Winter night shelters for the homeless opened in Prague on Thursday. The number of beds available has more than doubled this year to over 430. The Czech capital has seen freezing night temperatures several times this week. Centres are in place in the Michle, Žižkov and Holešovice districts of the city, while a boat on the Vltava offers accommodation to the homeless all year at a charge of CZK 20 a night. City officials believe there are up to 5,000 homeless people in Prague. Eighty percent of them are men.
A major water-main break seriously disrupted traffic in the centre of Prague on Monday, causing long traffic jams along the magistrála, a motorway intersecting the centre of the city. A water pipeline burst in the early hours on Monday, flooding the busy Sokolská street. According to the Prague Water and Sewer Company, repairs on the street should be completed by Monday evening. The Prague Town Hall has called on drivers to avoid going through the city centre.
Thousands of people gathered on Prague`s Old Town Square on Saturday evening to watch the lighting of the traditional Christmas tree. The 22-metre spruce was felled in the region of Hradec Králové and will adorn the historic square until January 6. The tree-lighting ceremony also launched the city`s annual Christmas markets.
Prague’s Municipal Court on Friday is due to deal with a complaint by the director of the Czech National Gallery Jiří Fajt against head of state president Miloš Zeman. The president refused in May to sign off on Fajt becoming a professor citing his doubts about whether the gallery director had benefited from a sponsorship payment made by a major bank. Fajt says he has already amassed a series of honourary degrees and is protesting the slur on his reputation. The court rejected Fajt's complaint but he can appeal.
Czech shopping centres and major retail chains are taking part this year in so-called Black Friday sales for the first time. One Prague shopping centre said 60 outlets were taking part by offering reductions of up to 50 percent on previous prices. Shopping centres outside Prague also say they will take part. Up till now it was mostly e-shops that signed up to the sales. Black Friday is an import from the United States and is regarded as the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.
The Prague road maintenance authorities have said they will begin putting up road signs banning Segways around the city on Friday. A ban on Segways in selected parts of Prague was imposed by Prague City Hall in August but was not observed due to a lack of road signs. The city hall regulation bans Segways in Prague 1, Holešovice and Letna and selected parts of the districts Vinohrady, Žižkov, Prahy 4, Smíchov and Liben. Segways are banned from pavements, cycle paths, pedestrian zones and streets. The ban was approved following numerous complaints from the public.
After completing the controversial Blanka tunnel complex more than a year ago, Prague Town Hall is now considering digging deep into its pockets and constructing another massive tunnel, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. City councillors are hoping that the new project would finally solve traffic problems by completing the city inner ring road.
Prague’s Na Příkopech Street is the 23rd most expensive retail location in the world, according to an annual report by real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield called Main Streets across the World. The Prague shopping street has moved up two positions from last year’s 25th spot with rents now amounting to 2,400 euro (some 65,000 crowns) per square metre a year.
Chinese investment group CEFC has so far invested 22.8 billion crowns in the Czech Republic and employs 4,000 people. The final investment should total 30.7 billion crowns and payroll should total 10,000. Those figures were released on Monday, the first of a three-day session of the Czech-Chinese Investment Forum being staged in Prague. CEFC has so far been the highest profile Chinese investor in the Czech Republic with purchases spanning sport, real estate, travel agencies, hotels, and breweries. Chinese investment in the Czech Republic has been under focus after president Miloš Zeman said in March it should total 95 billion crowns this year.
US President-elect Donald J. Trump's ex-wife Ivana Trump has told the New York Post she will talk to her ex-husband about the possibility of serving as the next US ambassador to Prague. In the interview published on Friday, the 67-year-old businesswoman suggested that her fluency in Czech as well as name recognition in the country of her birth, could be strong assets. Ivana Trump was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1949. The possibility of her serving as ambassador was greeted positively in a tweet by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for Czech President Miloš Zeman. The Czech president had backed Mr Trump ahead of his surprise win last Tuesday, when most polls in the US had suggested the presidency would be won by Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college.
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