Each of Prague’s quarters contributes to its famous diversity in its own way and offers a completely different experience. In today’s Spotlight we want to introduce you to a part of Prague that is a keystone for modern Czech cultural life, aptly dubbed by its inhabitants the “Independent Republic of Žižkov”.
Hundreds of gathered in the centre of Prague on Saturday in protest against the government’s planned pension reform. The overhaul of the Czech pension system is set to raise the VAT on majority of goods. The protesters also objected to plans to introduce tuition fees at Czech universities. The rally, organized by the opposition group ProAlt, was addressed by the head of the Czech unions’ federation before moving on to a march through city centre. Estimates of the number of participants vary between 200 and 1,000.
Prague’s Dejvické Theatre received the annual Aflréd Radok Award for
best Czech ensemble of 2010 at a ceremony in Prague on Saturday, for the
fourth time in a row. The theatre’s staging of Man without a Past by the
Finnish author Aki Kaurismaki got the award for the performance of the
year, while the lead actor in the play, David Novotný, was given the
Alfréd Radok award for best actor. Petr Zelenka’s play Očistění, or
Vindication, which premiered at the South Bohemian Theatre in České
Budějovice, won the award for best Czech play.
Police arrest man over ammo theft
The police have arrested a civilian employee of the south Moravian police’ special response unit who allegedly stole and sold tens of thousands of ammunition rounds, a police spokeswoman said on Saturday. The man, who was arrested during a sale of part of the stole ammo, has been under investigation for several months. The spokeswoman said he was facing two years in prison.
Prague’s annual Matějská Fair kicks off at the Výstaviště fairgrounds in Holešovice on Saturday, one week later than usual due to cold weather. Over a hundred attractions will be on offer, from traditional fairground rides like bumper cars and carousels to an exhibition of large prehistoric animals, and numerous attractions brought there from abroad. The fair lasts until April 25..
Plan for the potential renovation of Wenceslas Square were also discussed, including one initiative to tear down the historic Federal Assembly building. Mayor Svoboda said that removing the structure to fully expose the old Produce Exchange building within it was something that could be considered and that has been discussed with the Ministry of Culture, which declared it a protected cultural monument in 2000. The aesthetics of the 1974 modernist building has long been a topic of controversy, between experts who consider it an excellent work of architecture and locals who consider it an eyesore. Mr Svoboda said that specialists would have the final word in any renovation of the square and that he was not yet inclined towards any one particular plan.
A majority of Praguers would welcome a Constitutional Court decision invalidating the results of last autumn’s local elections, according to a new survey. The poll, conducted by the agency SANEP, suggests that 65% of Praguers are opposed to the grand coalition between the Civic and Social Democrats at City Hall, which nonetheless is a drop since December, when 80% were opposed. The Constitutional Court will be reviewing the election on March 29 at the behest of certain small parties, which are complaining that the city’s voting precincts were gerrymandered.
Prague is the sixth richest region in the whole of the European Union and clearly the wealthiest locality in Central and Eastern Europe according to figures released by the EU’s statistics. It said the region’s Gross Domestic Product reached 172 percent of the EU average. The Czech capital is only exceeded in terms of wealth by Hamburg, the Dutch city of Groeningen, Brussels, central London and Luxembourg. The poorest region in the Czech Republic straddles the Karlovy Vary and Ústi regions with an average 62 percent of EU average wealth.
Prague offers the fifth best price/performance ratio among world capitals, according to a poll published by the international hotel reservation server hotel.info. The winner among world capitals is Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The poll was conducted at the beginning of 2011 among hotel guests who had booked accommodation in one of the 210 000 hotels offered at hotel.info. According to a poll comparing Czech cities only, Prague was beaten by Plzen, west Bohemia. They were followed by Jihlava, south Moravia, Marianské Lázně, west Bohemia and Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia.
Czech firms will benefit from the moving of the Galileo Supervisory Authority (GSA) headquarters to Prague, the authority’s Italian head Carlo des Dorides told journalists in the capital on Friday. Czech firms will be able to take part in the development of signal receivers or applications for the Global Navigation Satellite System. The Transport Minister Vít Bárta stressed that the GSA transfer to the Czech Republic could be a major advantage in maintaining competitiveness, calling the space programme, like nanotechnology, promising areas. Plans for relocating some 50 GSA staff from Brussels to Prague should be ready in around three months. The Czech transport minister stressed that he expected the signing of a host agreement at this time. The exact date of the GSA headquarters transfer to Prague has not been specified yet.
Representatives of Prague City Hall have, after four hours of discussions, approved a 52-million budget for the city. The city has had a provisional budget until now. In the coming year, Prague anticipates income of 37.4 billion and expenses of 46.4 billion, with the difference to be paid through income from the state, savings from previous years and unused money from 2010. A debt of 5.8 billion for which the city is issuing bonds will also be repaid. Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said that the budget was the best possible compromise. Last year’s budget was 50.3 billion.
The anti-Babiš demonstration at Prague’s Letná: Questions and answers
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PwC report: Prague increasingly attractive for real estate investors
Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids forms bridge between the past with the future
Black Hawk down? Communists could pull support for Babiš gov’t if Soviet Mi-24s are replaced