Compact archive January 2009

Prague Women protested by group breast-feeding

a part of the picture by Sára Saudková Exposed breasts of nursing mothers do belong to the Internet. Such is the message to the Facebook portal sent by about seventy women, who gathered in Prague Holesovice and let a picture of them be taken – most of them are breastfeeding at the moment.

To the protest against Facebook has recently put all the pictures of breastfeeding mothers away from their servers, stating that such pictures do not belong to the Internet. But the page Babyweb.cz had different opinion.

“We want to demonstrate that feeding the baby belong to the most natural things that are there to do, so also photographers of breastfeeding women on the Internet are not scandalizing, but common. Facebook is very mistaken not to allow these photos on their pages.

Irglova and Hansard broke up.

The season of Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard as a couple ends. Even when they concert today in sold-out opera house in Sydney, they are no longer lovers. For the romantic souls who have seen the movie Once the couple met in much simple setting – Hansard is a friend of Marketa’s father, and as he saw Marketa grow from a child into a girl, he fell in love with her, and they wrote the song ‘Falling Slowly’ together when she was about 15. That they will set the world on fire and win an Oscar with the song was beyond their imagination.

A romantic movie is one thing, but the real life is different. It has been a few weeks since Hansard admitted for an Australian paper Sydney Morning Herald that the amorous couple from the movie is only a film fiction. They stay together as a musicians, but hard to say what the future will bring.

Entropa of David Cerny Videos Here!

It was hard to find a photo of Entropa by David Cerny, which wouldn’t have the typical © on it. Luckily, there is Youtube, and so we can all rejoice at the videos. Entropa was made by David Cerny to decorate the house of European Parliament in Brussels. David Cerny is one of our best, and at the same time one of the most controversial artists which the Czech Republic have. He didn’t disappoint.

Not only he presented a piece of art that won’t be forgotten, he also made fools of the Czech Government, when he promised to make Entropa with 25 artists from the union countries, but he made it himself with his team, because no one from the government bothered to even come and have a look at what is he doing.

He created a puzzle of the union countries, based on stereotypes, and testing the level of democracy. The country which cracked first was Bulgaria, protrayed as a country of Turkish (squat) toilets. They demanded the country will be hidden under a black blanket, by which making their way of doing needs even more pronounced.

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The last goodbye to Jan Kaplicky

The last goodbye to the famous Czech architect Jan Kaplicky came to express about hundreds of people yesterday. About half an hour before the ceremony begun, the former church of st. Anna had whole crowds standing in front of it, with flowers. Famous personalities took part in the ceremony; Jiri Paroubek with his wife, senator Jiri Dinsbier, Architect Eva Jiricna, actor Bolek Polivka, documentalist Olga Sprotakova, composer Varhan Bauer, singer Krystov Michal, or close friend of Kaplicky, singer Pavel Bobek.

A very sad moment of the ceremony was, when Dagmar Havlova came out to read a letter, the former president Vaclav Havel wrote for Johanka Kaplicky to her future 12th birthday. He mentions he got into hospital the same day with serious health trouble. “.. I don’t know why In the end he got priority to enter the gate of heaven, but when I found out about it it was clear for me I have to honour his legacy and work on its realization. The building of the National Library at the place of the dictator’s statue is an expression of culture and humanity, the expression of human respect to to the nature. I wish you (Kaplicky’s daughter) won’t have to face human smallness more than necessary.

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Medvedev threatens Czechs with sanctions for weapons to Georgia

The Czech Republic and other countries exporting weapons and military technique to Georgia are in danger of economical sanctions of Russia.

Such is the outcome of decree of Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, published in Moscow last week. In 2007 was Georgia after India and Slovakia a country, where most of the military technique and other material went.

“In the case of finding facts about equipment supply to Georgia, by a state or an organization … the Russian Federation will apply particular economical steps towards them.”

Russia doesn’t mention particular steps, but clearly European Countries are dependent on Russian gas. If Russia want to occupy the whole Georgian region, this could be the beginning of the second step.

Russia changed its mind – no rockets in Kaliningrad yet

Iskander Rocket The Russian government holds their plans for locating the rockets Iskander in Kaliningrad by Polish borders, Interfax agency announced it with appeal to one unnamed source among high grade representatives of the Russian army.

Moscow wanted to install Iskander rockets on the most west part of Russia- in Kaliningrad enclave squished among Poland and Latvia – as an answer to antiorocket bases in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic.

Probably it is a reaction of Russians to Barack Obama being the new US president.

“We discontinue our plans to build rocket base in Kaliningrad, because the new American administrative has decided not to hurry with their plans on building the anti-rocket shield in the Eastern Europe.” Interfax quotes the general.

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New Bikelines in Prague

Cyclist should be able to go by Rokytka river on the new Bikeline going from Podvinni, through Vysocany, up to the upper pond in Hrdlorezy. Also, there are projects for support of various sportfields by the bikeline.

Prosek
The City Hall of Prague 9 want to finish at least some parts of the ‘Friendship Park’ which would serve as a new relax zone of Prague. That should offer, beside new green areas or cascade ponds and fountains also a big children playground.

Vysocany
This year, the project Green Island, counts with large green areas, but also with building the biggest business centre in Prague 9, close to O2 Arena.

Prague slowly builds new bikelines, even though most of them, like this one, serve for sport, not for regular travelling in the city, like in the other European cities.

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Orbital head to Czech Republic!

Last year in November, the world of music was surprised by the news one of the big stars of the Electronic scene to come back to concert stages – the British duo Orbital. This year, Orbital are going to play after 5-year pause a few concerts, in the Czech Republic the fans can see them during those two days of Planet festival at Aeroclub Tabor, on 5th and 6th June.

In previous years, organizers of this festival have invited into the Southern Bohemia also other VIP musicians like Marylin Manson, Nick Cave or Moloko, and want to take up the tradition. Beside Orbital, the festival is going to offer another sound names of present music interpreters.

Orbital said to their reunion: “Our concert are not going to be exercises of nostalgia, the age demand us. We have 15 years of composing behind us and if we make a 90 minutes set, something interesting from the beginning to the end should come into being.”

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Cursed Gold in Prague Still Attracts

The unique exhibition “Proklete Zlato – 1000 let Zlata Inku” (Cursed Gold – 1000 years of Inca gold), which is still opened at Prague Castle, attract visitors in large numbers, even when it has been opened for three months already. The exhibition remains open until until 31st May 09.

For example this Sunday, one hour after opening, and there was approximately a hundred people already. The visitors can see significant golden exhibits from the time 400 bc to 1500 ac.

Namely there are golden cups, death masks, gems, jewelery and sacrificial knives, but also gloves hand-made from gold or musical instrument made hundreds of years ago. And you can see them at in the Highest Burgrave of Prague Castle.

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Prague Transport Company Changes in 09 – less of everything

The financial crisis reflects in all spheres of public life, public transport is just another influenced subject. Travellers should prepare for it.

The reason are low donation for 2009, which the transport company got. The city of Prague released about 7,1 billion from their budget, which is about 1,9 billions less than would be needed, even though the Prague Public Transport company reduced their expenses radically.

Where do the money go? The biggest consumption of year 09 is definitely the Blanka tunnel, which is a part of the by-pass that the traffic desperately need. Prague Public Company needs to build as well, though – new stations.

So we can expect money-saving actions. Off-peak tramways are going to have only one cart, there will be less connections, and also – graffiti is going to stay where it is, because removing it costs a fortune. And probably – a ticket will cost more.

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Farewell to Jan Kaplicky Today

Farewell to Jan Kaplicky, which is going to take place today in the former church of st. Anna on Anenske Namesti today, will take 6 hours. The space was not chosen accidentally- it was reconstructed by the Kaplicky’s former life and professional partner Eva Jiricna. Now it serves under the name Prague Crossroad as a cultural space.

The last goodbye will be initiated at 12:45 by performance of dixieland band in front of the entrance. Petr Hapka and Krystof Michal are going to sing, the architect Eva Jiricna and Pavel Bobek and other Kaplicky’s colleagues and friends from all around the world.

The last farewell to the man whom Prague citizens will have always connected to the yet not realized project of National Library, so called Blob. It is probable it will attract many of those, who found Kaplicky’s ideas to be revolutionary and important.

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Peace Oasis at Prague Islands at construction

The most extensive work of Prague 1 is this year unique concept of free time use. The quite simple intention has a well-considered conception.

Strelecky ostrov
Makeover of the roads and and play components for kids, a new lift from Legie bridge and a ‘stay meadow’ intended for rest; on a blanket for instance.

Slovansky ostrov
Restoration of children railway and paving at Zofin, repair of mole, repair of roads, green, benches and bins.

Kampa
Reconstruction of the complete Kampa park area, adjustment of Certovka bed and repair of riverside walls among Sovovy Mlyny and Lichenstejnsky palace. Newly, the re is going to be a bikeline established

Prague have found out that for these investments it is possible to get money from the European Union funds. In some cases, EU funds are going to cover 85% of the costs.

Reconstructions start this summer, possibly later because of the EU Chairmanship. We are going to inform about further development.

