Compact archive January 2007

Validity of four Czech banknotes terminates

Today it is the last time you can pay by the Czech banknotes that were issued in 1993. Their denomination is 50, 100, 200 and 500 CZK and their validity ceases at the end of January.

You can recognize them by two things. There is the year 1993 on the front side of the banknotes. 1993’s banknotes also lack the graphic symbol on the blank margin on the reverse side.

The banknotes must be cancelled because there are not so many protective elements against forgery and many times shopkeepers do not accept the notes because of the lack of the graphic symbol.

The obsolete banknotes can be changed in any Czech bank from tomorrow until January 2010. Learn more about Czech banknotes.

Mozart's piano in Prague's muzeum

Czech Museum of Music which is a part of the National Museum got a special item to its inventory. It is a hammer piano on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart allegedly played during his first visit of Prague in 1787.

At first this special piano was kept in Vienna, then it moved to Prague’s Villa Bertramka, which is very closely connected to Mozart. Now it will a part of the exhibition of the Czech Museum of Music together with 2800 other musical instruments. Many of them belonged to well-known musicians, such as Bedrich Smetana or Franz Liszt.

Czech Museum of Music (Karmelitska 2) is open from Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 18:00. You can get by metro green line A, stop Malostranska. The basic entrance fee is 100 CZK (reduced 50 CZK, family 120 CZK). You can also buy a 3-day ticket for all Prague’s objects of the National Museum for 160 CZK (reduced 80 CZK, family 200 CZK).

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Stefanikuv bridge in Prague will be closed

Stefanikuv bridge in Prague, which connects Revolucni street leading from Namesti Republiky with Letensky tunnel on the left river bank, will be closed from this Saturday. The city of Prague invests 390 million CZK for its reconstruction.

The bridge should be open from 22nd August again. Until then, the bridge is closed for car traffic, trams, as well as for pedestrians. Cars can get to the centre via Veletrzni and Bubenska streets, and from the centre via nabr. L. Svobody, Cechuv bridge and nabr. E. Benese.

Trams 5, 8, 14, 51, 54 will not ride from the crossroads of Havlickova and Na Porici streets to crossroads of Stefanikuv bridge and nabr. E. Benese. Travellers can use the bus 133 and at night buses 505, 509 and 513.

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Prague hosts international fairs devoted to housing

The Prague Exhibition Ground in Prague-Holesovice will host several fairs at the same time. The theme of the fairs is similar – housing at the beginning of the 21st century.

The 17th international fair PRAGOINTERIER NEW DESIGN 2007 displays furniture, flooring, home textiles, lighting and accessories. WINDOWS-DOORS-STAIRS 2007 is a specialized exhibition devoted to windows, doors, stairs, and staircases and their accessories. At PRAGOTHERM 2007 is specialized on power engineering, heating and energy saving. The last fair HOUSING 2007 (BYDLENI 2007) presents new ways of living.

All four fairs start on 1st February and finish on 4th February. You can visit them from Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 and on Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. The full entrance fee is 100 CZK, the reduced one 60 CZK.

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Prague pubs and restaurants cheat the most

The Czech Trade Inspection made inspections throughout the country to find out whether the personnel of pubs and restaurants cheat their customers or not. According to them, Prague was the worst from all regions. Every other pub in Prague is cheating their customers. In other regions it is “only” 38% of companies.

The most common way how to rip off customers is to pour less liquid in the glass, serving meat of smaller weight than is written in the menu or counting other services to the bill. Some companies show the prices on the menu without VAT.

Although the situation is getting better, it is still very deplorable. The most cheating pubs and restaurants are in the city centre. These companies are often visited by foreign tourists. Be, therefore, aware of what you pay for and do not hesitate to complain.

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How to behave in the Czech Republic

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs issued a booklet called ‘Information Booklet For Foreign Nationals: Czech Republic’ that gives tourists or foreigners living in the Czech Republic information and advice for easier orientation in the Czech environment.

The booklet contains information about Czech political system, school system and healthcare, employment, social security, transportation, Czech customs and traditions, where to look for help, contacts to many institutions, and much more information about living in the Czech Republic.

This booklet was isued in Czech, English, Russian, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese languages. Printed versions are handed out at the Alien Police, Employment Bureau and non-profitable organizations.

Prague's gallery holds Salvador Dalí exhibition

Gallery At the White Unicorn (Galerie U Bileho jednorozce) in Old Town Square held for the last few months a very successful exhibition ‘The Best of Jan Saudek’. This exhibition was shifted to Jan Saudek Gallery at the end of the year.

After Saudek the gallery will host an exhibition of works of another world’s famous artist – Salvador Dalí together with photographs by Vaclav Chochola. This unique exhibition will show the Dali’s graphics, sculptures and ceramics kept mainly by private collectors.

The exhibition starts tomorrow, 31st January. The exhibition at the Gallery At the White Unicorn (Old Town Square 15) is open daily from 10:00 to 20:00.

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Czech people fear international organized crime

The The Public Opinion Research Centre made a survey to find out what Czech people think about safety risks for the Czech Republic. 1119 people above 15 years old took part in the survey made last December.

From the answers of the respondents is clear that Czech people fear the international organized crime the most. More than two thirds of the people consider it as a big danger. The second thread that Czech people fear the most are terrorists and terrorist organizations. 6 people out of 10 consider it as very dangerous.

Another question investigated the opinion of people on the biggest actual thread for the Czech Republic. People could chose from a war conflict, an epidemic or a natural disaster. According to the statistic, Czech people evaluated natural disaster as the most probable.

People were also asked which country may be the biggest potential thread for the safety and piece in the Czech Republic. 21% of people do not see any other state as a potential thread. 24 % did not know. If people mentioned a state, it was mostly Iraq (24%), Iran (17%) and Afghanistan (10%).

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Reconstruction of Vysehrad continues

More than 50 000 people a year come to Vysehrad to see many of its attractions. A greater number of people just walk in the area of Vysehrad and enjoy their free time in newly reconstructed park. The reconstruction of Vysehrad has improved the area a lot, other reconstructions are planned for the year 2007.

Restorers will focus on a part of the Baroque ramparts and buttress. The main entrance to the fortress – The Tabor Gate – will get a new roof and new plaster. The toilets near the Church of St. Peter and Paul will be repaired.

Last year the Gothic Vault was open to the public with a new exposition about the history of Vysehrad. A large multi-purpose hall for concerts and exhibitions has been built in the Vysehrad Burgrave’s House. Children can play in the playground on the theme of old Czech legends.

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Will vandalism change Charles Bridge?

The statue of The Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge in Prague whose inscription was partly destroyed last week will not be restored soon. The experts first need to do restoring research before a new replica of the inscription can be made. Also scuba divers will be sent to explore the bottom of the river to search for the inscription.

Prague inhabitants are shocked by the act of vandalism. The city council now thinks how to prevent other damages. One of the ways is to reinforce guard on the Charles Bridge and improve security camera system. Another way may be replacement of all the original sculptures for their copies.

There are 30 sculptures on the Charles Bridge, many of them were damaged during the centuries. Only nine original statues have been replaced by replicas so far. Few years ago an unknown vandal tore off the arm of the statue of St. John the Baptist. Also an eagle is mission from a coat-of-arms. However, the damage of the cultural monument has never been so severe like this time.

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Dinosaurs in Prague's shopping mall

Prague’s shopping mall Chodov will host a unique itinerant exposition of 11 fossilized skeletons of prehistorical dinosaurs. This exhibition was lent by The Museum of Paleontology “Egidio Feruglio” in Patagonia (Argentina). Prague will be the third country (after Spain and Argentina) to hold such an exclusive exhibition.

Two trucks were needed to transport the skeletons of huge dinosaurs. One of the exhibits measures 13,5 m. These skeletons were mostly found in Patagonia and they are about 70 million years old.

Visitors can see them from 1st February. Boards with notes together with educated guides (students of Faculty of Sciences of Charles University) will give you more details about these prehistoric vertebrate animals and their way of living. You can visit the exhibition until 15th March.

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Bus station Florenc will be reconstructed

The reconstruction of the main railway station in Prague has already started. It is supposed to change the place radically. Also the main bus station, Florenc, the end station of many international coaches, will be under big reconstruction soon.

The reconstruction will start at the second quarter of the year. Travellers can look forward to a new ground-floor hall, new booking offices, a new information bureau, a refreshment kiosk, a left-luggage office, sanitary facilities, and waiting rooms. Also all 40 platforms will be roofed.

Florenc is the largest bus station in Prague, operating daily about 300 buses. Unfortunately, it is notorious for dirt and physical attacks. The positive thing about Florenc is its good connection to the city centre by metro, city buses and trams.

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New protests against the U.S. military base

Another protest is planned for today against the U.S. radar base on the Czech territory. The part of U.S. anti-missile defence system will be probably built in the military area Brdy near Pribram. The protests against the base will start in Wenceslas Square today evening.

The activists want to first meet in Wenceslas Square, then to continue to the Embassy of the United States of America and then to the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. The protest will happen despite the fact that the municipal authorities have not approved it.

According to the authorities the protest march would walk along many significant roads with heavy traffic. The activist from association NE zakladnam defend themselves that they informed about the protest properly and far enough in advance.

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Natalie Portman is in Prague

Natalie Portman, a Hollywood star, can be met these days on the streets on Prague. Natalie (25), known from films V for Vendetta, Star Wars or Free Zone, will be present at the premiere of her new film Goya’s Ghosts in Prague.

The premiere of the film is scheduled on 1st February. This film, directed by Milos Forman, focuses on the dark side of Spanish history. It tells the story of Francisco Goya at the last years of Spanish Inquisition when many Jews were tortured and executed.

Natalie is now staying in Four Seasons Hotel and can be seen in many luxurious shops. Spanish star Javier Bardem, who also acts in the movie, will come to Prague as well.

