A temporary memorial to mark the anniversary of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto was unveiled in Prague 6 on Thursday at a place where dissidents Václav Havel, Ludvík Vaculík and Pavel Landovský were arrested by the Communist secret police 40 years ago while trying to bring the text to the Federal Assembly. The memorial, designed by students from the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Arts in Pilsen, consists of old post boxes where people can reach for their own copy of Charter 77 manifesto. It will remain in place until the end of the month.
Sales of new passenger cars in the Czech Republic rose by 12.5 percent last year, the Car Importers Association announced at a press conference on Thursday. Close to 260,000 vehicles were sold in the country in 2016 and the number is expected to rise even further this year. Škoda Auto remains the leader on the domestic market with a 30 percent market share. Last year, its sales increased by over 11 percent to 82,000 vehicles.
The Ministry of Environment will draft a plan to tackle light pollution in the Czech Republic, Environment Minister Richard Brabec said on Thursday after a meeting with astronomers. The proposal containing measures to reduce light pollution will be submitted to the government by the end of this summer. Night-time lighting prevents astronomers from observing stars but it can also cause various health problems, including near sightedness and insomnia. Experts say light pollution in the Czech Republic has significantly worsened over the past 50 years.
Dozens of organisations, experts and public figures have called on the government on Thursday to approve draft legislation on social housing and send it on to the Lower House. Štěpán Ripka of the Platform for Social Housing has warned that the new law won’t be approved before parliamentary elections if the government fails to take immediate steps. According to Labour Minister Michaela Marksová and Human Rights Minister Jan Chvojka, the current compromise proposal stands a fair chance of being approved by October.
Veterinarians are investigating what may be a third case of bird flu in the Czech Republic, after a poultry breeder near Ivančice in South Moravia discovered two dead specimens at his farm, spokesman of the State Veterinary Service Petr Pejchal told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Minister of Agriculture on Wednesday confirmed the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the Czech Republic. Tests have shown that it is the H5 strain, which doesn’t pose threat to people.
An avalanche warning has been issued by authorities in the Krkonoše mountains in the north of the country on Thursday. The grade three warning on a five-point scale has been issued following recent snowfall, windy conditions and poor visibility. Some 25 centimetres of fresh snow have fallen in the area overnight and forecasters expect more snowfall in the days to come.
The Czech minister for human rights has reacted to a storm of criticism sparked by the retailer Lidl’s use of a black male model for clothes on one of its advertising leaflets. The model sparked a wave of racist criticism and comments about the retail chain on social networks, including a mock set of Klu Klux Klan pyjamas for sale. The retailer said it saw no reason to change the advert, adding that it was the 21st century and the Czech Republic was part of a multicultural Europe. Human rights minister Jan Chvojka of the main government party, the Social Democrats, said he did not normally shop at Lidl but would now make a special effort to buy the clothes in question as a gesture of solidarity.
Authorities are investigating how a prisoner at Prague’s Pankrác prison died after apparently being given medicine destined for another inmate. The daily Právo said the case is already being scrutinised by the state prison service and the wider inspectorate covering state security and emergency services, GIBS. The paper reports that the inmate was apparently given methadone, a substitute for heroin, which was meant for another prisoner with a similar name. He later fell into a coma and died.
The Prostějov tennis club has offered a reward of 100,000 crowns (just over 3,000 euros) to anyone who can help detain the man who attacked Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová in December, according to the Dnes paper. The two times Wimbledon singles title winner was attacked at her flat in the Moravian town in late December and received serious wounds to her left hand. She had to undergo emergency surgery on her fingers as a result and is expected to be sidelined from professional tennis for at least half a year. Police say they have had many tip offs from the public about the possible attacker but are still attempting to identify him.
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