Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman has told the ctk news agency Prague Castle had put pressure on him not to meet with the Dalail Lama during his visit to Prague. Mr. Herman said he was warned that, if he did so his uncle, Czech-born Auschwitz survivor George Brady, 88, who was one of the nominees to get a state award from the president on October 28th ,marking Czechoslovak Independence Day, would not receive the honour. According to Aktualne.cz George Brady was crossed off the list of nominees on Friday.
The lower house of Parliament has moved to curb bootleg wine production. The proposed amendment to the law envisages fines of up to 50 million crowns, up from the present 5 million, and sets down strict norms on the sale of barrel wine. If the bill wins approval in the Senate in its present form, barrel wine will only be able to be sold by wine producers and importers in special shops, so-called vinotekas, under strict conditions. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka argues that in some ways the bill is excessively stringent and has said he will try to get the Senate to modify it. The country’s small wine-makers also fear that the new conditions could be devastating for their business.
Jaromír Jágr reached a career milestone on Thursday, scoring his 750th NHL goal, putting him third on the league’s all-time scoring list, behind only Gordie Howe (who scored 801) and Wayne Gretzky (894). The Kladno-native is also third on the list of career points, 17 points shy of Mark Messier (1,887).
Admirers of the world-famous writer Franz Kafka can take part in a street event organized in his memory by the Franz Kafka Society in Prague. The half-day cultural festival named Kafka Forever is to take place on Friday (October 21) afternoon and evening between 3pm and 9pm in Prague's Dušní, or Holy Spirit Street, where a memorial to the author stands. The organizers have arranged a theatre performance, a concert and guided tours to Kafka’s favourite haunts in the Lesser Town available in Czech and German.
The lower house of Parliament has voted to extend a diesel tax rebate program to livestock farmers and other agricultural workers. Currently the program, under which farmers are able to reclaim 40 percent of the consumption tax they pay on diesel gas back from the state, applies only to grain farmers. Under the present amendment it should also apply to fisheries and forestry workers. The amendment, which still needs to win approval in the Senate, aims to raise the competitiveness of Czech farmers in the EU.
The Czech Republic will send a field hospital to Iraq before the end of the year, Czech Television reported on Friday, saying the mission has received approval from both houses of Parliament. The team of 30 doctors, nurses and logistics support, which is to cooperate with American medics stationed in the vicinity of Mosul, should leave in December. The hospital should help treat allied troops and Iraqi soldiers injured in the fight against Islamic State militants in and around Mosul. The Czech military already has flight specialists in Iraq who are serving as instructors for Iraqi pilots flying the L-159 jets which Iraq acquired from the Czech Republic.
The majority of university rectors will not attend the traditional ceremony at Prague Castle marking Czechoslovak Independence Day on October 28th, Czech Radio reported on Friday. An academic boycott of the celebrations has taken place for several years in a row in a show of protest against the policies of President Miloš Zeman and the fact that reactors who have fallen into disfavor with the head of state do not receive an invitation to the event. The Rectors Conference says this is undignified and has accused Mr. Zeman of appropriating the public holiday. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčaček warned that rectors who do not turn up for the event this year risk being crossed of the invitation list for good.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has stressed the need for the EU to present a united front in negotiations with Russia. Speaking at an EU summit of heads of government in Brussels the Czech prime minister said that while Russia’s violation of international law in Ukraine presented a serious problem in communication, Russia must not be forced into isolation and the EU must maintain dialogue with the country. We need to cooperate with Russia on many issues, such as the crisis in Syria, the fight against terrorism and measures against climate change, Sobotka said.
The most common names for babies in the Czech Republic are Jakub for boys and Eliška for girls, according to the Czech Statistics Office. Both names were also the most popular last year. Eliška was the most popular name in 2012 before being overtaken by Anna, which is now third behind second-placed Tereza. Jakub has alternated with Jan as the most common boy’s name in recent years.