Addressing the Forum 2000 conference currently underway in Prague, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said the 20th century had been a century of bloodshed and violence and it was now up to the new generation to strive for a better world and make the 21st century a time of peace. He said young people need to find a broad and long-term vision which would emphasize common interests rather than differences of race or religion. The Dalai Lama stressed that while prayers were important for individuals, what the world needed now was actions.
Speaking at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference on Sunday Burmese
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyii paid tribute to the late Czech
president Vaclav Havel saying he had refused a 1991 nomination for the
Nobel Peace Prize and proposed her for the honour instead. In her speech,
she voiced thanks for the support the late Mr Havel expressed for the
Burmese opposition at the time of the rule of the military junta in the
country, saying he had maintained in the Burmese opposition a flame of
during its darkest period. Although the two never met in person the late
Czech president and the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyii were
On Monday Aung San Suu Kyii was also welcomed at Prague Castle by President Miloš Zeman and will later meet with the country’s Foreign Minister Jan Kohout.
The Twelve Tribes Christian sect in Bavaria that is suspected of child abuse may have smuggled a group of children to the Czech Republic to hide them from the police, the German magazine Der Spiegel writes. Forty children were taken from the sect earlier this month following police raids at a monastery and a farm. The magazine claims the sect has another home base in Dolchau, Saxony, of which the authorities were not aware and from which ten children aged 7 to 16 disappeared in recent days, according to neighbours in the vicinity. Der Spiegel says the sect recently bought a farm near Prague where the children may have been smuggled. The Twelve Tribes sect, whose teachings are based on the Old and New Testament, is known to believe in corporal punishment. It had been under observation by authorities for some time, particularly for its refusal to send its children to school.
A third of Czech hospitals are having serious financial problems, according to a crisis committee of hospital managers. A number of hospitals are no longer able to cover the cost of electricity, food and even medicines and are operating on debt. The crisis committee has called on the government to take emergency action. The head of the Czech Association of Hospitals has warned that unless they get more finances per patient they will have to start restricting the number of operations and in the worst case start closing down selected departments as of 2014.
Czech trade unions want the next cabinet to abolish a number of reforms carried out by the previous centre-right administration of Petr Nečas, representatives of the country’s trade union umbrella organization said at a press briefing on Monday. Among the reforms they want abolished is the so-called second pillar of the pension system within which people can transfer part of their compulsory social contributions from the state pay-as-you-go system to private companies. The Social Democrats, who are slated to win the elections, have already said they are prepared to scrap the second pillar. The list of trade union demands also includes minimum wage growth, the construction of 50,000 flats and the introduction of social housing which the Czech Republic completely lacks.
Miners in Ostrava are gearing up for a demonstration in support of job security and better pay. Over a thousand miners are expected to attend the protest gathering which starts at 3pm on Friday on one of the city’s main squares. Due to growing economic problems employers have been laying off staff, cutting wages and even planning to sell or close down mines such as OKK Koksovny and Dolny Paskov.
Two former Scout leaders suspected of child abuse have gone before a regional court in Usti nad Labem. They have been charged with rape, sexual abuse and related crimes in the case of around 40 children. The violations took place for over five years before the authorities were alerted to their activities by a 13-year-old boy. If convicted they face up to 12 years in jail.
Police are investigating Sunday’s gas explosion in a residential building in Havířov, Moravia, as a case of criminal negligence. A police spokesperson said someone had tampered with the gas meter. What caused the blast is as yet unclear. The explosion tore a huge hole through the top floor of the building, which was fortunately empty at the time. Twenty seven people had to be evacuated.
Seven parties now stand to win seats in the lower house, according to a poll conducted by the STEM agency just six weeks ahead of the country’s general elections. The Social Democrats would come out top with 30 percent of the vote, followed by the Communist Party with 15 percent. The centre-right TOP 09 would get 12 percent of the vote, followed by the right wing Civic Democrats with 11 percent. The three potential newcomers are the Citizens’ Rights Party – Zemanites with 7.4 percent, the ANO 2011 party headed by business tycoon Andrej Babiš with 7.7 percent and the Christian Democrats with 5.5 percent of the vote.
The Czech Republic will be the top seeds when the draw for the 2014 Davis Cup is made this week, the International Tennis Federation said on Monday. Winners last year, the Czechs have again reached the final and will play Serbia in Belgrade next month. Serbia's run to the final earns them the second seeding, followed by Spain and Argentina. The draw takes place in London on Wednesday.