In today's One on One I speak to Nandanie and Asoke Weerasinghe. Both are successful professionals in Alberta, Canada, thanks to their determination and a good education which started with a scholarship to study in Prague. Nandanie studied medicine at Charles University and Asoke engineering at Prague's Technical University. Prague is where they met; they eventually went on to complete their studies in Western Europe, emigrated to Canada and finally got married in their home country of Sri Lanka. They came to Czechoslovakia during the big changes of the mid 1960s. Many doors that closed for Czech students with the Soviet invasion of 1968, remained open for foreign students, granted they were successful in their exams. They had only had one year of intensive study to grasp the complexities of the Czech language. Now they are visiting the Czech Republic again, for the second time since their days as students here. Though eager to eat Czech food and drink Czech beer, the idea was not always so appealing for them. Asoke begins with his first impressions of Prague. More
In One on One Jan Velinger's guest is Ted Whang - an American music teacher and English teacher of Korean, Japanese, and Czech descent, who has lived and worked in Prague since 1992. Ted studied music education in Valpairaiso, Indiana, and taught piano and English in the now defunct theatre department at the conservatory in Prague. Involved in numerous music projects, he wrote the lyrics for several songs for two up & coming stars: contestants in first Czech edition of Pop Idol who have since become household names. More
Puppet theatre has been an integral part of Czech culture for centuries, and few tourists leave Prague without taking in a performance of Don Giovanni or the Marriage of Figaro, or at least bringing home a marionette, be it a devil or angel, king or court jester. Children here grow up on characters like Spejbl and Hurvinek; the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) even offers a masters degree in "alternative and puppet theatre direction." So little wonder that enthusiasts from around the world journey to Prague to take workshops under master Czech puppet-makers like Miroslav Trejtnar. We caught up with Mirek and some of his students this week. More
In this week's Mailbox: How to apply for a job at Radio Prague, applying for a Green Card in the Czech Republic, animals in the Czech Coat of Arms, Radio Prague's discontinued 'Black Theatre of Prague' programme. Listeners quoted: Eghele Erijoh (Nigeria), Mick Horsfield (England), Peggy Meadows (England) More
President Vaclav Klaus is in hot water again after controversial comments about multiculturalism and terrorism. Mr Klaus was quoted in a newspaper interview as saying that there was a link between the mass influx of foreign cultures and terrorist attacks on the West. More
A recent opinion poll commissioned by the Foreign Ministry that was carried out in six different countries - including Great Britain and the United States - was tried to find out what the Czech Republic's image abroad was. The outcome leaves much to be desired. Czechs are reportedly viewed as a sort of poor nation of simple villagers. And not only that; contrary to common stereotypes about good beer and beautiful girls, many foreigners surprisingly view the Czech Republic as a nation of producers of sunflower oil and tower clocks. Radio Prague's Martin Mikule called sociologist Martin Potucek from Charles University earlier and asked him to what extent, he believes, this kind of opinion poll reflects reality. More
Increasing numbers of foreigners have been coming to the Czech Republic for fertility treatments, Hospodarske noviny reported on Friday. Assisted reproduction is considerably cheaper here than in neighbouring states Germany and Austria, the paper said, adding that some Czech clinics actively promote their services abroad.
Cabinet approves Finance Minister's tax cut proposals; State budget would lose 10-15 bn crowns in annual budget due to tax cuts, offset by excise and VAT rate hikes; Deputy finance minister resigns under suspicion of Peruvian bad debt fraud deal; Czechs add Canada, Serbia & Montenegro to 'green card' programme, Ukraine is next; Cesky Telecom sale finalised, OECD says Czech welfare Europe's 'most efficient', TV Nova owner CME may list shares on Prague bourse, price of electricity set to increase More
Current AffairsCzechs to extend fast-track residency for 'qualified' Serb, Canadian, and Ukrainian workers
A recent study by the United Nations suggests that the Czech population could shrink by an astonishing fifteen percent over the next half century. This could translate to a shortage of over 420,000 workers on the Czech labour market by the year 2030. One way the government is looking to diffuse this pension "time bomb" is by creating a targeted immigration policy. Brian Kenety has more. More
The number of foreigners living in the Czech Republic has been rising markedly in recent years. Some 250,000 foreign nationals stayed legally in the country at the end of last year, including nearly 100,000 foreigners with a permanent residence permit, the Interior Ministry announced on Friday. According to the ministry's asylum and migration policy department the number of foreigners rose by almost 19,000 last year compared to 2003. According to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Czech Republic has become a country with the steepest increase in the number of foreigners in the world between 1992 and 2002.