Menzies Aviation has installed almost 900 solar panels on its 14,000m2 cargo facility and a neighboring administrative building at Prague Airport – which will reportedly save almost 140 tons of CO2 each year.

The panels are set to produce more than 350MWh annually and reduce emissions across Menzies’ Prague operations by 25%.

Electricity being generated by the solar panels is being used to power operations at the warehouse and charge Menzies’ fleet of electric ground support equipment.

Katy Reid, head of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Menzies Aviation, said: “Building a fair and sustainable future is a key priority for Menzies, which is why we’re working hard to achieve the ambitious targets set out in our All In sustainability plan. The installation of nearly 900 solar panels at Prague Airport is just one example of how we’re matching our ambition with action by taking practical steps to slash emissions and meet our net zero targets.”

Soňa Hykyšová, sustainability, environment and ESG director at Prague Airport, added, “We are glad that Menzies Aviation is also trying to reduce emissions and, like Prague Airport, is committed to net carbon neutrality. Last year, we achieved a 59.5% reduction in emissions compared with 2009. We expect to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 and net carbon neutrality by 2050.”

“However, we know that the road ahead is not easy. Roughly 85% of emissions are generated by third parties – i.e. our suppliers and airlines. Therefore, we also motivate them to reduce emissions, for example, by offering green electricity. We are also active in this direction and plan to expand the use of photovoltaic panels on more suitable buildings at the airport.”

Residents of Prague 5 have raised concerns about the presence of drug users in certain areas. In response, the district plans to deploy trained outreach workers starting in April to address potential issues and offer support.

Prague 5 Mayor Radka Šimková (Praha Sobě) announced the initiative, highlighting the need for “professionals with the necessary training to communicate with drug users, de-escalate tense situations, and assess the need for further intervention, such as medical attention or social services.”

The district will issue a tender seeking organizations with relevant experience to provide at least two workers, with the possibility for more depending on proposals.

The program will initially focus on Na Skalce Park in Smíchov and Husovy Sady in Košíře, areas identified as experiencing an increased presence of drug users. However, the initiative remains flexible, with Šimková stating,

“We have conditions that allow us to change locations as needed to address emerging concerns.” Residents of Barrandov have also recently voiced concerns, and the program may expand to include their community.

Beyond engaging with drug users and offering support, the outreach workers will also monitor public order and address cleanliness concerns. Depending on their training, they may alert authorities to discarded needles and syringes or dispose of them safely themselves.

The initiative comes amid ongoing discussions about Prague’s broader approach to drug use.

Last year, Prague 5 closed a contact center for drug users on Mahenova Street, leaving only the Sananim center on Na Skalce Street and the controversial substitution treatment clinic on Bieblova Street operational in the district.

Experts have long emphasized the importance of accessible and evenly distributed contact centers offering harm reduction services, including injection equipment exchange and medical or psychological help. Since 2009, several such centers in Prague have closed, leaving only two operational.

However, there is hope for change. The current city hall coalition has appointed former mayor and addiction specialist Pavel Bem (ODS) to lead the commission on tackling drug-related challenges, and he is actively seeking new locations to expand the network and improve accessibility across the city.

In 2023, the Czech Republic witnessed a record-breaking 277,000 self-employed individuals terminating their businesses, marking the highest number since 1993, according to data from Imper.

The trend is attributed to economic uncertainties, escalating costs and increased administrative requirements such as mandatory data boxes.

Despite 68,000 entrepreneurs registering anew, mirroring the figures from 2022, the overall termination of businesses reflects a challenging economic environment.

Last year, 14,000 limited liability companies and 4,703 foreign individuals ceased to exist. Associations that ceased to exist were 3,424, and individuals engaged in agriculture also significantly felt the impact with 2,836 entities ending their activities, a notable increase from 812 in 2022

The termination of businesses in 2023 almost matched the previous record set in 1993 when over 278,000 self-employed individuals ended their businesses.

Factors contributing to this record include the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the legislative prohibition of the “black system,” effective from that year onwards. Throughout the years, the number of terminated businesses varied in the tens of thousands, with exceptions like 2013 when nearly 150,000 self-employed individuals ceased their activities and the post-COVID year 2022.

Tomáš Berger, the director of Imper, pointed out that the peak termination of activities occurred during February and March, coinciding with the introduction of the new obligation of the data box by the state.

This requirement likely served as a significant factor prompting many self-employed individuals to definitively terminate their activities.

Challenges were particularly notable in the restaurant sector with almost 22,000 closures, a significant surge from the previous year’s 6,209 closures. Masonry and locksmithing/toolmaking also experienced notable closures.

While January, was the preferred month to establish new companies, with 115,000 founded in total, entrepreneurs initiated businesses relatively evenly throughout the year.