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Historically significant inscription on Charles Bridge destroyed

The Crucifix and Calvary Unknown offender has damaged one of the statues on famous Charles Bridge in Prague. It was the statue of The Crucifix and Calvary. The offender destroyed a part of the Hebrew bronze inscription saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts”.

The inscription is controversial because it is against Jewish belief. It was made by Prague Jewish Elias Backoffen as a punishment for alleged debasing of the Holy Cross. At the request of North American rabbis the Prague’s Lord Mayer had to place an additional board with explanatory text near the inscription in 2000.

Although making a copy of the inscriptions will not cost much, the historical loss is incalculable. The deed is now being investigated by the police.

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Prague's airport opened a hotel in duty-free zone

The Prague’s international Airport Ruzyne and Acron Czech company opened yesterday a new hotel Tranzit II in the duty-free zone of Prague’s airport. This hotel should increase the quality of services for people who transit in Prague.

The hotel has 12 rooms with 20 beds. To take a shower and refreshment there cost from EUR 20, three hours in the hotel room cost from EUR 29 and one night in a double room cost from EUR 99.

As said above, the hotel is in the duty-free zone. That means that travellers do not have to go through the passport control. It is convenient especially for the travellers who do not have Czech transit visa.

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Barrandov aquapark extends opening hours

Barrandov is now a popular place thanks to the new aqua park. The management of the aquapark wants to satisfy the demands of their customers by two new offers starting from February.

First of all, the opening hours of the aquapark will change. People can go swimming already from 6 o’clock every morning. Second, every Monday from noon visitors will pay 50 CZK per 90 minutes. That is 50 % discount. Monday morning is reserved for cleaning the pools and the aguapark is closed.

People can go now to a sauna as well. They have to pay 180 CZK for 120 minutes. Everybody who wants to go to the aquapark has to prepare 200 CZK as a deposit for an electronic chip for the changing room.

Petrin Tower and Mirror Maze closed this weekend

Petrin Observation Tower that offers a nice view of Prague together with the nearby Mirror Maze will be extraordinary closed this weekend. According to Vlasta Petrikova from Prague Information Services, the attractions will be closed because of water pipeline breakdown.

Petrin Observation Tower and Mirror Maze are open off the main tourist season only at weekends and on Christmas and spring holidays. From 14th February the tower and the maze will be open daily for two weeks.

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The Czech Republic becomes popular for Russian tourists

According to the Russian web sites www.ilovecz.ru devoted the the Czech Republic, Russian people choose the Czech Republic more and more as their next tourist destination. They travel to Prague but their favourite destinations are spa town, especially Karlovy Vary. It is said that Russian love Prague but go reveling to Karlovy Vary.

In 2005 there were about 170,000 Russian tourist in the Czech Republic. In 2006 this number of Russian people visited Prague, another about 70,000 people went to Karlovy Vary. That means an increase of about 25%.

One of the reason why the Russians travel more to the Czech Republic may be the fact that the Czech Republic together with other countries of the EU have abolished transit visa requirements for Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian inhabitants. On the way home from Vienna or Paris, Russian tourist stop for several days in the Czech Republic. Another reason may be the increasing standard of living in Russia.

Good results of patrols in night trams

Since 16th January 30 uniformed men take care of the safety in night trams. They have the right to eject people from the transport if they break the transport regulations, they do not have a valid ticket, or they are drunk, stinky, or dirty. Now it seems this action has results. There are less drunk, aggressive and homeless people in the night trams.

The first days the officers had to eject about 50 people per night, after 10 days it was only 10. Unusual situation was on Tuesday night when it started to snow in Prague. The officers ejected 90 people. The patrol travel in the trams haphazardly, there is no regular system that could be traced.

Right now there are 30 officers designated for the night patrols but the number will gradually rise. Officers will be present also in night buses and later this year in metro.

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What to be aware of in Prague covered by snow

After heavy snowfalls that surprised many Czech inhabitants, things are going better now. The roads in Prague are in good condition, the Prague’s international airport Ruzyne is operating normally and the sun is shining now. However, there are still many things that can cause difficulties.

One of that are icicles and heaps of snow falling from roofs. Until 5 o’clock yesterday firefighters had to intervene 150 times in Prague. A 65-year-old men head to be taken to hospital after an icicle had fallen on his head.

The responsibility falls on the owners of the property. According to the law, they have to clean dangerous snow and icicles from the roof as well as clean the pavements adjacent to the building. Otherwise they might be sued when somebody gets injured there.

Even though some people are not happy with the snow, many people in the capital enjoy skiing. Good places for winter sports are Letna gardens or park Hvezda. People are not recommended to go to forests. Tree branches may fall under the weight of the snow.

High revenues from Prague's hotel rooms

Prague has been ranked the 13th position in revenue per available room for 2006. From all central and east European countries is Prague the only city in the top 15. Prague achieved a revenue per available room of EUR 85.10 (2383 CZK).

These data are presented by KPMG (providing audit, tax, and advisory services), and the Bench (proving global benchmarking data). They evaluated the average room rate with room occupancy.

The best ranked is London with the revenue of EUR 166.63 (average room rate is EUR 205.3 with occupancy of 81.7%). Other positions belong to Moscow with the revenue of EUR 161.78 and Dubai with the result of EUR 156.03.

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Exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Karel Malich

Karel Malich is world’s well-known painter and sculptor. Two galleries in the Czech Republic, one in Lidice and one in Prague, show drawings, collages, pastels, graphics and wire sculptures of this renowned author.

The Lidice Gallery offers next to the works of art also Karel Malich’s diary, in which he wrote his thoughts, feelings and drafts. Prague’s exhibition contains author’s works on paper, especially early graphics from the 60’s and drawings from the first half of the 80’s.

The exhibition of selected works of Karel Malich in Lidice Gallery is open until 11th February from 9:00 to 16:00. Prague’s exhibition of graphics and drawings is open in the House At Golden Ring (Tynska 6 street in Ungelt) until 18th February from 10:00 to 18:00 (except Monday). The full entrance fee is 150 CZK.

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More cycle-ways in Prague this year

Prague is still not very cyclist-friendly. To cycle in the streets of Prague may be quite dangerous. Even though there are about 300 kilometers of trails (80 kilometers of which are only designed for bikes), Prague’s services for cyclists has been evaluated as the worst in the country .

The municipal authorities decided to spend 39 million CZK on trails for cyclist, which is 5 million CZK more than last year. They want to buid 25 kilometers of ways for cyclist and from 12 to 17 kilometers of pathways. 7 million CZK will be spend on repairs, cleaning and marking the trails.

New cobbles will replace the old ones on the embankment between Railway Bridge and Stefanikuv Bridge. The current ones are to big for comfortable cycling. Also a 50-cm-wide line will be build there for street bikes. Click here for an interactive map of Prague’s cycle-ways.

Snow situation in Prague

Heavy snowfalls have caused many accidents, injuries and troubles in the Czech Republic. There were long traffic jams on Czech highways, especially between Prague and Brno. Tens of truck drivers fell asleep while waiting for the road to be cleared off snow. Their vehicles finally made a 20-kilometer-long file.

Workers of road administration have already spread more then 3 000 tons of salt on the roads in Prague. Still, there were many accidents, mostly due to the fact that drivers did not use the winter tyres. Fortunately, one one was badly injured. More often, people were injured on slippery pavements. Physicians had to treat twisted ankles, broken legs, arms, injured backs and heads.

Also people using public transport had to wait up to 1 hour for the delayed vehicles. Now the situation is getting better, since there is no new snow falling any more. Most of Prague’s roads are passable. The meteorologists expect cold weather until the end of this week with occasional snowfalls, from Tuesday the temperatures can reach up to 5˚C (41˚F).

Prague's airport Ruzyne is open again

Just several minutes ago, at 9:00, the Prague’s International Airport Ruzyne started to operate regularly. For almost 30 hours it was closed because of heavy snowfalls that made taking off and landing of all planes impossible.

Prague Airport had to cancel 345 flights yesterday and 43 flights this morning. 447 flights are scheduled for today. Travellers are still recommended to contact their air carrier about information concerting their flight. They should also avoid a last-minute arrival at the airport.

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Yann Tiersen & Band in Prague

Do you know what Amelie from Montmartre, The Dreamlife of Angels or Good-buy, Lenin! have in common? It is the name Yann Tiersen who composed the music for these films. Fans of his music can meet him live on 19th March in Prague.

Yann Tiersen is a French New Age/Avante-Garde musician and composer. He composed music for short films and theatre plays. In 1995 the released his first debut album La Valse des Monstres. He is known for minimalist compositions including piano, accordion and violin.

Yann Tiersen will perform with his band in Prague’s Theatre Archa (Na Porici 26) on 19th March 2007 from 20:00. Regular cost of the tickets is 495 CZK.

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  • Yann Tiersen & Band in Prague [January 24 2007, 14:30 PM]

Prague's international airport Ruzyne is closed due to snow

Heavy snowfalls in Prague have surprised many drivers and caused already many accidents on the roads. People had problems to get to work or school. Snowdrifts have also closed the Prague’s international airport.

The airport announced that it will be closed at least until 6 p.m. Meteorologists now monitor the situation and expect even more intensive snowfalls.

Travellers can stay at the airport while waiting for later flights or they can return their tickets. Lufthansa opened their launches for their passengers. The situation at the airport is quite calm.

Some of the planes aiming to Prague were redirected to airports in Brno, Bratislava or Frankfurt. Many flights from Prague has been cancelled. Passengers are recommended to contact their air carriers. Up-to-date information about flights can be reached on the (free of charge) number 800 310 310 or from abroad +420 239 007 007.

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Prague will offer 'experience tourism'

Have you already seen all the popular attractions in Prague and you think that there is nothing more? The city of Prague promises a special kind of attractions under the name Technical Prague.

