exhibition has a name Art Grand Slam and works started on it in year 2000. This project was made in New York, Melbourne, Paris, London and also in Revnice u Prahy, where Martina grew up.

The exhibition has around one hundred of pictures of different sizes and materials-paper, canvas, clay or fake turf. The surface is covered by multiple color spots made by Martina’s tennis ball which she struck on the surface. Largest picture has ten square meters.

Do you want to rent Charles Bridge?

As you can read in yesterday article Prague rent Charles bridge to fashion company Luis Vutton as a part of race of veterans.

The bridge would be closed from 6th to 10th September, first three days will have three meters wide corridor for tourists, the bridge would be closed completely from Saturday 3 p.m. to Sunday 2 a.m. This is because is planned party at Charles Bridge Some councillors of Prague 1 are annoyed because no one told him abut this drastical close of one of the most important monuments in Czech Republic.

The agreement was made between the company and Prague 1 hall and Technical Administration of Communications. Now special comission wants to know how was the contract signed. Prague 1 invites 1,2 millions crowns as a profit to district cash, but someone says that is almost nothing in 750 millions crowns large years budget.

Charles bridge cost 250 000 crowns for every day of shooting (the fashion company want to shoot documentary about the race), other rent is paid in addition. It is 10 CZK for square meter every day.

With this i bring another infromation. Reconstruction of Charles Bridge is moved to spring of next year.

Prague 2 fights against sprayers

Town hall of Prague 2 wants to clean facades of public buildings in their district. Prague hired a cleaning company, which removes “work” of sprayers in two days. Buildings are covered by substance making the remove much easier. This substance is used in other districts of Prague some time.

The company cares for twenty-five buildings. The cost is 1300 crowns for a month and one building. The system is effective, but town hall wants to extend the number of protected buildings, so the district start a selection procedure.

Sprayers cause damage in millions of crowns every year. Strongest effort of damaging building by sprayers was in nineties.

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Race of veterans, not wrecks

Prague will be target of another race. As you can read in yesterday article, Prague will be target point of race, where cars are as cheap as possible. But this race is on the other side of car value.

Best veteran cars starts from Budapest ride through Vienna and ends at Prague Charles Bridge. After that cars will pent some time at Hradcany square where you can see them.

None of cars has younger year of produce than 1960. Oldest car has been made in 1910. Brands of cars shows how rich the owners are: Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Maserati. There is only one representative of Czech Republic – brand Tatra 603. The race is organized by Luis Vutton company. Their last race was in year 1998 and lead alongside Great wall of China.

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New anti terroristic unit

Ministry of Internal affairs are started to create new department to fight against organised terrorism. It would be focused on gathering and collecting of information about terrorism and cooperation with foreign departments.

The centre should have from thirty to fifty people, the centre should have members from The Unit for Detection of Organised Crime and Financial police. The meeting about this department would be at September and after two months the department could work.

The department should make easier work for police investigators by using information from intelligence service. This department will create much better communication between Czech and foreign countries. This will make work more effective.

Bank robbers strikes again

Three robbers who stole money from exchange office in Prague centre on Saturday, tried to steal money once again. It was in Prague too. This time they tried to steal money from exchange office in Celetna street in Prague centre yesterday afternoon.

Two men entered to office, one checked surrounding outside. One of them aimed at an owner of the office and want money. The owned refused and started to shout for help. After that robbers escaped.

Prague taxi is one of most expensive in Europe

Czech newspapers MF Dnes compared costs of taxi services in European capital cities. The cost was counted to average salary in country where measures were made.

The results are not very friendly for Czech people. The ride for average salary would be 762 kilometers long. Average salary of Spaniard is enough for 1733 km of taxi ride in Madrid. The ride in Paris and Vienna is for inhabitant 1864 km long. And Berlin offer for average German salary 2730 km long ride. More expensive taxis are in Slovakia when costs aren’t limited.

On the other hand, taxi Prague drivers says that they have more expensive input. And Prague City hall wants more required equipment for taxi.

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Czech airlines needs money from Czech Republic

Czech Airlines are in large loss. It was 532 millions crowns in a half of year 2005. This year it is 773 millions. Large help should come from money of Czech Republic.

Czech Airlines (CSA) have to pay new planes ordered by old management from Airbus company. Costs are higher by 11,3 per cents, mostly because of more expensive fuel and higher earnings. Required help is two milliards crowns. Czech Republic has more than ninety percents of share.

Large competition mostly cased by low-cost airlines like Smart Wings or SkyEurope takes customers away. A management of CSA tries to reduce loss by firing employees. one hundred and fifty accepted offer of ten salaries in change of leaving jobs in CSA.

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Man in kilt at statue of St. Wenceslav

This morning a man in kilt climbed at large statue of St. Wenceslav at Wenceslav square. The man with blue face as Willam Wallace in a movie Braveheart sat there until a fire brigade come and took him out by ladder.

It was shortly before 7 a.m. when someone call to fire brigade that some man in skirt was crawling at the statue. Then the brigade arrived fire men had to use a ladder to take him. The statue was blue at some places after rioter’s exhibition.

This is not the first case what this guy done. He was on Saturday at Moto GP in Brno, where he went in a track after a ride and he rode there at kid scooter. In the evening he tried to exhibit naked in front of Brno’s audience at the stadium. Even he wears Scottish clothes he is Czech.

Building of a Year 2006

A competition Building of a Year is this year for tenth time. Prague has 18 buildings from 44 suggested. Four of them are financed from money of Prague city hall.

It is Barriers against floods at Lesser Town, House with day care in Dubec, Office building of Prague 2 at Miru square and also Farmhouse Ladronka in Brevnov district.

Ladronka was built in 17th century and the building was building was ruined ten years ago. It was inhabited by squatters, who organised there many alternative exhibitions, and cultural meetings. They were banished and the building could be reconstructed. Now Ladronka is restaurant and sport-cultural centre again.

Building of a Year starts every year in June and ends next year in May. A building that has final building approval in that time can compete. All four buildings reached second round where is 24 buildings. Next week 15 buildings will be selected and five of them will reach status a Building of a Year. Expert jury see buildings the place and also studies plans and other materials.

Czech Wrecks 2006 race

New car race comes to Prague. Although races are very popular, this one is not welcomed by Prague city hall. Czech Wrecks 2006 has as a most important condition the cost of a car lower than 100 GBP. City hall is scared from wreckage heading to Prague.

The race starts in city Calais, France. It is expected that cars arrive to Prague 4th September. Police worries, that racers would left their trash-cars in Prague streets and the magistrate would have to remove it at their costs. Police also doesn’t wont to have problems with racers who are exceeding maximum speed limits.

The organiser Justin Clements says that the Prague don’t need to worry. The race is not about fastest car, but the track has many trials on the track. too fast ride is not problem at all, because these cars has can hardly reach it. The organiser has a as a conditions to be part of the race like insurance of a car or a technical approval.

Czech Wrecks are this year for the first time and mow has seventy registered cars, most of crew are from Great Britain. Other racers are from Italy, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and five teams from Czech Republic.

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Prague has street of Karel Kryl

Prague has one hundred new streets every year. In the day of remember to Soviet occupation 21st August 1968 a new name of a street was inaugurated yesterday. The street has name Karla Kryla (Karel Kryl’s).

Karel Kryl was not only one of the most important anti communistic singers with unforgettable lyrics. He was forced to emigrate from former Czechoslovakia in 1969 to Western Germany. Kryl returned in revolution times in 1989 where he played a protest meetings. Karel Kryl died in 1994. He is buried in Brevnov monastery.

Karla Kryla street is in Prague district Stodulky, where he visited his sister and where he composed some of most of his songs. The name of street was suggested by member of Parliament Pavel Bratsky who was a mayor of Stodulky many years. The street was inaugurated by Bratsky, mayor of Prague Pavel Bem, mayor of Stodulky David Vorazka with Kryl’s brother Jan and widow Marlen. The member of Karel Kryl’s club mr. Ludek Zmrzlik sang one of Kryl’s song there.

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Journal from Prague

We arrived at the Prague airport around 3 PM local time and we got a taxi to the airport. We stayed at the Corinthia Towers Hotel, which was directly next to a metro stop, which was convenient. We were on the 22nd floor so we had an amazing view of the city below. We took the metro into the city center and walked around and found the Old Town Square, where were took pictures and ate dinner. We had traditional Czech food, which was surprisingly really delicious. We were tired after dinner and went back to the hotel.

Tip to trip: Zbraslav chateau

Zbraslav chateau has a history nine hundred years old. Now visitors can see exhibition of National gallery.

In 12th century location of chateau was in ownership of Kladruby monastery, after century and a half, Czech king Premysl Otakar II. build there hunting-seat. Wenceslav II, Otakar’s son, built there monastery. After 39 years the monastery was built, and Wenceslav was burried there after his death.

In 1420 was the cloister burned out by Hussites, after that was repaired. In next years the cloister was despoiled by Hungary army. It was damaged again during Thirty-years war. Te cloister has becoma a chateau in 19th century.

Now there is a depository of National Gallery and collection of Asian art. Now the gallarey presents exhibition Landscapes, birds and flowers. The galllery is opened from Tueasday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A fee is 80 crowns for adults, 40 crowns for kids and students. You can easily get there from Smichov train station by bus (numbers 338, 318, 361, 243, 241, 129). Nearest station is Zbraslavske namesti (square).

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Exchange office robbery in Prague centre

Saturday morning was a witness of a robbery in Prague centre exchange office. It happened in street Na Perstyne at 10,30. Three robbers used sub-machine gun and shot a few warning shots through port-hole. A worker obeyed their orders.

Robbers stolen hundreds of thousand crowns. The robbery become in time where is only a few people in surrounding of exchange office.

