In this new Radio Prague series, notable Prague residents take us to some places in the city to which they have a particular connection. Our first guide is Radim Špaček, who is perhaps best known as the director of the multi-award winning film Pouta, or Walking Too Fast. A former child actor, Radim also makes documentaries and co-organizes Prague’s Bollywood Film Festival. He was actually born on the other side of the country, in Ostrava, but came to the capital as a child.
Prague City Council plans to establish low-emissions zones by the year 2015, council member Radek Lohynský told the ČTK news agency on Friday. The zones should reduce air pollution in the centre of the capital by restricting the movement of older vehicles in the area. The planned zones would cover most of downtown Prague including Old Town, Hradčany, New Town, Holešovice, Smíchov and Nusle. Prague City Council has commissioned a feasibility study on the project which should be completed within two months, Mr Lohynský said,
The head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, would like to meet with the Czech president-elect, Miloš Zeman, “as soon as possible, EU commissioner for enlargement, Štefan Fülle said following a meeting with Mr Zeman in Prague on Friday. Miloš Zeman invited Mr Barroso to Prague shortly after his victory in the first ever direct presidential election last month. The president-elect said both officials could fly the EU flag over Prague Castle, a gesture the outgoing president, Václav Klaus, consistently rejected.
The Czech and Slovak foreign ministers Karel Schwarzenberg and Miroslav Lajcak, met for talks in Prague on Thursday on the side-lines of a conference marking “Twenty Years of Independent Czech and Slovak Diplomacy“. Twenty years after the break-up of Czechoslovakia the ministers described bilateral relations as “above-standard and problem-free”. The two neighbour states cooperate closely in many areas such as coordinated infrastructure projects. Both are also strong advocates of nuclear power. Every year they hold joint government-sessions focussing on bilateral relations, trade and common goals.
Another 6,000 Danish students are expected to visit Prague next week, the news agency ČTK reported quoting sources from the Danish embassy. The Czech capital has become a popular destination for young Danes; this week, an estimated 10,000 of them arrived in Prague for two- or three-day stays. Their visits coincide with the winter school holidays in their country. Danish students come on cheap package tours, and have caused number of incidents mainly fuelled by alcohol. Prague police register around 10 such incidents each day; on Wednesday, a group of Danish students demolished several hotel rooms in the capital.
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.
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