Local and foreign tourist can explore the underground architecture and walk kilometers under the Prague’s city centre in historical basement. Groups of about 20 people will be guided by educated workers. Helmets and warm clothes will be available for anybody who will ask for it because the steady temperature in the basement is about 16 ˚C (60.8 ˚F). Other attractions might be the machine-room of the funicular in Petrin or the waterhouse in Podoli.

These attractions promising unusual experiences will become part of the offers of travel agencies and information bureaus where people can book them in the middle of this year. First people will probably enjoy these attractions this autumn.

The number of crimes in Prague is dropping

According to crime statistics, the crime in Prague is dropping every year. There were 95 731 crimes in 2005 and 89 617 in 2006, which is about 6000 crimes less. Still, it is not something to be proud of.

The criminality in the capital is dropping mainly because of the fact, that people take more care of their belongings and have better safety systems in their cars and homes. There is also a new law that requires the bazaars to write down every bought items together with the identity card number of the seller. The city of Prague wants to combat the crime with even more police officers in the streets.

However, there are more and more pickpockets in the streets. Prague police officers have problems to catch the criminals in the act and prove them guilty. Many pickpockets work in organized groups whose members inform each other about the presence of uniformed men. Many offenders also rob people on the street during daytime. They steal mainly mobile phones that are easy to sell.

Weekend in the National Gallery in Prague for free

The National Gallery in Prague will celebrate 211th anniversary of its foundation. On that occasion, the gallery prepared a lot of activities for the first weekend in February, and what is more, a free entrance to all permanent exhibitions of the National Gallery.

First Wednesdays of the month are for free anyway, but at the weekend 3rd and 4th February, children and adults can try their skills in art workshops in the gallery.

Besides six permanent exhibitions, people can visit for free also some of the current exhibitions, such as Silesia – Pearl in the Crown of Bohemia in Wallenstein Riding School, Robert Schad – Steel and Time and Zdenek Beran – Retrospective in Trade Fair Palace (Veletrzni palac) and Terra/Cotta in St George’s Convent.

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Palm Days in Prague's Botanical Garden

Prague’s Botanical Garden offers these days a unique European collection of palm and cycads. About 70 kinds of palms and 20 kinds of cycads are exhibited on the terrace of the greenhouse Fata Morgana.

Visitors may learn the main difference between these two plants, watch pictures of many other palms on the walls of the greenhouse of buy seeds to plant their own palms and cycads.

The Botanical Garden also holds an exhibition of bags, handbags and bins made of plant materials. More then 80 exhibits are displayed in the exhibition hall of open air exposition.

Both exhibitions are open until 4th February. The greenhouse Fata Morgana is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 16:00. The open air exposition is open daily from 9:00 to 16:00.

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German band Tokio Hotel in Prague

Tokio Hotel, a popular German teenage band, have been busy recently on recording their second album Zimmer 483 that will be issued on 23rd February 2007. Together with this album, this four-member band will tour through Europe. Prague is on their list on 3rd April 2007.

The pop/rock band consists of twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz, Gustav Schafer and Georg Listing. They all come from Magdeburg where they created a band called Devilish. In 2003 they signed a contract with Universal Music Domestic Division in Hamburg and changed the name to Tokio Hotel. They have already won many awards in their short music carrier.

Prague’s concert of Tokio Hotel will take place in large Sazka Arena, their show will start already at 18:00. Tickets can be bought from 500 CZK to 790 CZK.

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Prague's airport Ruzyne is breaking records

According to Hana Cernochova, the Chief Executive Officer of the Prague’s international airport Ruzyne, record-breaking 10,5 million travellers passed through the airport in the year 2006, which is 700 000 more then in 2005. Travellers now more and more use the offers of low-budget airlines.

The most popular destination for people travelling from Prague was London (about 1 million travellers), then Paris (670 000), Frankfurt am Main (450 000) and Amsterdam (400 000). Most people travelled in August (1,3 million).

Prague’s airport Ruzyne is the largest airport in the new EU member states. The airport is designed to accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year. According to prognoses, this number might be reached in 2020.

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Protests against U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic

There are lively debates these days concerning placing U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic. The public opinion divides people into two groups; to those who support the U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic and to those who refuse it for the fear that it would put the country in a great danger.

Two days ago tens of activist from the association NE zakladnem (No to the bases) protested in Wenceslas Square to show their disapproval. The government, according to these activists, deceive people by claiming that the U.S. radar base means no risk for the Czech Republic.

A difference of opinion can be seen also in the government. While the Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says that there is no need for referendum and that this matter should be decided by experts in the field, the opposition parties ask for the referendum.

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Meteorologists expect heavy snowfalls

The gale that swept Europe took lives of many people and caused bad damages of properties. The association of insurance companies in the Czech Republic announced that the customers of Czech insurance companies reported 28 000 damage claims for 485 million CZK. Meteorologists now warn against another calamity – this time caused by snow.

From today to Thursday there will be about 25 to 50 cm (9,8” to 19”) of new snow. The situation may be more critical at the mountains when 80 cm (31”) of snow layer is expected. Meteorologist warn against icy roads and snowdrifts.

Also temperatures will change radically these days. From high temperatures that broke records, the temperatures will fall low below zero these days. The coldest night will be from Thursday to Friday when temperatures will drop to minus 15˚C (+5 ˚F). For up-to-date weather forecast click here.

Fertility of Prague's men is smaller

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic made a survey which is really unique in the whole Europe. Scientists tried to find the connection with the environment, especially with the quality of air, and men’s fertility. The research, testing 60 students from Prague, 90 students from Brno and 70 police officers from Prague, took two years.

The results show that men is Prague are less fertile than men in Brno. Their sperms are slower and less vital and more often they have damaged heads. The damaged head of a sperm, which carries the genetic information, can lead to spontaneous abortion.

It is caused by the bad quality of Prague’s air that is polluted by heavy traffic in the capital. The scientist also point out that second reason that reduces the fertility is smoking and bad lifestyle. Good news is that the bad air does not damage the sperms forever.

World's premiere of Czech composer in Prague's Estates Theatre

The Estate Theatre invites for the world’s premiere of the opera Lacrimae Alexandri Magni (Tears of Alexandr the Great). This chamber opera was composed by current Czech composer Tomas Hanzlik on the Latin texts from the 18th century.

Tomas Hanzlik specializes in the Baroque music. This composition is already his third opera. This opera narrates about 12-year old Alexander the Great who longs for a military triumph that would overshadow his father’s triumphs.

The premiere of this opera is on 25th January in the Estates Theatre (Ovocny trh 1) in Prague. Tickets are on sale from 700 CZK to 1000 CZK.

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More flights to Basel with Swiss International Air Lines

There are more and more travellers between Czech city Prague and Swiss city Basel. That is why the Prague’s International Airport Ruzyne broadens the offer of direct flights between these two cities. After Zurich and Geneva, people can use Swiss International Air Lines to fly from Prague to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.

This line will operate four times a week, the plane will reach the destination Prague-Basel in 90 minutes. Basel is at the border of three states, Switzerland, France and Germany. Travellers can use German version of the websites of Airport Ruzyne for easier communication.

Swiss International Air Lines flies into 42 countries in the world. From Prague they fly three times a day to Zurich and twice to Geneva. Swiss International Air Lines have been evaluated as the third Most Environmentally-Friendly air carrier flying to or from Prague.

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U.S. radar base probably in the Czech Republic

The United States has officially asked the new Czech government for permission to build a radar base in the country. The Czech Republic and Poland were two candidates in Europe to be involved in the U.S. anti-missile defence system.

The new government will try to persuade people that the American long-range radars will not threaten the Czech Republic, on the contrary, it will boost the safety of the country.

The United States have found two locations for the radar base – near Pribram and Olomouc. There would be about 200 American soldiers in the country, everything would be financed by the U.S.

A Czech team of experts will discuss with the U.S. about political, economic and strategic issues concerning American soldiers in the Czech Republic. If the radar base is approved here, it can start working in 2011.

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The new government won approval

After 230 days from the elections and after nine hours of discussing last Friday, the new government finally got the vote of confidence when 100 members of the Chamber of Deputies (out of 200) voted for and 97 against the new government.

2 members of the opposition party (Social Democrats) deliberately left the room before the voting. Their defection helped the government to get the vote of confidence. Another member of this party did not used correct words when voting and his vote could not be counted.

The government headed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (Civil Democrats) is represented by the coalition of three political parties: Civil Democrats, Christian Democrats and Green Party.

Mirek Topolanek said that if the government is not able to promote reforms, he would resign. The first “test” of the new government will be state budget proposal for the next year.

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New government asks for a confidence II

Eight months after the elections the Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek asks today for a vote of confidence for his second choice of the government that was appointed by the President Vaclav Klaus on 9th January 2007. This new government is presented by the coalition of Civil Democrats, The Christian Democrats and The Green Party.

It is very likable that the new government gets the confidence because two members of the Chamber of Deputies want to leave the hall before voting and enable the government get the majority.

The result of the vote is very crucial for Mirek Topolanek who promised she would resign from the post of the chairman of Civil Democrats if his second government did not get the confidence.

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Exhibition of Czech Centres: Explain Europe!

Twenty portraits of Czech celebrities and less prominent citizens of the Czech Republic can be seen at the exhibition Explain Europe! organized by Czech Centres, organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing the Czech Republic abroad.

Portraits are made by Michael Adams who cooperated with significant periodicals. Co-author of this project is Wolfgang Jung who is an associate editor of Prager Zeitung.

The theme of this exhibition is Europe and its position in the world. People in the photographs express their thoughts about traditions, history, ideas, etc., concerning Europe and the Czech Republic as a country in its heart.

The exhbition takes place at Czech Centre Prague (Rytirska 31 street) until 26th January. The exhibition contains comments Czech and German language.