Prague saw the highest number of new companies, followed by Brno and Ostrava, while Pardubice, Hradec Králové and Ústí nad Labem recorded fewer new businesses.

The breakdown of newly established companies showed that nearly 60 percent were self-employed individuals, followed by 24 percent limited liability companies, similar to the figures from 2022. Associations, communities of unit owners, joint-stock companies and endowment funds were also among the newly formed entities.

Jan Palach Square in Prague could go under a possible transformation. Architects Králíček and Makarov are proposing modernization with an emphasis on history and the memory of the victims.

The main feature will be a 30-meter-high pylon and a memorial site. The new space will connect the past with the future architecture.

A Challenge Beneath

The challenge faced in implementing square modifications stems from underground garages beneath the square, a result of the successful Rudolfinum reconstruction in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Negotiations with private owners are underway to reclaim the square’s central space.

Greenery and Traffic Design

The square’s traffic design envisions reducing car traffic density on Křižovnická Street by implementing charges on passage through Smetana Embankment. This move aims to enhance spatial comfort for pedestrians and promote mass rail and bus transport at the Old Town tram stops.

A Universally Usable Space

Architects envision Jan Palach Square as a universally usable paved area featuring the central pylon for the national flag, a water feature, and a new monument to Antonín Dvořák in front of the Rudolfinum’s entrance facade. This transformation would replace a 1950s unrealized monument, currently standing in front of the Rudolfinum since the 1990s.

 

The square is named after Jan Palach, a student of the nearby Faculty of Arts, who immolated himself in January 1969 in protest of the 1968 Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia.

In the southern part of the square stand John Hejduk’s sculptures, the House of the Suicide and the House of the Mother of the Suicide, both in memory of Palach’s brave, albeit tragic act.

It is a historical paradox that the old name of the square – Krasnoarmějců Square – also referred to the arrival of the Soviet army. This though, was an arrival under very different circumstances. The Soviet army helped liberate Prague from the Nazis in 1945.

The name had a symbolic value because during the course of the fighting, the square served as a provisional burial ground for fallen Soviet troops.

So the unwelcome Soviet “brotherly help” in August 1968 not only quashed all hope of the democratization of the Czechoslovak society, but forever discredited the esteem in which Czech society held the Soviet army thanks to the liberation.

IMC Music Club in Česká Skalice, has stirred controversy by imposing a ban on Ukrainians from entering their establishment, citing alleged conflicts and damage incidents.

The club’s operators claim that Ukrainians often engage in fights and have caused damage to the club’s facilities. However, the police report no such conflicts related to Ukrainians at the club.

The ban has prompted a debate with voices both in favor and against such a move. The club operators announced the decision on their Facebook profile, stating that they were forced to implement the ban universally for all Ukrainians after multiple warnings and entry bans due to inappropriate behavior.

The police spokesperson, Eva Prachařová, stated that the Czech Republic police have not recorded any conflicts involving Ukrainians in connection with the club and are not currently taking any action on the matter.

The Czech Trade Inspection is set to address the situation and spokesperson František Kotrba suggests that the ban may constitute discrimination.

The Inspectorate for the Hradec Králové and Pardubice regions has received several submissions on the matter and will investigate promptly.

Critics question the club’s ability to verify the nationality of those entering and former mayor and organizer of major festivals, Petr Fejfar, expresses skepticism, drawing parallels to past restrictions.

The method of enforcing the ban remains unclear, raising concerns about potential discrimination based on accents or identification checks.

The club is located near the Česká Skalice train station, opened in October and has become a gathering place for people from surrounding areas.

While the situation is described as average by local police, the ban has sparked discussions about its legitimacy and implications for inclusivity.

From January 2024, the Czech Republic will witness a reduction in VAT on food products, dropping from the current 15% to 12%.

Back in August, retailers assured the government that this decrease would be transparently reflected in final prices, bringing relief to shoppers.

However, on Monday, December 4th, Tomáš Prouza, President of the Union of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, revealed that there will be no reduction in food prices; instead, they are set to rise significantly in the new year.

Prouza clarified, “We find ourselves compelled to raise prices. Producers have alerted us to a 10-15% increase in the cost of products. The decision by the Energy Regulatory Office of the Czech Republic will substantially escalate their electricity costs, and the government has declined assistance. A 3% VAT reduction won’t bridge this gap.”

Disappointment marked the Minister of Agriculture’s response to the meeting. Vyborný expressed his disillusionment, stating, “Retail chain representatives assured me that the VAT reduction would genuinely impact food prices. Today, I am disheartened to hear that prices will surge from January 1st.”

He pressed retail chain representatives at the meeting about the higher cost of products in Czech supermarkets compared to neighboring countries.