Eighty-five robberies of banks, post offices and banking institutions happened this year in Prague. The offender was caught in thirty-two cases. Last similar case happened in year 2004 when Commercial bank was robbed in Prague 4.

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Petrin tower has 115 years

Petrin Tower is 115 years old. It has been made for Provincial jubilee exhibition in year 1891 as an idea of Czech Tourist Club. This small copy of Paris Eiffel tower was finished 20th August after five months.

The Petrin lookout tower is very popular, offering great view to Prague panorama. Now the funicular to Petrin is closed, so you can get there by foot.

Here is for you photos of Petrin tower.

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Prague floorbal Czech Open

International tournament Fortuna Czech Open is now in Prague. The stars of floor ball will play until this Sunday in twelve sports halls.

The tournament hosts 213 teams from 18 countries. As it was last years most powerful teams are from Scandinavia like Finland champions Espoon Oilers or star team Finnsta IBK. Sweden teams wins at Prague open for five years and this year is Sweden presented by Pixbo Wallenstam.

Eight best teams from Czech Republic has Tatran Stresovice in first line. Czech TV programme CT 4 Sport broadcasts 15 matches. Final day is Sunday and there are final match of juniors, men, men Elite, women and women Elite.

Entrance fee is 120 crowns. More information at official pages

Brand new film festival in Prague

A new festival will be in Prague from 4th to 8th October. It has a name Der Film and it is a presentation on German-speaking cinematography. Movies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will screen in Aero and Svetozor cinemas. The festival will have also
support program concerned on German music and theatre.

The festival will have 15 full-length pictures plus many documents. The festival will present many movies, but there will be one unique. The silent movie called Mysteries of Human Soul from 1926 will have special projection, because the screen will be followed by live music specially compound for the movie.

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Fifty years old history of bike producing ended

Czech company creating bikes from 1951 Favorit has definitely ended on yesterday auction. Grounds and building where these famous road bikes was created were sold for 15 millions crowns. It was because the company become twice bankrupt.

The auction was very short. It took only five minutes to decide about the new owner. Bankruptcy administrator is not happy, because he expected the selling price at least 20 millions. An agent of new owner-developer company Nanny said, that it is not certain how will be building used, but they refuse to produce bikes.

The company bankrupt in year 2001 for the first time. Than it was bought by Bike Technology& Public Relations, that want to continue in producing of bikes. Unfortunately this year Favorit bankrupt once again.

The number of HIV positive people is growing in Czech Republic

Czech doctors send message to Czech population: HIV virus is still in Czech Republic and the number of infected people is growing faster.

Lowest number in recent years of infected was in year 2002, when it was fifty people. After that the number started to grow again. In year 2005 it was 90 and from January to July it is 64 people.

Doctors and specialist says that is because that discussion and information about the prevention disappeared from public. People are more light-headed. Statistics says that only one fifths are women. Most of them are homosexuals.

It is 891 registered HIV positive people in Czech Republic from year 1986. 202 of them have AIDS and 121 people died of this confirmed illness. Highest number of infected is in Prague, number of infected counted on people in region is highest in Karlovarsko (Karlsbad region) and in Usti nad Labem region.

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Karlin is opening to Prague centre

Prague district Karlin has plan how to open itself to the rest of the city. Karlin in located between Vltava river on the north, only one main road leading to east, Vitkov hill on the south and Negrelli’s train viaduct on the west. The viaduct has only six passage arches to New Town so the rest of arches makes something like a wall.

Most arches are somehow blocked. In 19th century there were craftsman workshops, but now it mostly contains garages or warehouses. It is expected that the owner of the bridge could repudiate an agreement in twelve months and the walk under the whole viaduct could be possible after a year.

Negrelli’s viaduct is historically first train build in Prague. It was build in 1850 and it was longest bridge of Europe until the year 1910. Now the bridge is second oldest bridge in Prague.

Construction of metro is in the half

Construction of segment Ladvi – Letnany on north part of the red line C reached a half of works. The opening is expected on first half of year 2008. The cost is 15 milliards CZK and it have three stations: Strizkov, Prosek and Letnany. For Prague city hall is building of this segment is a priority in traffic division.

Tunnels and underground parts of stations are build, now the construction continues on laying of tracks, adding technological equipment and building the surface parts of stations.
Letnany station has biggest platform of all stations. Instead of standard 10 meters of wide the station has twenty. It is expected that the station will be highly used by passengers, because near the station is large residential area and new exhibition grounds are build here. The Letnany is also most discussed place where the Olympic games could be made.

Cold shower waited for city hall after suggestion of state budget. Instead of expected 1 milliard for metro construction or at least 420 million as it was last year, the state want to give nothing. The Prague magistrate is of course indignant. In other Europe countries the state funds metro construction by 50 per cents. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands it is even 90 per cents.

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Jewish museum shows the best

Jewish museum in Prague has 100th anniversary in these days and therefore it was prepared special exhibition. The museum shows the best in years 1906-1940.

The museum was found in year 1906 as a last chance to save the remnants of Prague Jewish history. It was because the officials in the beginning 20th century started to demolish old Prague quarter Josefov, where Jewish community lived for a half thousand years.

That is why the exhibition has a name Against the Beast, as the Prague magistrate was called in there years by Jews. As a trustee of exhibition says they present the best what the museum can offer.

The exhibition is open until 1st October in Jewish museum near Spanish synagogue daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Saturday and Jewish holidays. Entrance fee for adults it 30 crowns.

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Citizens of Prague has the most cars in Europe

Prague has highest number of cars counted at one citizen. It is 1,9 citizens at one car. Paris has 2,4 citizens, London 3,0. Number of registered cars in Prague is about 570 thousands.

Most cars are of course home-brand Skoda. Another popular cars are Ford, Opel or Renault. In comparation with the western Europe, Prague has older cars. Average age is twelve years, the west has cars two years younger.

The annual rise of numbers is two per cents in Prague. After the end of commmunistic era in ninetes it was fifteeen per cents.
Cars drive 20 millions kilometers in Prague every day. Most cars is Skoda Felicia LXI (17 000 pieces)

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Czech Republic has two prime ministers now

Czech Republic has a new prime minister. It is Mirek Topolanek from ODS. But all competences still has Jiri Paroubek (CSSD). This conditions still until the inauguration of the new Government.

The elections were two months ago and the Speaker of parliament was voted this Monday. It is Miroslav Vlcek (CSSD) who is in this function only temporary. Paroubek’s government resigned yesterday and the president Vaclav Klaus accepted it. After that the new prime minister was inaugurated. Topolanek must negotiated with Social democrats (CSSD) if he still wants to be a PM. After inauguration of new Government it has thirty day to approve it by majority in parliament. After the government inauguration the members of the old one will leave their posts.

The law says that the only old is in office, but there are some indistinct things. For example who has a right for Prime Minister’s salary or diplomatic privileges.

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Works on aquapark will continue

Three years stopped works on aqua park would continue this November. The biggest aqua park in Central Europe will stay in commercial zone Cestlice few kilometers away from Prague.

The work on the aqua park would end at the end of year 2007. The complex will contain thee halls with water entertainment, a restaurant, two parking houses and a hotel. The capability of the aqua park will be 3000 visitors a day.

Main building with three halls will have dressing room and restaurant. It has a triangle platform and 2750 square meters. Palace of Waves hall has whirlpool bath, children pool and slides. The second, Palace of Adventure has switchbacks, rapids, caves and lagoons. The last is Palace of Surf where sportsman can swim against breakers or dive.

Archeological found in Prague centre

A discovery from 12th century was made in Prague centre near Vltava river. Demolished soap factory from 19th century between Lannova and Novomlynska street hid history older than half thousand years.

The archaeologists found buildings with kilns and marks of metallurgy. As artifacts there were coins and silver decoration of hair. The excavation shows also remnants from 13th, 14th and 15th century. It is high quality rubble paving, late medieval spa and mill in baroque style.

Research took three months and now it comes to the end.

Floods 2002 - Photo exhibition

Association of Czech photographers presents in Karlin an exhibition of amateur photos with a theme of Prague floods in year 2002. You can see the photos in the gallery of Association of Czech photographers, where is placed thirty pictures from different authors.

The gallery is in Kollarova street 14 in Prague-Karlin. Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 2pm – 6pm. Entrance fee is 10 crowns. The exhibition ends 5th September.

In addition, the association organizes photographic competition focused on new face of Prague district Karlin.

Theme:

Cars can ride faster at some roads

Relatively good behavior of drivers at Czech roads since the new road law from 1st July brings advantages tor them. Drivers can ride faster at seventy-five locations in Prague. The speed is raised for twenty or ninety kilometers per hour mostly to 70 and 90 km/h.

Some places was chosen by the city hall, but the hall also gave a chance to drivers. Around 430 suggestions was sent by drivers about raising the speed at some roads and streets.

Changes appeared at some important roads like Barrandov bridge, Prumyslova or Strakonicka – there is maximum speed 70 km/h now. Jizni spojka what is an important part of inner Prague circuit now offer maximum speed 100 km/h during the night. City halls doesn’t plan any other changes in some time, but roads with smaller importance are in competence of district town halls.

Theme:

Stvanice island - an island of sport

Stvanice island is a place of sport for many years. There is a historic hockey stadium, where Czech national team won world championship for the first time. You can visit a lot of tennis courts or relatively new skateboard park. Now Stvanice waits for changes.

The island will be revitalized in a few years. The works should start two years ago, but large floods in 2004 changed it. Now the planes was fixed and it counts with flooding area, where the island is. Company Meridian what is a leader of the project of revitalization wants to make more places where sport is accessible not only for professional athletes.

Stvanice will have also higher number of accesses on the island. Hlavkuv bridge will offer access from both sides, small bridges for pedestrians and bikers will lead from Tesnov, Holesovice and Karlin districts. New building or playgrounds for young and older kids with boat hiring place can people visit at the island. The expected cost is 33 millions Euros.

