Archeologists have been able to reach the underground parts of the synagogue in České Budějovice, 71 years after it was completely destroyed. The synagogue was built in 1888, but was later destroyed by Nazi soldiers during in 1942. Scientists found the remains of the foundation of the enclosing walls as well as small objects, which include pieces of shattered glass and stones.
Greenpeace activists began a protest against the breaking of mining limits on Tuesday morning in front of the National Theater in Prague. They wanted to draw attention to issues concerning coal mining in the Czech Republic before Czechs head to the polls for early general elections on Friday. Signs held up by the activists showed the politicians running in the general elections who support the abolition of limits on coal mining. A few of the protesters attempted to climb up the theater building in order to place their banners there.
For the first time ever, the Confederation of Political Prisoners has not submitted a list of nominees for this year’s state awards, which are traditionally given out by the president on 28 October. The confederation’s vice chairman Leo Žídek said that they have a problem with the fact that President Miloš Zeman has not openly opposed the Communist regime. In the past, both of the previous Czech presidents Václav Havel and Václav Klaus gave state honors to a number of political prisoners of the former regime every year, usually based on the nominations from the confederation.
The police have expanded the charges against the former head of Czech Military Intelligence, Milan Kovanda, in connection with the spying scandal, which brought down the Nečas government. Mr. Kovanda has already been accused of misusing government resources to spy on the then wife of former prime minister Petr Nečas, on the orders of the premier’s chief of staff who was romantically linked with the head of government. The police have now accused Mr. Kovanda of paying a private company to carry out the assignment. Mr. Kovanda came in for another round of questioning with the police on Tuesday morning. Another two former employees of the military intelligence service have also been charged in connection to the case.
The main prize in this year’s Czech Press Photo competition has been awarded to Czech News Agency’s photographer Michal Kamaryt for his photographs of the former Central Bohemian governor David Rath in the court building where his trial is being held. Mr. Rath is the main defendant in a major trial concerns bribe-taking and the manipulation of tenders in the construction and health care sectors in the Central Bohemia Region. According to the Czech Press Photo judges, Mr. Kamaryt’s photograph symbolizes the discontented mood in the country and also shows the extent of corruptions in the Czech Republic.
Former Soviet dissident and poet Natalya Gorbanevskaya received an honorary medal from Prague’s Charles University on Tuesday for her lifelong commitment to the struggle for democracy, freedom and human rights. Ms. Gorbanevskaya was one of eight people who came out onto the Red Square in Moscow in 1968 to protest the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. She was arrested along with the other within minutes of beginning the protests and was placed in psychiatric facility for two years. She emigrated to France in 1975, but has been outspoken about human rights abuses in the Soviet Union and post-Communist Russia.
The search for the two Czech mountain climbers missing in Nepal will be renewed, according to a spokesperson of the Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry. Climbers Jakub Vaněk and Petr Machold went missing on 13 October, during their attempted climb up the Baruntse mountain, which is next to Mount Everest. The experienced climbers were caught in a snow storm in the second camp at around 6.5 kilometers above sea level, as they attempted to reach the more than 7–kilometer high summit. The helicopter rescue services attempted to evacuate the climbers on October 17 and 18, but saw only a torn-up tent and no sign of life at the camp. The helicopter was unable to land at the time, because of the rough terrain and unfavorable weather conditions.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, on Monday as part of a three-day state visit to the country. After the meeting, President Zeman said he would like to see Ukraine sign an association agreement with the EU at the alliance’s Eastern Partnership´s summit in Vilnius in November and said Kiev should use the interim period to introduce further necessary reforms. The EU´s condition for signing an association agreement with Ukraine is the release of imprisoned former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year sentence for alleged abuse of power. On Sunday, the Czech president attended a memorial service for Czechoslovak soldiers who died on the territory of today’s Ukraine during WWII.
The Vrtbovský palace in Prague’s Lesser Town district, which also used to belong to the Thurn und Taxis noble family, will be reconstructed into a university building after more than a decade of standing vacant. Prague 1 authorities will invest 143 million crowns in the reconstruction of the building, which will be rented out to the private Anglo-American University, which already occupies a number of buildings in the surrounding area. The Thurn-Taxis or Vrtbovský palace was built at the end of the 17th century and belonged to a number of European noble families.
The American internet shopping giant Amazon will set up its Central European distribution center in the small town of Dobrovíz near Prague’s Václav Havel airport, according to the E15 daily. Most likely, Amazon will build a new 1,000-square meter space with the help of the developer company Panattoni, which already has a large storage complex in Dobrovíz. Although neither Panattoni nor Amazon have confirmed the deal, the only other company competing for this contract told E15 that they are out of the running. Amazon is planning to employ around 1,000 people in its new distribution center, which it plans to open in a year’s time.
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