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Krafl, Martin

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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Blog Aktuálně.cz - Czech Republic | 07/11/2011

Downtown Prague an embarrassment

The rampant crime at Wenceslas Square, one of Prague's most important tourist attractions, is an embarrassment, writes the diplomat Martin Krafl in his blog for the news portal Aktuálně.cz. In an open letter to the city's mayor he describes the events of just one evening: "At the subway exit I was approached by three begging Roma. Somewhere nearby a German woman screamed that she had just been robbed. A group of black people tried to entice passers-by with offers of prostitutes or casinos, each in another language. On a starcase a junkie covered in dirt and blood lay sleeping. There was no sign of the police anywhere. ... Part of my job involves promoting the Czech Republic, and with it Prague, as an attractive, modern and civilised tourist destination. How, Mr Mayor, can I recommend that tourists visit our city with a clear conscience? I am ashamed of our inner city, and have been for a long time now."

Blog Aktuálně.cz - Czech Republic | 23/06/2011

Prague hides Stradivarius from courts

The Czech National Museum has recalled music instruments that were on loan to virtuoso musicians lest they be seized by international court order. At the root of the issue is a compensation claim in the millions by the Liechtensteinian blood plasma firm Diag Human, which the Czech state had excluded from a call for tenders in 1990 - wrongly, as a court later ruled. Diag Human then had Czech artworks seized in Vienna in May. Martin Krafi calls for a sense of proportion in his blog on the portal Aktuálně.cz: "Of course I understand that the Czech state wants to protect its property and that a Stradivarius is also worth a bundle. But these instruments also have a direct influence on artists' performances. How long will this case drag on, how many exhibitions and concerts will suffer as a result? The Czech Republic fears Diag Human's bailiffs and is trying to save what it can. But this attitude conveys the impression that the state knows it's already lost the battle."

Blog Aktuálně.cz - Czech Republic | 11/01/2011

Berlin's S-Bahn train network a joke

Rüdiger Grube, head of the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, announced on Monday in a crisis meeting with politicians in Berlin that the problems dogging the city's rapid transit train network, the S-Bahn, may not be solved even in the coming year. Martin Krafl, director of the Czech Cultural Centre in Berlin, describes the daily disaster of Berlin's S-Bahn in his blog with "Older people say that the trains were more reliable than now even during World War II. For over two years people have been trying to figure out who's responsible for the misery. Things were supposed to go back to normal in 2011, but nothing's happened. Technical problems with the old carriages and winter weather with plenty of snow meant that during the first weeks of January only one train in three was running. That was tantamount to a collapse. People lost their patience and will remember that when the elections to Berlin's House of Representatives roll around [in September 2011]. But others still had enough wits about them to crack a joke, for example: 'Excuse me, Conductor, my train is already 30 minutes late!' - 'What's the problem? Your ticket's valid for two hours!'"

Blog Aktuálně.cz - Czech Republic | 26/06/2010

Martin Krafl on football Germans' justified national pride

The Germans' sense of national pride is particularly prominent at major football championships, writes Martin Krafl, head of the Czech Centre in Berlin, in his blog for "German flags can be found in places you would never expect to see them – concealed in marzipan cake or as dog coats. Footballs of all sizes can be bought not only as souvenirs but also in the form of sponge cakes, bread or perfume bottles. Women who wear fashion accessories in the national colours are 'in', not to mention fingernails painted in black, red and gold. … The Germans' pride is a positive phenomenon. In recent decades the memory of the war gave them little of which they could be proud. The World Cup in Germany four years ago was a turning point. It revived the sense of pride. But only for this event. When the World Cup ends the flags will disappear, the Germans will calm down and go back to their disciplined ways."

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