New type of light at Charles Bridge

One of most visited monuments in Prague Charles Bridge undergoes the test this night. As we informed the bridge will be restored. The term of general repair was moved to next year spring. Now conservationists want to test the best type of lighting at the bridge.

Charles Bridge now has electrical lamps with sodium bulbs. Gas lamps was there until the end of sixties. Prague city hall wants return of gas lamps into historic centre especially to Royal road.The third option are electric lamps with halogen gas-filled tubes. They have similar colour of light like gas lamps.
You can see lamps at night at these three pictures:
Night mystery, Towards Lesser Town, Lamps and Statues.

Specialists will place the same number of lamps at same height at places, where contemporary lamps stands. So the Bride will be “split” in three parts, each of them takes four arches of the bridge. Gas pipeline is at the bridge no more so there will be portable source.

The specialists will judge the quality of different light sources like a colour, a luminous intensity and a total impression. Too intense light could disturb people in near buildings, too mild light can cause bad visibility from distance as a part of panorama for example. The complete change of light system will be a part of whole Charles Bridge restoration.

Theme:

The fate of Solar system lays in Prague

Prague hosts International Astronomical Union in these days. As you can read in our recent article, two and a half thousands astronomers from 75 countries discuss about important things in sphere of the universe. Whole world now awaits one of most important decisions for a century with hold breath.

Is ninth planet of Solar system Pluto a real full-value planet? This problem appeared in year 2003 when another relatively small object was found in distant orbit. This object is bigger than Pluto and has a name 2003 UB313 or Xena. Shortly after another six objects bigger than Pluto was found. Pluto is very similar to them and different from other large planets like eighth Neptune.

Astronomers must decide what the term “a planet” means. This will mostly bring changes in schoolbooks. Planets will be re-count and this can bring number eight or even sixteen. Some astronomers want to specify Xena as a planet, but strong opinion is that this “small objects” (Pluto has only fifth weight of our Moon) should be termed as a planetoid – a small planet, something between a planet and an asteroid.

The astronomical conference in Prague ends 25th August and world media hope that the fate of Pluto will be decided here.

Theme:

Prague coastguard has a new station

Prague coastguard changed it’s home. The headquarter of the coastguard is now in Prague district Lahovice, where is Prague hit by a floods at first. The coastguard is a division of municipal police.

Now the coastguard can work more effectively. Small house was offered by Lahovice town hall. The house was sold to town hall, because the owners don’t want to live in a tidal land. The house can be used as an emergency sleeping space for “water police”.

Prague coastguard still has a stable anchorage at Cisarska louka island. The division has three fast boats and two rafts. The coastguard has nine policemen in the service, a full crew will have fifteen.

Theme:

Czech scientists are developing new cure against Bird flu

Czech Republic as well as another countries is trying to create new cure against deadly bird flu, because it is not certain if Swiss medicament Tamiflu works. Now Czech scientists brings a great new: One of Czech chemical substances is very effective against bird flu!

The scientists send a number of samples to United states for detail analyze and after many tests American scientists found “better and more efficient Tamiflu”. US society pharmaceutical Gilead Sciences send this message to creators of the substance CSAS Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. Still there is a long road ahead, but everything seems good. For example the substance has a lesser number of side effects.

Bird flu virus H5N1 killed 136 people in the world mostly in area of south-east Asia. The flu was detected in 14 countries of European Union, Czech Republic has 14 bids killed by the flu. The bird flu is one of expected flu what can cause a world epidemic. Now people can be infected only by a bird, but mutation could cause transmitting between humans.

Theme:

Prague Dragon ship championship

Dragon ships, that have over two thousand years long history and this sport is made by over fifty millions people over the world. Czech Republic won European and World championship so it was decided to prepare a championship in Czech Republic.

The championship is planned at the beginning of September. It is expected over 2000 sportsmen at 200, 500 and 2000 metres long sail. This will be of course at Vltava river in Prague-Podoli.

Czech association prepares everything for the championship as well as for the national team. The national team had problems with their ships this June. Someone set on fire all ships and everything was destroyed. The offender was caught and caused damage is 1,300,000 Czech crowns.

Theme:

Raising number of Prague tourist guides

The number of tourists is still raising and therefore guide number follows. In fact, Prague has more guides than foreigner tourists wants. Large competition has advantages for tourists of course.

Foreign guide has to have a licence, Czech guide needs also a professional qualifications certificate. Czech guide must pass the test in history of art, psychology or economy of tourist trade. This and large number of guides in the total number strongly eliminated unlicensed guides.

Guides are most popular during Spring and Autumn, the most popular is English, German or Spanish. Groups of tourists now has about 25-30 people instead of fifty. Unfortunately, Prague has the low number of Chinese speaking guides. Another absence languages is for example Turkish and the other Asian languages.

Theme:

Finishing touches to reconstruction of Karlin Theatre

Despite the fact that Karlin Theatre still resembles a building site from the outside, only finishing touches remain before the reconstruction is completed next month. The main auditorium is said to be finished from ninety per cent and the remaining works are just minor details. The renovation and repair works lasted more than one year and required 630 million crowns. The reconstruction started after the damaging floods from the year 2002 but was needed already long before that.

The theatre will completely change its appearance. Even the former pink colour will be replaced by the original green. It may be rather difficult to recognise the historical building since it will be surrounded by modern annex comprising new technical equipment, changing rooms, a studio as well as a ballet assembly room.

The only truly historical area will be the auditorium but even here changes took place. The stage was doubled at the expense of a smaller auditorium. This is certainly an improvement since the fewer spectators will enjoy better view and greater comfort. This can be tried for the very first time during the festive premiere of musical “Producenti” (The Producers) with Ivana Chylkova and Martin Posta with which the theatre will be opened.

The “old-new” Karlin Theatre, which should be lit during the night, will thus combine the most modern technological support with precious historical tradition.

Theme:

New daily newspaper for Prague

Prague will soon have another daily newspaper. The publisher Vltava-Labe-Press aims to find a place on the Prague market after the former Vercernik Praha ceased to be published last autumn and the daily paper Sip appeared. Vltava-Labe-Press is certainly experienced concerning newspaper publishing since it issues dozens of regional daily newspapers both for Bohemia as well as in Moravia.

The new newspaper will be called “Prague daily paper” and should appear at the beginning of autumn. This newspaper will not be free but Prague already has four free newspapers – three are given to people in the mornings (their names can be translated as Metro, 24 Hours and The Metropolitan Express) and the fourth one (Courier) comes to letter boxes of Prague’s dwellers.

Theme:

American Rodeo in Sazka Arena

Prague Sazka Arena will on 14th October resemble a scene from some American western. Show that will take place here will certainly fulfill the claims of the organizers that rodeo is an extreme adrenalin sport. It is said that rodeo enjoys as much popularity in the united states as famous sports such as ice hockey or baseball.

The watchers can look forward to seeing a varied and engaging programme including six traditional disciplines such as barrel racing (horse racing around barrels), pole bending (slalom around poles), timed steer wrestling, the precision requiring calf-roping and last but not least bronk riding (wild horse riding with no saddle) and bull riding.

Apart from dozens of animals and professionals from abroad as well as from the Czech Republic, the viewers of the show will also have the chance to see Indians or marvel at the beauty of a light show.

Letni Letna festival will end the holidays

For Letni Letna Festival 2008 continue here

Already the third year of the festival Letni Letna (Summer Letna) will take place from 21st August till 3rd September. The festival aims to show the most interesting aspects from new circus as well as from special theatre. Clown performances and other aspects of visual arts will also be presented.

The area lying between the Havansky Pavilion and the famous Kramarova vila (Kramarova villa) will be covered with circus tents, cabarets and there will also be space for a bar and for music performances. Concerts will be on the evening programme list daily.

The festival performances and shows will be the work of artists both from the Czech Republic as well as from abroad. To give you some flavour it is possible to name the French Malabar with their Helios II. This performance is based on a fire show and apart from dangerous acrobatics you can look forward to seeing a huge mechanical model of the European mantis. Cirque Trottola with their humorous performance with extraordinary props and lots of juggling will also travel to Prague from France.

This year’s festival will thus offer lots of very interesting performances showing different aspects of these arts. Children can also look forward to special programme.

Theme:

Admire African Beauties whilst in Prague

“Africa – Wild at Heart” represents a great opportunity to “visit” a continent associated with wild beauty but also a continent of increasingly threatened and gradually vanishing magnificence.

This exhibition offers many ways to peep into the African world – world linked with cultural richness as well as dire poverty, with wild beauty on the one hand and danger on the other hand. For some it is the ancient “home” of human race, for others a continent where humans suffer…

The division of the exhibited large scale professional photographs into three sections ensures the visitors are offered various perspectives. All of the photos come with description and some useful and also surprising facts.

Firstly, there is a section depicting Africa through “the eyes of the gods” – as the continent is seen by the birds (or rater from a plane). Secondly, “wild at heart” section shows true wilderness because when viewing some of the shots one must wonder, how such a photograph could have actually been taken. The last section opens a window into the life of many African tribes.

The photographs are the core of the exhibition but there is much more to it which makes it so special. Three dimensional objects belonging to the work of the explorers as well as parts of skeletons of rhinos and unbelievably big butterflies (from the National Museum and the Botanical garden) enhance our impressions.

The exhibition (open daily until the beginning of September) is situated in Karolinum (Ovocný trh) and a purchase of the ticket also allows you to visit the renovated foundations of the world famous University from the middle ages in the underground of the building. Can there be more reasons why to make sure this exhibition is included in your itinerary? You may also want to have a look at the official pages.