Unfortunately, a clear answer was not forthcoming. “Even the VAT difference fails to explain why products in Czech supermarkets are 70% more expensive than in Poland. The practice of retailers selling some products with mark-ups of several hundred percent is unacceptable. I struggle to comprehend selling a kilo of carrots for CZK 9.3 and retailing it for CZK 27.9 – a staggering 261% mark-up.”

Vyborný stressed that neither his department nor the government possesses legislative tools to intervene in the market and influence pricing.

Instead, he intends to exert informal pressure on retail chains and encourage the Office for the Protection of Competition to take a more active role.

According to the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, there are no objective grounds for the rise in product prices.

He cited the example of Madeta, the largest Czech producer of dairy products, which announced a 3-5% price increase last week due to rising electricity and fuel costs, despite a significant decrease in wholesale milk prices.

Heavy snowfall is causing problems around Czechia. Many smaller roads are impassable and a heightened number of accidents are complicating traffic along the country’s main highways.

A state of emergency is in place in the South Bohemia region which had 75 centimeters of fresh snow overnight. Power outages have left thousands of people without heating.

Train services were halted in various parts of the Czech Republic, mainly due to trees falling on tracks or switches breaking down.

The South Bohemia region experienced most of the reported issues, affecting sections like Tábor – Pelhřimov and Ražice – České Budějovice. Snowfall also disrupted several fast train connections.

The Vysočina region also reports severe complications and drivers have been advised not to set out for the mountain regions if possible. Although road maintenance workers are out in force, the situation is complicated by fresh snow which should continue falling throughout the day.

Between 30 and 40 centimeters of fresh snow are expected to fall in southern Bohemia and Moravia, Prague should see between 15 and 30 centimeters of fresh snow on Saturday.

A truck accident on D1 towards Brno caused a 20-kilometer traffic jam. Radek Mátl, director general of the Czech Roads and Motorways Directorate, expressed the struggle to keep the roads passable despite extensive efforts.

Various regions experienced additional problems.

In Central Bohemia, police responded to a collision on the I/3 road near Pětihost, resulting in a road closure. Western Bohemia faced slushy snow on the D5 near Plzeň, leading to accidents and road closures. In the Hradec Králové region, the D11 motorway experienced slushy snow or ice.

Prague 1 has introduced a ban on nighttime entry to specific areas within the Old Town.

The City Hall has revised traffic regulations, displaying prohibition signs with additional information in key streets such as Pařížská, Dlouhá, Rybná, Břehová, and Kozí.

The proposed measure seeks to maintain a tranquil and secure environment, fostering an overall high quality of life.

Residents of Dlouhá street, where a large number of popular nightlife venues are located, have long complained about the noise.

The restricted area, delineated by Dvorak’s Embankment, Pařížská, and Revoluční, will be off-limits from 10 pm to 6 am. Each prohibition sign is accompanied by a supplemental indicator specifying the time.

The ban will not apply to vehicles involved in supplying goods, medical assistance, repair, maintenance, and communal services, as well as those “transporting disabled individuals, taxis, and vehicles that belong to people residing, accommodating, or having property in the areas designated by the sign”.

 

According to Prague 1 spokeswoman Karolina Šnejdarová, the night ban will take effect on Thursday, November 23.

Municipal police and regular police patrols will be empowered to halt drivers during the restricted hours to ensure compliance with the road signs. If necessary, drivers may be requested to provide an explanation for violating the ban.

Šnejdarová mentioned instances of recurring sports car “races” in the area as one of the reasons prompting the decision.

The Czech town of Žatec received the certificate of inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List on Saturday, two months after the organisation’s committee decided to inaugurate the town and its surrounding hop-growing landscape.

Interest in the hop-growing landscape increased this year, with more tourists visiting the information center and the nearby Steknik Castle, located in the middle of the hop-growing area.

Žatec and its surrounding landscape represent a centuries-old tradition of hop growing.

The new UNESCO site consists of two parts. The first is the landscape, with its hop farms and the villages of Trnovany and Steknik, including the castle. The second part is the historic center of Zatec and its 19th-century industrial quarter, which has the highest concentration of buildings connected with hop processing and trade.

The two parts are connected by the Ohre River. It is the first hop-growing landscape in the world to be awarded UNESCO status.

“For us, this is a confirmation of the exceptional quality of the hops we grow here,” Michal Kovarik, secretary of the Czech Hop Growers Association, told CTK.

The Žatec district is where most of the hops in the country are grown, comprising 3,744 hectares, or 77% of the total area. “This year’s harvest has been good, with around 7,000 tonnes harvested, of which 5,500 tonnes are from Zatec hops,” said Kovarik.

The National Heritage Institute helped Zatec, a town with around 20,000 inhabitants, with the registration. “It’s an extremely long process,” the institute’s Lucie Radova told CTK.