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'Music at Prague Castle' starts tomorrow

The third year of the music series The music at Prague Castle starts tomorrow with the concert ‘Hudba habsburskeho soukromi v Praze a Vidni (1650-1750) [freely translated as Private concerts of Habsburg dynasty in Prague and Vienna (1650-1750)] held in the area of Prague Castle. The concert starts tomorrow at 17:00 in the New Gallery (Nova Galerie).

The concert will introduce music that was played in the houses of Habsburg in Prague and Vienna in the period of late Baroque and early Classicism. The programme will present the compositions of Johann Jakob Froberger, Alessandro Poglietti, Gottlieb Muffat and Josef Antonin Stepan. These compositions will be played by talented Edita Keglerova.

Tickets can be bought in the Chapel of the Holy Cross on the II Courtyard, at the Information Centre of Prague Castle, or via Ticketstream. The tickets for the concert are also valid for any current exhibition organized by Prague Castle Administration (except permanent exhibitions) on the day of the concert and the day after it.

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Prague is preparing for the philatelic exhibition PRAGA 2008

Prague is now very intensively preparing for the philatelic event of the year. This September, Prague will host the philatelic exhibition PRAGA 2008 taking place in the Industrial Palace in Prague’s exhibition ground from 12th to 14th September.

One of the most well-known stamps, shown at the exhibition, will be Blue Penny with the portrait of queen Victory. It is the first officially published stamp in the British Empire. There are only 12 pieces of Blue Penny left, mostly stored in safes of private collectors.

Another exposed stamp will be Black Penny, which is the first published stamp in the world. The organizers of the exhibition expect there will be about 400 to 500 stamps from 60 countries of the world. The value of the exhibited stamps is estimated to two billion CZK.

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Deadly gale churned through the country

A fierce gale churned through Europe yesterday killing more than 30 people. The gale called Kyrill uprooted trees, shattered windows, left millions of people without power. The speed of the gust was at the Czech mountains, Krusne hory, 184 km/h (114 mph).

In Slunecna near Ceska Lipa, a fallen tree killed a firefighter, another uprooted tree fell on a car and killed two people in it. On the 8th kilometer of the D8 highway, the howling gale blew off a trailer. Firefighters were called every minute to torn off roofs and uprooted trees.

Many accidents happened in Prague. A shattered window injured a man in Zitna street. A woman was struck by a metal board into her head while waiting for a public transport in Andel. The strong wind blew off some roof tiles in Charles Square and overturned a crane in Otradovicka street. The worst situation was, according to the meteorologists, around 10 p.m.

Meteorologists warm against strong wings that might appear in the Czech Republic again from Friday 3 p.m. to Sunday 10 p.m.

President awarded an Honourable Doctorate

The President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, was awarded an Honourable Doctorate by the Scientific Board Meeting of Czech Technical University. It happened in the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the university foundation.

The Scientific Board regards Vaclav Klaus as a brilliant economist with original ideas. They appreciate his lifelong contribution to national and international economics and politics.

Vaclav Klaus expressed in his speech that without Czech Technical University the Czech university education system would incline towards humanities.

Birth of the baby gorilla will be probably online

Thousands of visitors came to Prague Zoo to see the baby gorilla Moja which was born in December two years ago. People far away could also see the life of gorillas in Prague Zoo online thanks to the ‘reality show’ The Revealed that was evaluated as the best in the category ARKive Interactive Award in the prestigious competition Wildscreen.

Another baby gorilla will be born soon and again three cameras are there to broadcast what is happening. It is most likely that the birth will be online. “We don’t want to make a show from it. It’s important that gorilla Kamba won’t be disturbed and will give birth in the presence of other gorillas,” said the spokesman of Prague Zoo Vit Kahle.

Kamba is the oldest gorilla in Prague Zoo. It was born in Africa in 1972, probably in Cameroon rainforest. This will be her first baby. Another gorilla, Kijivu, is expecting a baby in May.

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Petr Cech can play again

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, one of the best Czech football player, is totally healthy and can return to the normal training and to matches without any limitations. That is the statement of the doctors from the Neurosurgery Clinic in Oxford.

Petr Cech was badly injured on 14th October 2006 when his opponent hit Cech’s head with his knee. Many people thought it would be the end of Cech’s playing. Now, after three months, Cech is ready to play again and, according to him, he feels really fit and in good condition. His first match after the injury will be probably in Liverpoo this Saturday.

Petr Cech now wants to play only in a special helmet which would protect the injured part of his head. Using the helmet during the matches has to be first approved by The Football Association. Petr Cech is, however, used to the helmet, he has been training with it the last two months.

Prague's taxi drivers protest

Few days ago the Czech newspaper Mlada Fronda DNES published an article about some Prague’s taxi drivers cheating their customers. The journalists, who pretended to be foreign visitors of the Czech capital, found out that six taxi drivers out of ten overcharged their services. MF DNES also offered some advice for people taking a taxi in Prague.

Yesterday at 2 p.m. hundreds of taxi drivers in their cars protested against the article in front of the publishing house of the newspaper in Radlicka street near Andel. They totally blocked the main road. They wanted to show their disagreement with the article and they asked an apology. They claim that not everybody is cheating.

The editor-in-chief Robert Casensky defended his employees by saying the journalist revealed really scandalous cases that damage the good reputation of Prague and the Czech Republic. They are going to continue the checks of Prague’s taxi drivers.

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Bomb thread evacuated Prague's airport

Prague’s International Airport had to be evacuated because of a bomb thread yesterday. The redaction of internet portal iDNES.cz got an email saying that there was a bomb somewhere in the area for travellers. The bomb was supposed to explode between 4 and 6 p.m. The redaction immediately contacted the airport.

At 4 p.m., when the airport got the message, the police closed all terminals (South, North I and II) and started to search for any trace of explosive material. All travellers had to leave the building and wait outside. No planes took off, only landed. Those planes, however, had to wait on the side runways and passengers had to stay on board.

The police together with the alien police did not find any bomb and the airport started to operate normally at about half past six. The last evacuation of the Prague’s airport, because of an anonymous bomb thread, happened last September.

Warning against strong wind

Meteorologists warn against very strong wind that will appear in the country this Thursday. Wind speed will grow from 50 km/h on Thursday morning to 125 km/h on Thursday evening. At the mountains the gust of wind can reach 145 km/h, which is a power of a hurricane.

The weather forecasts also predict heavy rains that may lead to local floods. Many buildings near rivers may be in danger of flood damage.

Strong wind also appeared in the Czech Republic last week. Its speed was 75 km/h, at the mountains 125 km/h. The wind uprooted trees and blew down power poles.

Visit a colourful carnival in Prague

Until the 18th century Prague was the place where big carnivals full of bright costumes, amusement and good meals took place. The tradition may be revived by the festival in the streets of Prague called Bohemian Carnevale, which will be held, this year for the first time, from 15th to 20th February. The festival will celebrate the joy of life, fantasy, talent, and creativity.

Organizers promise great marches of masks, allegoric carriages (the main march starts on Saturday 17th at 14:00 from Clam-Gallas Palace to Old Town Square) and many restaurants and bars offering carnival menu. All outdoor activities will be for free.

During the festival, you can visit a carnival saloon in Clam-Gallas Palace in Husova street and make yourself look, at least once, the way you always wanted. Just use your fantasy. Many fashion designers, hair studios, florists and others will be there to assist you. You can also find there an exhibition of masks and costumes.
Children can have fun while joining many attractions in the palace or creating their own masks.

2nd birtday of Meccamix

Every month you can go to the Meccamix in Mecca music club to enjoy the performances of best world’s DJ’s and producers. Mecca Club organizes a big party to celebrate 2nd “birthday” of Meccamix on Friday 19th January.

The star of the night will be British DJ Steve Smart who is one of the most famous DJ’s in Britain. He is known especially thanks to his shows on the biggest British private radio Kiss. Millions of people listen to his music and comments every week. The 2nd stage will be reserved for SElectro – a group of young, tallented DJ’s Bon Finix, Scar Coke & Stevon.

The party starts in Mecca (U Pruhonu 3) at 20:00. Tickets are available via Ticketstream for 200 CZK (VIP 400 CZK), and at the entrance before the party for 290 CZK (VIP 490 CZK). During the warm-up party (20:00 – 23:00) all drinks will be 50% cheaper.

Jan Saudek Gallery opens today

One of the most famous Czech photographers and a very controversial artist, Jan Saudek, has his own permanent gallery in the centre of Prague. Jan Saudek Gallery will be open in Celetna street 9 today at 17:00 by famous Czech actor Jiri Langmajer.

Visitors of this gallery will see 110 photographs including large format photos, the newest portraits and photographs that have not been published yet. Together with the opening of the gallery, Saudek’s ex-partner Sara Saudkova published a book called Pouta lasky.

This gallery contains also photographs shown in the recent exhibition Best of Jan Saudek in the House at the White Unicorn in Old Town Square in Prague . That exhibition was a gift for Saudek’s 70th birthday.

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Commemoration of Jan Palach

Students of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague commemorated yesterday the memory of Jan Palach, a student of this faculty, who committed a suicide in protest against the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia.

Jan Palach publicly immolated himself at the upper part of Wenceslas Square on 16th January 1969. He suffered severe burns and died in hospital three days later. His funeral in Olsanske hrbitovy on 25th January 1969 turn out to a big manifestation for freedom and democracy.

Yesterday the Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek laid flowers at Palach’s commemorative plague on the front wall of the faculty next to the main entrance. The square where the faculty is situated is called after Palach – nam. Jana Palacha.

Synchronised skating Prague Cup 2007

Prague will host the international synchronised skating competition called Prague Cup 2007. Competitors will try their luck in Novice, Junior and Senior categories according to the current International Skating Rules.