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Prague not penalizing itself for Charles Bridge reconstruction

The capital have successfully avoided paying those 4 millions fine, which it should for the criticized repairs of the Charles Bridge. It was expected; the fine was decided by the Prague Heritage Institute, which fall within the city cognizance. And the City Hall has informed about that it is not going to penalise itself anyway a month ago.

That the reconstruction wasn’t kosher was decided by the Ministry of culture inspection. According to it the City Hall has broken the law of the national monuments, when at the time of preparations haven’t delivered necessary documentation for railing repairs and didn’t have construction-historic survey updated.

According to Ondrej Sevcu from the National Heritage Institute the problem of insufficient or late documentation to projects of sights repairs comes from the contemporary practice. The documentation is often made later, according to of the state of the object.

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Libertas.cz registered by Vladimir Zelezny in CR

The Euro-parliamentarian Vladimir Zelezny, who became renowned by successfully building the first private Czech Television Nova, and later by a long lawsuit about copyrights, which cost the CR about 10 billions fine, doesn’t really care about copyrights – he registered the Euro-skeptic party Libertas in Prague, without asking the founder of the original Libertas, Declan Ganley.

For the server iDnes Zelezny said about Ganley that “… he is charismatic, interesting, very able in business … if he just wasn’t so naive” and so he founded ‘his’ Libertas without letting him know. If asked if he is going to cooperate with Libertas, Zelezny says he can, but doesn’t have to cooperate with them. “We have our own Ganley in the person of Vaclav Klaus. He is our model.”

Zelezny said he is not aspiring to be the number one on the list of candidates, he however doesn’t deny it. He is clear about one thing though – Ganley won’t have any authority in the Czech brunch of ‘his’ euro skeptic party.

Bulgarian artist posted answer to Czech Entropia

“What have we done? Big sh*t, that’s what we have done.” the quote of Czech writer, who created Good Solider Svejk, the character iconic to the Czech national temper became the base of Bulgarian answer to Entropia – caricature of Czech republic, where is a picture of Svejk, dropping his poo on the map of the Czech Republic.

The author is a caricaturist of the Internet version of one of the most sold Bulgarian newspaper Dneven Trud, depicting, how the Bulgarians see the Czechs. One has to think that ‘Bulgaria strikes Back’ after David Cerny aroused emotions with his Entropia, where was Bulgaria pictured as a country of Turkish (squat) toilets. They reply with the same note – when we see them as a country, which generally is (going into) a toilet, they see us as a country which citizens have really never achieved anything. This is much more enjoyable than the government order to cover it.

Johannes Kepler museum to open in Prague

Johannes_Kepler_1610 On the occasion of this year, which was by the international organization UNESCO and the OSN proclaimed as the year of astronomy, the museum of Johannes Kepler is going to open in Karlova street. The founder of the museum is the Czech Astronomical society, which made an agreement with the flat owner about renting the room, where Johannes Kepler lived and formed his laws about planetary movement.

This year is also 400th anniversary of the fundamental piece by Kepler; the book Astronomia Nova was published in Prague in 1609. The publication is concerned with deduction and formulation of the first two laws of orb movement in the solar system. The museum is going to display historical objects or their copies, information desks about Kepler and his work and laws about planetary movement.

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Did Czech Etymologist escaped India with help of Secret Agents?

Darjeeling, city at the traditional border of India and Nepal
It happened on Sunday 19th October 2008. In the morning, the Etymologist Emil Kucera left his room in Darjeeling hotel Sailung. He packed, took his backpack and left for Nepal. He escaped around the famous 8000m mountain Kanchenjunga and was successful – in a week, he already talked to his friends in Tabor. The escape was probably the only possibility, how not to be imprisoned for collecting of beetles. His colleague, who was freed of charges, got back 3 weeks later than him, you can imagine how long it would take until Kucera would get back.

MF Dnes published an article, stating that they have an information from high intelligence service officer, stating “We helped him. It is logical, we help a Czech, who gets in such trouble abroad.” MF state they consider his information as credible, but they also say is is not possible to 100% verify the information; the secret police can’t comment those cases which could harm interests of the Czech Republic in the world.

Some parts of the case still weren’t satisfactory explained. Like: How could he get to the border without anyone noticing him, when his face was medially known? How that no one patrols the border? How about the second passport? How it was possible he got it so fast to Darjeeling? To whom it was sent? Was it really sent by his girlfriend? Those questions evoke many conspiring theories, but the case is over. Even when India can think different – the court still haven’t decided whether he is guilty at the last action in court. If he didn’t escape, he would have still have been imprisoned.

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Kundera is not going to litigate

The famous writer of Czech origin living in France, Milan Kundera, is in the end not going to litigate Respekt magazine. Originally, he was going to do it because of an article, stating that Kundera allegedly in 1950 informed against an Czechoslovak agent Miroslav Dvoracek to the secret police. Dvoracek was later sentenced to many years of prison. Dilia agency, which represents the introvert writer, announced the information.

Milan Kundera originally demanded an apology. Respect magazine has not yet apologized, though. Dilia continues: “Mr. Kundera is not going to sue Respekt. Why not is his personal decision. It doesn’t mean though, he would accept anything from what Respect wrote about him.” The article aroused various emotions on both sides, but many renowned people, including Vaclav Havel, stood by him. It is still not clear what happened back then.

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Prague Parking Zones Changes in 2009

Prague citizens and visiting drivers in Prague appreciate the change the Prague City Hall plans to do in March – the long forcible dogma about parking in paid zones in Prague 1,2,3 and 7 should change. Some streets marked with the blue strip, where now can park only the locals, are to be changed into ‘mixed’ zones this spring. So it will be possible to pay parking fee at the closest parking machine, or newly using an sms.

Something else is going to change as well though – when one will be going to park in the historical centre of Prague, one will have to pay in the newly established system of toll. It should be only at field test at first, but if will be useful, it should transform into fully operational toll system, which will bring more money into Prague strongbox, and less traffic into the centre.

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New Book by Vaclav Klaus for all against Lisbon treaty

Vaclav Klaus doesn’t give up easily, and his struggle against passing the Lisbon treaty in the Czech Parliament continues. On Monday, another of his books, called ‘Prezident Republiky k Lisabonske smlouve’ (The President of the Republic to Lisbon treaty) is published. On the cover, there is a changed flag of the EU; yellow stars form a question mark instead of the circle.

The President wants to warn the public, but also those who are going to decide about accepting the document, what dangers could await the country, if the treaty would be accepted. Whether it will be accepted in the end are going to decide both the houses of the parliament. A part of the ODS and the Communists are against. If ODS supports it, another politicians say to leave the party; and possibly move to SSO.

Last farewell to Kaplicky will be with presence of Public

The Family of architect Jan Kaplicky specified the program of funeral, which is going to take place in Prague. The last farewell to the famous architect will be open to all who are interested as the private part was cancelled, allowing anyone to participate. The event was moved to 27th January, the date at which was originally planned public farewell (the funeral itself was planned on a different day).

The ceremony itself is going to be at the Prazska Krizovatka, which is the former church of st. Anna at the Old Town, and among others Petr Hapka and Krystof Michal are going to sing, the architect Eva Jiricna and Pavel Bobek and other Kaplicky’s colleagues and friends from all around the world. According to the family members the ceremony is going to take four hours and there will be no coffin (Kapliky wanted to be cremated).

Dj Tocadisco in Prague

The First completely sold out edition of the new club concept PURE from United Music hosted world Nr. DJ Armin van Buuren in December in Slovansky dum, Prague. Now comes the second edition, which takes place in Mecca, and it is headlined by one of the most popular house DJ and producer in the world – Tocadisco.

After his first successful appearance in front of thousands of visitors at Prague Sessions with Paul van Dyk in September 2008, this will be his first individual show in a club in the Czech Republic. Dj Tocadisco (a Spanish word for a turntable) entered the dance world with his first hit „Nobody Likes The Records That I Play“. Followed by Word tour, and many remixes for artists like Moby, New Order, Pet Shop Boys and many more.

Releasing now hit singles like „You’re No Good For Me“, „Music Loud/Crazy Cursor“, remix „Walking Away“ and mega-hit Morumbi. Cooperates with David Guetta on hits like Love Dont Let Me Go or Tomorrow Can Wait. Besides of unbelievable producers career performs Tocadisco at most important dance events around the globe.

Together with Dj Tocadisco, the second edition of PURE will introduce local star Michael Burian, Rehab resident Nesquik, and more DJ´s on second Rehab stage.

Date: 13th February 2009, Tickets: 650 czk (www.ticketpro.cz) / VIP: 1050 czk. Club Mecca in Prague, the mecca of house music in Prague.

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Viselec returned to Prague

The unusual statue of the nowadays very medially interesting author David Cerny is now in Prague again. It tours the world, hanging out in various cities, where it shock its citizens. Last time it was in in Michigan city of Grand Rapids where it caused a real turmoil. The statue depicts Sigmund Freud in life size, hanging by one hand from a traverse, which is placed at roofs of various buildings. In Michigan, people got scared it is a real self-murderer and called the fire brigade and the police.

