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12-09-2017

Germany’s President Steinmeier makes first Prague visit

The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made his first official to Prague on Tuesday. After being welcomed at Prague Castle with full military honours by Miloš Zeman, Mr. Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart discussed a range of issues, including refugees.

Mr. Zeman reiterated his opposition to the Czech Republic being forced to take in migrants by the European Union, while Mr. Steinmeier said it was important that the European Court’s ruling on the matter be respected.

In what was a brief meeting, the two heads of state also spoke about business cooperation between their two states, transport infrastructure and the UK’s planned exit from the European Union

Court acknowledges right to property confiscated after WWII

A district court has acknowledged the right of aristocrat Karel des Fours Walderode to property confiscated on the basis of the Beneš decrees in the post-war period. His wife is fighting to regain control of assets in north Bohemia valued at around CZK 3 billion.

The judge at the court in Semily issued a preliminary ruling on Tuesday. If it is upheld and does not face legal challenges, hearings can take place regarding around 1,400 individual properties.

Due to his German nationality des Fours Walderode lost his property in 1946 under the Beneš decrees. The family had their Czechoslovak citizenship returned the following year but the Communists took power before the assets could be returned. After emigrating in 1948 the aristocrat lost his citizenship again.

Landing plane at Prague airport switched to other runway over drone

Controllers at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport on Tuesday diverted a landing plane onto a back-up runway due to the presence of a drone, iDnes.cz reported.

The pilot, who was flying from Switzerland, was forced to circle Prague and come in to land for a second time because the unmanned aerial vehicle was flying above the originally planned runway, the news website said.

The police sent a helicopter to monitor the situation but when officers arrived the drone had gone. Twenty flights were affected by the brief closure of the airport in connection with the alert.

Hundreds of clients of collapsed travel agencies abroad

Over 1,000 clients have been affected by the collapse of the travel agencies Azur Reizen and Maxi Reisen. The firms currently have 450 tourists abroad, according to CPP, the insurance company with which the two have indemnity against bankruptcy. Some 550 more clients have paid for trips with the two agencies.

Azur Reizen announced on Monday that it had gone bust after 21 years in business. CPP said it was working to ensure the return of the tourists abroad as soon as possible.

Capital’s Congress Centre set for overhaul

Prague’s Congress Centre is to get a major makeover. The Spanish architecture studio OCA won a competition to design to overhaul of the large building, which looks across the Nusle valley to the city’s New Town.

The project will cost hundreds of millions of crowns and should begin in three years’ time. Prague’s mayor, Adriana Krnáčová, said the Congress Centre had been frequently criticised in the past for its not particularly sexy appearance and that it had not been easy to pick a winner in the competition to redesign it.

Prague theatre group stages Alexievich’s Secondhand Time

A dramatisation of Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by the Belarus-born Svetlana Alexievich gets its premiere in Prague on Tuesday evening. The piece has been created by the Spitfire Company and is being performed at the Jatka 78 venue.

Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2015 for her groundbreaking work recording the testimonies of people in the former Soviet Union. The production of Secondhand Time marks 10 years of existence for the experimental Spitfire Group.

Weather forecast

It should be rainy in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 19 degrees Celsius expected. Apart from Friday, which ought to be clear, the rain is likely to persist for several days.

12-09-2017