The competition is organized by Figure Skating Club USK Prague and hosted by the Czech Figure Skating Association. 41 teams consisting of 16 members from 10 countries (the USA, Canada, Russia, Belarus, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Hungary and the Czech Republic) will show their best in the two-day competition.

The event will take place in T-mobile arena (Za Elekrarnou 419) on 27th and 28th January 2007. It is possible to buy one ticket for both days or just a ticket for each day. Tickets can be bought via Ticketpro, in Metro Theatre (Narodni tr. 25) and in the ticket office of T-mobile arena before the start.

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How to avoid being rubbed by taxi drivers in Prague?

Overcharged taxi services in Prague We already wrote about the bad experience of foreign tourists with Prague taxi drivers who damage the reputation of the city. Many taxi drivers, especially in the centre, charge much more than they should or they give you a receipt that does not have all the essentials. Czech newspaper MF Dnes brings advice what to do when taking a taxi in Prague.

  • Instead of taking a taxi on the street, use the marked taxi station or order a taxi by phone and ask the name and number of the driver.
  • When getting in the car, you can write down the registration number and the number on the door. If the drivers reacts negatively, leave the car.
  • The maximum rate in Prague in 28 CZK/km. Be also careful at the chancing rate of some taxi drivers – you pay more in Euros then in Czech currency. Current exchange rate is about 28 CZK per EUR. After getting in the car, ask the driver about the approximate cost.
  • Check the taximeter whether it is working. If you think that you have to pay too much, check the receipt, whether the driver charged you the standard tariff.
  • Make sure that the receipt contains personal details of the driver. If the driver refuses to give you the receipt, make sure you know the registration number and the number on the door.

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International festival of films Febiofest in Prague soon

International show of film, television and video Febiofest starts this year on 22nd March. Already for 14th times Prague and other cities in the Czech and Slovak Republic will see more than 300 films of many film genres and many experiments.

One of the experiments is a 24-hour show of slow-motion picture of Hitchcock’s Psycho. Among one of the special guests of the festival will be French director Bruno Dumont, awarded last year in Cannes. More then 50 singers and bands from more then 10 countries in the world will perform during the festival. One of them will be French singer Rona Hartner.

The festival in Prague will take place mainly in multiplex cinema Village Cinemas in Andel (near Andel metro station). It will start there on 22nd March and finish on 30th March. A morning show called Febiofest Junior will be devoted to children. Than the festival will go from Prague to other ten Czech and eight Slovak cities.

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News in Prague Zoo and Botanical Garden

Prague Zoo wants to attract more visitors, even though last year it was visited by more than one million people. Its popularity is enhanced by the good location near Botanical Garden and Troja chateau.

Prague Zoo expects two new baby gorillas. At the turn of January and February and in May two gorillas are expecting their young. Zoo owns a new couple of tapirs coming from New Orleans. Soo new caracal will arrive to Zoo. Also a new refreshment with outside tables will be open together with a cafe, a confectionery, new public toilets and a gift shop.

Botanical Garden in Prague promises better information boards, new pathways and better sanitary facilities. There might be a new garden house soon. Botanical garden plans several new exhibitions: Palm Days (16/1 – 4/2), Orchids (10/2 – 25/2), Haptic Exhibition: Magical Flowers and Animals (21/4 – 29/4), Exhibition of Butterflies CR (1/6 – 30/6) and Carnivorous Flowers (4/9 – 16/9).

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Czech Technical University celebrates 300th anniversary

Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague celebrates this week a special anniversary. 300 years ago, on 14th January 1707, the emperor Joseph I asked Czech estates to finance the education of technical engineering in Prague.

The biggest celebrations will culminate this week. Today the university gives a concert of classical music in Rudolfinum, tomorrow the President Vaclav Klaus and other significant personalities will be honoured honoris causa at the CTU Scientific Board Meeting in Betlehem Chapel. On the day of the anniversary, there will be a ceremonial meeting of the CTU Academic Senate and Scientific Board.

The public can visit an exhibition in Lapidary of Bethlehem Chapel called Engineering through the Eyes of an Engineer. The exhibition will introduce changes in the technical education during three centuries – from the establishment of CTU up to these days. The vernissage of the exhibition starts on 19th January at 10:00.

Yellow Spa opens a skating ring

O2 Yellow Spa (O2 Zlute lazne) started its winter season last Saturday. Visitors can enjoy ice-skating on a special skating ring, buy sport equipments in the local bazaar and or have a drink in the Blue cafe.

The ring is open every day in several blocks: 11:00 – 11:30, 12:00 – 14:00, 16:00 – 18:00. For two hours of skating you have to pay 50 CZK. For the whole day 100 CZK. Skates can be borrowed there for 100 CZK.

You can also hire the whole ring for yourself for 1200 CZK/hour. The ring can be reserved individually only at the times: 7:00 – 10:00, 14:00 – 16:00, and 18:00 – 22:00.

How to get there? You can take metro, get off at Palackeho namesti (metro station Karlovo namesti) and then continue by trams 3, 16, 17, 21, 52 (stop Dvorce). Or take bus 118, 124 from Budejovicka station to the terminus Dvorce.

Night of open churches in Prague

Christian Churches plan to open several churches to the public on 22nd January during the action called The Night Of Open Churches (Noc otevrenych kostelu). People can visit the churches from the afternoon until late at night and join many activities for children and adults, as well as attend concerts there.

This action will take place for the first time in Prague. The organizers were inspired by similar activities in West Europe. If the action is successfull, they plan to organize it every year. One of the the aim of this action is to introduce new members of the European Union.

Among the churches, that are included in the programme, are St Nicholas Church in Old Town Square, Salvator Church in Salvatorska street, the refectory of Dominican monastery in Jilska street, and The Brethren Evangelical Free Church in Soukenicka street.

Conductors in night trams from tomorrow

The night from 16th to 17th January is the first night when conductors appear in Prague’s night trams. The conductors can be recognized by black uniforms.

Night trams run in Prague in nine lines. The most critical lines are 54, 58, and 59. The conductors will watch closely especially trams going to Andel, Lazarska street and Main Station (Hlavni nadrazi). Their shift will start about 0:30 and finish at 6:00.

From tomorrow 30 conductors will guard in some of the 60 trams running at night. In three months their number will increase five times. Prague Public Transit Company hopes that this action will improve the quality and safety in trams at night.

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Neumannova is the best Czech sport person

Katerina Neumannova, a cross-country skier, is the best sportperson of the year 2006. That is the opinion of Czech journalists who chose her in the annual poll Sportovec roku. Neumannova was given a golden crown at a special award ceremony in Prague last night.

Neumannova won an Olympic gold medal in the 30-kilometer cross country race in Turin. She announced that this is her last season as a professional skier.

Second position belongs to ice-hockey player Jaromir Jagr, who won this poll last year. Third position belongs to Lukas Bauer, a cross-country skier and an Olympic silver medallist. Among the first ten people were also Tomas Sebrle (athletics), Jakub Janda (ski jumping), Petr Cech (football), Barbora Spotakova (athletics), Martina Sablikova (speed skating), Tomas Rosicky (football) and Tomas Janku (athletics).

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was given Emil Zatopek Award for Sport Legend. Czech ice-hockey team was awarded the best sport team.

Martina Sablikova won the European Speed Skating Championship

Martina Sablikova is the first Czech woman in history who won the European Speed Skating Championship. It took place at the Collalbo outdoor artificial track. She won two out of four races, finally gaining 162,954 points, which is the world’s record.

Sablikova (19) became the youngest European champion in speed skating. She set new world’s records in 3,000 with 4 minutes 3.52 seconds and in 5,000 with 6 minutes 58.45 seconds.

“I didn’t expect that,” said overwhelmed Sablikova after the competition. Now Sablikova with her coach Petr Novak will train for the Speed Skating World Cup 2007 in the Netherlands.

Prague's flats more and more expensive

Flats in Prague belongs to the cheapest ones in comparison to other metropolitan cities. In most cases the buyers can buy a flat in Prague several times cheaper then in the west Europe. It is expected that the prices of the flats, especially in the centre of Prague, will rise enormously in the next few years. Since 2002 the flats in Prague has already doubled.

Nevertheless, the prices of luxurious flats in Prague are very similar to those in other metropolises. The most expensive flat in Vodickova street in the centre of Prague cost 230 000 CZK per square meter. For a flat in Paris near the Invalides and Eiffel Tower you pay about 224 000 CZK per square meter.

The number of flats in the centre of Prague is limited and the demand is already higher than the supply. Prague is a very attractive location in Europe and lots of foreign buyers want to invest here. They are not discouraged by the fact that there are not enough parking places in the centre.

The ship for homeless people is almost finished

Prague council came with an interesting idea last year – to build a ship for people without home. The ship should be ready before 21st January is it was planned. The city already knows the location of the ship. It will be on the left bank of the Vltava river near Stefanikuv bridge.

Homeless people who show the effort to return to normal life, will be given a preference. One night will cost 20 CZK. “If they have money for a box of wine and cigarettes, they can get money for the lodging. It is a motivation,” said one of the city councillor Jiri Janecek.

The ship will provide 250 beds, charity organizations offer 600 beds. However, there are about five or six thousand homeless people in Prague. The city of Prague wants to count all the homeless people in Prague in two months. The city wants to locate the place where homeless people stay the most, also what tram lines they use the most at night.

Leningrad Cowboys soon in Prague

Finish rock band Leningrad Cowboys known for its humorous songs, unicorn hairstyle and sharp-pointed shoes is coming to Prague to perform in Prague’s Roxy Club on 13th February at 19:30.

The band was founded by the Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki who needed a fictional band for his film Leningrad Cowboys Go America. He chose the members of the Sleepy Sleepers band, Nicky Tesco and some others. But the group started to perform in real and made albums, videos and concerts of its own. Now they consist of 7 men and 2 women.