“At the time when they started thinking about it, there was no heritage protection area. During that time, the town has risen up, a lot of monuments and buildings that were not in good condition have been restored.” She said she appreciated the town’s efforts to help owners of unprotected buildings with repairs.

On Wednesday, 15 November, a vending machine offering filtered tap water was installed at Prague Main Station.

This marks the beginning of the “Plastic-free railway” (Železnice bez plastů) ecological project started by the Czech Railway Transport Authority.

In the coming weeks, similar machines will be introduced at Kolín, Praha-Smíchov, Hradec Králové hl. n., Náchod, Děčín hl. n., Plzeň hl. n., České Budějovice, and Břeclav railway stations.

The water stations will be conveniently placed in halls or main corridors and will use carbon filtration in combination with UV-C LED technology to ensure water quality.

The primary aim of the project is to encourage passengers to minimize waste in public spaces and provide them with an alternative to bottled water.

Jiří Svoboda, the director general of the Railway Administration, explained that the project’s goal is to provide passengers with a more sustainable alternative to buying bottled water.

“In the current situation, people don’t really have a choice, and when they decide on their drinking regime while traveling by train, they usually end up buying bottled water. In addition, our long-term surveys and experience show that classic public drinking fountains are not among the preferred sources of drinking water, mainly because of their hygiene,” he said.

People can easily fill their bottles with high-quality chilled filtered water, whether carbonated or non-carbonated.

This initiative is carried out in collaboration with Lokni. By downloading and registering on its mobile application (available on iOS and Android), users can get 0.5 liters of water free of charge daily, exclusively at railway stations with the Nádraží zero tariff.

A separate tariff offers students 3 liters of water per day free of charge.

Alternatively, when using a bank card for payment, a half-liter of water costs 6 CZK, a liter costs 8 CZK, and a liter and a half costs 10 CZK.

“We are establishing a network of filtration stations where people can confidently refill their bottles with high-quality filtered water instead of purchasing water in plastic bottles. Bottled water imposes unnecessary strain on the environment. Our dispensers filter out impurities, bacteria, viruses, harmful chemical residues, and more,” stated Martin Vaclavik, founder of the Lokni startup.

The contract, signed between the company and railway workers, outlines the installation of vending machines at 12 railway stations, scheduled to run for five years.

If the project proves successful, the parties do not rule out the possibility of extending and expanding the collaboration.

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The Machine has forged a 30+ year reputation for extending the musical legacy of Pink Floyd.

The New York-based quartet performs a diverse mix of Floyd’s extensive 16-album repertoire, complete with faithful renditions of popular hits as well as obscure gems.

With stellar musicianship and passionate delivery, The Machine explores collective improvisation rivaling that of an early 1970’s Pink Floyd, while their use of expanded theatrical elements and elaborate stage displays and lighting continues The Floyd spirit of the 1980’s.

On December 1, they will perform at the Prague Congress Centre. Tickets are on sale here.

The band is also known for recreating entire albums as a part of their show, accepting requests from fans, and for taking an A – Z approach in which one song is played for every letter of the alphabet.

The Machine has sold out theaters, premier showcase rooms and casinos across North America, Europe and Asia, performed at renowned music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Riverbend, and Gathering of the Vibes, and shared the stage with full symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Charlotte and San Diego Symphonies, as well as the Buffalo Philharmonic.

The band features founding member Tahrah Cohen (drums), longtime bandmates Scott Chasolen (keys, vocals) and Ryan Ball (guitar, vocals), and newest member Chris DeAngelis (bass, lead vocals).

The band continues on to celebrate the music of Pink Floyd and to honor the life of Joe Pascarell, who co-founded the band with Tahrah in 1988.

 

 

The Prague Transport Company published a preview of the city’s forthcoming cable car, set to connect the districts of Podbaba, Troja, and Bohnice.

The video illustrated the envisioned route and stations, providing an intriguing insight into the transformative project, showcasing the cable car’s route and infrastructure, and the cabins.

The lack of a decent public transport connection between Prague 6 and Prague 8 has long been a source of consternation for local residents.

At the moment, although it looks to be only a short hop across the river on a map, if you want to get from Podbaba to Bohnice you have to take an extremely circuitous route that weaves around and across the Vltava and takes around 40 minutes.

The cable car will decrease this travel time down to only 15 minutes – making it even quicker than going by car. There will also be an intermediary station in Troja, which will be located by the future new entrance to the zoo.

This should solve another transit issue, as at the moment, accessing the zoo by public transport is similarly taxing, as it is currently only served by the overcrowded bus link 112.

The total cost for the cable car project is expected to run just north of two billion crowns, around 500 million more than previous estimates.

The cable car is expected to be operational by 2025.

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