The Slav Epic, a series of 20 large canvasses chronicling Slavic history by the Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, will go on display in Prague’s Veletržní Palác on Thursday. The exhibition, which was delayed by several months due to technical issues, is the subject of a long-lasting controversy between the Czech capital and the South Moravian town Moravský Krumlov where the epic was moved after the end of World War II. Officials from the South Moravian town vehemently opposed the relocation of Mucha’s Slav Epic to Prague on grounds that it was the painter’s wish for the work to be displayed in a specially constructed pavilion which the capital has failed to build.
Czechs spent some 92 million crowns, or more than 4.7 million US dollars, on fair-trade products in 2011, which is 15 percent more than in the previous year, according to the Czech Association for Fair Trade. Coffee is by far best selling product, accounting for 63 percent of the fair-trade market, up from 40 percent in 2010. The association said the surge was related to the fact that many cafés offer fair-trade coffee. Other popular products in this sector include chocolate, cocoa and sweets, followed by tea and cane sugar.
Five police officers from Prague and Liberec, who were arrested last week on charges of abuse of power, allegedly provided information from police database to private detectives and debt collectors, a spokeswoman for the Czech police said on Wednesday. The information was used for blackmailing a businessman into a fuel deal. 11 people were charged in the case four of whom remain in custody. If convicted, they face up to 12 years in prison.
A court of appeals in Olomouc on Wednesday upheld an 11-year sentence for a driver who brutally assaulted a pedestrian who died of injuries suffered in the accident. The incident occurred in October 2010 in Brno. The 35-year-old driver was approaching a pedestrian crossing but had to slow down to allow the 86-year-old pedestrian to cross; his car was hit by another vehicle which angered the driver who attacked the pedestrian and shoved him from behind. The elderly person fell, suffered a skull fracture and later died in hospital.
Czech forward Martin Erat, whose team, the Nashville Predators, have been knocked out of the NHL playoffs, will on Friday join the Czech national team at the world championships in Sweden and Finland, a spokesman for the Czech Ice Hockey Association said. However, the national team will have to do without veteran Jaromír Jágr; his team, the Philadelphia Flyers, were also knocked out of the playoffs, but the 40-year-old player said he was too tired to join the national team in Sweden. The Czechs, who have had mixed results at the event so far, will next play Latvia on Thursday.
President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Petr Nečas, along with Cardinal Dominik Duka and military officials, on Tuesday celebrated the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II at Prague’s Vítkov memorial. A ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The national anthem was followed by a minute of silence and a three-gun salute. The president as well as war veterans laid down wreaths at the memorial. Dozens of Prague residents were in attendance. Across the capital and in several other cities, similar commemorative events marking the national holiday are taking place.
In related news, President Václav Klaus on Tuesday appointed three new generals on Tuesday. Among them are major general Petr Pavel, who is the new general lieutenant. Media have been speculating that he may become the army‘s future chief of staff. In his speech, Mr Klaus said that during his time in office, he named 108 new generals, 95 of whom were soldiers. He also commented on cuts to the military budget in recent years.
According to a fresh poll by the Median agency, former prime minister Jan Fischer as well as the economist Jan Švejnar are the two most likely contenders for the post of president in next year’s first-ever direct presidential elections. Fischer was the top pick for about a third of respondents, while 17.5 percent of those polled said they would give their vote to Švejnar. Former prime minister Miloš Zeman came in third with 11 percent; Karel Schwarzenberg, the current foreign minister and head of the TOP 09 party, was fourth in the poll. Some 70 percent of Czechs responded that they would go vote in the presidential elections.
The actor Michal Pešek died at the age of 53 in the Netherlands on Monday. Pešek had been suffering from illness for a long time. He played in numerous TV series, such as Zkoušky z dospělosti and was a member of Prague’s Vinohrady Theater until 1990. After his acting career, Pešek was active in business and politics. He was a deputy for the Civic Forum, which was established during the Velvet Revolution. Later, he owned a rock club and an advertising agency. He was born in Prague in 1959. His funeral is set to take place in the Czech capital on May 15.
For his animated movie Alois Nebel, Czech director Tomáš Luňák was awarded the prestigious main prize at the 11th AniFest in the South Bohemian Třebon, a showcase of animated film. Luňák’s film is based on Jaroslav Rudiš’s eponymous graphic novel. Some 280 films were shown at this year’s edition of the festival, which features international submissions in the animation genre. Among the other winners were the French film Picture in the category children’s movie and the Belgian-French submission Ach, Willy in the shorts competition. The legendary Czech animator Zdeněk Miler, father of the famous Czech cartoon mole, was given a posthumous prize for his lifetime achievement at the opening of the festival on Thursday. This year’s edition of AniFest drew nearly 20,000 visitors.