The Prague council has voted to ban all gaming bars in the city. Some 212 such bars, which contain gambling machines, are to be closed down. Around 100 establishments designated casinos will be allowed to remain in place. The city will cease issuing or extending licenses for gaming bars from the start of January and they will all gradually go out of business. The original motion put forward by the mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, envisaged a reduction in the number of gaming bars allowed in the capital. However, councillors made sweeping changes to her proposal ahead of a vote on Thursday evening.
The historic Prague House at the Golden Ring in Tyn street will come under the administration of the Museum of Prague, the Prague City council decided on Tuesday. It is currently administered by the Prague Gallery. The reason for the change in administration is that the building is to house a permanent exhibition devoted to the life and times of Charles IV which is to open next year on the 700th anniversary of his birth.
Police are reported to have arrested a number of Prague taxi-drivers suspected of overcharging tourists. According to the news site ihned.cz the police had been monitoring them for some time and had collected enough proof against them to press charges. Although Prague taxi-drivers are notorious for ripping off foreign visitors, this is the first time that the police have taken action against them. The state attorney dealing with the case has confirmed the news, but refused to specify how many drivers may be charged.
The European beaver has been spotted for the first time in Prague in 185 years, a “camera trap” run by the Czech University of Life Sciences has revealed. The head of the research team Aleš Vorel confirmed that a lodge built by the animals housed at least one beaver couple. The team will monitor the animals' activities and movement within the city, he said.
Lights on the traditional Christmas tree on Prague’s Old Town Square will be turned on Saturday, City Hall has revealed, but said the exact time would not be given to avoid large crowds. The decision was taken on Monday after a meeting with the emergency services. Last week, the media reported there would be no traditional ceremony at all following the recent attacks in Paris – something which organisers immediately denied.
The Christmas tree that will adorn Prague’s Old Town Square during the festive season was felled by national champion lumberjack Jiří Vorlíček in Česká Lípa, north Bohemia on Sunday. The 23-metre spruce is set to reach the capital on Tuesday. It will be lit on Saturday, marking the launch of the city’s Christmas markets, and remain in place until January 6.
Cardinal Dominik Duka is to celebrate a mass for the president and country at Lány church on Friday evening, the first time that a celebratory mass of this kind will be held there since the state acquired it in 1921.According to the head of Prague Castle Protocol Jindřich Forejt the initiative came from the Catholic Church and was positively received by the Office of the President. Following the mass, which will be attended by President Zeman, he and the Cardinal will dine together at the president’s residence at Lány.
Lukáš Houdek is a man of many activities. The coordinator of the government’s anti-racism Hate Free Culture project, he is also a photographer and curator as well as heading a publishers specialised in Romany literature. Houdek is from furthest West Bohemia and now lives in a village outside the capital. But for many years he called the Smíchov/Prague 5 district home – and it is there we begin our tour of “his Prague” at Cibulka, a rather hidden park.
The foreign ministers of the Višegrad Four and six Balkan states on Friday signed an agreement in Prague on the establishment of a Western Balkans Fund which is to boost regional cooperation. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek who hosted the meeting said the migrant crisis must not destabilise the Balkans since the region’s stability was crucial for the stability of the entire continent. The establishment of a Western Balkans Fund was proposed four year ago by the Czech Republic which is a strong supporter of integrating the Balkans into the EU. The fund, to which all the Višegrad Four states have made a contribution, will be based in Tirana, Albania.
Czech police are facing a major shake-up with the new heads of the Prague, South Bohemia, Plzeň, and Olomouc regions needing to be selected. Some of the changes were already scheduled but some of them have been fast forwarded because of the so-called Vidkun scandal in Olomouc, where police are alleged to have closed their eyes to major cases of corruption. A similar clean out of regional police heads was undertaken by Police president Tomáš Tuhý in April.
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