Tickets for the Prague’s concert cost 690 CZK and you can buy them via Ticketpro. Roxy Club is situated in Dlouha 33 street. See a short summary of other concerts in Prague.

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Indoor football in Prague's Sazka Arena this weekend

Football fans can enjoy the matches of the best Czech teams in the league, Sparta, Slavie, Liberec and Mlada Boleslav, this weekend. But that is not all. They will also play against three clubs from abroad as well as Prague’s club Bohemia 1905.

Eight clubs will compete in two groups. Group A consists SK Slavia Praha, FC Slovan Liberec, Debrecen VSC and Bohemians 1905. Group B consists of AC Sparta Praha, FK Mlada Boleslav, Wisla Plock and MFK Ruzomberok. The winner will get 300 000 CZK.

This big sport event takes place in the hall of Sazka Arena in Prague this Saturday and Sunday (start at 10:00). The organizers call it Fortuna The Weekend of Champions (Fortuna Vikend sampionu).

Tickets cost from 120 CZK to 180 CZK. The organizers point out that people should expect long queues at the box offices and at the entrance because everybody will have to come through the security frame. The matches will be broadcast by Eurosport and CT4.

Tourists evaluate services in the Czech Republic

Czech state agency Czech Tourism asked 26 299 tourists (19% from abroad, 81% from the Czech Republic) how satisfied they were with the quality of services, leisure facilities, the care for historical buildings, etc., in all regions of the Czech Republic in summer 2006.

In general, most of the tourists were satisfied with the quality of restaurants and their meals, with prices for services, the kindness of local people, tourist marks and the care for sights. They were not satisfied with the quality of services for motorists, with the care for tidiness and cleanness and with the insufficient offer of programmes for a free time.

Tourists in Prague value the good quality and range of accommodation, shopping and leisure facilities. Tourist here also appreciate the good system of the public transport, the quality of tourist information and tourist signs. On the other hand, Prague is the worst in the quality of services for motorists and cyclists and also with the kindness of local people.

The best rated region in the Czech Republic is South Bohemia which belongs to the best in most of the categories. In no category it is the worst. The worst region was, according to the respondents, Plzen region, criticised in 23 categories.

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Prague's concerts of international stars at the beginning of 2007

The beginning of the year 2007 offers a lot of concerts of international stars. Let us summarize the most famous musicians performing at this period in Prague.

The son of the legendary Beatle, Sean Lennon, is coming to Prague’s Lucerna Music Bar on 5th February. Roxy club offers the performance of Finnish band Leningrad Cowboys on 13th February.

Prague’s Sazka Arena will host Colombian singer Shakira, who will present her albums Fijacion Oral Vol. 1and Oral Fixation Vol.2 on 3rd March, and American soul singer Lionel Richie on 9th March. 8th March is reserved to the legend of American country Kris Kristofferson in Prague Congress centre.

Joan Baez, a folk musician, will perform in Prague’s Palac Lucerna on 2nd April. You can look forward to German teenager band Tokio Hotel who will perform in Sazka Arena on 3rd April and in CEZ Arena in Ostrava on 7th April. The former member of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, will sing in Sazka Arena on 13th April.

Photographs of Shomei Tomatsu in Prague

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in association with the Japan Society, New York, organized an exhibition of Shomei Tomatsu’s photographs that are connected with post-war Japan. This exhibition is now presented in Prague’s Rudolfinum.

This exhibition is called Skin of the Nation and shows approximately 240, mostly black-and-white, photographs representing changes and their effects in the post-war Japan. Shomie Tomutsu is often called the father of modern Japanese photography, who influenced several generations of Japanese photographers.

The exhibition is situated in the Rudolfinum Gallery (Alsovo nabrezi 12). It is open daily (except Monday) from 10:00 to 18:00 until 15th April.

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Reconstruction of the new building for Radio Free Europe started

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty promotes democratic values by providing objective news, analysis and discussions to undemocratic countries in the world.

Its current position in the centre of Prague next to the National Museum will change next year. The new building that will have very strict security measures is now being built in Hagibor between Izraelska and Vinohradska street, close to the hotel Don Giovanni.

Strict security measures are already visible during the reconstruction. The new building should provide safe and pleasant working environment. Architects plan to build a new park with a pond near it.

Moving the radio from its current position in the centre of Prague will lead to more fluent transport in that area. Also the concrete blocks and military obstructions will disappear from the centre of Prague. They were put there after the terrorist attacks in the USA in September 2001.

The last water damaged book was dried up

Catastrophic floods in the Czech Republic in 2002 caused big damages and loss of several lives. One of the most afflicted buildings in Prague was the Municipal Library with its collection of about 20 thousand precious historical books. Conservators managed to dry the last damaged book.

The muddy water damaged many precious books as well as restoration workrooms and deposit libraries. Wet books had been frozen before the conservators could work on them.

The National Museum in Wenceslas Square presents an exhibition that shows the work of specialists recovering books after floods from the National Museum’s fonds. These books come from chateau libraries on the banks of the Vltava river. This exhibition is open until the end of January.

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Experts warm : wind storms

This January is the warmest January in the past 232 years. Average temperature in the Czech Republic in January is minus 2,5 ˚C (27,5 ˚F), the average temperature of this months is plus 4 ˚C (39,2 ˚F) . Yesterday the afternoon temperature in Prague was 14,2 ˚C (56,56 ˚F). These temperatures are normal for April or October.

Extremely warm weather confuses the nature. Many spring flowers can be found on the lawns these days, birds lay eggs and there are warnings against ticks and allergies to pollen. Meteorologist say that this weather will last at least until February.

From today afternoon until Friday night people in Czech Republic can expect winter storms that can break branches and uproot trees. The speed of the wind can reach 90 km/h (55,9 m/h), at the mountains 110 km/h (68,3 m/h).

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Winter Rock For People in Prague

All fans of rock or regular attenders of the festival Rock for People in Cesky Brod in July should not miss the 5th festival winter Rock For People in Prague’s club Abaton next month.

Eleven Czech and foreign music groups will perform in Abaton on 3rd February. Among them will be No Relax from Spain and The Hogs from Ireland. Czech bands will be represented by Znouzecnost, Vypsana fixa, Prohrala v kartach, Aplle Juice, Five O’Clock Tea, etc.

Tickets can be bought via Ticketstream for 240 CZK or before the concerts in Abaton for 280 CZK. Club Abaton is in Na Kosince 8. You can get there by metro yellow line B to Palmovka and continue by trams 10, 24 or 25 to stop Stejskalova.

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Double taxes on flights leaving Great Britain

Great Britain doubles the departure tax on all flights leaving Britain from 1st February. The air passenger duty will be ₤10 for economy class and ₤20 for business and first class. Long-haul flights will be even more expensive. Passengers travelling via Great Britain will be charged ₤40 in economy class and ₤80 in business class.

That means that also flights from Great Britain to the Czech Republic will cost more, which is not welcomed especially by low-budget air carriers. Some companies have sent emails to their comstumers, who had already reserved the tickets with the departure date after 1st February, asking them to pay extra. For instance, passengers of easyJet, who refuse to pay the tax, will be not accepted on board.

CSA have already charged the tax in tickets for February issued after 15th December. Tickets issued before 15th December will be for passengers without the extra charge. British Airways are also ready to pay the tax on tickets issued before the announcement about increasing the tax.

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More accidents on Prague's roads

Prague’s drivers caused in 2006 more accidents than in 2005, even though the trend in other Czech cities is just the opposite. Fortunately, most car accidents are without injuries or loss of life.

Prague is getting better with the number of people who were killed in car accidents. Last year it was 55 people, in 2005 61 people. The most accidents happen on the Prague inner-city ring road (especially at the entries or exits from the road).

500 more police officers and new radars will help decrease the number of accidents in Prague. There are 9 radars in Prague so far, soon it will be 10. Also police officers will have hand radars to measure the speed of passing cars.

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Cheaper entrance fee to the National Gallery after 4 p.m.

National Gallery in Prague announced that visitors pay less to see the permanent exhibitions if they come after 16:00. The entrance fees to permanent exhibitions after 16:00 are the following (in brackets there are the entrance fees before 16:00):

  • Sternberg Palace – full 100 CZK (160 CZK), reduced 50 CZK (80 CZK), family 100 CZK (200 CZK)
  • Kinsky Palace – full 50 CZK (100 CZK), reduced 30 CZK (50 CZK), family 50 CZK (150 CZK)
  • St Georges Convent – full 80 CZK (130 CZK), reduced 40 CZK (60 CZK), family 80 CZK (180 CZK)
  • Zbraslav Chateau – full 40 CZK (80 CZK), reduced 20 CZK (40 CZK), family 40 CZK (120 CZK)

Every first Wednesday of the month the entrance is free from 15:00 to 20:00 to all permanent and current exhibitions of the National Gallery in Prague. More information about the permanent and current exhibitions can be found here.

67 Czech marriages out of 100 get divorced

According to the report of Eurostat, the Czech Republic belongs to the countries in the European Union where people get divorced the most. 67 married couples out of 100 get divorced in the Czech Republic. The only states in the European Union which have a higher divorce rate are Belgium and Estonia.

The average divorce rate in the EU is 40 marriages out of 100. The smallest divorce rate is in Ireland and Cyprus where it is quite difficult to get divorce. People get divorced the most after 3 or 5 years after the wedding. The average length of divorced marriages is 12 years.

Statistics and sociologists have a simple explanation for these numbers. Higher percentage of divorces nowadays is caused by the change of lifestyle. However, they also point out the divorce rate reached its peak and not it is going down. There are also more and more people who live together without being married.

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Festival Days of European Film

Days of European Film (Dny Evropskeho filmu) – that is the name of the film festival that will be held in the Czech Republic already for the 14th times. It presents the best films made by present and future member countries of the European Union.

