The world premiere of Václav Havel’s first play in two decades is taking place in Prague on Thursday night. Odcházení (Leaving) is being staged at the city’s Archa theatre, after plans to put it on at two other theatres fell through. It was due to feature Mr Havel’s actress wife Dagmar, but she pulled out saying she was overworked. Václav Havel, who is 71, was a world renowned playwright before becoming president of Czechoslovakia in the wake of the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
The president of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, has praised the
Czech Republic’s preparations for its presidency of the European Union in
the first half of next year. Speaking after talks in Prague with the Czech
prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, Mr Barroso said Mr Topolánek had very
clear ideas about the main priorities for the Czech presidency. The
Commission president said the Czech Republic would be heading the EU in a
key period when it was forming new rules on its operation under the Treaty
of Lisbon. Mr Topolánek said he was confident all 27 members would have
ratified the reform document by the end of this year, paving the way for
its implementation during the Czech presidency.
The Portuguese Commission president and Mr Topolánek also discussed the upcoming Euro 2008 football tournament, where their two countries will meet in the group stage. Mr Barroso said the game would feature the two best teams in the world.
The number of children who go missing in the Czech Republic is on the rise, according to figures released by the police. In 2007, 8,696 children went missing – nearly 600 more than in the previous year. There have been rises in the number of minors running away from children’s homes and the number being kidnapped by one of their parents, police said.
The centre of Prague will get up to 150,000 square metres of new retail space in the next five years, Prague 1 councillor Filip Dvořák told reporters on Thursday. Among the projects planned are two shopping centres: Copa, which is due to go up near the Tesco department store on Národní třída; and Savarin, which will be built near the bottom of Wenceslas Square.
The price of diesel in the Czech Republic has reached a record high of CZK 34.03 a litre. There has been an increase of around two crowns a litre since the start of this month. Petrol prices have also been on the rise, though at a slower pace. The increases are due to record oil prices on the world market.
Czech Post says it will attempt to deliver some 25,000 letters found dumped in Břeclav, south Moravia to their addressees, Lidové noviny reported. The company described the dumping of around 40,000 letters and parcels in the town, which was discovered earlier this year, as the greatest scandal in its history. The mail to be delivered will be accompanied by a letter of apology from Czech Post and a gift of stamps worth CZK 100. Over 10,000 of the letters found in Břeclav have been destroyed because they were in such a bad state. Police are still investigating the theft of the mail.
Czechs rank fifth in the European Union in terms of frequency of train travel, according to figures released by the International Union of Railways. The average Czech takes a train 18 times a year; the highest number of journeys per year is in Austria, where on average people use the railways 24 times annually. Czech Rail came ninth in the EU last year in terms of total number of passengers.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, is set to present the English translation of his book Blue, not Green Planet in the US capital Washington next week. Mr Klaus’s book questions received wisdom on mankind being responsible for global warming, a subject he has written and spoken about extensively. While in Washington, the Czech president will also meet the head of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and representatives of leading think tanks.
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech failed to win a European Champions League winner’s medal on Wednesday, when his club Chelsea were beaten by Manchester United in the final in Moscow. Čech, who turned 26 this week, made a couple of fine saves and stopped one penalty during the shoot-out that decided the game in Man United’s favour. The goalie will now join the rest of the Czech squad, who are preparing for the upcoming European Championship.