Prague’s Congress Centre is to get a major makeover. The Spanish
architecture studio OCA won a competition to design to overhaul of the
large building, which looks across the Nusle valley to the city’s New
The project will cost hundreds of millions of crowns and should begin in three years’ time. Prague’s mayor, Adriana Krnáčová, said the Congress Centre had been frequently criticised in the past for its not particularly sexy appearance and that it had not been easy to pick a winner in the competition to redesign it.
Over 1,000 clients have been affected by the collapse of the travel
agencies Azur Reizen and Maxi Reisen. The firms currently have 450 tourists
abroad, according to CPP, the insurance company with which the two have
indemnity against bankruptcy. Some 550 more clients have paid for trips
with the two agencies.
Azur Reizen announced on Monday that it had gone bust after 21 years in business. CPP said it was working to ensure the return of the tourists abroad as soon as possible.
A district court has acknowledged the right of aristocrat Karel des Fours
Walderode to property confiscated on the basis of the Beneš decrees in the
post-war period. His wife is fighting to regain control of assets in north
Bohemia valued at around CZK 3 billion.
The judge at the court in Semily issued a preliminary ruling on Tuesday. If it is upheld and does not face legal challenges, hearings can take place regarding around 1,400 individual properties.
Due to his German nationality des Fours Walderode lost his property in 1946 under the Beneš decrees. The family had their Czechoslovak citizenship returned the following year but the Communists took power before the assets could be returned. After emigrating in 1948 the aristocrat lost his citizenship again.
Controllers at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport on Tuesday diverted a
landing plane onto a back-up runway due to the presence of a drone,
The pilot, who was flying from Switzerland, was forced to circle Prague and come in to land for a second time because the unmanned aerial vehicle was flying above the originally planned runway, the news website said.
The police sent a helicopter to monitor the situation but when officers arrived the drone had gone. Twenty flights were affected by the brief closure of the airport in connection with the alert.
The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made his first official to
Prague on Tuesday. After being welcomed at Prague Castle with full military
honours by Miloš Zeman, Mr. Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart discussed
a range of issues, including refugees.
Mr. Zeman reiterated his opposition to the Czech Republic being forced to take in migrants by the European Union, while Mr. Steinmeier said it was important that the European Court’s ruling on the matter be respected.
In what was a brief meeting, the two heads of state also spoke about business cooperation between their two states, transport infrastructure and the UK’s planned exit from the European Union
A dramatisation of Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by the
Belarus-born Svetlana Alexievich gets its premiere in Prague on Tuesday
evening. The piece has been created by the Spitfire Company and is being
performed at the Jatka 78 venue.
Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2015 for her groundbreaking work recording the testimonies of people in the former Soviet Union. The production of Secondhand Time marks 10 years of existence for the experimental Spitfire Group.
The Transport Ministry received a positive assessment from Prime Minister
Bohuslav Sobotka on Tuesday for raising the level of EU funds used and for
markedly improving planning of key transport projects. At the same time,
the prime minister was critical that problems with EIA (or Environmental
Impact Assessments) continue on planned transport route projects worth 130
In many cases, older assessments dating to before the Czech Republic joined the EU, had expired or were no longer valid. Nine projects received exceptions from the European Commission.
Police are investigating five people for the theft of weapons and
explosives from around the now defunct munitions storage site in Vrbětice
in the Zlín area. Two of the suspects have been charged with the criminal
possession of a weapon which carries a sentence of up to eight years behind
bars. The suspects are believed to have tried to sell some weapons to
others. The police have said the motive was primarily financial.
The Vrbětice munitions depot was partly destroyed by deadly explosions in the autumn of 2014 which claimed the lives of two employees. The area remained highly unstable and dangerous, requiring a perimeter watched by the police and the Czech military. Later, truckloads of surviving weapons and other material were eventually removed.
The hippo pavilion at Prague Zoo is to undergo renovation the director of
the zoo, Miroslav Bobek, has confirmed, and will cost at least 10 million
crowns. The bill is to be covered by the City of Prague. Renovation of the
pavilion will include changes to the filtration system; the water is
currently so clouded that the animals are hard to see when they swim.
The pavilion is relatively new (construction began in 2010) and was built at a cost of 173 million crowns but problems with the filtration system arose early on, requiring additional investments.