Theme:

New giant library for Vitezne Namesti

Vitezne Square will in the course of the next two years change dramatically. There should namely appear a giant library at a place, where there is currently only a parking lot. The building will be truly gigantic since it should measure 70 metres by 70 metres and the shape of its base should resemble a rounded square.

The project will require around two billion crowns and the new National Technical Library (currently residing in Prague Clementinum) should become the biggest library built during the post-Velvet revolution period. Apart from the library itself there should also be a cafe, a night reading room, a large hall as well as an area of exhibitions and a bookstore. All of this should fit into five floors of the building to which the architects plan to add three underground ones. Here should be space for book storage as well as a parking area.

The new technical library should be rather extraordinary. The architects designed it in such a way that the running of the building should be very economical. There should be for example no need for air conditioning because of the surface of the building with double layer of material.

New Puppet Play Faust

Starting from 30th August there will altogether be four opportunities to watch puppet show Faust in the courtyard of the New Town Hall. This play is meant for children older than eight years and has a lot to offer for the entire family. The story of doctor Faust, who promised his body and soul to the devil in return for thirty-six years of his service, is well known. Faust desired namely fame, wealth and power more than his freedom and soul.

The name of the play is very long and actually tells precisely what the puppet show will be about. The play is approximately named: Johannes Doctor Faust alias gruesome comedy with a devil and with an even more gruesome disappearance of Faust into the hell at a time of terrifying thunder according to Czech folk puppeteers.

The New Town Hall is a very special place for this play because of the so called Faust’s House nearby. According to one legend it should be the hole in the roof of this very house through which Faust’s soul was taken to hell. Afterwards it took a very, very long time before the opening was repaired because it seemed so difficult…

Theme:

Fast food booms in Prague

Fast food chains currently experience unprecedented boom in Prague and plan thus their further expansion. The reason for this development is mainly to be seen in the recent opening of large shopping centres. Prague should thus witness a further expansion of the “classic” chains as well as the coming of new entrants onto the market.

McDonald’s experienced a year of stagnation in 2004 when no new restaurant was open and the number of customers decreased. Nevertheless, revenue rose to 2.3 bn crowns last year. The company plans no expansion this year but additional three restaurants should be added to the current 33 in Prague in the course of the next two years.

McDonald’s main competitor, the company KFC, increased the number of its restaurants from 31 to 44 last year and more than half of them are to be found in the capital city.

Prague will also be targeted by newcomers such as American sandwich maker Subway, German Nordsee which specialises in fish products, or Panda Express. A dramatic entrance onto the Czech market with ten restaurants this year and a total of fifty after three years plans Mondo Pizza. Asian bistros such as Li Wu also cannot complain about a lack of customers.

Some other famous names are not successful, though. For example, Burger King failed to open a restaurant in the new terminal of Prague Airport. Wendy’s or Starbucks also do not hurry to Prague. Paneria will also have to change so that it does not repeat its 15 million loss from the last year.

The boom the fast food industry experiences is not limited to the foreign chains. Czech baguette maker Crocodile claims its current two bistros are certainly not the final total number.

Prague Zoo in the night

Last weekend was the first opportunity to visit Prague Zoological Garden during the night. The visitors could have a look at the animals under the veil of night and gain thus a unique experience. Night visits allow namely the participants of the special tours to have a look at animals that are usually asleep during the day. Not to mention that the whole garden has a completely different atmosphere.

Prague Zoo will open its gates in the evening several more times – more specifically each weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from half past eight, nine o’clock and once more half an hour later. The special tours are led by guides and last approximately two hours. They should be reserved in advance because each group can have a maximum of 25 people. The bookings can be done via mail (pr@zoopraha.cz) or using the telephone (296 112 230). The adult ticket costs 140 crowns and children pay a half of this sum. The price for parking is already included in the entrance fee.

This weekend is bound to be very busy because the night tours will be preceded by a very rich day programme. Saturday is a special day for a young Giraffe girl – she is going to be christened. All children who come with a coupon from ABC magazine will have free entrance. Penguin Humboldt celebrates his tenth birthday on the following day. Both days will certainly be very exciting since they are going to be filled with many competitions.

Theme:

Prague centre may be cleared of illegal posters

Both tourists and Prague dwellers frown at the street lighting, bins, benches as well as tram stops covered with illegal posters. The problem may be close to its solution thanks to attempts to find agreement between the association of “stickers” and the Prague city.

For the agreement to be reached there must be a trade off between the two sides. The town demands that all illegal posters disappear from the historical centre of the metropolis. On the other hand, the “stickers” complain that Prague does not provide enough space for firms, which cannot afford the costly billboards of city-lights, to advertise on. They therefore demand more legal space in return for removal of the illegal posters from the centre.

They also proved that they are able to fulfil their promises. All posters from the centre disappeared namely thanks to their action during the so called “week of poster silence” that took place in the beginning of June.

The proposals thus include special areas outside the centre as well as approximately forty rounded columns for advertisements and small-format posters that should be placed in the historical heart of the town. The columns should blend in with the historical surroundings because of their appearance in style Art Noveau.

Theme:

Troubles of Skatepark Stvanice

Stvanice Skatepark has a history of thirteen years during which it has managed to win recognition not only in the Czech Republic but also in the whole Europe. This park is namely very modern and hosts prestigious competitions such as the Mystic Sk8 Cup which took place during the last month. Nevertheless, this event may also be one of the last times skateboardists came here.

Night of the 9th July was booked for celebrations and a party. Nevertheless, complaints appeared against the organisers of the event because of the noise and police was called to investigate the violation of silent hours. There were also accusations that the competition took place on a larger area than had been rented and was returned with two-day delay.

Now the skatepark has to pay a large fine and clear the area within three months. This is going to be a disappointment for all skateboardists who come here regularly. The park is visited by approximately two hundred fans of this sport every single day. There are also tiny chances that the European Championships scheduled for September of the October competition of in-lines and BMX bikes will take place.

Czech currency and the Euro

Czech Crown broke its maximum yesterday when it was traded 28.09 CZK for one Euro. The record against the USD was not beaten but the difference was only one hundredth of one Crown.

The strong currency can be explained by various factors. There is certainly the favourable macroeconomic situation including the rapid growth combined with a stable inflation. Another “culprit” is the surplus of the visible trade. Other cited factors include possible speculation as well as the decision of the the US Fed not to raise its interest rates any more due to the unexpectedly slow growth of American GDP.

The experts believe that the value of the Czech currency should stay around the current numbers. The outflow of dividends as well as the relatively low interest rates in the Czech republic as compared with the ECB and also the lack of political stability may all prevent further appreciation.

This recent appreciation makes Czech exporters worried and may thus lead to worsening of the trade balance. On the other hand, Czech tourists and importers have every reason to be pleased. The same holds for users of cars since the strong currency dampens the growth of oil prices.

The adoption of the Euro may be moving away from the planned year 2010. The reason is the lack of political stability, which is needed to prevent soaring government deficit that is expected to be well above the Maastricht criterion needed for the replacement of the Czech crown with the Euro.

Love Planet 2006 in Prague this weekend

Music festival Love Planet is finally here. You could have already read about it. The festival should have taken place in Tabor but because of cancellations of arrival by two bands (Audioslave and Him) the whole festival was moved to Prague Exhibition Grounds. There will be thus great music to be heard from three stages – a rock, pop as well as a dance one.

The Czech music scene should be represented among others by 100°C or Priessnitz. The main lure of the festival are British Pet Shop Boys or the industrial metal band Ministry, who will come all the way from the states.

Bob, Alex, Nick and Paul, who formed Franz Ferdinand, are also together one of the main highlights. Franz Ferdinand appeared in the year 2004 and won thanks to its unconventional style many awards (MTV, Brit Awards) and more importantly also many fans. This band comes from Scotland and should present their second album You Could Have It So Much Better even though according to their words they are already working on the next one.

It is still possible to purchase tickets for the festival. For more information click here.

Theme:

Traditional Troja Fair in the botanical garden

The first revived Troja fair is to take place on this Sunday – 13th August. The location of the feast is the vineyard and the external display of the botanical garden. The festive day will have a very rich programme, which is certain to be interesting as well as entertaining for the whole families.

The visitors can look forward to listening to or even dancing to music of bands Trehusk and Miniband. There will also be performances of dance group Ambrosia – concretely their dance from the medieval tavern and a fire show. Other things the organisers prepared include many competitions such as raffle. A return to the medieval times will be provided by the historical fencing, falconers and there should also be an opportunity to try shooting with cross- and long-bows. Medieval refreshments as well as a historical market will not be missing either.

The programme starts at eleven o’clock in the morning and lasts till ten o’clock in the evening. The entrance fee is forty crowns for the adults and half of that is the reduced price. The garden can be comfortably reached by bus 112 from metro station Nadrdazi Holesovice.

Theme:

The Summer Shakespeare Festival adds an additional performance

Monday 14th August is the last chance to see Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. The organisers decided for this additional performance because of the lasting interest on the part of the audience – most of the performances are hopelessly sold out long in advance. The extra play is also meant to substitute for the two rainy August evenings (3rd and 6th) when there were no performances. On the other hand, the weather forecast for the next week seems more promising.

Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s very entertaining comedies. Mistaken identity lies in the very heart of the play and the comedy is about different forms of love such as the platonic one, unrequited or also blind love as well as about feelings between siblings. Nevertheless, there is also lots of humour to be anticipated. Moreover, the characters will have to deal with the traps love can prepare. The spectators can look forward to seeing famous actors such as Jitka Schneiderova, Jiri Langmajer, Linda Rybova or Mojmir Maderic on stage.

This Monday evening is the last chance to see a comedy. Starting from Tuesday onwards the programme changes to the tragedy Othello.

The open-air theatre performances take place in the court-yard of the Burgrave Palace at Prague Castle. You can read about the festival and also purchase the tickets here.