Viselec toured various cities like London, Berlin or Stockholm, and his return to Prague is but a short stop before it will go on; righ now, it is at the corner of Betlemske Namesti and Husova street at the old town. It was made from fibreglass, David Cerny’s favorite material, and it is distinctive by the typical feature of its author – it arouses emotions. As all the art should, if it doesn’t want to disappear from the memory.

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Planned Demonstration for Blob

The virtual group on the Internet – the Facebook profile called ‘pro knihovnu’ (for the library) – transformed into a civil initiative ‘Demokracie Slavi’ (Democracy celebrates). The initiative associates supporters of Jan Kaplicky, who unexpectedly died last week, and his library. The group now organizes manifestation called ‘postavme se ke knihovně čelem’ (lets support the library) which should take place 5th February in the centre of Prague. The exact location is going to be specified later.

The event is designed to rouse interest of the public and revive the debate about building of the new National Library building according to Kaplicky’s design. The organizers expect this is going to be a long-term battle, and plan to form civil association in the future. On the Internet page, about 1500 people have already announced the are going to the demonstration. According to one of the initiators, one of the reasons why continue in the battle is the fight against apathy.

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Cerny Reurns Money for Entropia

The author of the controversial sculpture Entropia David Cerny pledged himself he is going to return the money he got for the plastic, which was hung in Brussels and represents the Czech Republic during the Chairmanship. The state paid for it 1,9 million czk, the half a year rent in Brussels was supposed to be 1,2 millions czk, but according to the new contract it only one czk.

The government official says, after Cerny confessed Entropia was not created by 27 artists, but by Cerny and his team, that the artist swindled them. That the whole action was a con was found out after the Bulgarians started to argue against their country being depicted as a country of Turkish (squat) toilets.

Those 1,9 million czk wasn’t enough for the artpiece, the rest (approximately 10 million czk) was paid by a private sponsor. It is clear the plastic will be sold for much more when the chairmanship ends.

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Planned Skyscrapers at Pankrac again centre of dispute

The topic, which is a grateful subject for many articles returns every few months to be in the centre of attention again. What is it about? Pankrac is a fast developing part of Prague which is going to became the new business centre of the metropolis. In the context of a lot of business decisions taking place right there ECM developers decided to build a twin skyscraper building. These have thirty levels and are more than 100 metres tall. And, after the last week, are even closer to being build.

The Town hall of Prague denied appeal against the territorial decision, by which giving the developers the chance of finally getting their building licence. Now, the protesting association Arnica probably have the last instance to call to – the UNESCO, that doesn’t like the idea Prague would have any skyscrapers, and raises a warning finger to Prague: if you build it, you will be crossed out from the list of historical cities.

The locals are afraid especially of the traffic being thickened, with more noise and worse air. The flats in the planned building are from bigger part already reserved, and housing in the centre will always be something of an interest. The building is probably going to be build, becoming the first in the new wave which will change Pankrac from the ground up.

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A part of Bulgarians Want Back to Entropia

The Czech Republic have agreed to meet wishes of Bulgaria and covered the Bulgarian map of squad toilets with black cloth. The controversial plastic of Entropia by David Cerny was made as an artpiece of Czech European Chairmanship and aroused various passions. The installation, against which Sofia protested is placed in Brusselles building of the EU Council.

Bulgarian officials are happy for now, but on the contrary, the signatories of an Internet petition say censorship of Cerny’s work by the Bulgarian government is a shame for the country and its citizens. They demand the maquette to be displayed again. The petition has been signed by some 470 Bulgarians at home and abroad until today. They state that the possibility of expression one’s opinion is a fundamental value of democratic society.

On the request of Vaclav Klaus, demanding the Czech government would apologise, reacted Mirek Topolanek – he denied it. According to him it is enough the author have apologised already. Klaus is ridiculed by the display of his ‘brilliant quotes’ running on the image of the Czech Republic

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Underground Prague Highway should save the Wenceslas Square

In two years, the most hated part of expressways in the Czech Republic, the heritage of the communists which cuts the Czech nation on the Wenceslas Square from their National Museum should be gone. The traffic, which torments the upper part of the Wenceslas Square should be moved to underground in two years.

The Prague City hall and Prague 2 argue about how long the tunnel should be. Meanwhile the city representatives want it only at the National Museum, Prague 2 would like to see the tunnel reaching Nuselsky most. According to them, only a little number of people go from Wenceslas Square to Vinohrady compared to the amount of people who have to cross the expressway at I.P.Pavlova.

Prague 2 let to make their own study from Metroproject the company which cooperates with Metrostav in creating Prague Metro, so the Prague artery would go from Nuselsky Bridge to Hlavni Nadrazi. The negotiations have begun and it will probably end in some kind of a compromise.

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'Support Blob' Initiative Set on the Internet

The architect Jan Kaplicky left last week, his project of the new building of the National Library in Prague (so called Blob) lives on. A meeting for support of this project is going to take place soon in coming days. The organizers assembled on the Facebook profile called ‘PRO KNIHOVNU’, which pays a tribute to Kaplicky and his Blob library. They haven’t stated yet, when or where is a demonstration going to take place in Prague, the organizers want to wait until the architect will be ceremonially buried.

Meanwhile politicians negate the very possibility the library would be build in Prague, a collection for support originates right now, formed by famous or competent people of public life; architect Jan Kasl, documentaries Olga Sommerova, rector of AMU Ivo Mathe. In the advisory board there are film-maker Jan Sverak, artist Jiri Cernicky and designer Alan Zaruba.

It is not the last activity which is connected to the project. Also a book is going to be published, by the ex-director of the library Vlastimil Jezek. The book called ‘Stripky chobotnice’ (Shatters of the Octopus) is going to be sold on 2nd March, exactly two years after Kaplicky was proclaimed the winner of the international contest.

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The Danish investigate, if Tycho Brahe was poisoned in Prague

A team of Danish archaeologists prepare for their way to Prague. They want to find an answer to the question, why their famous astrologist Tycho Brahe died 408 years ago. And to find out, whether his possible murder was ordered by the man, whom Danish chant in the king’s anthem; King Kristian IV.

We Czechs tell a legend about him, according to which he died when his bladder burst, as he didn’t dare to leave the ceremonial dinner with the emperor. The Danish, however, suspect that he was poisoned. That’s why they want to exhume his remains, which rest in Tyn Church at Prague Old Town Square.

The Tomb was opened first in 1901, when his remains were moved into a new coffin, his beret, stocking and sleeve was moved into the National Museum collections, his moustache went to Denmark. And it was his moustache, which undergo research, revealing that it contains 100 times more mercury than is normal.

The other proof of debatable theory about murder should be the diary of the astronomists’s relative Eric Brahe, who was, according to Danish theory, hired by the king in anxiety from the Tycho’s love affair with king’s mother.

Cormorants and Cocaine flowing to Prague

Two quite different things, aren’t they? And still, they are united in one aspect – there was hardly more or them (or it) in Prague in the past years.

Prague became a paradise for cormorants, whose lines count up to two thousands, according to the last additions of the Charles University. The ornithologists explain it is because rivers and ponds of the last days were frozen, not so Vltava, and the nutriments there are are very alluring. For most of the Prague citizens the black, exotically looking birds offer a welcomed rarity. Cormorants are intelligent birds, who hunt fish in packs. Normally, only few hundreds of them come to Prague in winter.

Cocaine, in Czech nicknamed ‘koks’ or ‘kokes’ (cockesh) – those words are, according to police, used increasingly often. They also state every third person who like dance parties have experiences with it. ‘Ecstasy is out, cocaine is in’. The increased demand came with increased supply, and prices of the drug went down. Still, Pervitin (metal-amphetamine) is the most widespread drug of this kind in Prague, but Cocaine is no longer the drug of only the rich.

The Wing of Palace at Prague Exhibition Ground is Back

About three months have passed from the devastating fire at the Prague Exhibition ground, and the left wing is back on its place already. Or at least it seems to be back on the first sight. But there is more than meets the eye – not even prince Potemkin wouldn’t be ashamed of this creation. It is only an imitation, as the speed with which the object was ‘repaired’ is only due to large assembled hall, which was covered with sheets, on which the Industrial Palace Facade is printed out.

The provisional hall is going to stand at the place of the destroyed part of the palace until the real works of repairs will be initiated. Those, because of negotiations among Prague Town hall and the object’s renter, Incheba company, which probably not going to start until the next year, are to start quite later.

The left wing of the industrial palace was destroyed in the half of the October by fire, which was, according to police, caused by a technical failure. At one of the stances were stored explosive spray tins, which exploded.

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Czech Entropia sculpture: Bulgaria under black cover

Bulgarian part of Entropia disappeared after a week. Czechs have fulfilled the wish of Sofia government that the squat toilet depicting Bulgaria in the plastic of Jan Cerny should be removed. They have done it in the night from yesterday to today.

The sculpture attracts attention and some Internet forums speculate, which prestigious European gallery is going to buy it and for how much. One gossip talks about Lisbon’s Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation offering about two millions euro for the sculpture. David Cerny refused to comment now.

