The Christian Democrats of the ruling coalition debated their policy program at a two day conference in Prague. According to newly reelected party leader Pavel Bělobrádek the party will prioritize education, the social sphere, security and economic growth. On the first day of the conference deputies approved a plan to enter into a coalition with the grouping of Mayors and Independents for the upcoming autumn elections. The fact that the two political entities will be running on a joint ticket means they will need to win more than 10 percent of the vote in the elections. Mr. Bělobrádek said this was a realistic goal.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova made a triumphant comeback at the French Open on Sunday with a 6:3 a 6:2 victory over 86th-ranked Julia Boserup from the US. Kvitova took a forced five month break from tennis after undergoing surgery to repair serious hand injuries sustained in a knife attack at her home. She went into the Grand Slam tournament as 15th seed, telling reporters "I actually already won my biggest fight. I stayed in life and I have all my fingers."
An opinion survey conducted by the Median agency for Czech Radio indicates that President Miloš Zeman has lost some degree of support due to his handling of the recent government crisis. Median says that particularly older voters were displeased with the president’s behaviour. Mr. Zeman now has a 35 percent trust rating down from 37 percent in April. On the other hand his main rival, the former head of the Academy of Sciences, Jiri Drahoš, gained 7 percent supporters in the same period, and currently enjoys 24 percent support. Entrepreneur Michal Horáček has 20 percent support.
The annual international festival of Romany culture Khamoro will open with a concert on Prague’s Strelecky island on Sunday, featuring, among others, singers Jan Bendig, Markéta Konvičková, Elis and Monika Bagárová. The concert, which the organizers claim is the biggest event of its kind in the world, attracts Romany bands from far and wide and is a celebration of the Romany culture and way of life. The week long-event offers concerts, workshops, exhibitions, lectures and debates and traditionally culminated with a parade through the centre of Prague.
Former Czechoslovak defence minister Luboš Dobrovský was awarded the 2017 Transatlantic award at the international security conference Globsec held in Bratislava. Mr. Dobrovský was selected for his merit in supporting freedom and democracy in central Europe and his contribution in helping to anchor the country in Transatlantic structures. Dobrovský, a former dissident, served as president Havel’s chancellor in the years between 1992 and 1996. He later served as the Czech ambassador to Moscow. The Transatlantic award is bestowed annually by Globsec and the Czech Jagello 2000 association. Previous recipients of the award are the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the head of the Vaclav Havel Library Michal Žantovský.
Some of the children who were saved from the Holocaust by Nicolas Winton have unveiled a memorial recognizing their parent’s incredible bravery in putting them on “kindertransport’ trains to London in the knowledge they might never see them again. Close to 700 mostly Jewish children were sent away at the eleventh hour in the spring and summer of 1939, after Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. Most of their parents later died in gas chambers. The memorial, at Prague’s main railway station from where the trains were dispatched, is a replica of one of the original train wagon doors filled with a glass pane on which are engraved adult and child hands evoking scenes of the traumatic parting. Zuzana Maresova, one of the surviving Winton children who came up with the idea of erecting the memorial, says the scene at the railway station is one of her most vivid childhood memories.
At their weekend party conference in Prague the Christian Democratic Party approved a plan to enter into a coalition with the grouping of Mayors and Independents for the autumn general elections. The move was strongly defended by party leader Pavel Bělobrádek and eventually approved by 228 out of 279 delegates present. Bělobrádek was also reelected party leader by a strong majority. Some party members regard the coalition agreement as being excessively risky in view of the fact that on a joint ticket the the two political groupings will have to win over 10 percent of the vote in order to win seats in the lower house. Bělobrádek said he was confident this is a realistic goal.
The town of Lidice which was razed to the ground by the Nazis on June 10th ,75 years ago, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its resurrection. In 1947 the foundation stone of a new Lidice was laid 300 meters away from the original site and a new village of 150 houses gradually arose with the help of volunteers from around the country and support from abroad. The celebrations in Lidice were attended by President Milos Zeman, politicians and cultural figures. The British ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jan Thompson, and the US charge d’affaires, Kelly Adams Smith, received a symbolic key to Lidice as a show of gratitude for their countries’ support in rebuilding the village and the Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic Alexander Zmeyevskyj a symbolic rose of gratitude for the liberation of Lidice’s survivors by the Red Army.
Czech drugs control employees report a drop in the illegal production of pervitin or crystal methamphetamine in home labs following tighter control of medicines containing pseudoephedrine in neighboring Poland. After such medicines were taken off the list of over-the-counter drugs sold in the Czech Republic drug dealers relied heavily on Poland where they obtained 70 percent of the pseudoephedrine used in the illegal production of this home-made drug. Drug experts say tighter norms in Poland will now increase interest in these medicines where norms are still lax, such as Bulgaria or Turkey.