Theme:

Functioning Krajanek plane in National Technical Museum

National Technical Museum in Prague has a new exhibit for all fans of aeroplanes – a newly reconstructed “Krajanek” alias Zlin Z-24. The museum itself undergoes a reconstruction and will be completely closed for the public from mid-September till the end of the year 2007. The last chance to see the plane and visit the museum before its one and a half year long “break” is the 10th September.

“Krajanek” was the very first sail plane to be constructed in the post-war Czechoslovakia. The one to be seen in the Prague museum was built in the year 1948 and its reconstruction lasted several years. It was undeniably worth it, despite to total cost exceeding one million crowns, because “Krajanek” is really special – altogether there were only 300 planes made but this one is capable of flight. There are only two other such planes in the whole world – one in Brno and the other one overseas in England.

The museum, which is devoted to development of various branches of science and technology, prepares for the last day a very rich programme. The visitors will be able to have a look at functioning steam machines or telegraph a message using the Morse code – to name at least some of the highlights of the day.

The reconstruction should give the museum appearance reminding of the thirties. There will for example be an art deco banisters added to the main staircase. The whole museum should also have no barriers. The whole reconstruction is expected to cost one hundred and seventy million crowns.

Theme:

Astronomical Clock and Jewish Quarter

Today, I would like to draw your attention to one really engagingly written review about the most famous highlights of any Prague visit. The one deals with the famous Astronomical Clock to be found in the Old Town Square:

... Interestingly this clock, dating back to 1410, does not tell time. Instead it shows the days, seasons, phases of the moon, equinoxes and Christian holidays. To find the time, look at the very top of the 230-foot tower. If you go all the way up there, you’ll also find great views of the city. What’s special about the clock is that a 30-second, politically incorrect medieval morality play begins there every hour…

The second part of the review focuses on another famous part of Prague – the Jewish Quarter:

... The Jewish Quarter, just a short walk from Old Town Hall, contains the remains of Praha’s former Jewish ghetto. There are many synagogue and attractions here. It’s a beautiful area, but depressing when you hear all the tragedy…

To read the rest of the reviews just click here.

Theme:

Czech film classics with English subtitles

Prague’s Svetozor is a premier art cinema which targets foreign tourists and anyone who does not speak Czech but would still like to see Czech classics in a movie theatre. This is therefore a great opportunity for all those who would like to learn a bit more about the Czech culture and simply to gain a deeper insight into Czech mentality.

Loves of a Blonde (1965) are on tonight at nine o’clock. This film combines two anecdotes with slightly bitter flavour and documentary features. The director, Milos Forman, is well known – for example for his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which won five Academy Awards.

From tomorrow onwards the visitors can see Jan Sverak’s The Elementary School. This film is set in the time immediately after the Second World War and deals with one disobedient class which is given a new and very just teacher with an interest in young ladies. This movie was nominated for the Academy Award and his director is probably most famous for his Kolja – a film which won the most prestigious film award.

Svetozor cinema has two screening halls and can be found just next to the Wenceslas Square in Vodickova Street (41). It represents a unique alternative to commercial films since its programme includes art films, documentaries and also pieces of experimental genres. You can have a look at the programme of the cinema here.

Theme:

Prague's river guard moves

Prague has had its river guard unit since the year 2003. The impetus for its establishment were the infamous and destructive floods from the preceding year. Up to now the special police unit has had their temporary base at Cisarka Louka island. Next week the guard moves to a new base in Lahovice.

The river guard was created mainly for the purpose of helping in the case of floods. Nevertheless, their responsibilities are much wider. They also “patrol” in their boats more than 20 kilometres of Vltava river as well as the reservoirs Hostivar and Dzban. Their work also includes control of fishermen and boats on the river as well as supervision of the banks of the river.

In the course of the few years of unit’s existence the policemen broadened and deepened their abilities. The members of the river guard are thus professionals with skills from many areas such as life saving, diving as well as using the most modern technology.

MOFFOM 2006: Music on Film - Film on Music

Five autumn days between the 18th and the 22nd October should be circled red in calendars of all fans of music and films. Prague will namely host the third international film-music (or music-film) festival Music on Film – Film on Music.

What can the visitors look forward to? Eighty films will be shown in cinemas (Lucerna, Svetozor or Ponrepo) as well as in Rock Cafe, in the French Institute or the Spanish Synagogue. Lucerna cinema will also offer concerts every evening that will nicely conclude the rich programme of documentaries, workshops and discussions.

To be more specific, there will be for example a silent German film named Golem with the accompaniment of live music. Mr Temple, the director of video-clips for stars such as the Rolling Stones or David Bowie, should also be present at the festival, focus of which will be South Africa. The cultural diversity of this part of Earth shall be introduced (among others) by a concert of local musicians.

The aim of the festival is to explore music in new and interesting ways by means of another medium – the film. More about the festival can be read here.

Theme:

Thinking about new Skoda Octavia

In the view of experts the current life-cycle of a given car model lasts around six years. Given the fact that the second generation of the successful Skoda Octavia has been produced for more than two years now, speculations appeared that the time has come to start thinking about the new model.

Octavia truly deserves the attribute successful since it is the most frequently produced car – having overcome its “sister” Fabia. Recently, we reported about the record profits Skoda cars are earning. The ten millionth Skoda car produced was also Octavia.

It will take a long time before the new Octavia becomes a reality – reportedly we can look forward to “being introduced” no sooner than in the year 2010.

Observing the night sky in "astronomical Prague"

This time of summer is ideal for observing the night sky with the brightly visible Venus and Jupiter. This week also adds an opportunity to have a proper look at Mercury, Mars and soon also at the meteor shower Perseids. The best time to try to see them is, given cloudless conditions naturally, the night of the 13th August.

The night sky can be viewed from the Stafanik Observatory that can be found in the very centre of Prague in Petrin Park. The observatory has a long tradition and tries to increase the popularity of astronomy and natural sciences related to it. The observatory is open daily (apart from Monday) between nine and eleven hours in the evening for the night observing. It can be comfortably reached by buses 176, 143 or 217 that stop near the Strahov Stadium.

More information about the observatory and its programme as well as a useful map of the area is accessible at the web pages of the observatory.

Barrandov Film Studios kept busy over the summer

Summer months are unmistakably associated with relaxation and holidays but the famous film studios Barrandov are kept rather busy. Recently two foreign films were added to the shootings of three Czech films – one of them, Menzel’s I Served the King of England, has already been finished.

The two foreign directors, who chose Prague as the place to shoot their films, both prepare movies with the same subject matter – the war.

French director Alain Wermus prepares La dame d’Izieu. This film will be shown on television and it is about a nurse, who managed to save over two hundred Jewish children from their almost certain end in the concentration camps.

The second film is German and bears the title The Red Baron. It is set in the time of the First World War and as the name implies it focuses on a fight between two pilots – one of them being the legendary German Red Baron. Almost twenty bi-planes, a trio of monoplanes as well as numerous wrecks of aircraft and other props are thus keeping the the renowned Prague film studios occupied.

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Prague National Museum opens an unusual exhibition

The poor state of the building sitting dominantly in the upper part of the Wenceslas Square was touched upon in the media frequently. The museum has now opened a new exhibition with a rather unconventional subject – the exhibition deals with the poor state of this historical building which is now being stabilized whilst the experts are trying to determine the extent of the essential repairs.

The visitors can have a look at the pieces of the National Museum that fell downs from the building. Other exhibited objects include pieces of sculptures and other decorations. The exhibition, which shows the damage of the museum, aims to raise awareness about its poor state and to point out the fact that the reconstruction is urgently needed. The exhibition can be visited till the next summer.

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Protests against the American missile base in front of the Czech TV

The question of the presence of the American missile base on the area of the Czech Republic is rather confusing. On the one hand, Czech foreign Minister Svoboda said that it was very likely that the Americans would turn to the Czech Republic – be it in a form of a proposal for placing here a radar only or in a form of suggesting the construction of the whole base. The extent of the Czech involvement remains in his view thus unclear, though. On the other hand, the US ambassador Cabaniss announced the decision had under no circumstances been met.

Czech experts should travel to the US next week to discuss the possible technical and legal aspects of the question. This meeting should definitely be important for the way the Americans decide. They are said to be choosing between the Czech Republic and Poland. Hungary should reportedly be no longer considered.

There were protests in front of the building, where the Czech Television resides in Prague, yesterday. People, who disagree with the base, met there to voice their protest against the way, in which the TV informs the public about the whole question. The protesters said that given most of the people are against the base, the news should reflect this opinion. They therefore asked the TV to be more objective but the television refused to accept claims about its lack of objectiveness.

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Prague's exemplary waste management

The Czech Republic has nothing to be ashamed of concerning its waste sorting – even on the European scale. For example, over forty per cent of plastics are recycled which puts the Czechs at the second best place in the entire Europe after Germany. The capital city belongs among the best municipalities. As a matter of fact, Prague ended up on the second place and won a prestigious prize (the crystal dust-bin) for the way in which its waste materials are sorted and recycled.

Focusing on non-metal waste only, the average for the whole republic is 23.7 kilogrammes of sorted waste per person. On the other hand, he average for the dwellers of the capital city is much higher – almost 32 kilogrammes. Complete System of Municipal Waste Sorting has been in place since the year 1998. Prague was praised not only for the waste sorting itself but also for the whole way the problem is approached – including innovations such as separated sorting containers for clear glass only as well as for beverage boxes or biological waste. Prague also scored well in the field of information campaigns about waste management.

Petrin sights suffer because of the repairs of the funicular

Tourists visiting Prague during the current season could not enjoy the funicular ride to the Petrin Hill. The funicular railway is namely under repair as you could have read before. Despite the alternative ways of getting on top of the Petrin Hill and enjoying not only the view from the tower but also the nice park and the mirror maze, all of the attraction suffer from less interest than during the same period of the last year. The lacking funicular’s services are certainly the culprit.