The plastic aroused emotion of especially Bulgarians, on both sides. Even at our article at abcprague the reader’s opinions vary from real delight the humour is aimed directly, to the exact opposite of those blaming us for mystification. We try not to lean towards any side, but if one was to Bulgaria, one can’t deny they are there…

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Jan Palach statue finally placed in the Czech Republic

It is forty years since the month Jan Palach burned himself and the sad anniversary is being remembered by a new memorial in Melnik, Jungmannovy Sady park. Three and a half metre tall, highly abstract statue represents the burning body. The author is Andrés Beck. The festive disclosure took place with presence of the president Vaclav Klaus, who emphasized in his speech the Czech nation should never forget Palach’s act of heroism.

The 20yo student of philosophical faculty UK who went to grammar school in Melnik, immolated himself on 16th January 1969 as a protest against Soviet forces invading Czechoslovakia. He died three day later in a hospital.

The fate of the statue was not clear – it was supposed to be brought a a gift by Nicolas Sarkozy to Prague, however its representatives haven’t found a place for it. The leader of Czech diplomacy Karel Schwarzenberg suggested it would stay in France, the name Dijon came in debate. Than the mayor of Melnik Miroslav Neuman stated they planned a monument for Palach close to the grammar school where Palach studied, and that they would accept the memorial gladly.

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The gas crisis over? Russia and Ukraine made an agreement

Gas will arrive to Slovakia on Wednesday the soonest, but it could be the full stop after the gas crisis. Russia and Ukraine have signed agreements for ten years yesterday. Gas should arrive not only to Ukraine, but also the transit should continue to European customers.

The Ukrainian Prime minister Julia Tymoshenko declared: “It is a historical moment – ten years of calm and foreseeable behaviour in European and Ukrainian gas supply.” One catch still remains, though; price, which doesn’t have to relish with Ukrainian president Victor Juscenko, who demanded higher prices of gas transit through Ukrainian territory.

In consequence with continuing obscurities abound Russian supplies of gas to Europe the chairman of the European commission José Manuel Barroso agreed with the Turkish prime mister Recep Tayyip Erdoga on the necessity of gas pipeline, supporting Europe with gas from Azerbaidzhan.

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The prices of flats in Prague getting lower, especially prefabricated

The real estates in Prague cheapens. Buildings which are in worse shape, which most often means the ex-soviet blocks of flats are sold at three quarters of their price now. A flat with three rooms at Cerny Most cost 3,5 million czk, now real agents sell it about half a million cheaper.

Financial crisis, which stoke also the market with realities, distinctly changed the conditions at Prague realities market. If one wants to buy a flat on the suburbs or in at prefabricated housing, now there is a very good chance of getting a fine deal.

At the ‘good address’, however, the prices are not going down, quite on the contrary, parts of Prague like Vinohrady, Smichov, Brevnov, and the traditionally most expensive Old Town, Little Quarter and Hradcany are still rising prices. The quarters which are ‘cheaper’ now are Petrovice, Komorany, Jizni Mesto, Zahradni Mesto or Cerny Most. If you want a tip of location where the price is going to raise but is ok now, try Zizkov. Also, now newly foreigners can apply.

Tony Allen, 'the best drummer' comes to Prague

Tony Allen founded, together with Fela Kutim the founding stones of afrobeat and until now he belongs to the most respected and most working drummers. He is ageless music catalyzer, who was since the 60s until present always at the right time in the right place. Years ago, Fela Kuti have said about his he plays like five drummers at the same time, Brian Eno talks about him like the best living drummer in the world.

The breakpoint of his career came when he published his album N.E.P.A. When he introdued a new musi music hybrid; the synthesis of afrobeat, electronic music, dub, rap and R&B which he called ‘Afrofunk’. When 90’s were finishing, another generation of fans and musicians discovered him. In the last years he records with The Air, Jarvis Cocker, Susheela Raman, rapper Ty or with Charlote Gainsbourg.

Tony Allen comes on 25th of February 2008 to Palace Akropolis in Prague. Price: 455 – 400 czk.

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The Israeli – Gaza truce goes as Schwarzenberg predicted

The times, when wars were won by unconditional capitulation are gone. How can we say Israel won the war with Hamas, that controls Gaza? Because they have proposed peace as the first ones, by which announcing the world they have achieved their aims.

It is good to see for Europe, truce is not when somebody decrees it, but when the momentarily more powerful side decides the fight was worth it, like Israel did right now. The development is very close to what Schwarzenberg predicted, who expressed his understatement for the Israeli action, than the hectic Nicholas Sarkozy.

The truce, as it was fought for means Israel is effectively going to control the terms of coexistence, without being under fire as it was until now.

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Vaclav Havel's health state improves

The health state of the Czech ex-president slowly improves, even when stays quite serious. It should not be dangerous, but it improves only slowly. That was stated by the leader of medical consultation Martin Holcat. Havel going to stay at least a week or ten days on the intensive care unit. It all depends on his health state. The ex-president have undergone a small surgery, during which the source of irritation was removed from his neck.

The post-operation state was complicated by mucus at a part of Havel’s right lung. On Friday, doctors found liquid in Havel’s left lung. After intensive rehabilitation the situation improved, Havel is being visited by his wife, who is close-by during his whole stay in Motol. She brings him home meals regularly. The ex-president has no special diet and eats the same food as the rest of the patients.

Moscow and Kiev gas agreement

Transit through Ukraine is to be renewed in shortest time, Putin promised after long night negotiations. The Prime Ministers of both countries Vladimir Putin and Yulia Timoshenko have finally made an agreement this weekend, an agreement which should unblock the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe.

In the moment contracts will be ready, the gas can start flowing. But it is not possible to say, whether there will be any new complication like so many previous times. Putin and Timosenko said they are going to watch the contracts being subscribed, but what is going to do i.e. Ukrainian president Victor Juscenko who has sharp disputes with his prime minister.

The development of the last days proves Moscow have it, once again, their way, and that the power is firmly in the hands of Vladimir Putin and not the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Putin demonstrated again Russia is not going to – like in the case of Georgia – make nay compromises. He doesn’t mind the west turning against him.

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Czech Josef Machacek won Quad category of Rally Dakar

The 31st edition of the Dakar, the first one in Latin-America, had a Czech winning his league; Josef Machacek became the winner of Quad category in the Rally Dakar race. The Czech rider for Yamaha didn’t find a challenger in his category for the fifth time. Machacek triumphed with the luxurious advance of two and a half hour.

The winners in other categories are Marc Coma in the bike category, Giniel De Villiers in the car category and Firdaus Kabirov in the truck category. In total, 113 bikers, 13 quad riders, 91 car teams and 54 truck teams finished the race.

At the age of fifty Machacek was one of the oldest participants of the south American adventure, but he showed his back to his younger rivals. From the 25 quads at the start his Yamaha was the first behind the target line.

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A Farewell to Jan Kaplicky

There are groups who claim Kaplicky was knackered. People spend the day after his death by medially challenging his opposers. Truly, hard to say whether the dispute around the Blob library shortened his life, or if he died from happiness that his daughter Johanka was born to be a strong and healthy kid. At least he died very, very happy. I feel sorry for his wife, who is going to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with bitterness from now on.

Jan Kaplicky designed buildings in Czechoslovakia already, but, as a lot of Czech intelligence, he had to escape the communists for emmigracy in Britain. He gave Britain some remarkable buildings, which got ahead the whole century by its 21st century design, use of materials and energy. He didn’t want to return to Prague, because he knew Czechs are not ready to accept his ways. Unfortunately he was right.

After he was persuaded by his friend to try for the new national library and winning the international contest, Kaplicky was sucked into the Czech self-censoring surroundings, which he was prepared to fight. But he didn’t expect he is to became another Klaus’s stepping stone to fame, and his winning design was about to be crashed by Klaus’s influence.

Was it the frustration from us Czechs that killed him? I don’t think so. He was an artist who always aroused controversy, and he was ready to fight until the end (viz his Paroubek connection). The Czech Republic bought him much more – love to Eliska, his wife, he was in love like a novel character. His heart didn’t make it through such happiness, and there is a lot of people who is going to miss him. Lets remember him for what he has done for Czech reputation and architecture in the world.

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Vaclav Havel in Hospital Again

This Wednesday, the team of the ex-president Vaclav Havel doctors looked seriously and gloomy. Yesterday the press conference was much more relaxed. Their patient feels better.

On Monday morning, Havel’s breathing obstacles worsened, he had problems swallowing, left to IKEM to be checked-up.

The doctors came to conclusion his state is serious and that he must be hospitalized. In the evening he was already in Motol, being taken care of the neck specialist Jan Betka. They found out Vaclav Havel suffers from abscess in his neck.

At the very evening, doctors decided it must be removed and Havel was successfully operated. The next day it was clear the irritation was much wider – it spread into one of his lungs (the bad one), which was in addition blocked up by sediment of blood and mucus.

Doctors se 14-member consultation team which takes care of him. He gets antibiotics, breathes with a mask and tries to exercise the lungs and expectorate the mucus.

