The authorities in Prague are planning to raise the fine for the towing away of illegally parked cars by CZK 600 to CZK 1,900. The change is set to come into effect at the start of April. A spokesperson said the fine had been at the same level since 2001. Some 40,000 cars were towed away in the Czech capital last year, down from 70,000 in 2008. The price per day of “leaving” one’s vehicle at the centre where towed away cars are kept will also go up.
Traditional carnival celebrations preceding the beginning of lent are taking place all over the Czech capital, with many neighborhoods organizing their own celebrations. Prague’s Žižkov district holds the claim to the longest running post-communist tradition of Masopust festivities, as they are called in Czech. This year, Žižkov celebrates the twentieth Masopust in the neighborhood.
The Ministry of Culture has decided that a former slaughterhouse in Prague’s Holešovice district will remain a protected historical landmark. Prague Town Hall had requested a downgrading in its protected status, arguing that some parts have of the site have no historical value, and can now appeal the ministry’s ruling. The one-time slaughterhouse is today home to Holešovice market, which has been rebranded as “Prague Market” in recent years.
The Czech president-elect, Miloš Zelman, has held talks with the foreign minister and TOP 09 chairman, Karel Schwarzenberg, who he defeated in an election two weeks ago to succeed Václav Klaus as head of state. Mr. Schwarzenberg said after Friday’s meeting that the two had discussed issues surrounding Czech foreign policy, including the question of who will become the country’s ambassador to Moscow; there has been speculation that the post will be filled by Vladimír Remek, the only ever Czechoslovak cosmonaut and a Communist Party MEP. Minister Schwarzenberg said he and the new president were likely to disagree over Kosovo. Mr. Zeman, a former Social Democrat prime minister, will be inaugurated in a ceremony at Prague Castle on March 8. He has been holding talks with party leaders in the last week.
The Prague authorities are planning to rebuild the city’s Old Town Market, which was located in the space between the streets 28. října, Rytířská, Perlová in the heart of the capital. The listed building today houses a supermarket and restaurants, with the only evidence of its previous usage a decorated passage leading to Rytířská St. A spokesperson for the city says it will again serve as a market place when the CZK 28 million project is completed.
A junction at Prague’s Nábřeží Kapitána Jaroše is set to get an unusual new monument in May, with the installation of a work by the renowned artist Krištof Kintera. Comprising a bicycle attached to a street lamp, Bike to Heaven will serve as a memorial to riders who have been killed in the city, including cyclists’ rights activist Jan Bouchal, who was run over at that very spot in 2006. The monument is being funded by a public collection organised by the civic association Auto*Mat, whose project coordinator Tereza Vohryzková explained the genesis
The Prague High Court has sentenced former Prague City Police chief Vladimír Kotrouš to five-and-and-a-half years in prison, lowering his original six-year sentence. In addition, the court ruled that Mr Kotrouš was banned from working in any of the security forces for five years and will also have to pay a 400,000 crown fine. The former police chief was arrested with a 150,000 crown bribe on his person last year, which he admitted to; the prosecution charged that he had asked for an overall sum of one million. Mr Kotrouš said that his family’s unforeseen financial difficulties had led him to break the law.
When Barbora Jarešová, the head of marketing at a Prague global real estate services firm, started blogging about cool places, hip design and trendy restaurants in the Czech Republic, it was mostly for her own pleasure and to inform close friends of what’s happening in Prague and other Czech cities. On her website, ProtiMysl, readers can see gorgeous photographs of little-known and unique locations – and to many foreigners, it comes as quite a surprise that there is more to Prague than dumplings, beer and art nouveau buildings. Barbora talkedabout
Dozens of people paid tribute to cyclists and pedestrians who have died in Prague as a result of car accidents by participating in a communal bike ride across the city on Thursday afternoon. Similar bike rides are organized by the civic association Auto*mat once a month to promote cycling and safer roads in the capital. This particular event was dedicated to a former member of the association Jan Bouchal, who was hit by a car in 2006 while riding his bike and died from the injuries. Auto*mat is planning to install a memorial to Bouchal and other victims of car accidents, which was designed by the contemporary Czech sculptor Krištof Kintera.
Friday is the last day that Czech citizens can submit written requests for absentee ballots for next week’s second round of the presidential election. In-person requests that can be submitted to the local administration offices in one’s home district by next Wednesday. Absentee ballots are meant for people who plan on voting in the upcoming elections outside of their permanent residency district.
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