A nationwide collection of food for the poor started in 111 shops and supermarkets across the country at 8 AM on Saturday. In the first such event to be held in the Czech Republic, shoppers are encouraged to buy foodstuffs and donate them to a food bank which will hand the food out to homeless shelters, retirement homes and families in financial crisis, the organizers said. The collection will conclude at 8 PM. Around 10 percent of the Czech population is under the poverty line but another 1.7 million people are threatened by poverty.
The Czech Republic is leading Serbia 2-1 in the finals of the Davis Cup in Belgrade after Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek defeated Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjič and Ilja Bozoljac 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in Saturday’s doubles. In Sunday’s decisive singles, Tomáš Berdych will take on world number two Novak Djokovič who surprisingly did not appear in the doubles; Radek Štepánek will later play Dušan Lajovič. The Czech Davis Cup team is defending last year’s triumph in the competition.
Poet, historian and translator Zbyněk Hejda died on Saturday morning at the age of 83, the news website lidovky.cz reported citing his publisher. Mr Hejda was considered one of the most significant contemporary Czech poets and his work has been described as a “pessimistic lyricism” with strong erotic undertones. Zbyněk Hejda, native of Hradec Králové, was a graduate of Charles University. He faced persecution by the communist regime after he signed the Charter 77 manifesto. His collected poems were published in 1996 under the title “Poems”.
Air pollution in the northeast Czech Republic has far exceeded the permitted levels. On Saturday morning, the emissions in most of the Moravian-Silesian Region reached double the value of legal limits, according to a report by the news agency ČTK. The worst affected areas include Karviná and several nearby municipalities. Meteorologists don’t expect any change in the local conditions, and say air pollution levels will remain way above the limit over the next 24 hours.
A car with a dead man behind the wheel was discovered in a water reservoir in Tedražice, western Bohemia, on Saturday morning. The police said they received a call at 7.15 AM, alerting them to the car turned on its roof and submerged in the reservoir. The body of a man was found on the back seat, the police said, adding it was not clear whether other people were travelling in the car. The incident is under investigation.
With 17.6 deceased organ donors per a million inhabitants, the Czech Republic is ranked 15th in the world, according to the Czech Transplantations Coordinating Centre. The list is topped by Spain with over 35 donors. Between January and October this year, 183 deceased and 64 living donors were registered in the Czech Republic; despite an increase in their numbers, the waiting time for donor transplant has grown, too. There have been nearly 360 kidney transplants, 106 liver transplants and 54 heart transplants this year. The Czech Republic has seven transplant centers two of which are located in Prague.
The Czech interim government is next week set to discuss amendments to the penal code that would increase the protection of children against sexual abuse, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. The draft legislation introduces two new crimes – establishing unauthorized contacts with children, and participation in pornographic performances. The cabinet will also discuss legislation increasing the penalties for human trafficking as well as racism and xenophobia. Part of the draft legislation was approved by the government earlier this year but could not reach the lower house which dissolved itself in the meantime.
Czech theatres participate for the first time in the European Theatre Night, an event held in 11 European countries on Saturday. Over 80 theatre troupes and ensembles in 24 Czech cities have joined in, offering tours of theatre buildings, debates with actors, art exhibitions, and others. In Prague, the Theatre Institute in Celetná will open an information centre on Saturday afternoon offering details about the event’s programme in the capital.
Former president Václav Klaus has written that he considers negative screening results a matter of course for ministers in government, stressing that all candidates he named as head-of-state fulfilled the necessary requirements. Screening legislation was introduced in the 1990s to prevent persons who worked as agents for the former Communist secret police from holding high office. The law is also supported by the current president, Miloš Zeman. Andrej Babiš, the head of ANO 2011, could face difficulty in joining the new government given he was listed in Slovakia as having ties to the StB – a matter the billionaire businessman has challenged in court. Mr Babiš has denied he ever collaborated with the StB.
Bohuslav Svoboda, the leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats in Prague, has said he intends to run for a top post in his party’s national leadership. Mr Svoboda declined to specify whether he would aim for the post of deputy leader. Ahead of an upcoming vote, he backed candidate Filip Humplík to succeed him in the Prague branch, and he also backed Miroslava Němcová for the post of party chairwoman should she decide to run. She and Mr Svoboda, as well as others in the party such as former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil could play significant roles in a new Civic Democratic Party leadership, after a corruption and spying scandal brought down the party’s former chairman Petr Nečas.
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’