Unusual Rats in Prague Zoo

Zoo Prague brings us one of the biggest rats of the world in the brand new exposition at the top floor of the Indonesian jungle pavilion – the Phloeomys pallidus, or ‘cloud rat’. With respect to their noculturnal life the exposition was conceived as a night one, illuminated by ‘moonlight’ only.

Their house is full of branches for climbing and shelters which substitute for the natural caverns.

The massive 2kg rats introduce themselves in the brand new exposition in the upper floor of Indonesian jungle pavilion, this Saturday 17th January.

Zoo Prague have been keeping these uncommon rodents from the north of Filipino island Luzon since 2007 and in 2008 the first baby cloud rat was brought up. The baby celebrated its first birthday and it is the very one you are going to see in the pavilion.

This breed of rodents belongs at the world zoos to rarities and specialities for the experts.

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Ice bar at Hilton hotel, Prague

Like if there was not enough ice in Prague, Hotel Hilton Prague introduced their news in the form of specially illuminated Ice bar build from ice blocks on the roof of the building. The ice bar is going to be opened every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 7th February. The bar opens at 22, closes at midnight.

Tickets to the bar cost 590 czk for 15 minutes and include welcoming drink of Taittinger champagne, company of hostess “ice girls” oyster bas and unlimited capacity of ice drinks made with vodka.

Hilton Prague is a luxurious hotel, the biggest in the Czech Republic. If offers also other past-times like Fitness club Cybex health club & spa, Casino Atrium or shops and boutiques offering various possibilities of free time use. Travel Trade Gazette magazine World Travel Awards gave Hilton the 2008 prize for the best Czech hotel.

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  • Ice bar at Hilton hotel, Prague [January 16 2009, 11:34 AM]

Czech Entropia statue: Slovakia is other country that protests

Czech caricature sculpture Entropia in the atrium of Brussels seat of the European Council was switched on yesterday, with great concern of officers and politicians. Cars at German angular highways started driving and the maquette of the Czech Republic shows on its banner ‘collected quotes’ of Vaclav Klaus about climate. The sculpture moves, plays and puffs. The author David Cerny, who was the architect of the sculpture con arrived as well.

The caricatures aroused great emotions, some countries made their objection, and beside Bulgaria it is newly also Slovakia. Slovakia is against ‘their csabai’ sausage with Hungarian tricolore. The caricature, however, aims directly – Slovakian president Fico stands for the rather extreme right-hand voters, who wish to ‘get rid of Hungarians’, the problem is Hungarians form an inseparable part of Slovakia nation.

Romanian ghost ride twinkles, Dracula shows the teeth, and David Cerny apologises. “We are sorry we cheated the Czech government” He said he didn’t want to take offense and that he is willing to put those countries who wish to down from the plastic. When he said that, the crowd of hundreds of euro-officers sounded surprisingly with disapprovement . “Here is where the sculpture belongs” the British officer Alexandra comments. Source: MF

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Architect Kaplicky Died

The world famous architect Jan Kaplicky died yesterday. Tragically, it happened on the same day, when his wife Eliska gave birth to their first child, Johanka. According to the police speaker Jan Mikulovsky pedestrians found a laying man in Prague Dejvice “An elderly man collapsed in Ceskoslovenske armady street at half past eight pm.” a woman who passed by called an ambulance, than a police unit tried cpr. The police officers and later the ambulance attempts ended without success. Jan Kaplicky died 14th January 2009 at the age of seventy one.

Kaplicky was never too old, together with his young colleagues in his Future Systems in London worked on change of traditional conception of architecture, used innovative materials, cared about ecology and tried to use natural energy and light. His team uses know-how of NASA research and boat and plane industry – materials that are strong, light, persistent, seamless. Two of Kaplicky’s buildings were by The Independent listed among the most significant modern buildings – the shopping mall Selfridges in Birmingham and the journalist platform on the London cricket stadium Lord’s.

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Congress Centre: Traffic During Chairmanship

Czech EU Chairmanship reflects in life of many Prague citizens. Because of security reasons of protection for politicians and officials, the police prepared a wide range of security arrangements. Among the hardest ones is the no-walk security zone surrounding the Congress Centre, where most of the prepared negotiations are about to take place. Also, there is no-parking now at Pankracke square, expect complications when convoys with politicians go through the city.

The travellers in the public transport won’t notice it that much. Maybe when they exit the metro station Vysehrad, they won’t be able to go to Vysehrad through the terrace below the Congress Centre. Drivers, used to park in underground garages under the close-by hotel Holiday Inn are off luck. Parking places are going to be closed.

For drivers, the main obstacle is going to be the traffic around the Congress Centre. When delegations go in or out, traffic surrounding the Congress Centre may be modified.

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Prague rediscovered ice-skating again

When you come to a sport department in a mall, there are empty shelves in the winter part. They were packed with dozens of ice skates before the Christmas. And because frosts didn’t drop, men, women and children ice-skates disappear from the stores, second-hands and rental services on. “Two chilly days and we sold forty pairs of used ice-skates. We are just astonished and order new goods fast.” states Pavel Fiala, who has two premises selling winter equipment in Prague. “What is sold most fast are the adjustable children and lady ice-skates.”

If you like ice-skating, you don’t have to go outside Prague. At the moment it is still very cold, there is enough ice even at Vltava river cutoffs, but basins and ponds can be even better. The pond at Motol is ready, all you need is to rent some ice-skates there and start off. At park Hvezda, one can even try snow-kitting, which means skiing or snowboarding with a special kite. Weather forecasts promise the weather will stay frosty, at least until the end of January.

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DJ Sven Vath in Prague

Sven Väth in younger times Have you ever wished to see and hear the legenday german producer and DJ Sven Vath? It becomes real in April. Sven states on his webpage that 10th he plays in Prague Club Mecca. It should be within the party Acapulco, the resident party of Czech DJ and beauty Lucca.

Sven Väth (born 1964 ) is a DJ who has produced an extensive range of work since his career began in 1982. He was also one of the founders of legendary trance music labels Harthouse and the now-defunct Eye Q, as well as being among the very first DJs to play trance records.

In 1995 Mixmag rated his album Accident in Paradise one of the top-50 dance albums of all time; although the title track is a fast techno piece, the rest is far more sedate, such as the track “Coda,” which features merely a flute and a harpsichord.

Ticket prices: 490 czk to 30th March, 590 to 10th April, 700 czk at the spot. There is only 800 tickets on sale so I would recommend buying it online at ticketpro. Legendary producer and DJ Sven Vath in Prague Club Mecca on 10th April 2009.

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Smarter Cash Dispensers start in the Czech Republic

Local banks in Prague and in the Czech Republic started to euip a new wave of more intelligent cash machines. The trend starts with few tens of new machines, which serve for money drawings and finding out the balance, recharging mobile credit, but can also transfer money to other accounts, so it is possible to use it for paying the bills.

The service, which spreads in western Europe at the present time, is provided by UniCredit Bank in the Czech Republic; their 51 cash machines however transfer money until the next workday. There should also be deposit online machines. There are two of them placed at two Prague premises, at Smichov and in Cestlice.

Deposit cashomats are to be placed during the first half of the year. If there will be interest in depositing this way, there will be more of them. They cost twice as much as the regular ones, but they economize the traffic at branches.

Skoda Auto moves the Release of their first Cross-country car

The very first off-road car made by Skoda Auto, called simply ‘Yeti’ is going to be sold in September. The company so moved the release of half a year. In consequence to this decision, the company doesn’t want to present the new model on the March motor show in Geneva, because there would be too big a gap among the exhibition premiere and sale start.

The car will have its premiere in Frankfurt, it will be possible to buy in September. This term corresponds with introducing Yetti much better. The Skoda Car factory wants, according to their speaker, to prepare the customers in advance for the model; there will be official photographs, media are going to have chance of testing it.

There were still small changes between the concepts and the real car, at the present moment there are some last tests taking place. Yeti is made in a newly reconstructed historical Skoda factory.

Russian Gas Didn't Arrive to EU... Why?

At first, it seems crystal clear. Ukraine doesn’t want to pay world prices of gas to Russia, and so it blackmails Moscow by stopping the transit through its territory, respectively by stealing so much from Russian supplies to Europe Ukrainians wouldn’t freeze and Kiev could negotiate better price with Moscow.

Maybe we could believe that, if that wouldn’t be the case of business run almost solely by mafia, if we could say there is democracy in Russia, and not the “sovereign democracy” which is only a facade. So the whole action with stopping the gas seen in wider context brings new explanations.

The whole matter can be nothing but a performance of Kremlin with three base aims – to corrupt Ukrainian convergence with the EU, punish Kiev for the December agreement with the USA about strategic partnership and to put through expensive and problematic project of Baltic gas main.

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Humorous Mosaic made Bulgarians angry

Bulgaria is going to send a protest note about the plastic of the artist David Cerny called Entropia. Sofia principally protests against the map which symbolises Bulgaria being created like if compounded of squat toilets. The vice-prime minister Vondra, who is supposed to ceremonially show the sculpture tomorrow, was taken by surprise as well. He said they consider further steps.

