The winner of this year’s Czech Press Photo is photographer Milan Jaroš of Respekt with his photo of people mourning ex-president Vaclav Havel on Wenceslas Square. A photograph of Mr. Havel’s widow Dagmar won in the People in the News category. And David W. Černý, a Prague based photographer for Reuters won in the Contemporary Issue category with a photo of a bar during the recent prohibition on spirits.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has described the outcome of regional
and Senate elections as clear, unequivocal and comprehensible, and said
that everybody should draw their own conclusions from them. The
right-of-centre Civic Democrats, who lead the Czech coalition government,
suffered a drubbing in the polls. The Social Democrats came first in nine
out of 13 regions, though they had won in all of them in 2008, and the
biggest winners were the Communist Party, who triumphed in two regions.
Civic Democrats and the Mayors for the Liberec Region each placed first in
The first round of elections was held for one third of the seats in the Czech Senate. The Social Democrats saw 23 of their members make it into next weekend’s two-candidate runoffs, while the Communists will have 12 in the running and the Civic Democrats 10. If the Social Democrats and the Communists take 15 of 25 possible mandates they would together have a constitutional majority.
Negotiations have already begun in some regions about the formation of regional governments, with the Social Democrats likely to lose at least some of their current 13 governorships. In the Karlovy Vary region the Communists, who came first, have held talks with the Social Democrats about forming a coalition, though the issue of who should become governor has been postponed. While the Civic Democrats triumphed in the Pilsen region, the current coalition of the Social Democrats and Communists is likely to continue. In other regions the Christian Democrats, the Zemanites and regional groupings have a chance of playing a role in government.
Following the electoral success of the Communists, hackers saying they were from the group Anonymous attacked the website of the party’s Brno branch on Saturday. The hackers placed a message on the site calling those who had voted for the Communists idiots who were not watching which way the Czech Republic was headed. They said that communism had halted progress in the country for decades, and that the modern-day Communist Party was attempting to do likewise.
Scientists from the Brno University of Technology are working on a computer programme that uses voice analysis to identify some neurological diseases. University spokesperson Jitka Vanýsková told the Czech News Agency that the software could pick up on whether somebody had for instance Parkinson’s disease, even in its early stages. She added that voice analysis could be as useful at detecting some diseases as blood testing is with others.
A house that rotates and follows the sun has received the top prize in this year’s E.ON Energy Globe Awards Czech Republic, which honour environmentally friendly structures. The building, which is located in Velké Hamry near Jablonec in north Bohemia, can also retract two metres into the ground, making it easier to heat in winter, and has a swimming pool heated by solar panels. It was built by its owner Bohumil Lhota over a period of around 20 years.
The Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek and his Indian partner Leander Paes have taken the doubles trophy at the Shanghai Masters. The pair beat the Indian duo of Mahes Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna 6-7(7) 6-3 10-5 in Sunday’s final to give them their third title of the year. Štěpánek and Paes, who has in the past enjoyed success in the mixed doubles with Czech-born Martina Navrátilová, joined forces at the start of this season.
The former Czech soccer international Milan Baroš has made a generous donation to his first club, Baník Ostrava. The striker, who now plays for Galatassary in the Turkish league, paid CZK 1,000,000 in an auction for an Ostrava shirt from the team’s league-winning 2003/2004 season, on the condition that half of the money go directly to the club’s players and half to the club itself, the website of the newspaper Sport reported. The auction was part of an event marking 90 years since Baník’s foundation. The club, which also struggled to avoid relegation last season, is currently at the bottom of the Czech top flight.
After the counting of three-quarters of votes in regional elections in the
Czech Republic, the opposition Social Democrats are ahead in 10 of the 13
regions being contested. The Civic Democrats, who head the right-of-centre
Czech government, are so far topping the polls in one region, as are the
Mayors for Liberec Region group and the Communist Party. Prior to the
weekend’s elections, the Social Democrats held power in all 13 regions.
Prague is the only region where voting has not taken place. Voter turnout
reached 35.6 percent.
In terms of national breakdown per party with three-quarters of votes counted, the Social Democrats had received 24.2, the Communists 20.9 percent, the Civic Democrats 11.9 percent, the Christian Democrats 9.8 percent and TOP 09 6.3 percent.
Elections have also been held for one third of the seats in the Czech Senate. The Social Democrats are hoping to make up ground in the upper chamber, where they would enjoy an absolute majority if they capture three more seats. Constituencies in which no candidate receives more than 50 percent will see run-off votes between the two leading candidates next weekend.
The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, has said the regional elections were a marked success for the Czech Republic’s left-wing parties and a defeat for the right. He told reporters that the results had resulted from necessary government reforms, which have included a raft of austerity measures. Mr. Nečas conceded that the poor showing of his Civic Democrats could also reflect internal divisions within the party.