Book World Prague 2012 is slowly drawing to a close. The four-day book festival, which ends on Sunday, is the biggest event of its kind in the Czech Republic, presenting a wide variety of literary genres: fiction, non-fiction, scientific journals, children’s books and rare prints from both and home and abroad. It traditionally attracts book lovers, publishers and suppliers from around the world. This year the special theme was Arab World Literature.
The Social Democrats have called for a cleansing of the party’s Central Bohemian leadership in connection with the corruption charges against former governor David Rath. Following a meeting of the party leadership on Saturday, chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that there was general agreement that local leaders close to David Rath should resign and new elections should take place. The party is concerned about the negative impact the Rath corruption case could have on its chances in the autumn regional and senate elections. The former governor was arrested on Monday night with seven million crowns in cash and is suspected of being involved in a scheme abusing EU funds.
Czech GPs are warning that an increasing number of Czechs are overweight. According to statistics 52 percent of the population is overweight and a growing number of people are obese. Tens of thousands of people now fall into the latter category meaning they weigh over 150 kilos. Doctors say there is a direct correlation between obesity and the growing incidence of heart disease and diabetes in the Czech Republic.
A commemorative ceremony for victims of the communist regime took place at Motol cemetery in Prague on Saturday. The event was attended by politicians, former dissidents and family members of those who died at the hands of the communists mainly in the hard-line 1950s. Motol cemetery was one of the places where they were secretly buried in mass graves. The dead were cremated and buried there only under registered numbers. Around two-thirds of the 78 victims have been identified. The existence of the mass grave at Motol cemetery was only discovered after the fall of communism.
The Social Democratic Party has officially nominated Senator Jiří Dienstbier for the post of president. The party deputy chair was the sole candidate for the presidential race after the withdrawal of economist Jan Švejnar. Senator Dienstbier received support from 107 members of the party’s executive committee, while 35 voted against his nomination. Paradoxically, some party members would prefer to support former party leader Milos Zeman who left the Social Democrats in 2007 and is now a presidential nominee for the Party of Civic Rights which he founded in 2009.
On Saturday night Prague’s O2 arena will host the sixth annual Sensation dance music event held in the Czech Republic. Organizers are promising a splendid audio-visual show and seven DJs. The indoor electronic dance music event traditionally attended by dancers dressed exclusively in white originated in the Netherlands and has gained increasing popularity around the world. In past years it attracted as many as 17 thousand people to Prague’s O2 arena.
Addressing a conference of the Communist Party its leader Vojtech Filip said the time was ripe for revolutionary social changes. Filip who is running for re-election at the weekend party conference in Liberec said it was time to bring down the centre-right government and halt the anti-social reforms which were impoverishing the vast majority of the population. He said broad public support for anti-government demonstrations showed that the situation had reached a breaking point and ground-breaking changes would inevitably follow. Rousing speeches at the two day conference indicate that the Communists have not given up their long-term goal –to restore socialism in the country.
The newly emerging party of Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has pressed criminal charges against an unknown culprit for stealing the party’s proposed name LIDEM and trying to get it registered at the Interior Ministry. There was an attempt to register a new party under that name by an unknown person soon after it was officially made public. The attempt will not however hinder the deputy prime minister from establishing her party as LIDEM (short for Liberal Democrats) since the initial registration was rejected for technical errors.
Civic Democrat Senator Premysl Sobotka has an edge over his party rival Evzen Tosenovsky in the presidential primaries. The senator has just beaten his rival hands down in the South Bohemia and Vysocina regions where he received 221 votes to Tosenovsky’s 96 and 188 against 119 respectively. The party’s hot candidate for the post chair of the lower house Miroslava Nemcova pulled out of the race unexpectedly just ahead of the primaries.
Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday accused Iran
of playing a “chess game” with world powers in order to guard its
nuclear gains. Speaking shortly after a meeting with President Vaclav
Klaus, Mr. Netanyahu said that although he favours a peaceful solution to
the issue he can see no indication that Iran is ready to wind up its
nuclear programme and suggested that Teheran was playing a chess game with
the international community in order to buy time.
Security issues and the situation in the Middle East have been high on the agenda of two-days of Czech-Israeli talks, with the Czech prime minister defending Israel’s right to protect itself against terrorism and rejecting attempts to challenge the legitimacy of the Jewish state. The Israeli head of government said the two nations have a close affinity since Czechs know what it is like to be a believer in democracy in a hostile region.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’