Two former mayors of Prague were handed suspended prison sentences and fines by the Prague Municipal Court on Thursday for their part in managing the city’s controversial multipurpose transport pass Opencard. The ruling, which will now be subject to appeals, is the latest chapter in a highly-publicized case going back a decade.
The planned renovation of the lower part of Wenceslas Square is due to begin next year, according to Prague City Hall representatives. The winning project of the architectural competition held in 2005 envisages fewer cars, more greenery, fountains, broader sidewalks and more street cafés. The cost of the phased-out renovation is estimated at 150 million crowns.
The Supreme Administrative Court has issued a ruling that could close the busy south-western section of the Prague ring road and affect other roads that have not yet received final building approval, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. The court upheld a complaint from locals who protested against the length of the trial operation on the south-western section of the Prague ring road, with appropriate noise barriers still not in place, ruling that a trial operation longer than three years was excessive. The south-western section of the Prague ring road went into operation in 2010 and still lacks final building approval due to a number of serious technical defects. The Road Management Authority is currently reviewing the impact of the ruling on this and other roads.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev is expected to arrive in Prague on Monday for a two-day official visit. His talks with President Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka are expected to focus on European security, the migrant crisis and bilateral cooperation. The migrant crisis is a particularly sensitive issue in Bulgaria since the country borders on Turkey and would be strongly impacted in the event of an uncoordinated migrant exodus to Western Europe. President Plevneliev will also meet with the speakers of the upper and lower houses of Parliament and be given a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral. The last visit by a Bulgarian head of state to the Czech Republic was in 2009 by then president Georgi Parvanov.
The Prague-based company Homeport, which is operating successful bike sharing schemes all around the world, including Great Britain, France or Saudi Arabia, is planning to launch its services in Prague. The company wants to take part in a public tender for bike sharing operators, which should be announced by Prague City Hall by the end of the year. Apart from traditional bikes, Homeport would also like to introduce electric bikes, which they believe are the best solution for Prague’s hilly terrain.
Long queues have been forming at Prague Castle recently after security was beefed up at the popular tourist site. Now it has been intensified further with the introduction of walk-through metal detectors. Officials say the measure protects visitors, though critics say less obtrusive approaches could be taken.
Responding to the introduction of airport-style metal detectors at Prague Castle on Tuesday, the honorary head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg, said that the institution was more closed today than it was under Gustav Husák, the last Communist president of Czechoslovakia. Mr. Schwarzenberg, who was chancellor to President Václav Havel and was defeated in the last presidential election by Miloš Zeman, said he recalled the joy with which Mr. Havel had opened Prague Castle to the public in the 1990s. He made the comments at an event launching the policy programme of TOP 09 ahead of regional and Senate elections later this year.
Airport-style walk-through metal detectors have been installed at Prague Castle. Some weeks after security checks at the popular tourist site were stepped up, two such metal detectors were installed on Tuesday at the entrance to the castle’s First Courtyard from the main square. There is no other way into that part of the complex and queues have grown longer at Prague Castle, Czech Television reported. President Miloš Zeman says he believes his residence is a potential terrorist target. Tour operators say the checks have led to very long lines of visitors.
Pavel Fuksa is a highly respected graphic designer and creative director who this week, together with City Hall, unveiled new posters addressing various changes in the capital, including the sidewalk ban on Segways. Fuksa has worked everywhere from Japan to the Middle East and in 2012 he was included on a list of the 20 Best Young Graphic Designers by Computer Arts. He has also done work for the Obama administration, as you’ll find out.
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