Reading the recent reflections of my colleagues has cast my mind back to the first time I came to Prague.I think it was the start of March 1992. I am vague on the date but remember that there was some special airline promotion to fly anywhere in the European Community for about half the normal price. I hit on Dresden and looked for a railway link to Prague.
The Czech Republic has confirmed its first case of the H1NI or ‘swine flu’ virus. The country’s chief medical officer Michael Vit said the infected person is a 29-year-old man from Prague who had returned from New York. He is being kept isolated at home. Doctors are examining nine people who have been in close contact with the man. So far they are reported to have no signs of the virus. Around 90 people worldwide have so far died from swine flu since it broke out in Mexico earlier this year.
Much of Prague’s main train station Praha Hlavní nádraží currently resembles a building site, albeit one with thousands of commuters streaming through it every day. A much needed and extensive renovation job should be completed next year. Part of the platforms section has already been reopened, and quite impressive it is too. It’s bright. There are elevators.
This Friday saw the last in a series of EU summits held in Prague this week: representatives of the Czech EU presidency and the European Commission met with Southern Corridor countries, including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Turkey and others, to discuss energy transport from the Caspian region to Europe. Outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said the corridor could be could be ushered in by the Nabucco pipeline. He stressed that more than energy was at stake but a “two-way exchange on goods, investment, labour and knowledge”.
A large new commercial development is set to go up near the bottom of Prague’s main thoroughfare Wenceslas Square, the Czech News Agency reported. Construction work will begin in March 2011 on a large shopping and office centre on a site between the square and the Na Příkopě, Jindřišská and Panská streets. It is expected to house up to 3,000 office workers and employ another 11,500 in shops, restaurants and other businesses.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko will not take part in the EU’s
Eastern Partnership summit due to be held in Prague on May 7th, the CTK
news agency reported on Friday, citing a source close to the Czech EU
presidency. According to the source, Belarus will be represented by Deputy
Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko. President Lukashenko has come under fire
for his authoritarian style of rule and there were mixed feelings about
whether Belarus should be invited to the summit. President Klaus made it
clear that he would not be welcome at Prague Castle if he did arrive.
The Eastern Partnership scheme aims to forge closer ties between the EU and six former Soviet republics, a plan that has angered Moscow. It aims to accelerate political and economic reforms in the region in return for EU support and concessions of trade and travel. While the Czech EU presidency has championed the project some of the old EU member states remain lukewarm about the idea.
In related news, Czech President Václav Klaus made clear on Friday he will snub the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko if he chooses to attend the summit in Prague. In a statement released by his office on Friday, the president made clear he would not shake hands with Mr Lukashenko nor would he receive him at Prague Castle.
Major new residential and office district to go up in Prague’s Hagibor district
From underground bunkers to “Fire Mountain”: how Prague’s poorest have lived over the centuries
Czechs set to go beyond EU proposals on ‘dual quality’ foods, products with outright ban
Czech hiking trails mark 130 years
Rainbow Map of Europe shows relative position of sexual minorities worsening in Czechia