Bulgarian officials were criticizing the decoration of Czech Chairmanship really hard yesterday. According to their speaker Betina Jovevo it is “extremely offensive”. The author of the art piece is Czech artist David Cerny, even when it was originally supposed to be created by 27 artists of all the union countries. But Cerny admitted he made the sculpture with two of his friends, and the names of 27 other artists were made up. So he has responsibility for what is going to happen now. We will know on Thursday.

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Gas still not flowing to the EU, Russia blames Ukraine

The gas crisis is probably not over yet, Russian gas still doesn’t flow to Europe. According to Gazprom the problem is Ukraine, which reportedly block the way of gas to Europe. The ITAR-TASS agency stated Gazprom slowly started to restore the supply of gas, which goes through Ukraine, for European customers. But as no gas arrived, bot the quarrelled sides blame each other for who is responsible for the contemporary situation.

One of the states, who suffers from the Russian-Ukrainian dispute the most is Slovakia. The conflict put their government in front of Sophie’s Choice; either to start the second block of nuclear plant in Jaslovske Bohunice and count with lawsuit from the side of European commission, or to listen to the EK and de facto threaten not only their business, but also their citizens.

Russia ended gas transport last Wednesday 7th January, assuming that Ukrainians have been consuming gas intended for Europe. Situation in some countries is critical, biggest problems have Bulgaria and Moldavia. The crisis is going to accelerate construction of other gas routes from other countries and demonstrates Russian power.

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Two New Czech Political Parties

They are new, right-hand and have opposite programmes. The first one is called Strana svobodných občanů (SSO) – the Party of Free Citizens and the second one is Liberálové.cz (LIB) – Liberals.

The SSO programme is against the Lisbon treaty of the EU, also it demands referendum for the question of Euro Adoption.

The first aim of SSO is to succeed in June Euroelections. The new party has a ram on green background in their logo. This animal, according to their chairman Mach symbolises the way to freedom and new beginning. Ram is also resolute and systematic.

The LIB party comes with the idea of forming United European States. They feel there is a great number of liberal-thinking voters, who don’t find an advocate for them.

The Liberals also endorse the ‘new generation’ of politicians, who are devoted to European integration and are not burdened with corruption scandals of the past. LIB also aims to succeeding in elections to the European parliament.

Cunek and Jelinek leave Czech government, change coming?

The promised changes in government the coalition has been talking about are finally going to happen. The vice-prime minister and local development minister Jiri Cunek has announced he leaves all the government seats. goodbye cunek On his post moves the present leader of legislative government committee Cyril Svoboda. The prime minister than withdrew two ODS ministers, Tomas Julinek from health resort and Ales Rebicek from traffic resort.

The leader of the greens Martin Bursik welcomes the development, his party have announced earlier Dzamila Stehlikova is going to be replaced in the cabinet by Michael Kocab on the post of minister of human rights. The political scene has also seen a bonus – yesterday the pro-European Liberalove (Liberals) and euro-Skeptical Svobodni (Free) joined the struggle for votes. The two right-wing parties have completely opposite programmes.

Prague Wine Week festival started yesterday

Yesterday, the first season of the Prague Wine Week started. Wine lovers get a good insight into vinotheques, bars and restaurants, as during the whole week (until 18th January) Prague citizens can wine-taste at various places, make the best of discount or just try suitable combinations of chosen dishes and wines.

In Prague, demand for quality wines rises. Number of quality enterprises come into existence, “…and so the festival came into being to provide wine lovers with possibility of better orientation in the ever increasing supply.”

Forty eight Prague enterprises joined, offering invitations, sales and actions. Some events from the programme are free, other paid. Somewhere it is ok to just come to the company, somewhere it is necessary to reserve one’s place.

At the occasion of Prague Wine Week taking place the bilingual, Czech-English wine guide in Prague was published; it should become the handbook for not only Prague citizens, but for visitors of the metropolis as well. More info at here

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Classic ID's may be in the last Czech season

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

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

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

Czechs and huge Entropia sculpture

The art-piece of Czech artist David Cerny has attracted considerable number of fans. Czechs have introduced the huge plastic Entropia, which refers to stereotypes connected to the 27 countries of the EU. The visitors of the European Committee building can check Austria hidden under cooling towers of Nuclear plants, flooded Holland from which minarets pop out, the Czech Republic where quotes of Vaclav Klaus on a display run, or Bulgaria with a huge squat toilet.

“I don’t like it at all” can be heard from the crowd scanning the massive Euro-puzzle, which father is Czech artist David Cerny. “It is great, I think it represents the countries well” Says an Italian employee of the Silvio council. “Well, you have sense of humor” smiles a Bulgarian employee of one of the European institution, looking at the Bulgaria plastic.

And what does the artist David Cerny think? “Self-reflection, critical spirit and the ability to perceive oneself and the surrounding world with the sense of irony belongs to Europe and its thinking.” Source:LN

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New Czech Political Party

The new political party in the Czech Republic wants to attract especially those who do not vote regularly. The name is Strana svobodných občanů – SSO (The party of free citizens). The party, among others, disapproves the Lisbon treaty reforming EU, also it demands referendum for Euro adoption.

Petr Mach, a close cooperative of Vaclav Klaus, also published the program and constitution on a press conference, with the estimate personal compound of the political group. Three from six members of the leading team have finished their career in ODS recently, in 2008. How much the party is connected to Klaus symbolises, beside the chairman Mach himself, the ex-representative of ODS and contemporary Klaus’s advisor Jiri Payne.

As Mach stated on the press conference, the new party is here for “…people, who were frustrated by contemporary possibilities in elections and situation in the parliament and they didn’t have anyone to vote for.” They would like to fill in the gap.

Napalm Death Concert in Prague

To speak about Napalmdeath as one of the most important bands of extreme music is like carrying coals to Newcastle. More than 25 years on the scene and still so much invention and unceasing verve when creating music – as a matter of fact only a little number or formations on the contemporary music scene can show off similarly. Meanwhile a quarter of century before, Napalmdeath were the very authors of musical genre grind-core, now they also play with styles like HC, punk, thrash, death, but the result is still the explosively strong performance with killing capacity of napalm itself.

Napalm death come to the „Winter Assault Tour 2009“ in classic set: Mark „Barney“ Greenway – vocals, Shane Embury – bass, Mitch Harris – guitar, Danny Herrera – drums. The whole tour accompany two grind groups, specifically Swedish Splitter and Czech Pigsty. Swedish commando Splitter are among the most promising European groups of this style, with their music mixing energy, young enthusiasm and texts full of critique of contemporary society.

20th January 2009, Napalm Death (uk), Splitter (swe), Pigsty (cze), pre-sale 250czk at Ticketpro, on the spot 280czk. Start 18:00 at Club Roxy in Prague.

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Czech sportsman of 2008: Barbora Spotakova

Barbora Spotakova If we look at those fifty years of history of the Czech Sportsman of the year, tens of years are connected by throwing the javelin. The spear has flown through the skies of fame again.

The Golden Olympic throw of Barbora Spotakova came on the day of Soviet occupation anniversary, hitting hearts of million fans – she beaten a Russian athlete, which combined with a thriller (she wasn’t first until the last try) brought her admiration of the nation.

“Each of us watches the television, to see stories. And I am glad one such story happened to me. That I felt that good that evening, that I could beat the Russian by the last throw. That is fantastic.” she said. The second was the double Olympic winner Katerina Emmons, the love story of great expectations. The king of the last winter, mountain ski runner Lukas Bauer, the story of will and patience was third.

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Winter in Prague, January 2009

The last Christmas and celebration of the New Year are successfully behind, and the winter hit us with full strength, as far as I remember it was at least four or five years since it was so cold and there was so much snow. Kids are happy, they can enjoy winter pleasures, but we are used to less enjoyable problems with streets and pavements. This weather usually causes traffic completely collapses, because the services didn’t manage to clean the snow.

Beginning of this year, however, differs positively – those who care about the streets being rideable did their job well. All the main streets are rideable and the few crashed car plates were mostly the drivers fault. Even when the by-street can’t be treated with salt for the sake of ecology, they are pulled nicely and drivable. I hope that the trend will continue in February, when there will be more snowing.

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Activists hung the EU flag in front of Klaus's window

The first try of hanging up the EU flag was only virtual. The second one was real. The Greenpeace activists first projected the EU flag on the Prague Castle virtually, this yesterday evening however they put a real flag there. Not even the Castle guards managed to stop them.

President Vaclav Klaus refuses to let the EU flag on ‘his’ castle, still the blue flag with yellow stars appeared there. A few minutes later, however, the police have cleared the whole courtyard. A man with red jacket staid on the top of the pole, other five Greenpeace members have unfolded a banner saying “Klaus harms the climate, Czech Chairmanship can help”

It was probably intended as a memento to the euro-skeptical politicians, one of the aims of Czech Chairmanship are negotiations about nature protection.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

The Australian revival musicians want to bring The Wall back to memory, awaking the legendary album which was published thirty years ago, and the music from it couldn’t be heard so compact for 25 years. The second February is the day, on which the organizers promise the big show; “Fascinating, new production full of animations, pictures, lasers, sound light effects and inflatable surprises”.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show play since 1988 and as the only revival of the group they could enjoy attention of the original Pink Floyd Band. The singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd have invited them in 1996 to his own 50th birthday party. Tickets start at 690 czk and reach up to 1390 czk. That the group still attract attention prove that on 1st May the opera of the PF basskytarist Roger Waters called Ca Ira, inspired by Great French Revolution will take place on a special scene on Vltava River.