Prague Information Service predicted losses up to three million crowns and sadly their estimates seem to prove right. Petrin observatory tower earned 1.3 million less than during the last summer and the number for the maze is currently at eight hundred thousand. The expected loss is also believed to rise by a further million during this month.

One of the ways to change this are the longer opening hours of the observatory tower. Till September the attraction will be opened daily until ten o’clock in the evening so that the visitors can enjoy seeing Prague being romantically lit-up by the many historical lanterns.

Czech state still fights for St Vitus Cathedral

Despite the decision of the municipal court in Prague, which decided that the cathedral belongs to the Church, the state still refuses to accept the verdict and plans an appeal to the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic.

According to the municipal court the jewel of Prague Castle was never properly transferred into the state ownership, which should have reportedly been attempted in the fifties. The cathedral thus according to the decision never stopped belonging to the Church.

The dispute lasts already more than ten years. The state is determined to address the Supreme Court since it believes the municipal court should not have dealt with Church’s legal charge in the first place because of the distinction between the executive power and the judiciary. The appeal to the Supreme Court is the last chance to change the current decision. No matter how the dispute ends, the cathedral should still remain open for the visitors.

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Boeing 747-400 Jumbo in Prague

Boeing 747-400 Jumbo plane could be seen landing on this Friday and Saturday in Prague Ruzyne airport. These planes could only hardly be overlooked since their capacity allowed them to bring four hundred passengers from Japan in one go.

This summer thus picks up again the tradition from the last year when the Jumbo appeared for the first time. Then, dozens of people climbed on top of the parking building nearby to have a look at the giant plane. This year there is still a chance to see it since two more charter flights are to land in Prague on the 18th and 19th August.

The Czech metropolis is pleased that Japan Airlines chose Prague as a destination for their long-distance flights. This type of flight namely contributes to the development of the airport. The charter flights can later on be substituted by a regular connection. There is a reason why Prague could become a more frequent destination of the giant planes in the future – the charges for their landing should namely be reduced.

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The XXVIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Prague

Next Monday is the starting day of the 26th General Assembly of the IAU that will last till the 25th August. The IAU was founded in 1919 and Czechoslovakia entered three years later on. The conference returns to Prague after 39 years and the Czech metropolis is only one of the three cities (with Rome and Sydney) to host the astronomers twice.

The event takes place in the Congress Centre where around three thousand astronomers will meet to discuss the important discoveries of the last three years in their field as well as to deepen the international cooperation. The event will be ceremonially opened by the President of the Czech Republic Mr Klaus and Prague Mayor Mr Bem.

There will be a special newspaper issued every day of the assembly and the scientists can also look forward to having a very interesting programme including trips around the special places of interest related to astronomy. One of the evenings should also be devoted to a special dinner in the Industrial Palace of Prague Exhibition Grounds which should be in a style of the thirties.

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Five medals for the Czechs from the World Championships

Czech canoeists and kayakers managed to win five medals this weekend during the finals of the World Championships in Troja. They thus got the same number of medals as three years ago and confirmed that the Czech Republic belongs to the world top in this sport. The total number of medals won by the Czechs was exceeded only by the French.

The medals include two gold ones for Volf and Stepanek who were a great hope mainly after their perfect qualification. Their time was more than 2 seconds better than that of the German runners-up Becker and Henze. The bronze medal went to the Olympic winners Hochschorners from Slovakia. Stepanek and Volf have already bronze from the Olympic games, silver from the World Championships and they also won gold medals from European Championships. Being best in the world and getting the medals at home thus perfectly completes their impressive collection.

Volf and Stepanek praised the support from the watchers. On the other hand, Stepanka Hilgertova, who was laid the greatest hopes on, ended up on the fifth place. She was really disappointed and complained that she could not properly concentrate. The gold went to Jana Dukatova from Slovakia who deserved the victory given her perfect skills.

Canoeist Jezek ended up as third and won deservedly the bronze medal. This was seen as a remarkable achievement given he was starting in the finals from the sixth position. Jezek also admitted he doubted his chances to win a medal. His best placing before this weekend was the tenth place from the same competition last year. His celebrations were mixed with lots of work such as repairs of the wireless network. Jezek namely also actively helped with the organization of the championships – concretely with the IT.

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Modernization of Prague underground railway delayed

Prague tube could be moving with no drivers at all but the steps towards a more modern and safe subway are delayed by a law case.

Lines A and C do not already need any drivers. Both lines use namely modern protective equipment that is placed both on the routes as well as in the trains themselves. This safety mechanism automatically controls the driver and makes sure no mistakes are made. For example, should the speed be too high, the safety equipment can recognize it and automatically lower the speed or even to stop the train completely.

The very modern M1 trains have been providing the service for the passengers of line C since the year 1998. Tube line A has now reached the end of the trial period for the safety mechanism using the reconstructed Russian 81-71M trains.

On the other hand, the yellow B line cannot look forward to receiving the mechanism soon. There is a law case between two participants of the selection procedure for the modernization. The unsuccessful applicant took his case to the Office for the Protection of Competition. This part of Prague tube will therefore be modernized later than was expected. In other words there will be less comfort for the drivers as well as a waste of energy. Nevertheless, the passengers do not need to have any worries about their safety, which is sufficiently safeguarded.

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Mozart in front of the Estates Theatre

“Vienna Mozart Music Film Festival in Central Europe” is organised to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the legendary music genius. From the 5th till the 19th August there will be a film-music performance shown on an open-air screen (six by eight metres) in front of the Estates Theatre every evening.

The programme includes recordings of the best performances and concerts as well as choreography accompanying Mozart’s music. For example, there is a chance to see a concert interwoven with more genres such as rock and jazz tonight. There is no entrance fee and the organisers prepared seating for 320 people as well as stalls with refreshments. The popularity of this film-music festival was proven during the weekend when more than a half of the prepared seats were taken despite the rainy weather.

The location of the festival is also very important. The screen can be found in front of the Estates Theatre where Mozart conducted his famous opera Don Giovanni. The musician loved Prague which is clear from his famous quote “My Praguers understand me”. The festival, aiming to introduce Mozart’s music, will also take place in Vienna, Bratislava and other cities but programme in Prague will be the longest one.

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New record in crossing La Manche for Yvetta Hlavacova

The famous Czech swimmer became the fastest woman to swim across the channel separating the French coast from England. Thirty-one-year-old Yvetta needed 7 hours and 25 minutes to overcome the distance measuring approximately 36 kilometres. The previous record was held by American Penny Lee Dean who needed 15 more minutes to cross the channel 28 years ago.

Hlavacova’s time is very impressive indeed since it is the fourth best achievement in the swimming history ever. She was very close to beating even the absolute (male) record of 7 hours and 3 minutes. After 6 hours and 15 minutes people accompanying her on a ship shouted excitedly that there were only 20 more minutes to go. Nevertheless, the swimmer lost a lot of time because of strong currents.

Hlavacova also attempted to cross the channel both ways but after 14 hours in the water, during which she managed to swim 60 kilometres, she had to give up. The reason was her complete exhaustion and hypothermia. There were still 11 kilometres remaining which would mean about three more hours in the cold sea with 17 degrees only.

La Manche was conquered in both ways by 20-year-old David Cech on the very same day. He needed 19 hours and 54 minutes to swim approximately 80 kilometres in total.

Electronic Cardiac Pacemaker given to a 100-year old patient

Ludmila Koukolikova is the oldest patient who was operated on in Prague Na Homolce hospital to be given a cardiac pacemaker. Mrs Ludmila is already one hundred years old and the doctors decided to give her the pacemaker during a regular check up. The patient suffered a heart failure two years ago but before that had no health problems.

This was confirmed by the doctor who said that Mrs Koukolikova was in perfect condition and the results of her investigation sent by the laboratory show that she is as healthy as a young person in his twenties.

Mrs Ludmila Koukolikova has a slender figure and the electric pacemaker that the doctors gave her is rather tiny – it weighs only eighteen grammes. Its function is to help the heart to keep its rhythm. The average age at which this operation takes place is sixty-nine. Nevertheless, there is no age-limitation and the pacemaker is given both to babies as well as to older patients.

Fashion show in Prague Botanic garden

Prague Botanical Garden in Troja has a very attractive programme prepared for its tomorrow’s visitors. There will be several opportunities to take a look around the garden and admire the countless species of flowers with a guide. There will also be stalls with fashion accessories, refreshments and a chance to try to make your own mosaic. For everyone wearing a dress with flower design the organisers prepared a small surprise.

The highlight of the day will undoubtedly be the fashion show designed by Ivana Follova. The models, with hair-styles from the famous European hairdresser Petr Cizek, will be moving between more than one hundred Zimbabwean sculptures. The stone sculptures form an exhibition presenting the modern Zimbabwean sculpture. There is therefore a chance to combine a visit to the botanical garden with a visit to an exhibition as well as with admiring the models in their dresses during the fashion show tomorrow.

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Festival of Celtic music and dance

The only festival of Celtic music and dance in Prague takes place at summer scene of Vysehrad tomorrow on Saturday 5th August. Between two o’clock in the afternoon and ten o’clock in the evening the visitors can look forward to hearing several hours of high quality Celtic music as performed by the best Czech interpreters.

The programme includes Scottish, Irish, Shetland and other types of Celtic music. There will also be dance performance by Rinceoiri – one of the most famous dance groups of Irish dance in Europe. The other highlights include The 1st Bohemian Highland Pipers as well as the legendary Czech Celtic and rock musicians Jan Hruby and Rudolf Halek. The festival will also offer the possibility to watch the traditional handicrafts such as Celtic blacksmith.

