Britain’s Prince Charles has begun a four-day visit to the Czech Republic. The prince’s first port of call on Saturday afternoon was Prague Castle, where he and his wife Camilla were received by the Czech president, Václav Klaus, and his wife Livia. The heir to the British throne also visited the Church of SS Cyril and Methodius, where British-trained Czechoslovak paratroopers met their deaths weeks after assassinating the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia in 1942. On Sunday, he will attend an English language service at a Prague church and a performance of Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre. Prince Charles and his wife will then travel to Moravia on Monday, before ending their stay on Tuesday with a meeting with former Czech president Václav Havel and a visit to Prague’s English College secondary school.
Former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek has reacted angrily to the publication of off the record comments he made during a photo shoot for a gay magazine. The website blesk.cz posted a video recording from the photo session in which the Civic Democrats chairman says the Church brainwashed its followers and made idiots out of the masses. Mr Topolánek said he resented the fact than an informal interview had been made public, saying he had actually proclaimed strong links to Christianity. He said he had not wished to offend either the contemporary Church or worshippers. The photos were being taken to accompany an interview Mr Topolánek gave to the gay magazine LUI.
Václav Havel is due to receive a state honour from the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, on a two-day visit to the former Soviet state next week. In the past Mr Saakashvili has praised the former Czech president for his condemnation of Russia’s role in an armed conflict between the two countries in August 2008. At that time Mr Havel called on the European Union to declare Russia the aggressor.
The authorities in Prague are considering limiting ads on construction sites in the city’s historic centre. Councillors have just approved an amendment tightening the rules on advertising which will now be discussed by officials in the districts of the capital as well as other concerned bodies. They said they disapproved of the fact that huge ads sometimes simply cover up the poor state of buildings and hide the fact that repair work is not being carried out. The mayor of Prague 1, Filip Dvořák, said currently owners are allowed to place ads on building fronts for the period in which planning permission is valid, but some had abused the system.
While flat prices in the Czech Republic have been hit by the financial crisis, the value of sites in many parts of the country has risen considerably since 2007, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The newspaper said the price of parcels of land in several regions, including Prague, had increased by 20 to 30 percent in the space of two couple of years. Values have risen most in the case of well positioned sites intended for the construction of offices and commercial centres. By contrast, values have fallen when it comes to land intended for large apartment complexes and industrial and logistics buildings, a real estate expert told the daily.
The Brno theatre Divadlo Husa na provázku is putting on the first public performance of a previously unknown play by Václav Havel on Saturday, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The play Prase (Pig) is about a playwright named Václav Havel who attempts to secure a pig for a zabijačka, or pig-killing. However, the local villagers, who are dressed in traditional folk costumes, will only sell the animal for a highly inflated price. The play is believed to be from 1987, two years before Mr Havel led the Velvet Revolution, which overthrew communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Prase will get its official premiere at Divadlo Husa na provázku in June.
The ice hockey goaltender Tomáš Vokoun has said that he will play for the Czech Republic in May’s World Championship in Germany. Vokoun, who is 33, had previously said February’s Olympic Games in Vancouver would be his last international tournament. The goalie said he wanted to help coach Vladimír Růžička and the whole of Czech hockey. By contrast, forward Jiří Hudler, who was left out of the squad for Vancouver, has said he would turn down a call-up for the World Championship.
The Czech cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer finished third in the 20-kilometre pursuit in the final of the World Cup Sweden’s Falun on Saturday. Bauer, who took two bronze medals at the Winter Olympics this year, finished behind Norway’s Petter Northug and Tobias Angerer of Germany. The 32-year-old will compete in the 15-kilometre freestyle in Falun on Sunday.
The Czech football coach Vítězslav Lavička has led Sydney FC to victory in the grand final of Australia’s A-League. Lavička, who took the helm at Sydney last year, saw his charges beat Melbourne Victory 4-2 on penalties to add the championship to the premiership they won on the last day of the regular season. He had previously managed a number of clubs in the Czech league, including two stints at Sparta Prague.
Winter in the Czech Republic is definitely over, according to a monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute. Temperatures are set to reach between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius during the next week, though they may even exceed 20 degrees, the country’s forecasters say. Rain and showers are also expected. Czechs have experienced a relatively long and cold winter, with the capital Prague seeing its highest snowfalls in 30 years.