Czechs are marking the 51st anniversary of the self-immolation of Prague
university student Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest at apathy
in the face of the Soviet occupation.
Memorial ceremonies have been held in Palach’s Central Bohemian hometown of Všetaty, where his childhood home recently became a museum in his honour, and towns and cities around the country.
In Prague people have gathered to pay homage to his memory on Wenceslas Square where he set himself alight, at Charles University, where he studied, and at Olsany Cemetery where he is buried.
Jan Palach died in agony on January 19, three days after setting himself on fire. Some 200,000 people turned out for his funeral. In death, he would become known as “the conscience of the nation”.
The King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV was voted the most
significant figure in Czech history, in a public poll conducted by the CVVM
The co-founder of Czechoslovakia and its first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk placed second and the country’s first post-communist president Václav Havel came third.
Fourth place went to the late Czech pop idol Karel Gott. Respondents said the Golden Era of Czech history was during the rule of Charles IV and in the modern era they highlighted the time of the Velvet Revolution.
Charles University students who for several days blocked the rectorate
building have agreed to end their occupation strike. They also withdrew
their demand that Rector Tomáš Zima resign immediately.
Following a three-hour meeting on Monday evening with the protesters, the Academic Senate agreed to adopt a resolution that Charles University would proactively address fighting climate change, ČTK reports.
Zima has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for his role in establishing a Czech-Chinese Centre at Charles University, where some events seem to have been funded by the Chinese Embassy. The Academic Senate has agreed to review Zima's mandate and seek climate neutrality by 2022.
Students demonstrating in the main building of Charles University in Prague
against climate change and the current rector of the university Tomas Zima
say that they will continue occupying the venue at least until the end of
this weekend. The main entrance to the building has been occupied by
students from a number of Czech universities since Wednesday.
The protestors insist that Mr. Zima is a barrier for the university's efforts to tackle climate change, but the rector says that this is nonsense and refuses to resign. The university authorities have offered to resolve the issue through a debate at the next Charles University academic senate meeting, which will include a special discussion on climate change.
More than 600 Charles University students, graduates and employees have
called on its rector Tomáš Zima to step down over a controversial
partnership agreement with consumer lender Home Credit.
Under the cooperation agreement, Home Credit, which is part of the PPF Group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, was to give Charles University half a million crowns annually. Following a wave of criticism, the company withdrew from the deal.
“The incident clearly shows that the rector of Charles University failed in negotiating the deal with Home Credit and put the university’s good name at risk,” the academics wrote in an open letter addressed to the Academic Senate, which is to hold a meeting on Friday.
Consumer lender Home Credit announced on Thursday it will withdraw from a
controversial partnership agreement with Charles University announced
earlier this week.
A spokesman for the company said Home Credit did not want to be drawn into irrational debates about the nature of the cooperation before it had even begun.
Hundreds of Charles University students and faculty had called on the rectorate to cancel the agreement, accusing the company of lending irresponsibly, thereby adding to the personal debt crisis.
Home Credit is part of the PPF Group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner. Under the cooperation agreement, the consumer lender was to give Charles University half a million crowns annually, mainly to the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Institute of Economic Studies.
Thursday marks the European Day of Languages, which is celebrated annually across the continent. It aims to promote the rich linguistic diversity of Europe and raise awareness of the importance of lifelong language learning. Here in the Czech Republic, the European Day of Languages will be marked at Prague’s Campus Hybernská. Visitors can attend exhibitions and lectures as well as special language courses, from Yakut and Yiddish to Faroese and Sarkese.
This Friday marks the 600 year anniversary since the death of King Wenceslas IV., who was simultaneously the king of Bohemia and of the Romans. His rule was marked by political miscalculation and excessive drinking. However, he was also an important patron of the arts. On the occasion of the anniversary, Prague Castle has opened an exhibition depicting some of the most accomplished gothic craftsmanship produced during his era.
Former German President Joachim Gauck has been awarded the Charles IV
Prize, a distinction bestowed by the city of Prague and Charles University
to persons known for their outstanding contribution to culture, politics or
Gauck is the seventh person to receive this award since its inception in 1993, which includes an honorary diploma. He should officially receive this distinction on 21 January in Prague.
Now 78, Gauck served as Germany’s head of state between 2012 and 2017. In that capacity, he made numerous visits to the Czech Republic.
The head of the Institute of World History at Charles University is stepping down in the wake of accusations of plagiarism, lodged by three doctoral students at the philosophical faculty. Professor Martin Kovář – who denies any wrongdoing – will also be resigning his position as vice rector, in what is seen as an extraordinary case of students holding a prominent academic to account.