The ticket costs 170 crowns but children measuring less than 120 centimetres are lucky to have the entrance free. In the case your entire family is a fan of Celtic music there is also the chance to buy family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) for 450 crowns.

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Cafe Imperial ends the legendary doughnut battles

Cafe Imperial is a lovely cafe in Na Porici street which gained its fame not only because of the Art Nouveau decorations but also because of its doughnut battles. One of the items on the menu (available only to sober customers older than 21 years) was namely Saturnin’s Bowl.

Saturinin is a character from Zdenek Jirotka’s humorous novel bearing the name of its hero. Here people can be divided into three categories according to their reaction to a plate of doughnuts. Some just look at them, the others throw them only in their fantasy whereas the most daring group takes the plate and “gives the doughnuts wings” for a while before the target is met.

The cost of Saturnin’s Bowl with old doughnuts was 2000 crowns and anybody in the cafe could become the target and possibly also a participant in the battle. Nevertheless, the cafe should now be open not only for the hotel guests. It will thus gain during the reconstruction one new entrance but the tradition enabling the visitors to “shoot” with doughnuts will be lost.

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Thursday's successful qualification and the Olympic Games

Three Czech kayaks as well as three canoeists were successful in yesterday’s qualification races. Volf with his partner Stepanek, who brought a bronze medal from Athens, ended up as clear winners since they finished seven seconds ahead of the runners-up. Today’s programme includes further qualifications of canoeists and kayaks – including the Czech star Stepanka Hilgertova.

According to Jan Burgermeister, a Czech deputy, Prague will be ready for the Olympic games by 2016 – also in the case it should not candidate. This claim, that we touched upon in relation to the current championships, is based on the fact that canal for water sports is the most expensive facility and Prague does not have to invest into it at all since it is ready.

Prague Mayor Bem also supports the idea of Olympic games in Prague but he prefers a modest version to minimise the risk of unnecessary investments. The supporters claim that all of the sports facilities, infrastructure as well as additional accommodation would be built anyway and do not therefore represent in any way financial burden.

On the other hand, the opponents claim that additional eleven stadiums with Olympic dimensions would have to be built and this can under no circumstances be seen as an investment that would take place also without the games. The organizing city also has to provide 45 000 hotel rooms but Prague currently offers only 30 000. The decision about the candidature will have to be met by the end of this year.

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Prague Ruzyne Airport introduces new modern services

Prague airport offers a new service for all owners of mobile phones. It is now possible to get information about the arrival and departure of any flight through text message.

The only thing that needs to be done is to send a SMS message in the form LET _ _ _ _ _ _ followed by the number of the flight you are interested in to number 900 06 09. Soon your phone should signal a new message. It should come with the date and hour of the planned arrival/departure as well as the number of the terminal and the type of the plane. The cost of this service is nine crowns. It is expected that it will be welcomed not only by the passengers but also by the people who are taking someone to or collecting somebody from the airport.

This service is not the only modernization the airport prepared, though. Starting from September it will be also possible to use seven self-service machines for check in. The service will be initially only for the passengers flying with British Airways or Swiss Air Lines but KLM and CSA are to follow. This innovation should make the travel easier mainly for business travellers without any luggage.

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Holocaust victims will have new retirement home in Prague

The construction of the new retirement home has started this July. It should take approximately one and a half years before the home can welcome the first of its sixty clients. The construction may be delayed, though. The potential cause of the time-delay may be the problems with the past of the company, which received the commission for the construction.

The home is being built by Hochtief VSB – a Czech company founded after the second World War. Nevertheless, a couple of years ago the company became a Czech branch of the largest German construction company Hochtief. This firm reportedly took part in Nazi building projects during the war. This is by some seen as unacceptable given what the future clients experienced during the second World War.

Ancient history in Prague

Dolni Brezany, village located very close to Prague, was according to the latest discoveries inhabited during prehistoric times. Archaeologists found here tiny pieces of ceramics decorated with small straight engravings. A part of a house as well as stones used for corn grinding were also among the discovered historical relics. This means that Dolni Brezany were one of the oldest agricultural areas during the neolithic times. Discoveries also included remains of the primeval Celtic settlement and an axe.

Another piece of ancient history can be seen in the very centre of Prague – in the National Museum. The museum bought from private collection namely Greek vase Lutroforos. This valuable vase was used during wedding rituals as well as when unmarried people were being buried. It required lots of restoration works but can be now seen in the museum exhibition.

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"Kolo pro zivot" - "Bike for life"

“Bike for life” is a descriptive translation of a name of one cyclists’ race. It will take place on this Saturday (5th August). Both the start and the finish are in Prague Chuchle – the famous Prague horse racecourse that celebrates its one hundredth anniversary. As a part of the programme the children will be able to go for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

The cyclists will have to overcome on their mountain bikes about sixty kilometres on the route between Prague, Karlstejn with its gorgeous medieval castle and the racecourse again. The participants will cycle through lovely nature in protected natural reserves.

Chuchle – Karlstejn is only one of many races under “Bike for life”, which has been organising races for the past three years. Altogether fifty thousand cyclists brought their bikes to starts.

Even though the electronic registration, which was filled by 750 participants, has been closed, it is still possible to register at the place and the cost is 500 crowns – you can choose between Friday evening (17 – 21 o’clock) or the day of the race (07 – 10 o’clock). The race itself starts at 11 o’clock and one of its participants should be Radim Korinek, who took part twice in the Olympic Games.

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Skoda Auto has record profits

The biggest Czech firm Skoda Auto increased its profits by amazing sixty per cent compared with the first six months of the last year. Its profits were 6.4 bn crowns whereas the profit for same period in the year 2005 was under 4 bn. The profits spiral upwards not only thanks to more sales (13 per cent) but also due to successful cost cutting. Total earnings exceeded one hundred bn crowns which makes Skoda’s shareholders very happy.

The best selling cars are Octavia and Fabia but the new model Roomster also experiences better entrance onto the market than was expected.

The success of the automobile maker is attributable mainly to demand from the west such as from its biggest market – Germany. Skoda expects more orders from this area due to the increase in German value added tax next year. This may make people bring forward their purchase of a new vehicle.

The increased car production is not only a feature of Skoda Auto but also of other firms. With the planned construction of the new South Korean Hyundai factory in the Czech Republic economists predict that automobile industry may form up to one quarter of Czech industry altogether within four years. This development is sometimes criticized as a sign of industry being too concentrated which makes it vulnerable in the case of unexpected changes in the market conditions.

Greenpeace and their "direct dialogue"

There is a quite a high likelihood that whilst walking down Prague streets or being in metro stations you may be stopped by a young person wearing a blue T-shirt with the word Greenpeace written on it. The reason is the ninth year of the project “direct dialogue” organised by this international ecological organisation.

The organisation wants to protect the environment and the variety of species on Earth. They also stress their political independence and to retain this status they do not receive any financial support from the firms or from the state institutions. The project “direct dialogue” is thus one of the ways to discuss the problems of the environment and to get some financial support from the public. The project will last till the end of the month September.

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Romantic musical Thursdays in Prague Zoo

Prague Zoo prepared for these holidays a very varied and interesting programme. After yesterday’s fathers’ day, there is also another additional reason for a visit to the zoo today – or more precisely tonight. The visitors can namely enjoy a concert of Klezmerim band that is to take place in the educational centre of the zoological garden. You may know the band because of their Prague Klezmerim album.

The name of the band, Klezmerim, is derived from Hebrew and means musicians. Their music is purely instrumental and the instruments are the piano, violin, clarinet and the contra bass. The musicians in the audience would also recognise the sound of the guitar and percussion.

The concert represents the highlight of the evening but the pleasant atmosphere can be further strengthened by a poetic walk through the dusky garden with romantic lighting.

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Trip to castle in Prague

Ctenice castle may be one of Prague sights that are less well known but have nonetheless a lot to offer. This article therefore gives you a possible trip suggestion.

Ctenice with its over seven hundred years old history can be proud of two exhibitions. The first one is devoted to Habsburg dynasty whereas the other one contains historical sleighs and carriages. The oldest carriage is almost three hundred years old – it was built in year 1720.

Sleighs and carriages have something in common – horses. Ctenice castle with its lovely interiors also offers horse riding with professional instructors. To avoid disappointment you should call in advance, though. Smaller children can look forward to enjoying ponies.

Ctenice can be comfortably reached by bus 280 from Ceskomoravska station which is also a metro station – yellow line B.

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Change in the driving habits?

The new regulations and laws about driving have been valid only for one month but the results are already to be seen. The statistics clearly show that driving must have improved. There were significantly fewer accidents and injuries – by one third. The number of dead on Czech roads for July 2006 was the lowest tally for the last thirty-six years. The total was only a half of the last year’s sad statistics.

These improvements may but also may not represent a start of a positive long-term trend. The police say that the initial careful driving is starting to wear off and they therefore plan more controls. The new data also imply that the hotly discussed changes to the law may make it more precise and adequate but no large-scale alternations are to be expected.

Changes in driving also affect Prague streets where the road signs are being currently updated. It should be finished in the course of this fortnight. The way in which Prague was touched by the new regulations can be seen from one statistics saying that 162 Prague drivers lost or will soon lose their licence. Almost all of them were namely caught driving with alcohol measured in their blood.

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Stanley Cup comes to Prague

The famous ice hockey trophy for the NHL winner arrives to the Czech Republic tomorrow and will spend here two days. The first one with defenceman Kaberle – whom Carolina Hurricanes thank for their victory against Edmonton Oilers. The second day will be the trophy of the major professional ice hockey league in Canada and the states held by forward Vasicek.

The cup will be brought to a party on the first night, where there should also be Jaromir Jagr, who won the trophy in the two successive years 1991 and 1992.

