Czechs MPs supported a motion on Friday to legally sanction the Czech capital of Prague as a single voting district in local elections. The bill will now go to parliamentary committees for further debate. If approved by the lower house of Parliament, the new law would thwart plans by the right-of-centre Civic Democrats who want to divide the capital into several voting districts to eliminate smaller political groups. During the last local elections in 2006, Prague was a single voting district while in the previous elections four years earlier, the capital was divided into five constituencies.
Built at the end of the 1980s to host communist party gatherings, Prague’s Congress Centre was the pride of the communist leadership. However, within years of building it, the communists lost power and the centre never became fully functional. In 2000 it hosted a summit of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but soon ran into debt and now finds itself on the verge of bankruptcy.
The Prague transport authority, Dopravní Podnik, has found itself in hot water with the municipal government, after it was discovered that the company has done nothing to fulfil town hall’s order to remove casino bars from the metro. Not only are the casinos still there, but the transport authority has even signed new contracts with some casinos since the restriction was made, some with leases of up to 13 years.
The region of Prague is the fifth wealthiest in Europe, according to data released Thursday by the European statistical office Eurostat. The data reflects the purchasing power standard of the individual regions of Europe in 2007 and by that measure puts Prague behind Hamburg and slightly ahead of Paris city centre. London city centre topped the list with nearly twice the buying power of Prague, or 334% of the EU standard, followed by Luxemburg and Brussels. The Czech Republic as a whole however fared much worse, with the national average amounting to 80% of the EU average. Also, some of the poorest regions in the EU were also found in the Czech Republic, particularly north-western Bohemia, which showed a purchasing power standard of 62% of the EU standard.
Now, ever gone on holiday and been forced to leave your teddy bear at home? Well, fear not, a Czech tour operator is launching what looks like a world first for tourism – holidays for cuddly toys. Starting from 90 euros you can send your teddy bear or other furry friend on a luxury trip to Prague or other Central European cities – you’ll even receive a photo album with his holiday snaps. Earlier we spoke to the man behind the idea, Tomio Okamura.
Thirty-five years ago on Wednesday, the Prague department store Kotva opened its doors for the first time. Back in the day, a trip to Kotva was as close as most Czechs could get to real luxury. Now, even after the arrival of modern-day shopping malls such as Palladium, which is located directly across the street from the old-fashioned department store, Kotva is still in business. Sarah Borufka talked to former Elle editor Jana Cíglerová, about what Kotva symbolized for those who lived under communism and how that has changed.
Around 150 drivers protested the lowering of the speed limit on certain Prague roads Saturday evening. The protestors were escorted by police as they formed a slow-moving column of automobiles on Prague’s busy South Junction for roughly an hour. The Prague City Hall reduced the speed limit on a number of Prague thoroughfares to 50 km/h at the new year in an attempt to reduce noise levels in the areas. However, demonstrators say that that lowering the speed limit at busy locations is not the solution that even residents had envisioned, and will continue to protest until some other measure is taken, such as the construction of anti-noise walls.
New flats in Prague increasingly out of reach
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