Signatories of Charter 77 and other former dissidents are set to meet for a special evening of celebration and reminiscences at Prague’s Lucerna Palace on Saturday. The gathering comes one day after the 40th anniversary of the launch of the most significant protest movement in Communist Czechoslovakia. The event follows a day-long conference entitled Eye-witnesses to the Charter moderated by Petruška Šustrová, one of the 240 or so original signatories. Charter 77, a petition calling on the Communist regime to honour their commitments to human rights under the Helsinki Accords, was launched on January 6, 1977.
The minister of finance, ANO chief Andrej Babiš, may have started transforming the ownership structure of his business empire, HlídacíPes.org reported on Saturday. The news site said Mr. Babiš had changed the name of a hitherto dormant company of his in December and installed his partner Monika and people from his company Agrofert on its statutory bodies. The move comes after legislators approved a conflict of interest bill placing restrictions on government members. The president has vetoed the amendment.
The leading Czech women’s tennis player, Karolína Plíšková, has won the seventh WTA title of her career. The 24-year-old will now climb to fifth in the world rankings, equalling her previous best placing, after beating Frances Alize Cornet 6-0 6-3 in the final of the Brisbane International in Australia on Saturday. It was Plíšková’s first tournament under new coach David Kotyza.
A smog alert has been declared in parts of the Moravian-Silesian Region. The worst situation is in Věřňovice in the Karviná area, where more than double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles has been recorded, according to data released by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The region has had the worst air quality in the Czech Republic with the problem attributed to industry, transport, household heating and pollutants blown across the border from Poland.
The Czech tennis player Kateřina Siniaková has won her first WTA singles title. The 20-year-old lifted the trophy after overcoming Alison Riske 6-3 6-4 in the final of the Shenzhen Open on Saturday. On her way to the title Siniaková beat two top 10-ranking players, Simona Halep and Johanna Konta, and she will now enter the world top 40 for the first time.
The lowest temperature in the Czech Republic so far this winter was recorded in the Šumava mountains in the early hours of Saturday, with the Rokytská slať weather station registering -34.5 degrees Celsius. Other parts of Šumava also saw temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius or lower. There was also a deep freeze in north Bohemia on Saturday morning, with the mercury falling to between -15 and -20 Celius.
Industrial production bounced back in November with an overall rise in output of 7 percent. When adjusted for the number of working days, the rise falls back to 4.5 percent. Production of cars and other transport equipment rose by just over 15 percent but there was also an 8.5 percent decrease in production of pharmaceutical drugs. The value of new orders rose by 10.7 compared with the same month a year earlier. And the industrial workforce in firms with more than 50 workers rose by 2.1 percent on November 2015.
The death toll on Czech roads in 2016 fell to 545 people. That’s 115 less than in 2015 and the lowest total since 1961 when the police started to compile statistics. One area where the casualty rate did rise last year was among lorry drivers but deaths from all other categories of drivers, cyclists, bikers, and pedestrians were down. Police said their own special road safety campaign last year helped significantly contribute to the lower death toll. The Czech national target for road deaths last year set a target ceiling of 465 mortalities.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’