Anyone who has been to Prague is extremely likely to have seen some of the work of artist Jiří Votruba. Posters, postcards and t-shirts bearing his distinctive brightly-coloured images of Franz Kafka, the Golem, and Prague landmarks are on sale throughout the city. Indeed, they themselves help form the image of the Czech capital for many visitors.
The inspectorate of the Czech security forces found that Saturday’s controversial response by Prague municipal police to an incident at the Anděl intersection was adequate. The incident involved several municipal police officers who tackled a pair of homeless people for were drinking alcohol at a tram stop. An onlooker who thought they used excessive force intervened and the officers used a pepper spray against him before they handcuffed him and took him away. The inspectorate said they only error the officers committed was the use of pepper spray.
Many Czechs today consider the First Czechoslovak Republic a golden age in the turbulent 20th century. The country, which existed between the two world wars, is seen as the first free state of Czechs and Slovaks after centuries of Austrian rule, and one of Europe’s few democratic states of the time. But its reality, its values and conflicts often escape the popular understanding of the era. One of the First Republic’s outstanding personalities was the army general and writer Rudolf Medek who embodied some of the values of the time. In this edition
The Czech Republic’s main international airport has been officially renamed after the late president Václav Havel. A special ceremony for the unveiling of Václav Havel Airport Prague (Letiště Václava Havla Praha in Czech) took place at noon on Friday - the 76th anniversary of the former-president’s birthday - in the presence of numerous politicians, celebrities and members of the public. An exhibition of news agency photographs of Mr Havel was also opened, with a parallel exhibit to be made in London. The idea to rename the airport after the last Czechoslovak and first Czech president’s was launched in the days following his death last December, and was petitioned by tens of thousands of people. Outside the Czech Republic, a library in Paris, a building of the European Parliament and several streets in Poland have been renamed in honour of the statesman and champion of human rights and liberty.
Planes bound for Prague will no longer be landing at Ruzyně Airport; at midday Friday the airport was officially renamed Letiště Václava Havla Praha, or Václav Havel Airport Prague at a lavish ceremony in Terminal 2. Some 80,000 people signed a petition organised by the film producer Fero Fenič to rename the airport to honour the late former president, who died in December.
The Czech NGO Drop-In, which helps drug addicts fighting addiction, has cancelled a facility which had provided methadone for heroin users. The substance acts as a replacement for heroin, gradually reducing dependence. Drop-In had a centre on wheels – a bus – which provided the synthetic opiod for hundreds of users each day near Prague’s main station. But the project, only a month old, was opposed by Czech Railways as well as holders of the station’s lease.
Prague’s metro line A will be out of service throughout the upcoming extended weekend. The entire length of the “green line” from Depo Hostivař to Dejvice will be closed while switches are changed in the Náměstí Míru and Dejvická stations. The closure was planned for a period when many Praguers will be out of town, but will nonetheless affect an estimated 50,000 people. Special tram and bus lines will be in place, including an X-A tram line which will mirror the metro line.
The heads of the Prague transit authority are to meet on Monday to discuss the selection of the new director. The former head of the Public Transport Company (DPP), Vladimír Lich, was unexpectedly sacked in mid-August and was replaced by interim director Magdalena Češková. Neither Lich nor Češková are expected to be reappointed. DPP is the largest company controlled by Prague City Hall. The selection committee for the new chief will be made up of city hall and company representatives.
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