Ludvík Vaculík, a prominent Czech writer and dissident has died at the age of 88. Mr. Vaculik was one of the country’s most respected post-war writers and the author of the "Two Thousand Words" a manifesto calling for reforms in Czechoslovakia in 1968. His best-known works are The Axe (1966), The Guinea Pigs (1970), The Czech Dreambook (1980) and A Cup of Coffee With My Interrogator: The Prague Chronicles of Ludvík Vaculík. He received a number of literary awards, including a state award for contribution to Czech literature.
Twenty-three thousand people joined in the 15th annual March Against Breast Cancer in Prague on Saturday. Participants passed thorough the historic city centre wearing pink t-shirts and carrying balloons sold to raise funds in the fight against the disease. Organizers say they raise eight million crowns. Around 7,000 women in the Czech Republic are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and in almost a third of those cases the disease proves fatal. In the past year well-known personalities have joined a campaign to raise awareness of the disease and thousands of women received invitations to undergo screening tests. Only around 60 percent of Czech women undergo screening for breast cancer regularly.
Lucie Šafářová’s hopes of winning the women’s singles at the French Open were dashed by top seeded Serena Williams who beat her opponent 3:6, 7:6 2:6.Nevetheless Šafářová was in top form for the match, and her overall success at the tournament has moved her to 7th place on the world ladder. On Sunday she is due to play in the women’s doubles final at Roland Garros.
Škoda Auto has launched the sale of its third generation Škoda Superb in the Czech Republic. The full-sized sedan, with a wide range of efficient engines, an impressive range of equipment and a spacious interior, is selling in hatchback and estate models. Prices are set to start at around 600,000 crowns for a base model. Škoda has already received 1700 purchase orders for its latest model.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has again addressed the issue of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, stressing that the Czech government cannot accept more migrants than the country can realistically handle. We must be in a position to guarantee that the migrants the country takes in will not cause security and social problems, the prime minister said. Czech government officials have repeatedly rejected the EC’s proposal for migrant quotas for EU member states, insisting that the country must be able to regulate the number of migrants it accepts.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he expects his party’s cabinet ministers to shift into higher gear. Speaking at a meeting of the party’s executive leadership on Saturday the prime minister said he wanted to see more action and more results from the Social Democrat ministers in cabinet. The prime minister last week sacked education minister Marcel Chládek but dismissed as unfounded speculation that Trade and Industry Minister Jan Mládek was next in line. The prime minister said he was meeting with all his party’s ministers to discuss their performance in office.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Office has issued a warning relating to a tropical heatwave due to hit the Czech Republic over the weekend. Day temperatures are expected to hit 32 degrees Celsius and children, chronically ill people and the elderly have been warned to stay out of the sun. People have been advised to increase their intake of fluids and avoid physical overexertion. The late afternoon hours may bring severe rainstorms with haistones in places.
Katerina Valachová, who is slated to become the country’s next education minister, has outlined her priorities in office. The 38-year-old lawyer said she wanted to secure more money for the education sector in order to raise the wages of both teaching and non-teaching staff, create a payment system whereby teachers would be motivate to perform better and reduce regional differences in the provision of education. Ms. Vlachová emphasized the importance of her portfolio saying that the education ministry would secure the country’s competitiveness in future years. She said that while she has no party affiliation she is a Social Democrat at heart.
The Hussite flag was hoisted at Prague Castle on Friday June, 5th to mark the 600th anniversary of the burning at stake of the Czech reformer priest Jan Hus. The event was attended by President Miloš Zeman and the patriarch of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church Tomáš Butta. The flag will remain in place until July 6th, a public holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the reformer priest. Numerous other events are taking place around the country including exhibitions, music events, debates and lectures.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland is in Prague for talks with Czech top officials. During talks with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek Mr. Jagland praised the Czech Republic as a staunch defender of human rights in Europe, stressing that the protection of human rights and rule of law were essential for security in Europe. Mr. Jagland, who is also due to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, is expected to bring up the question of equal access to education for the Romany minority, something the Council of Europe has repeatedly criticized Prague for.