The former president of Poland and one of the founders of the 1980s Polish
labour union movement known as “Solidarity”, Lech Wałęsa, will be one
of the speakers at this year’s Forum 2000 conference in Prague, the Czech
News Agency reported on Wednesday. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, the
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I. and Czech Foreign
Minister Tomáš Petříček will also feature among the wide list of
prominent thought leaders attending the three-day conference which starts
The conference is organised annually and was co-founded by former Czech President Václav Havel. Its primary aims are the support of democratic values, civil society and respect for human rights. On the occasion of the 30 anniversary since the fall of the Iron Curtain, this year’s theme has been named “Recovering the Promise of 1989.”
The informal chain of small Vietnamese stores makes up the largest retail
chain in the Czech Republic and possibly composes up to a fifth of the
market, according to the head of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism
Tomáš Prouza. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, Mr. Prouza said that a
new law amendment which is currently being prepared could affect these
small-retailer alliances by re-evaluating them as a significant market
According to him, inspectors currently have problems when dealing with the owners of such stores in part because of the murkiness surrounding their company ID. By classifying such retailers as an alliance of traders under the new legislation could help tax them more effectively.
The National Museum opened its new memorial to Jan Palach, the student who
protested the passivity of his countrymen following the Soviet-led invasion
of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by self-immolation, in Všetaty on Wednesday. The
house which Jan Palach grew up in, in the Central Bohemian village, has now
been converted into a memorial featuring a multimedia exposition. The
opening ceremony was attended by the minister of culture and Cardinal
The building was bought by the National Museum in 2014, but work on the memorial only began last year.
The Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has criticized the Chinese
Embassy’s reaction to Prague City Hall’s revocation of the
Prague-Beijing sister city agreement. The foreign minister told journalists
on Wednesday morning that threats have no place in diplomacy.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, the Chinese Ambassador to Prague Zhang Jianmin called on City Hall to change its approach to the revocation of the Prague-Beijing agreement, or countermeasures will be enacted.
Mr. Petříček also said that nothing has changed in the attitudes of the Czech government towards China and that he repeatedly told the Chinese ambassador that the government cannot influence the decisions made by Prague City Hall.
Dr. Zdeňek Ondráček, a communist party member of the Chamber of Deputies
has found himself under fire following allegations he plagiarised parts of
his thesis during the time he studied for his doctorate at the Palacký
University in Olomouc. The MP has dismissed the claims and said he is
considering legal steps in his defence.
Journalists from the Czech daily Mf DNES found eight passages sometimes up to a page long from previous academic research, which Dr. Ondráček failed to either cite or reference in his thesis.
According to the Palacký University in Olomouc, Dr. Ondráček’s thesis was checked by anti-plagiarism software upon being handed in and nothing was detected. However, the university spokeswoman told Czech Radio that the institution will re-analyse the thesis and should have a conclusion ready within a month.
China’s ambassador to the Czech Republic has called on the Prague
authorities to change their approach after they decided to terminate a
sister city agreement with Beijing. Otherwise, Ambassador Zhang Jianmin
said on Facebook, Prague’s own interests will suffer.
Prague City Hall took the decision to abrogate the twin towns agreement after China refused to remove an article from the document stating that Prague recognises the One China policy.
China has in the recent past blocked music ensembles linked to Prague from touring the country.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says people should consider honouring singer
Karel Gott in other ways than by attending a public memorial event on
Friday, the day before his private funeral. The public will be able to pay
their respects to the singer, who died last week aged 80, at Prague’s
Žofín Palace. The venue say they can handle up to 50,000 visitors but
there have been reports that up to 300,000 are planning to attend.
On Friday Prague will also be hosting a football game between the Czech Republic and England, while the second day of the annual Signal festival of light will also be bringing large crowds to the city centre.
The Czech foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, has expressed concerns
over plans to move United States troops in Syria and possible military
action by Turkey. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that his
country’s army would leave north-eastern Syria, a move that could open
the way for Turkey to attack Kurdish fighters across the border.
In a tweet Mr. Petříček said ordinary people would suffer and the situation could only be resolved politically and diplomatically. He said he hoped there would be no attempts to force refugees to move, adding that international law must be respected.
A spokesperson for President Miloš Zeman said he was analysing the situation. However, the head of the Office of the President’s international department, Rudolf Jindrák, said the Kurds could not be thrown under the bus.
Kurdish forces were US allies in defeating Islamic State in Syria. However, Turkey views the Kurdish militias that dominate the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as terrorists.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Visegrad Four are considering a
joint invitation to Donald Trump to visit Warsaw. Mr. Babiš made the
comment in an interview in daily Blesk. He said Poland was the closest ally
of the US and that if he came to Warsaw the V4 leaders would like to
discuss Euro-American relations, including trade deals, with the US
The Czech Republic now holds the presidency of the Visegrad Four, which also includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.
Mr. Babiš said the last time he had seen Mr. Trump, at the UN General Assembly, he had pointed out to the US leader that he had failed to mention Europe in his address.