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Olympic House in London to highlight Czech arts, culture & sport

15-03-2012 16:52 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Olympic House (visualisation), photo: CTK Organisers have unveiled plans for the Czech Olympic House in the area of Islington in London which will serve as a hub for thousands of visitors including, of course, sports fans during the upcoming summer Olympics. But the aim of the venue will not only be to meet Czech and other competitors (for example Usain Bolt) but also to present the Czech Republic in a modern light. The overall design was inspired by a famous abstract work by painter František Kupka, and the space itself will show works by contemporary Czech artists including David Černý, Michael Rittstein and others.  More

Recording of Nico’s 1985 illegal Brno concert comes out on vinyl

15-03-2012 16:52 | Jan Richter

Nico Czechoslovakia’s communist authorities kept a tight control of all aspects of life, including the arts, and of course, rock music. Only officially sanctioned artists were allowed to perform publicly or record albums. But some people had the courage to defy the system and organize illegal concerts. In 1985, a group of rock fans in Brno staged an illegal concert by the legendary singer Nico whose recording, only now, is about to be released on vinyl.  More

Week of Charter 77 marks 35-year-anniversary of the anti-communist human rights manifesto

14-03-2012 16:12 | Sarah Borufka

'Prague through the lens of the secret service', photo: CTK This week marks the 35-year-anniversary of the founding of Charter 77, an informal civic initiative against the communist regime. Many of its signatories would later become important figures in post-communist Czech society, such as philosopher and playwright Václav Havel, who was elected the country’s first president after the revolution. Now, the anniversary of the charter is being honored in Prague with a week-long commemoration, the Week of Charter 77.  More

Party game challenges players to change lousy lifestyles

14-03-2012 16:12 | Jan Velinger

You’ve just had a tough day at work, your family is making more and more demands, you’re smoking and drinking too much and if you’re not careful you could wind up dead. Sound dire? Well certainly – but only in real life. Here, we’re talking about your character in a new Czech game; one where players compete to change their lifestyles or else.  More

Facebook opens up new ways of communication to senior citizens

13-03-2012 16:11 | Sarah Borufka

For the majority of younger people today, life without social media is unimaginable. Posting pictures and videos, sharing the latest news and keeping on top of events –many aspects of daily life take place on sites like Facebook or Twitter. But do senior citizens use this new technology, and if so, for what? We went along to a social media course at Prague’s Elpida center for the elderly.  More

Government officials at odds over country’s export strategy

13-03-2012 16:11 | Jan Richter

Photo: Claus Bunks, CC 3.0 license Two Czech ministers have clashed over how the government should support the country’s exports. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose office has put a lot of effort into promoting Czech businesses abroad, dismissed a new export strategy designed by the Industry and Trade Ministry. In spite of the squabbles, however, the government’s support for exporters is bearing fruit: Czech exports have reached record levels and are a major driving force behind the Czech economic recovery.  More

Czech politicians offer different interpretations of left-wing landslide in Slovakia

12-03-2012 16:43 | Christian Falvey

Robert Fico, leader of Slovakia's social democratic party SMER, photo: CTK Voters in neighbouring Slovakia made a powerful statement at the weekend when they handed an overwhelming victory to the centre-left party SMER, which now has a strong enough mandate to form a single-party government. What that statement means though has been interpreted variously in the Czech Republic, where the current centre-right government has reached record lows in popularity. In the view of Foreign Minister and chairman of the TOP 09 Party Karel Schwarzenberg, the poll should be a lesson for the Czech government that corruption doesn’t pay, even amid positive right-wing policies. The Czech Social Democratic Party on the other hand was quick to interpret the election result as an indictment of failed policies that have often mirrored the reform measures passed and proposed in the Czech Republic. For an expert’s view on both those statements we turned to political scientist Jiří Pehe:  More

Bárta trial adjourns after an ugly week

09-03-2012 16:50 | Christian Falvey

Vít Bárta, photo: CTK The first round of the trial of leading Public Affairs member and former transport minister Vít Bárta comes to a close on Friday. Over the course of the week no less than six past and present government ministers have taken the stand to give testimony in the biggest corruption case in recent memory, which will be adjourned on Friday while the court goes over the evidence.  More

The Czech Republic investigates the impact of Poland's "saltgate"

08-03-2012 15:09 | Dominik Jůn

Illustrative photo: Ralf Roletschek, CC 3.0 license The Polish media have dubbed it “saltgate” – revelations that at least three Polish companies have been selling industrial salt (normally used to de-ice roads) to milk, fish, meat and bread producers. Several countries to which Poland may have exported potentially contaminated food products have been identified: Lithuania, Ireland, England, Germany and the Czech Republic. This week, the Czech Agriculture Ministry decided to temporarily block the import of salt from Poland, while tests are carried out by the State Veterinary Administration to determine if harmful substances such as dioxins and heavy metals found in road salt have made their way into the food chain. Meanwhile, five people have been arrested in Poland in connection with the affair, while the remaining salt in question has been impounded while the country’s own Chief Sanitary Inspectorate continues its own tests.  More

“Radioactivists” – a documentary at the One World festival explores Japanese protests in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

08-03-2012 15:09 | Sarah Borufka

'Radioactivists' As part of this year’s edition of the One World International Human Rights Film Festival, which is currently on in Prague, the German-produced independent documentary Radioactivists – Protest in Japan provides a rare and up-close look at Japanese protests in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It is being shown in the Youth Quake category, which features films that portray young people’s struggle for change in countries around the world. I asked co-director Clarissa Seidel, who made the film together with her good friend Julia Leser, about Japanese protest culture and whether she was at all interested in the country prior to the film project.  More

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