Prague City Hall has taken steps to regulate busking in the city centre. A new regulation which went into force on Wednesday May 15, clearly stipulates which areas are off limits and where busking is still allowed. The regulation does not apply to Charles Bridge where special rules are in force. City Hall says the regulation was the result of a compromise between Prague residents and street artists. The new regulation also sets down a buskers’ ethical codex, intended to limit noise pollution in residential areas.
The lower house of Parliament has approved an amendment to the road law which should allow drivers to select the numbers on their license plates as of 2015. The special service will come at a price with one license plate to cost 5,000 crowns. The cost per car will thus be 10,000 crowns. The proposed amendment should also simplify the process of registering vehicles. The bill will now go to the Senate.
Public readings from contemporary European literature are taking place in 18 Prague venues tonight. The popular literary event, now in its 7th year, is organized by the network of Czech Cultural Centres in cooperation with European National Institutes for Culture EUNIC. The aim is to provide a platform for contemporary European authors and to present new European literary voices in a creative way. Among the authors whose works will be presented this year at Prague galleries, coffee houses and theatres are Elena Ferrante from Italy and Hungary’s Peter Esterhazy. European Literature Night is held on the eve of the World Book Fair which opens on May 16th in the Czech capital.
The League Against Cancer held its annual Flower Day in the Czech capital on Wednesday to help raise money for cancer research and raise public awareness of the need for prevention. The money raised is used to support the league’s projects, which are focused on the prevention of tumor-related illnesses, improving the quality of life of cancer patients and acquiring new technology for treatment and research departments.
Maintenance work has started on the main runway at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport. From mid-May until the end of September the airport will have to rely on alternate runways. This is the second stage of a three phase-reconstruction due to end in 2014. The airport says it has carefully planned the use of the alternate runaways in order to protect people living in the vicinity of the airport from excessive noise pollution as much as possible. The matter is also being consulted with experts on noise pollution.
A number of international media outlets are carrying video footage of the Czech president staggering in public, with several headlines posing the question of whether he may have been inebriated. The Huffington Post and the websites of the Daily Mail, the Washington Post, USA Today and other newspapers have posted the video, which at one point shows the head of state propping himself up against a wall; it comes from a ceremony last Thursday in which the Czech crown jewels were removed from the vault where they are normally stored. Mr. Zeman had previously been at an event at Prague’s Russian Embassy but denies having been under the influence. A spokesperson said he had contracted a virus.
The Czech Republic’s Jewish Community says expressions of anti-Semitism are growing in the country, mainly on the internet. In an annual report, the community attributed the increase to rising tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the pro-Israeli stance of the Czech government and the fact that Jan Fischer, who is Jewish, stood in presidential elections. However, the report said that anti-Semitism was not common in the Czech Republic and that the number of physical incidents had not increased on recent years. An official said a controversial government bill to return property to churches had also contributed to antipathy towards Jews.
Opponents of church restitution say they will write to Pope Francis to ask him to prevent the return of previously nationalised property to the Czech Roman Catholic Church. The group behind the move, which includes writer Lenka Procházková and documentary maker Václav Dvořák, say they want to get more signatories, effectively turning it into a petition, before sending the letter to Rome. Stop Church Restitution say the return of the property has split Czech society and intensified the despair of the country’s poorest. Around CZK 75 billion in property or financial compensation is being returned to a number of churches.
The trial of influential Prague businessman Roman Janoušek on a charge of attempted murder will begin in July, Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday. Judge Tomáš Kubovec told the newspaper he would allow the media to be present in court for what is likely to be one of the most closely watched cases of the year in the Czech Republic. Mr. Janoušek was arrested last year after knocking down another driver and speeding away in a state of apparent inebriation. The businessman, who is believed to have been close to former Prague mayor Pavel Bém and other politicians, could face up to 18 years in jail if found guilty.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is due to make a two-day visit to Poland at the end of next week, continuing a series of visits to neighbouring states. Mr. Zeman will have a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, on a trip that comes hot on the heels of a visit to Warsaw by the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas. The Czech head of state, who was elected in January, will take part in a meeting of 18 European presidents in Bratislava next month, while he is also expected to travel to Germany and to visit Czech troops in Afghanistan later this year.
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