The aim of this festival is to let people know what is new in the European cinematography. Every year visitors can see about fifty films of various genres. The festival is organized by embassies and culture institutes of the countries, by the city of Prague and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.

The festival takes place in Prague (25th January – 4th February, cinemas Aero and Svetozor) and in Brno (5th – 13th). Tickets (for 90 CZK) can be reserved and bought in the box office of the cinemas. In Prague you can also visit the Marathon of European films (150 CZK), which is a show of 5 films during one night. For more information click here.

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Prague's concert of Joan Baez

During her Europe tour 2007, Joan Baez, the famous folk musician, is coming to the Czech Republic. She will perform in Prague’s Palac Lucerna on 2nd April. This American folk singer and songwriter is known for her individual vocal style. Many of her songs deal with social issues.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences selected Joan Baez as one of the recipients of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, which is a special merit award given to performers, who have made lifelong contributions of outstanding artist significance to the field of recording.

Tickets (and e-tickets) for the concert are already on sale via Ticketpro for 895 CZK, 795 CZK and 695 CZK. The concert starts in Palac Lucerna (Stepanska 61) at 20:00.

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Better train services in Prague

Trains are the fastest public transport in Prague. However, the they are used only by around 100 000 travellers a day, while more than 2,7 million people use other means of transport in Prague. Czech Railways want to change it.

Management decided to renovate many railway stations in Prague, buy new trains, prolong some tracks and create new stations. Travelling will be convenient especially for people living or staying in the suburban areas of Prague.

Prague integrated transport ensures that you can use integral transfer or season tickets for travelling by metro, trams, city buses, funicular railway, suburban buses and also many trains in the city. The fare is based on the travel time and number of zones.

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Czech Fashion Wave in Prague's gallery

The gallery of fashion design, Studio LR, presents an exhibition called Czech Fashion Wave presenting selected designs that were introduced in New York’s fashion show Czech Bene Fashion 06 last November.

The designs were made by Czech fashion designers Hana Zarubova, Monika Drapalova, Denisa Nova and Libena Rochova. Libena Rochova’s collection, which stays in New York a bit longer, is presented by photographs of world’s famous photographer Jiri Turek.

The exhibition takes place in Studio LR in Malostranske nabrezi 1. It is open for free from Friday to Sunday (10:00 – 18:00) until 28th January 2007.

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Sudoku world's championship in Prague

The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, will host the world’s championship in sudoku this year. Masters of this popular puzzle will compete from 28th March to 1st April 2007.

Czech economist Jana Tylova (31), the winner of the first Sudoku world’s championship in Sudoku last year, will compete there against the best puzzle-solvers from about 30 countries. Last year 85 puzzle-solvers from 22 countries took part in the sudoku championship in Lucca, Italy.

The biggest asset to sudoku was the Japanese puzzle giant Nikoli, Inc. It also gave sudoku its current game. Thanks to Nikoli, sudoku’s appeared in the newspapers and became popular in Japan. In Europe, sudoku was first published on 12th November 2004 in The Times due to the efforts of Wayne Gould who developed a computer program to generate the puzzle.

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Party of Radio Wave

Czech Radio Wave (100,7 FM) is going to celebrate their first anniversary by a party in Prague’s club Abaton (Na Kosince 8 / Povltavska 2175 street) in Prague. The evening will be devoted to musicians of various music genres.

Among bands performing in Abaton will be Gypsy.cz playing Czech-Roma hip hop, Khoira, Nierika mixing styles, but also Please the Trees, a band nominated to Eurosonic Awards 2007, and many others. Visitors can also look forward to sexy break dancers

The party is held on Friday 12th January from 19:30. Tickets can be bought in advance for 150 CZK or at the entrance for 180 CZK. The proceeds will go to gorilla preservation.

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New government from tomorrow

The President of the Czech Republic will appoint the new government of Mirek Topolanek tomorrow at 11:00, said the President’s spokesman.

Topolanek has got second chance to form the government that would gain support in the Chamber of Deputies. The President objects that Topolanek cannot be sure of the majority support.

The Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said that he would resign from his post of the chairman of Civic Democrats if he does not get the necessary confidence for his new government. He is going to ask the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence within 30 days.

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Minibuses in the centre of Prague

The council in the centre of Prague plans to establish a new means of transport – minibuses. The reason for that is that people in the centre of Prague have to walk quite far to the nearest stops of public transport. It is therefore meant mainly for older and disabled people. However, the minibuses will not appear in Prague streets before the next year.

22 people can fit in one minibus, a half of them standing and a half of them sitting. The minibuses will have barrier-free access. The exact routes are not certain yet, but they will be in less crowded streets. The city discuss these 5 routes:

  1. around Wenceslas Square (Mustek – Museum – Opletalova street)
  2. around streets Na Prikope, Celetna and Rytirska
  3. around the Jewish Quarter, Marianske namesti, Old Town Square, Narodni trida
  4. around Lesser Town and Vlasska street
  5. around Opletalova street, Main station and Florenc

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Californian Incubus soon in Prague

Incubus, an American band coming from California, successfully combines metal, funk and hip hop. They are coming to Prague this March to perform in the big hall of Palac Lucerna (Stepanska 61) in Prague.

This five-member band will introduce here their newest album Light Grenades. The concert is a part of The Light Grenades 2007 World Tour. They will perform in the Czech Republic for the first time.

The concerts is held in Palac Lucerna on 18th March 2007 at 19:00. Tickets for 630 CZK + fee (together 705 CZK) can be bought via Ticketpro.

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Reconstructions in Prague in 2007

Many Prague monuments are going to be renovated in the year 2007. Repair works will start on one of the most famous monuments in Prague, Charles Bridge, this spring. Also statues on the roof of the National Theatre and its facade will be renovated soon.

The reconstruction of the Memorial at Vitkov will probably start this April. Reconstruction costs are estimated to hundreds of millions CZK. Also Lobkowitz Palace and Salmov Palace in Hradcany are under reconstruction now. They will become a part of the National Gallery expositions.

The former Lesser Town town hall will get three Renaissance towers that used to decorate it. The town hall will look the same as it did in 1636. It will be used for ateliers, theatre stages, lecture-room, etc.

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Three kings in Mexican style

All those of you who want to enjoy the atmosphere of Mexico should not miss the traditional celebration of Three kings called Adoracion de los Reyes Magos held in Archa Theatre (Na Porici 26) tomorrow.

You can look forward to music performances of Pablo’s Magic Carpet from Mexico City and their mixture of funk, soul, blues and jazz, Los Amigos presenting traditional Mexican folklore melodies or Latin Jazz performance of DJ Mucha.

During the night you can try Mexican cuisine or Mexican drinks from Tropical Bar, see an exhibition of photographs and a presentation of short animated films made by students of the university in Guadalajara. You can also try your luck in a Mexican tombola.

The programme starts tomorrow at 20:00. Tickets can be bought via Ticketpro for 185 CZK or via Ticketportal for 165 CZK.

CSA keeps long-distance flights

CSA air carrier is not going to stop with their long-distance flights. At least not yet. The management was supposed to decide about the faith of these flights these days but the decision is postponed to November.

The long-distance flights by CSA head mainly from Prague to the USA and Caribbean islands. On Friday there will be the last flight from Prague to Dubai, this line was for CSA permanently non-profit. Besides CSA, other long-distance flights to Prague are possible only by Korean Air and by April Delta Air Lines starting in Atlanta.

Last autumn CSA airline bought a new system that tells them how occupied their planes and also planes of their competitors are. If the management decide to keep their long-distance flights, they will probably buy new planes.

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Polish trains cannot enter the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic refuses to let Polish trains in the country. No Polish trains have the necessary permits to travel on Czech tracks and people travelling from Poland have to find another connection to Czech cities behind the Czech borders.

According to the railway department of the Czech Republic, the Polish trains do not meet the safety and technical regulations required by Czech railways.

Polish newspaper Dziennik Zachodni stated that Polish railways asked for the permits and got a list of requirements from the Czech railways. The list is, however, still being translated from Czech to Polish.

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Hunters of Mammoth until 1st of July

Hunters of Mammoths is one of the most popular exhibition in Prague nowadays. It has been already visited by 150 thousand people so far. The National museum in Prague therefore decided to prolong the exhibition until 1st July.

The exhibition shows the way of living of animals and people in prehistory. People can admire many exhibits, such as a big mammoth or the ceramic statuette of The Venus of Dolni Vestonice.

While going to the National Museum in Wenceslas Square, you can also buy a 3-day ticket that is valid in 12 buildings of the National Museum in Prague. The tickets cost 160 CZK (reduced ticket 80 CZK and family ticket 200 CZK). For the list of the buildings click here. Updated: the exhibition is prolonged until 2nd September 2007.

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Shortage of road tax stickers

People who want to travel on Czech highways have to possess a vignette for the year 2007 from the 1st January 2007. This road tax stickers can be bought for various values according to the type of the vehicle.

Not having this sticker on the front window of your car may lead to unpleasant fines. These stickers can be bought in several places, such as petrol stations and auto clubs. Unfortunately, drivers have problems to get them because of the big shortage of them on the markets.

According to the distributor of vignettes, ABA assistance service, there are enough vignettes but the sellers underestimated the situation and ordered too few stickers for their shops. People travelling from Germany can buy the stickers in the branch of ABA in Dresden.

There have been also reports that some of the stickers cannot be stripped off the base or that they get damaged. These defective stickers can be changed in any post office in the Czech Republic.

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Three kings collect money for charity

More than 30 thousand carolers are collecting these days money for charity. The collection called Three Kings’ Collection 2007(Trikralova sbirka 2007) is organized by Charita CR in the whole country. It is the largest voluntary action in the Czech Republic.

The proceeds of this collection will go to charity, especially to ill or disabled people, seniors and mothers with children in need. At least one tenth of the profits will go abroad. Last year the groups of “three kings” collected about 55 million CZK.

