News Mayor: Prague to take over running of Opencard from current operator

13-06-2014 08:50 | Ian Willoughby

Prague plans to take over operation of the Opencard electronic card system from the middle of this month, Mayor Tomáš Hudeček told the Czech News Agency. City Hall has been locked in a dispute with the company eMoneyServices over the figures quoted by the latter for extending a service contract for the Opencard, which is used for public transport and other services. Mr. Hudeček said Prague would begin operating the Opencard itself once its current contracts end with eMoneyServices; it holds the copyright on the system but could not be contacted by the Czech News Agency on Thursday. The Opencard cost CZK 1.35 billion to implement and has been mired in controversy.

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Pilot killed in helicopter crash

29-03-2015 18:48 | Daniela Lazarová

A helicopter crashed in the Modrava region in the Šumava Mountains on Sunday, the ctk news agency reported. The pilot is reported to have been killed on impact. The helicopter was a privately owned aircraft, a one-seat Raven II Robinson. Police and flight inspectors are at the site of the accident and the area has been closed off. The cause of the accident is still unclear. 

Czech women released from captivity getting medical care

29-03-2015 16:25 | Daniela Lazarová

The two Czech women who were released on Friday after spending two years in captivity are undergoing medical tests and are in the care of a psychiatrist, Czech Television reported on Sunday. According to Czech officials the young women were housed at a secret location and given heightened security in order to protect them from excessive media interest and give them time to recover from the ordeal in a safe environment. They have reportedly met with family members, who have also refused to speak to the press. The Czech prime minister has asked the media to respect the girls and their family’s privacy.

Hana Humpálová and Antonie Chrástecká were 24 when they were kidnapped in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan by a group of unidentified gunmen who took them off a bus. They were released thanks to the efforts of the Turkish NGO IHH. Neither the NGO nor the Czech authorities have released any details regarding who their captors were or where they spent the last two years. 

Cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček dies at 80

29-03-2015 14:14 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček, who cooperated on Ragtime and Amadeus with Czech-born director Milos Forman, has died at the age of 80, the ctk news agency reports. In the course of his career Ondříček worked on about forty feature films of various genres, over a dozen of which were shot in the USA. His best known films include Forman’s Ragtime and Amadeus for which he received Oscar nominations. He also made Slaughterhouse-Five with George Roy Hill and worked on the adaptation of John Irving's novel The World According to Garp (1982) also directed by Hill. In 1983, Ondříček collaborated with Mike Nichols on the film Silkwood with Meryl Streep. In the 1990s, he cooperated with U.S. director Penny Mashall on Awakenings (1990) with Robert de Niro and a comedy on the woman's baseball league during World War Two, A League of Their Own (1992). In 2004, Ondříček received the American Society of Cinematographers’ International Achievement Award in Los Angeles. 

US convoy crossing Czech Republic

29-03-2015 12:14 | Daniela Lazarová

The 120 vehicle strong US military convoy, which is crossing six countries on its way back from operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states, is now travelling through the Czech Republic. The convoy, made up largely of the eight-wheeled armoured combat vehicles Strykers and Humvees crossed the Czech-Polish border after 10 am on Sunday and is heading for the towns of Výskov, Pardubice and Liberec where the approximately 500 US troops will spend the night at the Czech army’s military barracks. The convoy which is to demonstrate NATO unity and US commitment to stability in Europe, will spend four days in the Czech Republic before heading for its home base in Bavaria. Both supporters and protesters are expected to line parts of the route but, according to a recent survey 82 percent of Czechs said they have no problem with the convoy passing through. 

2015 Thalia Awards handed out in Prague

29-03-2015 12:01 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech actress Blanka Bohdanová,85, received a lifetime achievement award for her work in the theatre at the 2015 Thalia Awards held in Prague on Saturday night. Bohdanová has starred in over 80 roles at Prague’s prestigious National Theatre in a career spanning over half a century. Others awarded were singer and actor Josef Zima for his lifelong contribution to the operetta and musical and Blanka Josephova Lunakova for her lifelong contribution to puppetry. Vilma Cibulková picked up an award for the title role in Leni, ballet dancer Tereza Podařilová was awarded for her role in Valmont at the National Theatre and Hana Fialová for the lead role in the musical Edith Piaf. 

Czechs mark Earth Hour

29-03-2015 11:40 | Daniela Lazarová

Czechs joined millions of people around the globe in turning off their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm local time in a symbolic show of support for the Earth Hour campaign against climate change. Earth Hour dimmed some of Prague’s best known landmarks including Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square or the Žižkov TV tower. Prague and other cities around the Czech Republic first marked Earth Hour in 2012. More than 160 countries participated in the event last year 

Euro 2016 qualifier:Czechs score late goal to salvage 1-1 draw against Latvia

29-03-2015 11:32 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic snatched a 1-1 draw at home to Latvia thanks to a 90th minute Vaclav Pilar goal in their Euro 2016 qualifier to stay top of Group A on Saturday. The Czechs, who had started the day three points clear at the top, are now just one ahead of Iceland after they took a 3-0 victory against Kazakhstan in Astana. Coach Pavel Vrba said the result at home against a team that has yet to win was disappointing. 

Castles and chateaux open for the tourist season

28-03-2015 18:01 | Daniela Lazarová

Some of the country’s most popular castles and chateaux opened their doors to the public this weekend, marking the start of the tourist season. Among them are Karlšejn, Křivoklát and Konopište, which annually attract over half a million visitors. Prague Castle also opened its doors to visitors this weekend. The country’s other historical attractions are due to open the season on April 1st or the long Easter weekend with price cuts and special events for visitors. 

US convoy expected to cross Polish-Czech border after 10 am on Sunday

28-03-2015 17:11 | Daniela Lazarová

The 120 vehicle strong US military convoy, which is expected to cross Czech territory on its way back to Germany from a NATO military exercise in the Baltic states, is due to arrive at the Polish-Czech border at around 10 .30 am on Sunday. The convoy, which is travelling through six NATO member states to demonstrate NATO unity and US commitment to stability in Europe, will spend four days in the Czech Republic before heading for its home base in Bavaria. It is expected to meet both with supporters and opponents who disapprove of what they describe as NATO muscle-flexing on Czech territory. On the eve of its arrival several hundred people gathered on Wenceslas Square to air their views. Protesters, largely communist party sympathizers, mingled with supporters carrying US flags and the two comps engaged in heated verbal disputes. The police was out in force to keep the demonstrations under control. According to a recent poll 82 percent of Czechs have no problem with the convoy passing through and Czech politicians have repeatedly stressed that the US convoy is an allied force, not a foreign army. 

Kenyan runner wins Prague Half Marathon

28-03-2015 16:31 updated | Daniela Lazarová

The winner of the 2015 Prague Half Marathon is Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru from Kenya who covered the 21 km distance in 59 minutes 51 seconds. The first woman to reach the finishing line was Worknesh Degefao who covered the track in 1:07:14. Over 12,000 participants from around the world took part. The Prague Half Marathon holds IAAF Gold Label Road Race status and is managed by the same organization that holds the Prague Marathon in May. 

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