Česká mincovna, a partner of the Czech national bank, has begun manufacturing a one kilogram gold medal featuring 19th century writer Božena Němcová, news website idnes reports. According to idnes, the medal will sell for almost 1.5 million crowns. The author of the design featuring Božena Němcová is the late Oldřich Kulhánek. Mr Kulhánek was best-known for designing the Czech Republic’s banknotes, still in use. The commercial mint is calling the release a tribute to the artist who died unexpectedly in January at the age of 72.
Ten people had to be evacuated from their homes on Prague’s Národní Street on Wednesday morning after a fire broke out on the roof of their building, the historic Topičův Dum (Topič House). One person had to be treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire began at around 4:30 in the morning and was put out by 7 am. Topičův Dum, located across from the National Theatre, has a rich history and is regarded as an important example of Art Nouveau architecture.
Tomáš Berdych has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters in Florida. The Czech men’s tennis number one easily overcame Sam Querrey of the United States 6-1 6-1 in just 51 minutes, a contrast with his previous outing when it took him two and a half hours to overcome Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. Berdych will now face Richard Gasquet of France for a place in the semi-finals.
The Chamber of Deputies has passed an amendment paving the way for the introduction of the electronic registration of firearms in the Czech Republic, to replace an outdated hardcopy registration system. The new system, which will now have to receive majority backing in the Senate, will also introduce other changes, extending, for example, the period of validity of firearm permits. The amendment is also meant to increase safety and security in the transport of firearms, to be overseen by the police. If passed into law, the legislation will come into effect in the middle of next year.
Police have sifted through some 300 tonnes of garbage at a waste site in the area of Jihlava since Tuesday evening, idnes and Tn.cz report, speculating that officials may have found the body of a 15-year-old girl missing in the area since mid-March. According to sources, she was last seen leaving a local discotheque with another individual. Both idnes and Tn.cz report that police had uncovered key evidence in the case and were holding a suspect who has allegedly already confessed to the girl’s murder.
The governing Civic Democrats have unveiled “Agenda 2014”, a policy document outlining their priorities for the period between now and the end of the coalition’s term of office. The measures include tax reliefs for employers, support for small businesses and a reduction in bureaucracy. Recent opinion polls indicate that support for the Civic Democrats stands at between 9 and 15 percent. Parliamentary elections are expected in June next year, while 2014 will also see European, Senate and local elections in the Czech Republic.
Reacting to the indictments at City Hall, the leadership of TOP 09 described the move as an incomprehensible criminalisation of political decision-making. The party said it guaranteed the integrity of its members, adding that the current council had been attempting to rectify the extensive corruption committed by the previous city government. A councillor from TOP 09, which is in coalition in Prague with the Civic Democrats, said Haguess was the only company capable of operating the system. Meanwhile, some opposition Social Democrats have called on Mayor Svoboda to step down.
A copy of a Baroque Marion column pulled down in 1918 should be erected on Prague’s Old Town Square next year, after the city council voted in favour of the move on Tuesday. The original column was torn down in November 1918 following the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia by Czechs who felt it stood for defeat at the battle of Bílá Hora and the centuries of Habsburg oppression that followed. The Krocín Fountain, which was removed from the square in 1862 in connection with the construction of the Old Town Hall, should also be replaced under the plan.
An agreement has been signed in Prague on the creation of a new Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. Jointly created by the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation, the award will be presented every October to a group or individual that has been strongly engaged in the defence of human rights. Václav Havel, who died in 2011, led Czechoslovakia’s peaceful Velvet Revolution and was an active defender of freedoms in many parts of the world.
Police have filed a charge of breach of trust against 10 of a total of 11 Prague councillors in connection with the Opencard, a card-based electronic system used for public transport and other services. Among the 10 is the mayor of the city, Bohuslav Svoboda of the Civic Democrats. Officers delivered the indictment to a meeting of the council on Tuesday morning. The charge concerns the awarding of a contract to operate the system to the company Haguess, the only name considered in a closed tender process. The controversial Opencard system was previously found to have been massively overpriced.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket