After years of delays, the controversial Blanka tunnel, a key part of Prague’s inner ring road, has finally been completed. Originally due to open in 2011, the biggest and most expensive project in the history of Prague was repeatedly delayed. On Tuesday, Prague City Hall announced that the Blanka tunnel is set to go into trial operation on December 2.
The Czech Republic’s national carrier Czech Airlines has announced layoffs in an effort to keep the troubled company afloat. The airline will let go around one third of its staff including dozens of pilots and stewards and ground personnel. The move has spurred concerns over the future of the carrier which some say could never recover.
Czech Airlines is planning to lay off 77 pilots, 150 cabin crew and 60 administrative staff, a third of its total workforce. A spokesperson for ČSA said the layoffs were in response to the removal of Airbus A320 planes from its fleet for economic reasons. It will try to find positions for some pilots at other Sky Team airlines. Korean Air bought a 44% stake in ČSA last year after several years of poor results for the Czech national carrier.
The region of South Moravia so far this year has seen an increase in the number of road fatalities as well as a rise in the number of seriously injured. Since the beginning of the year, police in the region attended to 4,458 traffic accidents – up by 70. Up to the first of September, 53 people died on South Moravian roads (7 more than the same period last year) and 204 suffered serious injuries (up by 27 cases). The police charged that many motorists remained inattentive or drove dangerously, while some cyclists, who failed to wear helmets or rode after drinking, only deepened the problem.
The police have learned that a 53-year-old Austrian national who caused a fatal head-on collision on the Czech Republic’s D1 highway in May, was suffering from dementia. The Austrian authorities confirmed the motorist, who drove in the wrong direction on the highway, into oncoming traffic, had been ill. His vehicle crashed head-on into the car of two Slovak women – a mother and daughter – near Brno on May 13th. All three died in the accident.
People in Prague will have a unique opportunity to see the city from a completely different perspective this Saturday. Dozens of streets in the capital, as well as other major towns, will be closed to traffic and turned into temporary pedestrian zones, as part of the event Zažít město jinak or Different City Experience Festival. I discussed the project with Jan Šindelář, one of its organisers:
The Czech authorities are planning a major clampdown on fraudulent taxi drivers in order to curb the wide-spread practice of resetting taximeters, the news website ihned.cz reported. The authorities believe that resetting taximeters allows taxi drivers to only tax part of their earnings. The campaign by inspectors from the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, the tax and customs administration as well as from city- and town halls, planned for October, should make sure taxi drivers are complying with new legislation that is to ban such taximeters as of January.
Police in Liberec pursued a speeding driver going at nearly 200km/h on Monday and were forced to fire several warning shots into the air before making the car draw to a halt. The young woman behind the wheel was on drugs, did not have a driver’s licence and was driving a borrowed car. She also had drugs in her possession. The incident is being investigated.
Czech Railways has announced that the rail connection from Chlumec nad Cidlinou to Velky Osek in north-Eastern Bohemia has had to be closed for repairs after a freight train derailed on that route on Sunday night. All fifteen carriages derailed causing damages to the tune of millions of crowns. The damage to the rail tracks has been put at 3.5 million and it should take at least a week to fix. Czech Railways has arranged for a replacement bus service for passengers along the given stretch.
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