Pink Floyd revival in Prague, 2nd February 2009 at HC Sparta Arena.

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Putin Shows the Real Russia: Gas Stopped

Serious contract relationship with Russia we all take for granted shakes. But this situation is not new – it repeats almost every winter; concerning Ukraine, Belorussia or now a significant part of Europe, creating the picture of complete unreliability. We, as consumers, at the end don’t need to know, what is behind it, if it is an effort of Moscow to check Kiev, or Kiev effort to check Moscow, or Russian effort to divide Europe. All we want to know, whether the contracts about gas work or not. And Russia does everything to demonstrate, what the reality and risks of this relationship are.

It this world, where Israel fights in Gaza, Saudi Arabia warns against oil embargo towards the Jewish state, the more to Europe! So the question, which source of gas is less secure, was well answered by Putin. The other question is, who wants to hear the answer in our country. If somebody wasn’t moved by Russian actions against Georgia, this probably won’t shake him any more. For the rest, Putin’s stressing with gas is only one of many proofs Russia is not a serious partner at all.

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Gas cheaper, Taxi not in Prague

Fuels are at its minimum of the last four years, production cheapens automobiles, but taxis are still at those 28 czk for a kilometre. And it is not quite realistic to think it will get cheaper. Probably the whole year price is going to be the same as in January 2007, when gas was about 10 czk more expensive than now. Maybe a good news is that at least the Prague City Hall won’t allow the price to go higher.

Last year in summer, a litre of gas was 36 czk, today a litre of Natural 90 can be bought even under 21 czk. Even when there is the huge discount, it is not possible for the town hall to move the price.

Taxi drivers themselves are definitely not going to discount, as they ‘heal’ after last year season, when the City Hall promised to increase the fee to 32/km, but in the end it staid the same. Taxi drivers now feel the price is not only adequate, but low. You should choose of the companies, which won’t abuse you are not a Czech.

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Financial Times: Klaus resembles Svejk

From all the Czech national heroes, the Czech President Klaus resembles, with his bizarre aversion against the authorities and by the shape of his head, the Good Solider Svejk the most. At least the leader of Brussels branch of the Financial Times Tony Barber says so on the blog part of the Times.

Klaus has turned away from conventions, when he demonstrated his disgust towards the Lisbon treaty and European institutions reform, which are documents Barroso and most of political leaders are deeply devoted to.

“… Klaus is not Vaclav Havel, his presidential ancestor … he is not the medieval martyr Jan Hus nor Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the founder of Czechoslovak state, whose statue was behind Klaus when he held a speech from the Castle. Klaus resembles somebody completely different. Klaus is a smart guy, but by his bizarre aversion against the authorities, feeling of solidarity towards the small players and his head shape, he is the version of the Good Solider Svejk of the 21st Century” Barber closes.

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Obama Phoned Topolanek and Complimented for Czech Mission at Middle East

The Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek telephoned with the ingoing American president Barrack Obama, who called him as the head of the Europen Comitee, and also appreciate Topolanek’s role which the CR mission played in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Topolanek stated he repeated his invitation to the Czech Republic; Obama could arrive to an unformal EU summit. What were the other themes he talked with obama he refused to comment.

The mission of Union representatives to the Middle East was led by the Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, accompanied by his colleagues from France and Sweeden, eurocomissary Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the high Union representative for foreign policy Javier Solana.

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Marihuana almost decriminalized in the Czech Republic

three-is-legal Decriminalization is not legalization. Decriminalization means, that for smoking and possessing of this most widespread light drug here could be hardly any penalization. The senate passed the new drug law with even less debating than the parliament, meaning they agreed marijuana is not as dangerous as other drugs.

The codex so corresponds with the December verdict of the Constitutional court, according to which to grow cannabis is not a criminal act and doesn’t necessarily mean to produce drugs.

Little quantity is, according to the prepared law, less than 20 cigarettes of marijuana or three flowers of hemp. In the case of magic mushrooms the upper limit for little quantity is 25 pieces.

The government regulation was to explain obscurities around when it is distribution or drug possession for personal use. The laws which were used until now didn’t respond to the liberal nature of the Czech Republic.

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Illuminated Sculptures in the Streets of Prague

The project called Transparency, realized within Czech EU Chairmanship wants to emphasize the magic of Prague in the first place. The other aim would be to make contemporary art accessible for the general public. The display of the first four from the six presents renowned artists, which can admire anyone who is in Prague just now. These are just the ‘first wave’, others are going to be placed in February and April. The street exhibition continues until the end of June.

Panel with a girl silhouette ‘Ann Dancing’ by Julian Opie was put to the widow of the National Theatre so it can be seen the whole day. The statue ‘We’ by Jaume Plensa is placed on Jan Palach square shines every day from 18 to midnight. The light show ‘Mice’ by Stephan Reusse shines everyday from 20 to midnight in Dusni ulice. ‘Love Letters’ by Arthur Duff is on Old Town Square ; it shines every hour until midnight, starting 18:00.

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Metropolis full of Euro-commissaries, Czech Chairmanship initiated

Organizers running in and out, air temperatures deep below freezing and fluttering of banners of the present demonstrators, sometimes honking of car horns. Such could be the short description of yesterday evening in front of the National Theatre.

Between seven and eight, it hosted 27 Foreign Ministers of all the EU member countries. Yesterday was the day of the ceremonial opening of our half-a-year Chairmanship. There were planned demonstrations, but only 30 people stayed in the bitter cold with no energy for public nuisance.

The chair of Vaclav Klaus and his wife Livia stayed empty through the evening, but the ex-president Vaclav Havel with Dagmar arrived as stated before. The evening started the Prime Minister, stating the Czech Chairmanship will be ‘in the sign of three Es’; effective, empatic, eclectic.

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Minus 34 °C, Cold in Czech

Czechs wean for cold. Such winter became unusual in this land, now we have to deal with -30°C at night during the whole week. One can guess that in combination with snowing it makes trouble, and really – on Mo and Tu, 72 got hurt in Prague only. One homeless froze to death to such extent his joints wouldn’t move.

Doctors in these days strongly warn three groups: elderly people, cardiac patients, and parents of little kids. “If there is less than -5°C parents should naturally check whether their kids have enough of suitable clothing.” Seniors and cardiacs shouldn’t go out at all when it is below -10.

The centres for flash burn care have a lot of work as well – frostbites are cured by similar methods. If the spot on the skin is white and blood doesn’t return to it, it is necessary to go to a doctor. In the second phrase the spot will became red on the contrary. But – if you do not stay outside you should be fine. For more weather in Prague check here.

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Beyoncé in Prague concert

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (1981), commonly known as Beyoncé, is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, fashion designer and actress. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of girl group Destiny’s Child and went on to sell over 50 million records worldwide with the group.

After a series of commercial successes with the group, Knowles released her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, in June 2003. The album became one of the most-successful albums of that year, spawning the number-one singles “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy”. It earned Knowles five Grammy Awards in a single night in 2004, and its reception signaled her viability as a solo artist.

Knowles comes with her third solo album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, which was released on November 2008, and spawned the worldwide hit, “If I Were a Boy”, and the US number-one hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”.

Beyoncé performs in Prague on 30th April 2009 in the O2 Arena Prague.

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Greenpeace projected EU flag to Prague Castle

Activists from Greenpeace have screened the EU flag on the Prague Castle. They wanted to point at the aversion Vaclav Klaus keeps against hanging the EU flag on the castle during Czech Chairmanship. The event also wanted to remind the politicians that one of the Chairmanship priorities should be climate protection. The person of Klaus, the mot significant Czech ‘denier’ of climate changes was the ideal target for the action; in their words they wanted to “react on some quotes of Euroskeptical and climateskeptical politicians.”

That the screening was more a kind of ‘payback’ illustrate their other words: “We hope the (Czech) government won’t give Klaus the opportunity to abuse Czech chairmanship for attacks at European politics of climate protection. If the Czech government wants to come through as the leader of the Union, they need to pay much more attention to the climate protection.”

According to Klaus, EU Flag doesn’t belong to the Prague Castle, because the castle is a symbol of Czech statesmanship, Czech state, not the EU.

Petition against communists signed by 51 thousands

Signers of the Internet petition ‘Na komunisty si zvykat nechceme’ (We do not want to get used to Communists) are 51 thousands already, the numbers steadily grow. The representatives prepare to go on 19th January to the house of the government to publicly appeal for support of court ban of the communist party.

The initiators point to communists getting back to the real power after the regional elections. They are afraid it is not far to the time communists would return to the central government. They state they would consider even the discussion about abandoning the communist party itself to be a success.