How to recognize them? The group consist of three children in costumes of three kings who came to Bethlehem to bring presents to baby Jesus. Each group is accompanied with an adult. They ask for donation into a sealed money-box with a charity logo.

Barrandov aqua park has become popular

The new aqua park in Barrandov in Prague has been already visited by thousands of people. The aqua park was open in a testing operation before Christmas on 22nd December 2006.

The aqua park offers a 25-meter-long swimming pool, a whirlpool bath, a wild river and 2 slides. A sauna and a massage will start from the mid January. Refreshment can be bought in a bar, a restaurant will be open soon.

The aqua park in Barrandov opens every day at 10:00 and closes at 22:00 (except Sunday when it closes at 21:30). The owners promise new opening times from 6:00 to 22:00 from February. The entrance fee cost 99 CZK for 90 minutes and 180 CZK for 3 hours.

Prague has good development prospects

According to the survey made by Feri Rating & Research for Capital magazine, Prague and other cities from Eastern European Union have bright prospects for further development until 2013. Feri Rating & Research evaluated economic growth (30%), purchasing power (30%), labour market (20%) and the number of inhabitants (20%).

European city with the highest development potential is Dublin, then Luxembourg and Helsinki. However, Warsaw is in the fifth place, Budapest in the 7th place and Prague in the 8th place. Brussels is in the 18th position, Rome 28th, Paris 30th, Vienna 35th and Berlin in the 79th place.

Feri Rating & Research is one of the largest economic research and forecasting institutes in Europe. They specialize in investment market and product ratings.

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Calenders with Czech top models

The new year also brings a new calendar. So why not buying a calender with sexy pictures of Czech top models while being in Prague? Simona Krainova, Iva Kubelkova and Andrea Veresova posed for the calenders in very attractive places.

Simona Krainova posed in Turkey in the style of James Bond. The calender is called Agent 007 and was made by the photographer Dylan Don Dirk with assistance of Studio Visage Factory. Krainova presents herself as a Bond girl.

Andrea Veresova, ex-girlfriend of Jaromir Jagr, is on twelve provocative black-and-white pictures made by famous photographer Robert Vano. Iva Kubelkova posed for the calendar in Italian Venice. The calender is called Stock and Iva Kubelkova.

Czech film festival One World awarded by UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to give Honourable Mention to One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival held in 13 cities of the Czech Republic every year.

The film festival is an international competition of documentary films with an educational undertone organized by People in Need (PIN). The One World festival held since 1999 attracts more then 40 000 people every year. It belongs among the founding members of the Association of Human Rights Festivals joining together 17 festivals in the world.

The award was given for the asset to human rights for all without discrimination. The international jury chose the winner out of 49 candidates from 37 countries.The award ceremony will be held in South Africa this year.

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Tickets for Prague Spring 2007 available

62nd international music festival Prague Spring 2007 starts on Saturday 12th May and finishes on Sunday 3rd June. For all those who want to attend Prague Spring 2007 we point out that tickets are already on sale. Tickets (also E-tickets) are available via Ticketpro or in Prague’s Rudolfinum (nam. Jana Palacha).

The concerts take place in various places in Prague, such as Rudolfinum, Municipal House , Lichtenstein Palace, Church Of St. Simon and St. Juda, etc. For the programme of the festival click here.

The Prague Spring 2007 is a significant music event held under the patronage of the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus and in association with the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. Outstanding artists, symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles has been performing at Prague Spring since 1946.

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Mark-up of bus tickets

The new system of paying tolls on Czech highways has increased the prices of bus tickets in the country. One of the biggest bus transporter in the Czech Republic, Student Agency, announced that tickets from Prague to Ostrava will be more expensive from tomorrow. Capital Expres increased the prices in December.

Popular Student Agency yellow buses go to Ostrava via Prostejov, Olomouc, Novy Jicin, Frydek-Mistek. The price of the tickets will increase from 290 CZK to 320 CZK. Tickets reserved by internet or SMS will cost 40 CZK more – 290 CZK. Also the prices of student tickets will raise.

Czech Railways want to prosper from the higher prices of bus tickets. Czech Railways offer tickets from 150 CZK to 500 CZK. The journey from Prague to Ostrava takes by pendolinos 3 1/2 hours, by fast trains 4 1/2 hours. The quickest Student Agency bus is in Ostrava in 4 hours 40 minutes.

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The Czech Republic in Eurovision

For the first time the Czech Republic will send its representative song to Eurovision Song Contest. Czech television is now choosing 10 representatives. Each song will be promoted by its interpreters and one famous person. People can send votes until 10th March when the Czech representative song will be known.

Last year the final in Athens was watched by 100 million viewers. The winner of the last year, group Lordi, is from Finland, that is why this year’s final will take place in Helsinki in March 2007.

International contest Eurovision was founded in the mid 50’s as an attempt to find in music a reuniting component in post-war Europe. In 1956 only seven countries competed, last year it was almost forty.

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Survey 14 years after the split of Czechoslovakia

On 1st January 2007 it has been 14 years since the former Czechoslovakia split peacefully into two independent countries – the Czech and Slovak republics. The Public Opinion Research Centre made a survey to find out what people in the Czech Republic think about the split.

More than a half of Czech people think that the division was a good step. To be exact, 56 % of people agree with the split, while in 1993 only every fourth person (25%) agreed. About 1/3 of Czech people (34%) now don’t agree with the split, while in 1993 it was 53 %.

47 % of Czech people believe that the relations between Czech and Slovak inhabitants are the same as before the split. 25% think the relations are better, 18% think that they are worse.

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Prague Zoo raises prices

Prague Zoo raises the entrance fees. From the 1st January the tickets will be 10 CZK more expensive. That means that adults have to pay now 100 CZK and children 70 CZK. Family tickets cost 300 CZK. The annual tickets stay unchanged (except family annual tickets that costs now 1200 CZK). There will be no seasonal discounts any more.

Prague Zoo is sponsored by the City of Prague so that it can keep the low prices, otherwise the price would be 180 CZK. Still the tickets to Prague Zoo are very cheap compared to Western Europe or even some zoos in the Czech Republic. There is also possible to buy so call Troja card (Trojska karta) which enables visitors to see Prague zoo, Botanical garden and Troja chateau for very good price.

Prague Zoo breeds more then 5000 animals of 650 species. These days visitors can see many young animals born around the New Years Day. Today for the first time people can see young giraffe born on 20th December or little leopards born on 26th December.

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Ineffective anti-smoking law

The new law, which bans smoking in restaurants and other public places in the Czech republic, doesn´t work. It says, that it is forbidden to smoke in a restaurant, unless it has a special room for smokers. However, people continue with smoking in all spaces.

The law is valid for a year now. Not only it is ambiguous, but it is also not extorted enough by the police. Policemen usually inflict only a symbolic fine. Another problem is, that owners of the restaurants usually understand the law in different ways.

It is also explicitly banned to smoke at concerts or sports matches, but this is frequently violated too. The only places, where smoking was relatively reduced, are stations of public transport.

This is why an amendment of the law is being prepared at the moment and it depends on the future Czech government, if it will be realized. It should effectively protect non-smokers from passive smoking.

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Temperature record in Prague

Winter is extraordinarily warm this year in Prague. Another temperature record was broken: the New Year´s Day 2007 was the warmest 1st January recorded in Clementinum, where the climate is measured continually since the 18th century.

It was 12.5 degrees centigrade at 2 pm. It is one tenth of a degree more, than the previous maximum from 1860 and 1921. According to meteorologists, the warm weather will continue for the whole first week in January. The whole first month will be rather warm.

Unfortunately, there won´t be a lot of snow in the mountains, because of the high temperatures and low precipitation.

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A Week for 007 Club

A popular Prague music club, “007” on Strahov, is threatened with closure. It is because of unsatisfactory noise elimination. The club needs fundamental reconstruction and that´s why a benefit event is organized to collect money for it.

The event is called “A Week for 007” (Tyden pro 007), and you can see some of the best Czech bands play there. For example, music groups such as Ecstasy of Saint Theresa (11.1.), Moimir Papalescu and the Nihilists (10.1.), Peneri Strycka Homeboye (13.1.) or Clou (12.1.)will perform during the week.

The Week for 007 takes place between 9.1. and 14.1.2007. You can find the club in Chaloupeckeho street 7, in the area of Technical University campus, block number 7. The entrance fee is 150,-CZK and all of the money will go on the reconstruction. Come support the music club and enjoy the great music!

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Prices in 2007

Many important things, such as water, electricity or rent, will be more expensive in the Czech republic in 2007. There will be also higher salaries at the same time.

Czech citizens have to expect higher prices on things of everyday use. Water will be 6% more expensive and electricity 7,9% more expensive. Also people, who live in flats with regulated rents, will pay more: the rents will be up to 19% higher. A packet of cigarettes will cost about 6,-CZK more and the new road-toll for buses and trucks will make also travelling by bus more expensive.

Are there any good news, then? Fortunately, there are: gas will be 4,2% cheaper and parental benefits will be twice as high as they were so far. Also pensions will grow.

Happy New Year!

About 150 000 people came to Prague to celebrate the new year 2007 in this city. The most lively celebrations took place at the Wenceslas Square. According to Prague rescue workers, it was the most “busy” New Year´s Eve for them in the last five years.

There were reportedly around 20 000 people celebrating at the Wenceslas Square. A big show took place in the upper part, while in the lower part of the square people fired their own fireworks.

Rescue workers had to treat 273 people, which is five times more than in an ordinary day. Also Prague firemen had a lot to do: probably the most serious case was a fire in Prague 4, caused by a flare, which flew into somebody´s balcony and inflamed the whole flat.

On the other hand, Prague policemen didn´t face up any serious incident. Celebrating tourists mostly asked them, if they can have a picture with them.