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.
Security checks at Prague Castle will remain in place despite protests from tourist agencies, the president’s spokesman Jiri Ovčáček told Czech Television. He said negotiations were underway for new technology which would speed up the security checks to some extent. As of this week all visitors to the Prague Castle compound are asked to undergo security checks by police officers stationed at the gates, which has resulted in long queues forming. Tourist agencies organizing trips to Prague Castle have complained that the delays are causing complications to their sightseeing schedules. Mr. Ovčáček countered that security measures were in place around Europe and visitors should be used to them.
Beefed up security at Prague Castle is leading to long queues, as tourists are forced to wait to have their belongings checked by a ring of police, soldiers and Castle guards. The latest measures, which have just come into effect, are causing major disruptions at one of the Czech Republic’s top tourist sights.
The Czech Interior Ministry has announced a public tender for the development of an anti-drone (or drone-killer) system capable of taking out anonymous drones invading no-fly zones or other restricted areas. The deal, website Ekonomický deník reported, is worth 58 million crowns. To date, the Czech police reportedly do not have a comprehensive system capable of sending rogue drones to the ground.
Brigadier General Jaromír Sebesta took over command of the Czech Air Force on Tuesday. He replaces General Libor Štefanik who held the post for three years. The change of guard took place at a special ceremony at Kbely Military Airport in Prague. The air force has 5,400 pilots who fly Gripen planes, helicopters and CASA transport planes. They serve the country’s defense needs, take part in foreign missions and help out in times of crisis such as floods.
An auction of Prague’s historic Invalidovna complex with a starting price of more 637 million crowns has attracted no bidders. The site was built from 1731 to 1737 to care for war veterans. The tender on the sale was announced in June and drew protest from university academics who warned that the sale and redevelopment of the site could damage its historic value. Invalidovna was used in a number of key scenes in Miloš Forman’s 1984 masterpiece Amadeus.
The mayor of Prague 1 wants to ban the sale of alcohol in the night hours in the historic city centre as a way of curbing excessive drinking in the streets at night. Mayor Lomecky says there has been a significant increase in the number of young foreign tourists who get drunk in the streets and cause a disturbance. The ban would not cover restaurants and bars. There is already a ban on drinking in public in the historic city center, but the mayor says the police do not enforce it sufficiently. A police spokeswoman has rejected the claim.
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