Security at Czech ministries, government offices and other state institutions has been tightened after the Interior Ministry received another letter containing suspicious substance on Friday, the third such letter to have arrived at the ministry over the last weeks. One of the letters was found to contain poison. A poison letter also arrived at the Finance Ministry last week while envelopes containing harmless substances have been delivered to the office of the president and the commercial TV channel Prima. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told a news conference on Friday the police would closely monitor mail delivered to state institutions which would receive manuals on recognizing potentially dangerous shipments. Mr Chovanec also said he believed that the perpetrators would soon be traced.
Around two hundred students staged a fresh protest against President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday evening. The demonstration organized by students from Prague’s Technical University took place outside the gates of Prague Castle with protesters signing a petition for the Senate to debate some of the president’s recent controversial statements. They have so far collected 3,000 signatures though they would need 10,000 for the Senate to comply with their request. The hour long protest ended without incident.
President Miloš Zeman has again not invited university rectors with whom he has had disputes in the past to a ceremony on October 28 at which state honours will be presented. Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday that once again neither Mikuláš Bek of Brno’s Masaryk University nor Libor Grubhoffer from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice had received the traditional invitation. Mr. Bek refused to allow Mr. Zeman to appear before students ahead of general elections, while Mr. Grubhoffer declined to attend a conferral ceremony after the president refused to name a professor, saying he had carried an inappropriate sign during a gay pride parade. Last year a number of university heads stayed away from the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle in solidarity with the two.
President Milos Zeman is to pay a state visit to China from October 23 -27th, the Office of the President said in a statement to the press on Thursday. In addition to a series of talks with top officials in Beijing, the Czech president will also visit the provinces. Economic issues are expected to dominate the agenda. The two countries are working to expand business ties after a reset of relations earlier this year. The Chinese Investment Form held at Prague Castle in August was the biggest event of its kind, attended by close to a thousand delegates. On his visit to China the Czech president will be accompanied by a delegation of Czech business leaders.
The Czech Foreign Ministry on Friday confirmed receiving a similar threat in the mail as the Office of the President and the Office of the Government earlier this week. All three institutions received an envelope containing a white powder and a threat sent in the name of the Islamic State. It slammed the Czech Republic for sending ammunition to Kurdish forces in Iraq which are fighting against the IS. The powder contained in the letter sent to Prague Castle was found to be harmless. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Friday that it appeared to be the work of one individual.
The Prague Castle Administration is planning renovation work priced at CZK 260 million, Lidové Noviny reported on Saturday. The Prague Castle Administration has engaged contractors to renovate the riding school at Pohořelec, the Castle’s Ludwig Wing and a greenhouse for palm trees at the presidential summer residence at Lány near Prague, among other sites, the newspaper said. The work is being to be carried out this year and in 2015, the president’s spokesman said.
President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have stood up for Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová who is under fire for declaring her official residence to be the tax haven of Monaco. Finance Minister Babiš said in an interview for idnes.cz that since the Czech tennis star generally plays abroad her tournament wins would not be taxed in the Czech Republic anyway. President Zeman noted that Kvitová’s decision was a common practice among world class tennis stars and that the Czech Republic should be proud to have such an ambassador. He said he would be happy to receive her at Prague Castle. Left-wing politicians have slammed Kvitová for the decision and suggested she should no longer play for the Czech Republic.
Czech Philharmonic perform to 4,000 at Prague Castle
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed a free concert to around 4,000 people on Hradčanské náměstí in the Prague Castle complex on Tuesday night. The concert, conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, featured pieces by Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and a number of other composers and brought the orchestra’s 118th season to a close. During the performance, which was broadcast live on Czech TV’s Art station, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated the release of the recording DVOŘÁK Complete Symphonies & Concertos.
The National Heritage Institute which is responsible for the protection and preservation of the country’s historical monuments has over 100 palaces, castles and manor houses in its care. Over the past 20 years it has worked hard to restore many of those long-neglected buildings to their former glory and today they represent the best part of the country’s national heritage. Regrettably, many of those outside Prague remain undiscovered by foreign tourists. Tomáš Brabec of the National Heritage Institute says this is something that the institute is
The Czech Republic boasts hundreds of castles, chateaux, and churches which annually attract millions of visitors. Regular maintenance is a must – a task that requires not just a considerable amount of money but an army of professionals highly skilled in the reconstruction of precious historical sites. The Czech National Heritage Institute has just launched a pilot project aimed at educating new specialists in the field.
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