Students and professors have unveiled a new Havel’s Place at the University of J.E. Purkyně, to inspire dialogue and the exchange of ideas, named after the late president Václav Havel. Designed by Mr Havel’s friend and architect Bořek Šípek, who died earlier this year, the design features two chairs connected by a table and Linden tree. The first Havel's Place was installed in the grounds of Georgetown University in Washington D.C. in 2013. Many other places around the world have since introduced the design on sites of their own.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has moved up to fifth spot in the WTA rankings, the highest position she has held so far in her career. She moved up one spot in the rankings despite not getting to the final stages of the WTA tournament in Beijing. Fellow player Petra Kvitova, two-time Wimbledon champion, is currently outside the Top 10, in eleventh spot. She will not feature in this year’s WTA Finals after appearing five times in a row, news website idnes.cz reported.
Libuše Šilhánová, journalist, sociologist and one of the first signatories of Charter 77 manifesto, has died at the age of 87. The news was confirmed by Mrs Šilhánová’s daughter. Mrs Šilhánová joined the reformist wing of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia in 1957 but was expelled in 1970 for protesting against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. She went on to become one of the founders of the Czechoslovak branch of the Helsinki Committee defending human rights. In 2001, she received state honours from then president Václav Havel. Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová paid homage to Libuše Šilhánová’s courage, saying she had fought for human rights during a very difficult period in the country’s history.
ANO leader Andrej Babiš, whose party won the most mandates in communal elections at the weekend, has suggested his party could realistically gain the governorship in four regions. The politician also expressed dissatisfaction over developments in the region of Hradec Králové, where parties were working on forming a coalition excluding ANO, who came first. Mr Babiš told journalists that he hoped voters were “taking notice”, as he expected similar developments after next year's general election.
An abandoned former medical facility in Prague’s Žižkov which was taken over and cleaned up by squatters and activists in 2014 to create what they called an anti-commercial, cultural and social centre, has been obtained by the Railway Infrastructure Administration. The news was reported by Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál on Monday. The state agency told the wire service ČTK that it intended to use the building for its own employees. The squatters who ran the facility which they called Klinika, repeatedly appealed to community spirit and aimed to provide what they described as a platform for “anti-authoritarian collectives and individuals”.
The Czech roadside assistance organisation ÚAMK, a partner of the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), has released findings from risk mapping conducted from 2013 – 2015. ÚAMK, at a press conference, highlighted significant safety improvements on a primary road connecting the South Bohemian towns of Písek and Vodňany; since 2014, the stretch of road was modernised and saw the introduction of new traffic warning signs. By contrast, the I/11 connecting Žamberk and Jablonec nad Orlicí and Červena Voda was rated the country’s most dangerous.
Right wing opposition parties the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 have said they are backing each other’s candidates in the second-round of elections to the Czech Senate, scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. After the first round, the Civic Democrats have candidates in five races and TOP 09 in three. Nowhere are candidates of the two parties going head-to-head. The head of TOP 09, Miroslav Kalousek, also said on Monday that his party would back Social Democrat and Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek over ANO candidate Jaroslav Větrovský in Tábor. That race is neck-and-neck with Větrovský holding a slim lead after the first round.
Legendary Czech singer Karel Gott will perform his first solo concert this Monday since undergoing successful treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The singer was diagnosed last November and underwent chemotherapy in February which was said to have eradicated the disease. In his solo return, Mr Gott opted for a smaller club, the famous Malostranksá Beseda; tickets sold out in a matter of minutes. In September, Mr Gott sang briefly at Hana Zagorová’s birthday concert.
The Social Democrats have a realistic chance of being a part of a majority of regional assemblies, following results at the weekend, party leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a meeting of the party executive with regional leaders on Sunday evening. In areas where the party placed first or second, Mr Sobotka made clear he felt the Social Democrats would not face difficulties. Czechs voted for local assemblies in 13 of 14 regions at the weekend. Overall, newcomers on the regional level ANO landed around 21 percent of all the votes nationwide, pushing the Social Democrats, with just over 15 percent, into second place. Previously, the Social Democrats had dominated across the map and had had 11 regional governors.
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