Compact archive March 12, 2007

Vandals terrorize the transport system in Prague

Charles Bridge is not the only one that has to fight vandalism. The Prague Public Transport company reports that there were 1100 damaged seats, 5700 scratched windows, and 2000 damaged boards with timetables last year. The company had to invest 6 million CZK to repair the damages at tram and bus stops and 5 million CZ to remove graffiti.

The police manages to catch more and more vandals thanks to the camera systems and devices for night vision. But vandals improve their techniques just like the police officers. There have been cases when graffiti writers were accompanied by men with the knowledge of martial arts who were not afraid to attack the wardens. Creating graffiti is a crime in the Czech Republic, offenders can be sentenced up to 8 years imprisonment.

Vandals with hoods are now terrorizing the transport system in Prague. They splash paint from a bucket on the passing buses, trams or trains in metro. There have been 20 attacks in the last 2 months. The offenders are not known yet.

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Prague's monuments illuminated according to their age

Prague is considered to be one of the most lit cities in Europe, but there are still new and new lights in the city. The Municipal Authorities pay to the Eltodo company, which is responsible for the Prague’s lighting, 300 million Czech crowns per year. There are new lights in new residential districts, by the monuments and at the street crossings.

The current lights have been modernized so that they won’t use so much energy. There are also more coloured lamps in the streets now. On the other hand, Prague now invests to gas lamps that will support the romantic atmosphere in the centre of Prague.

The city has a special system for illuminating the monuments of Prague. The illumination starts with the oldest monuments to the youngest in the interval of 3 minutes. Vysehrad is illuminated first, Cechuv bridge from the 19th century the last.

10 new cameras on Charles Bridge in Prague

Charles Bridge in Prague The oldest and most popular bridge in Prague, Charles Bridge, with valuable statues have been damaged several times. Pieces of statues were broken or torn off by unknown vandals. The situation should be better by the end of March.

The police will monitor the bridge by 10 new cameras 24 hours a day. Now there are only two old devices that do not record the picture. There are also 2 police officers patrolling on Charles Bridge now. Their number will be doubled. Also patrols at night are now under consideration to stop the vandalism on the bridge.

The increased security measure are the result of an recent attack when an unknown delinquent destroyed the Hebrew inscription on the Statue of The Crucifix and Calvary. Scuba divers were searching at the bottom of the river to find some fragments of the statues. Their searching, which stopped today, was quite successful.

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New skyscrapers Tower City Holesovice in Prague

According to the plans of J&T company, there might be two skyscrapers in Prague that could have up to 42 floors. The skyscrapers would tower above the Prague district Holesovice.

There are many opponents for this project. Milos Solar from the Department of Historical Monument Care thinks that the historical centre of Prague is an established trade mark with incalculable value. Building skyscrapers in Prague would put Prague among other “ordinary” cities that were built after the WWII.

On the other hand, architect Vit Maslo, who cooperates with J&T says that a city must be open to the modern architecture and high buildings. That a city is a living organism. There are similar discussions now about the skyscrapers in Pankrac.

The project in Holesovice is call Tower City Holesovice. The buildings will be used as administrative and shopping centres, as well as flats for people.

To the USA without visa by January 2009

Although American people do not need visas to travel to the Czech Republic, Czech people travelling to the USA have to apply for visas before departure. The process is very long and tiring. Now it seems that Czech will travel without visas by January 2009.

Deputy Premier for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra said that it will all be dependent on the speed of legislative processes in the USA. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Counselor Paul Rosenzweig, the visas for Czechs (and other EU members) could be abolished before the end of President Bush administration.

If Czech people want to obtain visa, they first have to fax their application to the embassy. After 24 hours they have to call to the embassy whether the application have arrived and make an appointment. At an interview with a consul, the consul decides whether the visa will be granted or not.