President Václav Klaus has said in an interview that he considers
Friday’s attack against him a “political act” – one that reflected
the extremely poor state of Czech society. In an interview for the daily
Mladá fronta Dnes on Monday, Mr Klaus said the attack involving a man
firing pellets at him from a plastic gun, was not a “regrettable
incident” (as described by the prime minister) but the first such attack
Czech president in history. Rather than a failure of his security
detail, the shooting highlighted much deeper issues within society, the
Last Friday an assailant shot pellets at the president seven times during an official visit in Chrastava: video footage, aired around the world, showed the president’s security team oblivious to any danger, failing to react. The assailant successfully departed the scene and was even able to grant interviews to two TV stations before being arrested. The head of the president’s security team has stepped down over the incident.
The district court in Hradec Kralové sentenced a man responsible for the death of two little boys last year to eight years in prison. A previous six-year sentence handed to the man - Jaroslav Novák – was struck down earlier; Monday’s verdict can be appealed. Last year, Novák, an epilepsy sufferer who had been banned from driving, backed his car into and ran over the boys, who were brothers, at a zebra crossing they were on with their grandparents. The defendant apologised repeatedly on Monday. In court in May, he had said he remembered nothing of the incident. He had suggested earlier he had felt a seizure coming on but that was not confirmed by expert witnesses.
The Czech Environmental Inspectorate has outlined that uncertified alcohol which will have to be destroyed for lack of documentation should be handled as dangerous waste. The inspectorate warned that anyone dumping alcohol without respecting existing legislation could face fines of up to 50 million crowns. Sellers have until the end of November to produce necessary certification or face having to dispose of their supply. It will be possible to destroy bottles of unknown origin, for example, at sites with industrial incinerators focussing on dangerous materials.
Czechs will go to the polls to elect the country’s next president on
January 11th and 12th, 2013. The dates were announced by the speaker of
upper house, Milan Štěch. If no candidate wins an outright majority in
the first round, a run-off will take place between the two most successful
candidates. The successor to Václav Klaus will be known, at the latest,
the 26th of January.
Presidential candidates will now have five weeks to officially submit their bids by the November 6 deadline. Candidates not nominated by 10 senators or 20 members of the Chamber of Deputies will have had to have collected 50,000 signatures, under the election law. The Interior Ministry will check the candidatures by November 23 to see that they comply with the law. This is the first time in the country’s history that the president will be elected directly by voters. Until now, they were elected in a joint session of both houses of Parliament.
In connection with Monday’s developments there have been some calls within the TOP 09 party for Mr Drábek to resign. Karola Haasová, heading the candidates’ list in the region of Ústí made clear she thought he should do so.TOP 09 Olomouc chairman Tomáš Chalánek said the minister should at least consider the step.
September 30 is the 10th anniversary of the final broadcast in the Czech language by Radio Free Europe, a U.S.-funded station that was established to transmit information across the Iron Curtain to the communist-controlled Eastern Bloc. The first ever broadcast by the station, which was based in Munich, West Germany, took place on May 1 1951 and was in Czech. After the fall of communism, then Czech president Václav Havel invited RFE/RL (by then it had merged with Radio Liberty) to move to Prague, from where it continues to broadcast to countries such as Belarus, Iran and Pakistan.
The chief bodyguard of the Czech president, Václav Klaus, has resigned following an incident on Friday in which a man was able to attack the head of state from extremely close range with a pellet-firing plastic gun. Explaining his decision to quit, Jiří Sklenka said that while he had not been present during the attack, which occurred in the north Bohemian town of Chrastava, he felt responsible for the actions of his subordinates. Mr. Klaus’s security detail were widely criticised for the slow and ineffective manner in which they reacted to the incident, with the president himself describing their response as an all-round failure. His attacker, 26-year-old Pavel Vondrouš, has been charged with disorderly conduct.
A new documentary about Brno’s Villa Tugendhat is being premiered on public broadcaster Czech Television on Sunday evening. Alongside period footage, Osud jménem Tugendhat (A Fate Named Tugendhat) features some dramatic re-enactments of events surrounding the history of the world-renowned functionalist building, which reopened earlier this year after extensive renovation work. On Monday, the film will be screened at the Bohemian National Hall in New York as part of the Brno Days–New York event promoting the Moravian capital.
The Czech state is going to compensate vendors forced to destroy legally acquired alcoholic drinks because they have not been able to acquire on time confirmation that they come from a legitimate source. The state will return the VAT paid on such alcohol in the form of credit towards future income tax, the minister of finance, Miloslav Kalousek, said on Sunday. The government has decided that freshly produced alcohol with proof of origin and new stamps can be sold, as can alcohol produced before the start of 2011. Alcohol produced this year cannot be sold until a so-called “birth certificate” is acquired, within 60 days of last Thursday, when a ban on spirits with over 20 percent alcohol content – introduced in response to the methanol crisis – was partially lifted.
A DVD featuring the highlights of a concert held in honour of Václav Havel on the night of his funeral last December is being launched at Prague’s Akropolis music venue on Sunday night. Artists such as The Plastic People of the Universe, Suzanne Vega and Ivan Král performed in the original show, which took place at the Czech capital’s Lucerna complex (which was built by Mr. Havel’s grandfather) on December 23, following his state funeral at St. Vitus Cathedral. Members of The Plastic People are among the musicians set to take part in Sunday’s DVD launch.
Country’s leading epidemiologist makes U-turn on strategy of herd immunity
Fall in coronavirus reproduction number shows efficacy of strict measures
How is coronavirus affecting Prague’s real estate market?
Czech government loosens restrictions ahead of Easter, but masses and caroling strictly banned
Coronavirus: Czech hospitals soon to get free ventilators thanks to crowdsourced IT project ‘Covid19CZ’