The petition, which renown surprised the initiators themselves appeal to the Czech politic representation to stand against return of communists to the real political power, and to put through consistent persecution of public propagation of communism and other motions leading to repression of human rights and freedoms.

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Vaclav Klaus sometimes replaced by Vaclav Havel for Czech Chairmanship.

vaclav havel This is not a joke. Lidove Noviny informed about the curious case in today edition. Not only other presidents do not invite Klaus anymore, but somebody found out Havel can be still a good representative for EU events, even when he has not been the president for five years already.

Klaus let us to know, through his speaker, he is going to miss today Euroaction connected to the EU Chairmanship in the National Theatre without explanation. Meanwhile, Czech diplomats started to explain foreign journalists, who meanwhile found in the pressure among the prime minister and the president the topic for their articles, that Klaus is not that important and that we can do it without him.

Tonight in National Theatre, there won’t be Vaclav Klaus, but other Vaclav and foreigners, who perceive it from the outside, maybe won’t even notice he is no longer the president. So the originally chimeric image of putting Havel to the front again became, at least for a little bit, real.

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Schwarzenberg: Gaza development goes in wrong direction

“European Union mission didn’t achieve immediate truce between Israel and Hamas motion, but hope it helped the future development” The foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said after returning from the Middle East, where he tried with the EU delegation heads negotiate peace.

“The development goes in the dangerous direction” he continues. “Hamas is responsible for the present state of things and Gaza residents pay the price.” Shwarzenberg represents the opinion of Czech political majority.

“The main obstacle of peace are especially attitudes on both sides of the conflict. Israeli want to stop rocket attacks on their land and to have control of tunnels by which weapons are smuggled into Gaza zone. Without it, there will be no peace.” Schwarzenberg closes.

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Abba the Show in Prague

The musical event of the 2009 beginning is the exclusive concert of authentic voices in identical costumes, this group with members of the original Abba band brings some of the most fantastic moments of pop music back to life. They will perform together with The National Symphony Orchestra of London, led by Matthew Freeman.

This ensemble became the number one from the times when the original band Abba ended their tours. In 2002, they performed also in the Czech Republic on the charity concert „Artists Against Flood“. With their show, they had the biggest success in Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, France, Great Britain, Korea, Japan, China etc. In Hollywood, their show attracted 18 000.

The tickets are at Ticketpro, if you don’t want to miss the concert, you should probably buy the tickets NOW. 12th February 2009 20:00 at Tesla Arena in Prague

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Public Events prepared for Czech EU Chairmanship

Czech European Chairmanship is going to be accompanied by cultural programme for general public, as well as prestigious events for EU delegates and other international guests.

There are two important anniversaries in 2009. the first is the jubilee of Iron Curtain fall that took place 20 years ago and the second is the 5th anniversary of the biggest EU widening. The year 2009 is also the European year of creativity and innovations.

Among the greatest delicacies of the programme is the premiere of the rock opera CA Ira from the founding member of the legendary group Pink Floyd Roger Waters, which will be a part of the celebration of the fifth jubilee of Czech Republic EU entry.

For the general public are prepared so called ‘Eurofestivals’ accompanied by ministers conferences in individual regions.

For Example the music festival United Islands of Europe, taking place 18 – 21th June 2009. As in the time of its origin it is going to be thematically connected to the EU.

Events connected to Czech European Chairmanship

Czech republic as the chairman of the European committee and by this Prague became after Belgian Bruselles de facto the second capital city of the EU. What does that mean for Prague citizens? Czech Metropolis is going to become, for half of the year, the city of politic elite, which comes for various negotiations. The most meetings and congresses will be hosted by the Congress Centre, close to Metro C Vysehrad.

But the Chairmanship doesn’t only mean limousines and police cordons, it will be also about cultural events. 7th January the International Year of astronomy starts on the Old Town Square. The opening starts at 15 the moving procession of Apostles of the Astronomical Clock.

Other event, this time aimed at music lovers is on 28 and 29th January in the Smetana hall – Symphonic orchestra of the Capital of Prague. After they finish their concerns, the other ones performing are the members of the National Folk Costume Ball. That will be quite an event, as there is going to be about 700 members in folk costumes.

Town Hall organizes Europe Day, listed on 9th May 2009. They have prepared concert, where the famous 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven, known like “Ode To Happiness” presented by the Czech Philharmonics with the world renown conductor Jiri Belohlavek and with significant soloists.

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More Tourists go to Prague! Where do they accomodate?

Hostel Emma Prague still holds among 20 most visited cities of the world, whats more, financial crisis or not, visit rate of the city have even increased. At least Euromonitor International, one of the leading companies doing the market research, claims it. The data were published in December 2008 in the Top City Destinations 2007 chart. The chart ables to compare visits of world and European cities. Compared to previous year, Prague improved its position. Its position is on 19th place among the world cities, within Europe it is on the 7th place, placed better than Amsterdam or Vienna.

From my point of view, I don’t get where do people get money for accommodation in Prague, but quite probably the solution is much simpler than it seems – less tourists accommodate in hotels, more in hostels. Now, when the Christmas season is over, it is even cheaper, and still the quality is really good, especially when we talk about hostels in the centre.

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Law Proposal: Direct Presidential Vote in CR

The successor of Vaclav Klaus could be voted for directly. This is the option preferred by the team of Topolanek. What will be the verdicts? We will know in two weeks, but the true is, efforts for changing the voting law have been here since the First Republic, but never been successful. “Ministry of justice prepared three options, the government has became attached to the proposal of legislative court, according to which both the parliamentary chambers would decide about change of the constitution.

The form of the vote itself would be decided by an executive law. The same law would modify competences of the president elected by the majority or who is going to proceed into the second round of the vote.Direct presidential vote is supported by the Social Democrats, People’s party and the Greens, ODS and KSCM are rather against. The main reasons are obvious – the last vote was an international disgrace.

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Pay for Prague Parking by Mobile Phone

Since April, the drivers who park in Prague zones won’t have to look for change in their pockets, a mobile phone would be enough. Into the paying sms, the drivers write their licence plate number and for how long they want to stay there. Also they will probably have to write in which city part they are in.

If police officers pass by, they will read the licence plate and find out whether the driver is a resident, or if he has paid the charge. The parking fee is going to appear on the statement of account from the mobile provider.

Another change is that some streets where was, so far, some parking ‘only for the residents’ is about to change into combined zones, meaning that visitors are going to be able to park there as well.

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Prague Citizens most Numerous in History

Prague has the most citizens in its history. That results from the data given by the Czech statistical office, which enclosed the numbers of inhabitants to the first nine months of 2008. The number increased to 1 226 697 people, the report says. The closest to the number was the year 1992, when the lines of Prague citizens were of 9 thousands less numerous.

In the Czech metropolis the number of citizens steadily grows from the 1970’s, until 1992, when the development paused. There were less babies born and the tendency was to get housing outside Prague borders. In 2006 the number fell on the level of 1975. Now the number rises again, not only we had quite a baby boom, but also the flow of migrants from Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam and Slovak Republic intensifies.

Some gambling houses to disappear from Prague

To go to a little casino and to put ones money into a slot machine is going to be a little more difficult starting the next year. The new public notice stated to obtain to 1st January, so having a gambling house means to fulfill many conditions. Among others it is to keep tapes from security cameras for 30 days and to remove the shiny advertisements with jackpot height from the front.

The cases of those places being a meeting-place of various necromaniacs or thieves are notorious, and the city has been trying to solve it since the very Velvet Revolution. Finally, the numbers are on decrease. Even when they planned to close 226 and in the end only 80 were locked, ‘gambling survivors’ will have limit their business, meaning they will have to stop being non-stop premises.

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Taxis in Prague are going to be yellow only

On the taxi stances of Prague are going to be yellow cars only. The world peculiarity has finally arrived to Prague with full power. The cars which use the stances made by the city itself have to be yellow only since yesterday. What’s more, the cars have to be equipped with air-conditioning and they also have to be younger 8 years. The new public notice valid to 1st Jan 09 should improve the services.

The main problem of Prague taxis is they suffer from various pseudo-taxi individuals, who aren’t in any company and just basically pretend to be professionals, plus the company Euro Taxi, which associates some extreme individuals whom you should avoid. Now the new public notice should improve the situation – the ‘good’ taxis are going to be yellow now. Still – the best thing is to call some cross-checked taxi companies.

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Metropolis prepares for a week of snow

Czech Hydrometeorological Institute announced on their web: “We expect that on Monday the whole area of the Czech Republic is going to be covered by coherent snow cover of 1-10 cm height.” A simple announcement, that can evoke joy or worries – joy for kids and those who love winter sports, worries of rescue workers.

During the weekend it was easy to spot families with kids, the little ones wanting to enjoy those few hours snow usually stays in Prague. But the metropolis didn’t offer only sledging, the snow moved to Stromovka after the Tour De Ski attracted, and it brought fun for numerous ski-runners.

Freezing weather, which started during Christmas, probably culminates in the half of the week. The temperatures are going to drop to -15 Celsius at places. For precise forecast continue here.

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