The Czech government is planning to spend close to 55 million crowns on
celebrations marking three significant anniversaries for the country coming
up in 2019.
Czechs will mark 30 years since the Velvet Revolution that toppled four decades of communist rule, 20 years since the country’s admission to NATO and 15 years since the country joined the EU.
The government is to debate a list of proposals for the celebrations of these milestone events on Monday.
Twenty-two-year-old Czech hopeful Marketa Davidová took the silver at the
Biathlon World Cup event in Antholz-Anterselva on Sunday, fresh from her
first World Cup victory in the 7.5km sprint in Italy on Thursday.
The gold went to double Olympic champion Laura Dahlmeier who crossed the line in 35:32.8 minutes, 13.1 seconds ahead of Davidová. Dahlmeier's compatriot Vanessa Hinz took the bronze, 16.4 seconds behind the winner.
The Social Democrats have chosen MEP Pavel Poc to lead them in elections to
the European Parliament. The junior party in the ruling minority coalition
is aiming to defend its four seats in the European Parliament.
Party leader Jan Hamáček said the chosen candidates reflected the party’s policy priorities and emphasized gender equality.
Jan Hamáček has a strong change of getting re-elected party leader in the party’s election conference in March after winning support from the majority of the party’s regional branches in recent days.
The skating season officially opened at Lake Lipno in South Bohemia this
weekend, Czech Radio reported. Lake Lipno, which covers a territory of 4870
hectares and is the biggest man-made lake in the Czech Republic, boasts the
longest natural ice-skating track in the country – the circuit is four
kilometres long and 10 metres wide.
The track opens when the lake freezes over and the ice is thick enough to allow mass skating. Presently it is reported to be over 18 cm thick.
The Prague City Council has started delivering on its promise to close down
dishonest exchange offices that rip off foreign visitors to Prague.
A number of them still offer high commissions with some selling the euro for 16 crowns compared to the official exchange rate of just over 25 crowns per euro. Or else the offer „zero commission” and favourable exchange rates that only apply to large transactions.
Two such Chequepoint outlets have been closed since November of last year and councillors are looking at around two dozen others which may follow suit.
Last year MPs approved an amendment to the Exchange Act that will allow customers up to three hours to cancel a currency exchange transaction that they find to be highly disadvantageous and get their money back, but the law will only come into force in April of this year.
Exchange offices set their rates independently of the official exchange rates announced by the Czech National Bank.
Prague Bishop Václav Malý has sent an open letter to the speakers of the
lower house of Parliament and the Senate to protest against an amendment
taxing church restitutions approved by the lower chamber last week. Bishop
Malý says in the letter that the minority government is paying the price
for Communist Party support, and argues that the bill demonstrates the
growing arrogance and unscrupulous practices of those in power.
The amendment, which was approved in the lower house last Wednesday, would tax the roughly 59 billion crowns which the state is paying out in phases as compensation for property which the state cannot return.
A group of 30 writers, historians and Nobel laureates, including Czech-born
writer Milan Kundera, have signed a manifesto warning against the rise of
populism in Europe.
The manifesto, published in several newspapers, including The Guardian, says Europe is “coming apart before our eyes” and expresses concern in connection with Brexit and the upcoming European elections.
The authors warn that unless efforts are made to combat a rising tide of populism, the EU elections will be “the most calamitous that we have ever known” opening the way for “explosions of xenophobia and antisemitism”.
The 800-word manifesto was drafted by the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. Its signatories include novelists Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie, historian Simon Schama and the Nobel prize laureates Svetlana Alexievitch, Herta Müller, Orhan Pamuk and Elfriede Jelinek.
Petra Kvitová was beaten at the Australian Open by 21-year-old Naomi Osaka
6:7 7:5 4:6 on Saturday, dashing her hopes of a third grand slam title.
Petra Kvitová was playing in her first grand slam final since winning her second Wimbledon title in 2014 and only two years after the knife attack at her home that put her career at risk.
“It's a great tournament to be in, it has been a while since I've been in the final. I want to thank my friends and family back home. I want to thank everyone who made it possible to help me come back and play” Kvitová said after the dramatic match.
Luděk Munzar, one of the country’s most respected theatre and film
actors, has died at the age of 85.
Munzar was a long-term member of the prestigious National Theatre ensemble and in a career spanning more than half a century he appeared in dozens of television films and series, frequently alongside his wife Jana Hlaváčová.
In 2011 he received a Thalia lifetime achievement award from the Czech Actors' Association.
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