Prague City Hall will demand an apology from the National Geographic Channel over a report which officials say harmed the city’s reputation. The TV channel ran a story about Prague last November as part of its Scam City series. It showed the Czech capital as a haven of crime, drugs and prostitution. However, the Czech police probed some of the allegations shown in the report, and found the documentary was fake and manipulated. Prague councillor Lukáš Manhart told the news website idnes.cz on Friday the City Hall would ask the TV channel to provide an explanation and an apology in the form of a new report. He said the city would consider taking legal measures if the station refuses to deal with the issue.
The annual multi-discipline and multi-venue contemporary art festival called 4+4 Days in Motion begins in Prague this Friday. Now in its 18th year, the festival looks at some of the controversial and problematic topics surrounding the modern city, through dance and theater performances, an exhibition, public lectures and discussions. In today’s Arts, we speak to the festival’s producer, Markéta Černá, who talked about why they chose a vacant palace, situated on Wenceslas Square, as the main venue.
A chemical analysis of wastewater in ten regions has detected traces of different drugs that are used in different areas of the country. Plzen showed higher levels of heroin, Prague higher levels of cocaine, Brno the party drug ecstasy and Usti nad Labem and Ostrava crystal methamphetamine. The head of the research team Lubor Hruska said he was surprised by the clear-cut distinctions. It is the first study of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Prague City Hall has approved plans to build a new metro line in the capital which should serve the city’s southern districts. The cost of the projected new D line is estimated at 25 billion crowns or more. If Prague secures EU funding for the project, construction could start in 2017 and the line would open five years later.
Prague councillors have approved a plan to build a new “D” line on the city’s metro system. The first part of the line, from Pankrác station to a depot in Písnice, will be 10 kilometres in length. The project will cost just under CZK 25 billion, which City Hall hopes to obtain from EU funds. It is unlikely to be completed before 2022. Construction work is currently underway to extend the A line from Dejvická station to Motol; the new stretch should open next year.
The police organized crime unit inspected the Real Estate Division of the Prague 11 town hall. Although the police spokesperson confirmed that they have secured a number of documents, he was unable to give more details about the purpose of the inspection or the nature of the documents. The town hall also gave no further details, and even the opposition council members have told the press that they do not know what the police may be investigating. The opposition has criticized the town hall administration a number of times in the past for financial mismanagement.
The National Theater in Prague has announced that it will present a special international project called 1914 on 30 April of next year to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One. The play will be directed by the American director Robert Wilson and the script was inspired above all by Jaroslav Hašek’s novel The Good Soldier Švejk and the satirical play The Last Days of Mankind by the Bohemian born writer Karl Kraus. The creative team of the project also includes theater professionals from Slovakia and Hungary. The first round of rehearsals, which began in mid-September, will conclude this week, while the second round will take place next spring.
A Czech Airlines plane flying from Budapest to Prague returned to Ferenc Liszt Airport shortly after takeoff on Wednesday morning. The pilot decided to turn the ATR-72 aircraft around after smoke was noticed onboard. The Hungarian media reported that a long smoke trail was seen behind the airplane as well. According to a Czech Airlines spokesman, one of the plane’s engines had caught fire. All 33 passengers and four crew members disembarked from the plane safely and without any injuries.
Difficult times lie ahead for the Prague Public Transport Company. The largest municipally-owned firm in the country is in massive debt, and hamstrung with huge contracts virtually impossible to cancel. Its new director, appointed earlier this week, is faced with the challenging task of increasing the company’s revenues and cutting costs while maintaining its operations and keeping the prospect of privatization at bay.
Historians believe that they have found a fragment of the last surviving holy relic of the Czech patron saint Václav, or Wenceslaus. According to the curator of the Prague Castle collections, Milena Bravermanová, a small gilded cross made of iron netting, which is currently on the Saint Jiří gonfalon, was most likely part of St. Václav’s banner. The technique used to make the cross is almost identical to the one that was used to make the Prince of Bohemia’s armor, which Czech scientists have been examining for the past few years. Saturday is a state holiday that marks the anniversary of Václav’s death in 935, when he was allegedly stabbed by his brother Boleslav.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events