Stanley Cup will be with Vasicek in Prague’s Slavia – Eden in the morning. The player will be giving autographs here between nine and eleven hours and there will also be the opportunity to take a photo with the ice hockey star and the cup.

Summer movie theatre review

This review invites you to spend one of your evenings in a summer movie theatre. There are actually three to choose from in Prague – one is to be found on Strelecky (Sharpshooters’) Island, the second one is summer movie theatre River City Prague which shows Czech movies for free. The trio is completed by Karlin Film Summer 2006. There is also the opportunity to pay a visit to Namesti Miru and watch one of the three films shown there that you could read about recently.

This review will detail the last summer theatre, where I saw yesterday a very interesting German film The White Masai about love at first sight between a Swiss young woman and Samburu warrior . The programme offers very good films such as the dark comedy Keeping Mum (tonight), fantastic Chronicles of Narnia, the great Ice Age 2 or the documentary Super Size Me to name at least some of them. The last August evening is reserved for The Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man´s Chest.

One ticket can be purchased for 25 crowns and the films start at half past eight during August. The garden of CRo Regina in Karlin is very conveniently accessible by public transport – concretely there is tram station Urxova nearby (8 and 24) and also metro station Invalidovna (yellow line B). The cinema has very good sound and there is a also stall there with a wide range of refreshments to make the evening perfect.

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Jan Šibík's Stories - More than a mere exhibition

Interest. Disturbance. Fear. Disbelief. Sadness. All of these terms have a common denominator – “Stories”. Until 5th August can you
experience all of these emotions if you visit Jan Šibík’s exhibition. Just pop in when you are in visiting one of the most famous places of Prague – the Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square.

In my view, it is worth seeing for many reasons. Firstly, pay attention who you are buying your ticket from – the famous photographer himself! This allows the visitors to ask questions relating to his work. What an opportunity given his career during which he viewed more than 200 times the most disturbing and decisive moments all over the world through the lens of his camera.

Jan Šibík’s photos won deservedly many awards such as his third place at World Press Photo – “Oscar” in the world of photography and dozens of Czech Press Photo awards. Stories is not only an exhibition but also third of Šibík’s books and both, as the name suggests, “tell” the visitors and viewers various stories from the last five years such as about the Liberian child soldiers, the hidden world of North Korea, violent Iraq, the consequences of the hurricane Katirna or the deadly tsunami that hit Sri Lanka.

To conclude this review, I would like to quote a tourist from London who left in the visitors’ book message containing words such as “amazing” and he also expressed his gladness he “found this exhibition”.

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Salmon caught in Prague's Vltava river

An angler caught salmon whilst fishing in Vltava river near Prague Zoo. The fish was rather large and therefore the angler asked a passer-by for his assistance. The man recognised that the fish was no ordinary pike-perch, as the angler was claiming, but an exotic salmon. The adjective exotic was used, because salmons can no longer be found in Prague’s Vltava.

Therefore, the passer-by suggested half-jokingly that rather than eating the salmon it should be staffed and exhibited in the museum. Nevertheless, the angler had probably with his fish different plans that had to do with the evening meal.

The man, who recognised the salmon, was so surprised that he sent its photo to a daily newspaper publisher. The experts examined the photo of the catch and noticed a missing fin. This is a typical feature of salmons bread artificially. It is therefore possible that someone bought the fish and let it into the river rather than eating it. The professionals also claimed that the fish was already dead for some time. On the other hand, the witness said the fish had seemed rather lively.

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Three demonstrations expressing support for Israel planned for today

Three demonstrations will mark today’s “Day of Solidarity” with Israel and its military actions in the southern Lebanon. The demonstrators see the steps undertaken by the Jewish state as a part of the war against terrorism.

The first demonstration is planned for five o’clock in Franz Kafka Square near the Old Town Square. One hour later the demonstrators should appear in front of the Lebanese embassy. The trio of today’s demonstrations should be closed in front of Israeli embassy at half past seven in the evening.

On the other hand, yesterday’s demonstration in the city’s centre was called to express support of Lebanon. Approximately 150 demonstrators pointed at the massacres on Lebanese civilians. There was also a petition, which calls for immediate peace, signed by the participants as well as by the passers-by.

The whole conflict started on 12 July with Israeli attempts to destroy the bases of the extremist Islamic movement Hezbollah. During this part of the Middle East conflict several demonstrations, that were reported about, took place in Prague.

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Czech pantomime celebrates a jubilee

Festival Mimraj 2006 starts today in Prague streets and will last with breaks and also with some travelling to other Czech towns until the very end of the year. The festival should celebrate the art of pantomime and mainly its modern aspects such as clown elements or the grotesque. Czech pantomime is today namely fifty years old.

The festival opens at four o’clock with a parade under the motto of “expelling the boredom from Prague”. It starts in Clementinum, continues through the town centre including the Old Town Square and then returns back to its starting point in Clementinum. On the first August day fifty years ago at the very same place conservatory graduates performed three pantomime performances. One of the dancers L. Fialka started Czech tradition of this art and managed, despite the iron curtain, to gain fame and respect worldwide.

Three pantomime performances that can be seen tonight in Clementinum from nine o’clock do not want to be seen as an attempt for a mere reconstruction. Their authors and performers would like to celebrate pantomime as an art undergoing its Renaissance and want to draw attention to its new aspects. The opening performances can be seen in Clementinum area for free. The name of the festival itself implies the watchers have a lot to look forward to since Mimraj could be freely translated as a paradise of the mimes.

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Slalom Racing World Championships officially start today

Tonight will Krizik fountain sing and perform its light show for the participants of the Slalom Racing World Championships, which was reported about recently. The official opening starts at half past eight and there is no entrance fee. Should you want to take part, the only condition is to bring a ticket. It does not have to be bought but only printed out. The link can be accessed here.

Sixty-five countries will take part in the championships and thirty out of this total could be labled as “exotic” since the competitors have only little experience with this type of competition. Their expenses are covered by the organising ICF and their “development programme”.

By the end of the last week three quarters of all the tickets for the races were sold. This is not at all surprising because of the past successes on the part of the Czech competitors. The Czech team is complete and their couch Jiri Pultera expressed his confidence.

Stepanka Hilgertova, who the most people lay their hopes on due to her two Olympic medals, also admits that competing in “home waters” will be extraordinary. She expects stronger feelings and also greater support from the watchers. Nevertheless, she also fears that it may be hard to keep concentration at its maximum under such circumstances.

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Slovansky Dum shopping and entertainment centre for sale

German SachsenFunds decided to sell Slovansky Dum (descriptive translation: Slavonic House) situated in Na Prikope Street. Despite the prestigious location the German investor fears the current market situation – the costs are spiralling upwards whereas the plummeting revenues are moving in the opposite direction.

The centre, containing luxury shops, offices, restaurants and cafes as well as multiplex cinema, was bought three years ago. The price in 2003 was 1.7 bn Czech crowns and the expected selling price should be around forty to fifty per cent higher.

This move confirms claims of economic observers, according to whom the Czech real estate market starts to resemble its western counterpart due to its increased transparency. Huge sums are thus being transferred in this area. Nevertheless, the specialists also think that supply, increased also by the offer of Slovansky Dum, currently exceeds demand.

Unique exhibition: bird'-eye view of the world

Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a French photographer who managed to take in the course of fifteen years one hundred thousand photos from a helicopter, moves his exhibition to Prague Kampa Island. The 120 giant photographs (each measuring 180 by 120 centimetres) show planet Earth from different perspectives and angles.

The visitors will be able to see desert areas next to arctic polar landscapes. There will also be overcrowded ghettos on the one hand and deserted areas on the other one. The author stresses protection of the environment and this is the reason, why the exhibition enjoys support of the UNESCO straight from the beginning.

The unique open-air exhibition will be displayed from 7th August till the end of October in Kampa park. It can be freely visited at any time and the pictures are accompanied with commenting texts as well as maps. You will also find a tent nearby, where there will be books and posters as well as a film about the work of the photographer.

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Madonna on her tour of Europe

Madonna’s tour called Confessions moved across the ocean from America to Europe. The opening night took place in Cardiff in Millennium Stadium with a capacity of almost sixty thousand people. It is needless to say that the concert was sold out.

The European part follows more than thirty concerts in the US but the star was in Cardiff as fresh as if it had been her very first performance. Prague figures on the list of concert places twice – on 6th and 7th September. Other towns to enjoy the presence of the music star include London (eight times), Rome, Paris, Tokyo and many others.

The concert was a success mixed with controversy – which we are already used to in the case of Madonna. No one would guess that the energetic star with perfect dance moves will soon celebrate her forty-eighth birthday.

To make sure the fans could admire Madonna from the best places, some decided to camp outside the stadium for more than a day. They certainly did not regret it as soon as a gigantic disco sphere burst and revealed the music queen, who was then singing her best hits for two hours. In conclusion, Prague has certainly something to look forward to in the beginning of September.

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Fathers' Day in Prague Zoo

Emu called colloquially “Daddy” (descriptive translation) celebrates his thirty-first birthday tomorrow. Prague Zoo thus prepares a special day – not only for the emu bird but also for all fathers.

Tomorrow is the day when a new tradition called “fathers’ day” starts. All fathers can look forward to getting a discount when buying a ticket – instead of the full price (90crowns) they will only have to pay children’s price (60 crowns). There is also another present to be enjoyed – free beer. Given the current hot weather it will certainly be deeply appreciated.

The objective of the authors of the new tradition is to change the fact that currently it is mostly the mothers or grandmothers who accompany children when visiting the Zoo. Emu “Daddy” will become the “patron” of all fathers as well as of their special day. He can thus hopefully make more fathers to come with their children to enjoy the entertainment in Troja, where the Zoo can be found.

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