Scores of mainly young people lit candles at the tomb of Jan Palach in Prague’s Olšany cemetery on Sunday, which was the eve of the anniversary of his death from self-immolation in 1969. The event was co-organised by people who previously held a demonstration against the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. One of them, Martin Přikryl, told the Czech News Agency that Palach had died for ideals that were more current today than they had been some years ago, highlighting what he described as passivity towards the Czech government’s positions on international issues.
“Virtual turbulence” involving the exchange rate will not influence the economic policies of the Czech government, says the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Sobotka was reacting to the fact that the country’s currency the crown has weakened to 28.50 to the euro. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, he attributed that development to what he termed “wild speculation”. The prime minister said his government’s policy would help the Czech National Bank to achieve its inflation target of 2 percent.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says the budget of the country’s BIS intelligence service will be increased by tens of millions in the coming years. Mr. Sobotka made the comment on Czech Television on Sunday, following speculation that the BIS might get a cash boost of around a billion crowns in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in France. The cabinet is on Monday due to discuss draft legislation that would increase the intelligence service’s powers, including giving it access to information on the clients of banks and on owners of telephone numbers.
The popular Ostrava-based folk singer Jarek Nohavica began a tour of venues in Prague on Saturday night with a sold-out show at the city’s La Fabrice. The musician is playing a series of 12 dates in the capital and plans to perform different sets and welcome different guests each night. The final concert is at Forum Karlín on January 28.
Czech officials report an increase in poaching last year. While in the whole of 2013, 86 cases were investigated, in the first 11 months of 2014 the figure was 90, a spokesperson for the police presidium told the Czech News Agency. However, a representative of the Bohemian-Moravian Hunters’ Union, Martin Horálek, said that problem was in fact far more widespread. Mr. Horálek said in most cases poachers killed animals for meat, which they sold directly to restaurants.
An unusual ceremony by modern standards will take place in Prague on Sunday evening when the president of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, will receive an official welcome at the city’s Main Train Station, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. After arriving in a separate carriage on a EuroCity train from Berlin, the head of state will be welcomed by President Miloš Zeman’s head of protocol and other officials before a meeting with his Czech counterpart on Monday.
The West Bohemian City of Plzeň has officially launched its year as European Capital of Culture 2015. One of the main events marking the launch on Saturday was a “symphony of bells” in the city’s churches at 17:30. Other events being planned as part of the ongoing three-day festivities are a show on the main square náměstí Republiky involving a large video mapping project, acrobats, musicians and other artists. An extensive exhibition dedicated to legendary, locally-born animator Jiří Trnka also began on Saturday.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic are not expected to fall far below freezing point until between now and the middle of February, according to a monthly forecast issued on Saturday by the Czech Hyrdo-Meteorological Institute. Over the next four weeks daytime temperatures should range between minus 2 and plus three degrees Celsius, the forecasters said.
Developers are planning to create a new district on the Prague island of Rohanský ostrov in the next 15 years. The director of the Sekyra Group told the Czech News Agency it plans to invest up to CZK 15 billion into the project on the borders of the city’s Karlín and Libeň districts. The firm expects to buy the site, measuring around 200,000 square metres, from the city for around CZK 1.7 billion before beginning construction in 2016. The island has been largely neglected since being submersed during flooding in 2002.
Popular rock musician Michal Hrůza has announced his first concert plans since sustaining a serious brain injury while attempting to stop a fight in Ostrava last July. The tour, entitled Michal Hrůza’s Night and Day, will get underway in Prague in March before visiting seven other Czech cities and towns. The singer-songwriter was hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage and concussion after being set upon by two men in the centre of Ostrava during the city’s Colours festival.