Prague’s regional court has announced that property belonging to 36-year-old Marek P. – the “mystery Czech” who was found in Oslo last December suffering severe loss of memory - will be catalogued and sold to pay for the man’s outstanding debts, a total of around 3.3 million crowns. A custodian, representing Marek P. in court, said the Czech national’s whereabouts were unknown, remaining a secret even to the man’s parents. In the past, Marek P. expressed fear for his life after allegedly being held against his will last year and possibly suffering sexual abuse. He made clear he would leave the Czech Republic as soon as possible after getting his papers in order. If the court proves unable to find and sell off property to cover what he owes, the debts will stand and increase due to interest.
The recent cold spell has finally brought snow to the Czech Republic, to the joy of children who are currently enjoying their Christmas holidays. For the homeless, however, freezing weather presents a serious threat, especially at night, when temperatures drop far below zero. City halls and charities around the country have started securing various forms of temporary shelters where the homeless can survive the cold.
Thousands of young Christians from more than 60 countries are arriving in the Czech capital to take part in a European meet-up organized by the Taizé ecumenical community. It is the second time in 24 years the event is being held in Prague; organisers expect up to 30,000 visitors. A first communal prayer is to be held on Monday night. Upcoming programmes include workshops focusing on spirituality, understanding across religions, the legacy of religious reformer Jan Hus, the Battle of the White Mountain, as well as the issues of solidarity, minorities and palliative care.
The country’s Supreme Audit Office has found shortcomings in how Prague used EU funds drawn in the years 2007 – 2013. Improperly accounted for are several million crowns from an operational programme called Prague – Competitiveness, the bureau’s spokeswoman Olga Málková said on Monday. The probe launched by the office covered 17 projects worth a total of one billion crowns, which were divided among 12 recipients. The funds made up 19 percent of the total spent within the operational programme, the Czech News Agency said. The district of Prague 11, for example, received more than 33 million crowns for the revitalization of city parks but was unable to provide documentation for how more than 10 million were spent. Other shortcomings were found in other areas; a spokeswoman for the city said steps would be taken to avoid similar developments in the future.
Prague City Tourism is preparing to conduct an extensive three-year survey among tourists to Prague to find out why they chose to spend time in the Czech Republic and the level of satisfaction with services offered. The agency plans to address some 1,500 visitors from different countries twice a year. According to the agency’s spokeswoman Prague City Tourism needs more comprehensive data about visitors to Prague in order to attract more tourists and improve services. At present it relies on information provided by the Czech Statistics Office.
A man who set himself on fire in central Prague on Tuesday night has died of his injuries, a spokesman for the Vinohrady hospital in the capital said. The man, who was 56, doused himself in a flammable liquid and set himself alight at the top of Wenceslas Square shortly before midnight. Passers-by attempted to put out the flames with jackets before a fire extinguisher was found. He was taken to hospital with severe burns where he died on Wednesday night. A spokesperson for the police said the man had been on day-release from a Prague 8 mental hospital but had not returned in the evening.
A court of appeals in Prague on Wednesday sentenced the former head of Prague City Hall’s IT department, Ivan Seyček, to 3.5 years in prison over his role in the controversial Opencard project. Mr Seyček, had been found guilty of manipulating the selections procedure for a smart card in favour of the firm Haguess, despite the fact the company failed the meet the city hall’s requirements. In February, a lower court handed Mr Seyček a conditional sentence. The court of appeals confirmed a conditional sentence for another former city hall official. Some 1.2 million people in Prague use Opencard as a public transport pass; the massively overpriced project has cost the city around 1.35 billion crowns.
Leader of local indie pioneers The Ecstasy of St. Theresa and a successful composer of film scores, Jan P. Muchow is one of the most respected musicians and producers in the Czech Republic. He calls the now-hip Vršovice district home but works in the nearby Vinohrady. And we begin our tour of “Jan Muchow’s Prague” on the latter’s Jiřího z Poděbrad square, just around the corner from his relatively new studio.
Rachael Weiss is an Australian author with Czech roots, who has just published her second book about Prague, based on her own experience of living in the Czech capital. The memoir, called The Thing about Prague, is chock-full of entertaining stories about how she went about looking for a job, finding an apartment and trying to blend in with Czechs. On the occasion of the book launch, I asked Rachael Weiss what made her write yet another book dedicated to Prague:
Renowned Czech singer Hana Hegerová is in hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack on Thursday; the 83-year-old, who retired from show business three years ago, is in an induced coma at the General Teaching Hospital in Prague, a spokesman confirmed. He was not at liberty to reveal further details. Hana Hegerová is best-known for chansons; she worked closely with composer Petr Hapka, who died at the end of November at the age of 70 and was laid to rest on Thursday.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
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Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s