- The Czech police have called on members of the public for information relating to an incident in which President Václav Klaus was attacked by a man with a plastic pistol.
- There has been criticism of the ineffective response of President Klaus’s security detail to Friday’s attack.
- Jana Bobošíková has become the latest candidate to gather the signatures required to stand in next year’s presidential election.
- Běla Gran Jensenová has been named Overseas Czech of the Year at a ceremony in Prague.
- The Ministry of Health is to set up a new agency to oversee the purchase of equipment for Czech hospitals, according to a newspaper report.
Police ask public for video footage of attack on president by man with plastic pistol
The Czech police have called on members of the public to come forward if they have any information – including video recordings – relating to an incident on Friday in which President Václav Klaus was attacked by a man with a plastic pistol. Mr. Klaus was not injured in the incident, which occurred in the north Bohemian town of Chrastava, where he was opening a new bridge. A man of 26 was arrested soon after shooting at the president from very close range with a plastic "airsoft" pistol that fires pellets. The attacker, who told reporters he had been acting in protest at politicians’ disregard for ordinary people, has been charged with disorderly conduct.
Response of president’s bodyguards to attack criticised
There has been criticism of the slow and ineffective response on the part of President Klaus’s bodyguards to Friday’s attack. Security analyst Andor Šándor told the Czech News Agency that the head of state’s security detail had been guilty of a fatal failure, while a former bodyguard to senior state officials said if the attacker had been carrying a real pistol “we would now have a dead president”. Mr. Klaus himself described the situation as an all-round failure. It was reported on Saturday that the police’s internal affairs department was investigating the affair on suspicion of dereliction of duty.
Bobošíková third to gather enough signatures to stand for president
Jana Bobošíková has become the latest candidate to gather the 50,000 signatures required to stand in next January’s presidential election, her Sovereignty party said on Saturday. To date the only other candidates to acquire the necessary signatures have been Miloš Zeman and Jan Fischer, two former prime ministers that polls suggest have the highest chance of making it into the second, run-off round of the Czech Republic’s first direct presidential vote. Mrs. Bobošíková, whose party support Czech “national interests” and have no seats in the country’s Parliament, was nominated unsuccessfully by the Communist Party in the last, parliamentary election. The current Czech president, Václav Klaus, is due to step down next March after two terms.
Běla Gran Jensenová named Overseas Czech of Year at Prague ceremony
Běla Gran Jensenová, who lives in Norway, was named Overseas Czech of the Year at a ceremony on Friday night at Prague’s National Theatre organised by Czech Radio and Czech Television. Mrs. Jensenová is the founder of Stonožka (Centipede), an organisation that helps children in hospitals and other institutions in the Czech Republic and a number of other states. She came first in a vote in which listeners and viewers could choose between 20 Czech expatriates that have made notable achievements. Second in the poll was U.S.-based plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahač, while the Prague-born former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright placed third. The ceremony was held in connection with this year’s Day of Czech Statehood, which was dedicated to Czechs living abroad.
Press: New Health Ministry agency to oversee purchase of hospital equipment
The Czech Ministry of Health is to set up an agency to oversee the purchase of technology and equipment for the country’s publicly-owned hospitals, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. One reason it is being established is to prevent a situation in which individual hospitals buy the same equipment at different prices, the newspaper said. All purchases over a value of CZK 100,000 will have to go through the new office. Similar systems are in place in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom and Austria.
Guided tours highlight interesting architecture around Czech Republic
Architects and theoreticians, many of whom are of the younger generation, are giving free guided tours of significant historical landmarks and contemporary buildings at 45 Bohemian and Moravian cities and towns on Saturday and Sunday, as part of an event dubbed the Day of Architecture. Almost 70 individual activities are being held, including 16 in the capital Prague; these range from tours of some of the city’s estates of prefabricated tower blocks to lectures on the work of German-speaking architects that are today largely forgotten.
Czech Republic’s second city Brno set for New York showcase
Preparations are underway for a showcase of the Czech Republic’s second city, Brno, at the Bohemian National Hall in New York on Monday and Tuesday next week. Organisers say the event, entitled Brno Days–New York, will present the Moravian capital’s commercial and scientific potential, as well as its cultural and architectural heritage, to U.S. investors and businesses. One element of the showcase will be a seminar on Brno’s Villa Tugendhat, a world-renowned functionalist building that reopened earlier this year after extensive renovation work.
The remainder of the weekend should see a good deal of sunshine in many parts of the Czech Republic, though there will be rain in some places. Daytime temperatures are expected to range from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius.