An armchair designed by Slovenian architect Josip Plecnik for Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was sold for a record sum at Prague’s Sýpka auction house on Sunday. The auction house says it is not at liberty to reveal whether the precious artefact was acquired by Prague Castle which has two other pieces from the collection.
Police in Prague have released photos of two men suspected of spray painting letters on Charles Bridge, a national monument and one of the capital’s major tourist attractions. According to the police, the suspects are French speakers and most likely tourists. The police have come up with the pictures after checking the CCTV cameras for evidence. If convicted, the suspects face up to three years in jail for vandalizing a national monument.
Prague City Hall has voted in favour of renovating the Libeň bridge, which has been described as the sole Cubist-style bridge in the world, to its original condition. Prague deputies originally suggested other options, such as massive restoration including enlargement of the bridge or even its demolition, but the proposals met with massive protests from local people and conservationists. Steps are now being taken for the bridge, designed by architect Pavel Janák in the late 1920s, to be declared a cultural monument.
Police have charged three of the art activists from the group Ztohoven who hauled down the Czech president’s standard at Prague Castle and replaced it with a large pair of red underpants in September last year, the daily Právo reported Thursday. The three have been charged with causing public disorder, theft, and damage to property. They could face up to three years in prison. The case was returned to the police after a judge refused to deal with it under a fast track procedure.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has accepted an invitation to visit Prague. The invitation was made by Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek during a visit to the country. Zaorálek said that diplomatic relations between the countries were at an optimal level but not matched yet by economic ties. The Czech foreign minister is being accompanied by a 32-strong business delegation. The next step of the Asian tour will be Burma, where Zaorálek is due to meet the leader of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi.
Participants marched to Prague castle on Thursday to commemorate the events 68 years earlier when around 7,000 students protested the takeover of power by the Communist Party in a move which was to herald 40 years of party dictatorship. Deputy chairman of the Senate, Přemysl Sobotka urged the marchers not to lose their ‘historic memory,’ describing the Communist era as the darkest chapter in Czech history since the Nazi occupation. The Communist Party seized power on February 25, 1948, when president Edvard Beneš agreed they could form a new government after members of democratic parties resigned.
The Prague embankment Smetanovo nábřeží was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon because of a gas leak. Around 200 people were ordered to leave Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences, a spokesperson for the Prague fire service said. Cars were also prevented from using the route. A spokesperson for Pražská plynárenská gas company said a faulty connector had been to blame for the problem, which had been brought under control.
Around 1.0 billion crowns could be spent in Prague over the next decade on developing the capital’s security camera system, according to Prague City Hall’s security committee. At the moment there are around 1,000 security cameras in the city, most of them, around 220 each, are in the central Prague 1 district and Prague 8. The system has been gradually rolled out since 1997 but critics complain there is no overall plan and much depends on how local district councils want to encourage surveillances systems. The committee’s plans would have still to be cleared by the executive and city council.
Last year the Czech Republic drew nearly CZK 152 billion more from the European Union than it paid into the bloc, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday. It was the highest such gap since the country joined the EU in May 2004. The Czech Republic drew a total of CZK 157 billion from the union’s Structural and Cohesion Funds, as well as receiving CZK 31 billion under the Common Agricultural Policy. Since its accession the Czech Republic has contributed CZK 429 billion to the EU’s coffers and received CZK 990 billion.
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