News Still no final decision on National Library building
A team of experts has failed to reach a final decision on approving plans by architect Jan Kaplický for a new National Library building. The team announced on Wednesday that it would refer the matter to the Office for the Protection of Competition to ascertain whether an architectural contest to come up with a design for the building was conducted in a proper and fair manner.
Kaplicky’s building, which has been nicknamed “The Blob” because of its outlandish futuristic appearance, has proven highly controversial since it was initially chosen for the planned new National Library building on Prague’s Letná Plain last year. It is not clear when a final decision on the building will now be made. Architect Jan Kaplický has since said that he will take the matter to an international court if it is not resolved soon.
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Air bank which was established in 2011 has consolidated its position on the Czech banking scene, posting a 313 million crown profit in 2014, the ctk news agency reports. The preceding year the bank suffered 80 million crown losses. The main reason behind the turnaround is a 49 percent increase in clients in 2014 to 318,000. Originally the bank did not expect to show a profit until 2015.
Education Minister Marcel Chládek has presented 42 teachers with Best Teacher Award for a creative and inspiring approach in the classroom. The event, celebrating the country’s best teachers is held annually on the occasion of Teachers Day on March 28th. On Saturday there is to be a Teacher’s Ball in Prague at which the organizers will announce the name of the most popular teacher in the Czech Republic. The winner is elected by students with each school putting forward its own nominee for the Amos Prize commemorating Jan Amos Comenius, known as the Teacher of Nations.
A month-long series of events in support of reading will culminate on Friday with the traditional Night with Andersen held in libraries across the Czech Republic. The annual fairy-tale night for children is to promote reading among the youngest generation with thousands of children spending the night at their local library where they read, chat and listen to a public reading of fairytales by the famous Danish children’s writer Hans Christian Andersen. The event has a fifteen year tradition and this year 90,000 children have registered to take part in libraries around the country.
Prague councillors on Thursday passed a proposal for the division of 240 million crowns in culture funds, awarding 57.5 million to one-year projects and the rest for four-year projects beginning in 2016. The city’s grant commission evaluated almost 650 different projects. Prague’s Archa Theatre and the arts space Meet Factory received the most in funding; some venues including Divadlo Komedie or festivals such as Febiofest were turned down.
Czech hockey goalie Ondřej Pavelec has been in excellent form and won his sixth game in a row on Thursday for the Winnipeg Jets. The goaltender stopped 39 shots as his team, the Winnipeg Jets, defeated opponents the Montreal Canadiens handily 5:2. Players Frolík and Tlustý got assists. The Jets are 14th in the NHL at the moment while the Canadiens topped the table earlier this week but have currently slipped to fourth spot. The Habs are on 100 points; the New York Rangers are first, with 101.
Sparta Prague striker David Lafata will have to answer to the Czech FA's disciplinary committee after admitting he dived in a match against opponents Teplice at the weekend, resulting in a converted penalty. Sparta won the match 1:0. Lafata admitted to diving in the press, saying he was not proud of his actions but that they were partly the result of having a legitimate goal earlier in the match disallowed after he was mistakenly ruled offside. The player could potentially be fined or could receive a short ban.
The Culture Ministry has confirmed that the district of Prague 1 faces a 150,000 crown fine for the installation last year, at Klárov Park, of a bronze winged lion – a memorial to Czechoslovak airmen who fought with the RAF in World War II. The local administration failed to obtain the necessary permission from heritage conservationists, ČTK said. The winged lion was unveiled last June. Opponents had charged the memorial clashed with another already sited at the park. The National Heritage Institute later decreed the memorial could stay. The fine issued is on the lower end of the scale (which goes up to two million), the spokeswoman for the Culture Ministry said. The decision can be appealed.
Prague districts will receive 400 million crowns from City Hall, Prague City councilors agreed in a vote on Thursday. Most of the funds, 358 million, are slotted for the education sector. Schools are most likely to use the funding to renovate rooms, complete additional classrooms or improve the capacity of school cafeterias. Earlier, City Hall wanted to draw 300 million in reserve funds.
Three former prison guards at a facility in Ostrava have been sentenced to 2.5 to four years in jail for stealing copper from a workshop within the prison. The copper is estimated as being worth 500,000 crowns. Three others involved in the theft were given suspended sentences. In all eleven people, including scrap metal yard owners, faced charges. Five were cleared of wrongdoing.
The Czech National Bank (ČNB) kept two of its main economic instruments unchanged on Thursday. The main interest rate, the two-week repo rate was maintained at 0.05%. The central bank also said that it would be keeping to its 27 crowns or lower exchange rate target against the single currency euro. That means that the bank is committed to intervening on the currency markets if the crown strengthens beyond that target. The controversial target has been in place since November 2013. Inflation would have to rise to near 2.0 percent and interest rates rise before the bank could realistically quit the low crown policy.