The Dalai Lama is set to attend a Forum 2000 conference in Prague next September, the organisers have announced. The last time the Tibetan spiritual leader was in the Czech capital was in December 2011, when he held a meeting with the former president, Václav Havel, shortly before his death. The two had been friends and Mr. Havel frequently invited the Dalai Lama to Prague. Forum 2000, which was founded by Mr. Havel and others, brings together leading international thinkers for a series of debates. Next year’s edition will be the 17th.
Prague is planning to build more day centers and shelters for the homeless, a spokesperson for the city council said on Tuesday. Councilors approved the plan in view of statistics indicating that the number of homeless people in the Czech capital could triple by 2020. At present there are approximately 4,000 homeless people in Prague and in harsh winter weather the facilities for them are woefully inadequate. The city council is also planning to introduce programs which would help as many of them as possible return to a normal life.
City councilors are weighing the possibility of renaming a Prague bridge or part of an embankment street after late President Václav Havel, Mlada fronta Dnes reports. According to the daily, part of Rašínovo nábřeži near where Mr Havel once had an apartment could be renamed in his honour. Councilor Lukáš Manhart told the paper the renaming was a possibility but provided few details. At least one other city councilor expressed support for the idea. Earlier this year Prague’s Ruzyně international airport was renamed after the late president.
Prague councillors have rejected a call to end the sprinkling of salt on the capital’s pavements to keep them safe for pedestrians in freezing weather, saying it was the most cost-effective approach. However, they said salting the streets would only take place when conditions were particularly bad. A petition organised by the Green Party and an animal welfare group calling for the cessation of the practise was signed by over 1,000 people; they said it harmed dogs’ feet and destroyed building foundations and people’s shoes. Salting the streets was banned for many years but reintroduced at the start of 2012.
An 18-month-old infant died on Friday after being savaged by his family’s dog at their home in Prague’s Žižkov district. The news website novinky.cz reported that the dog was a pit bull. The child’s mother is receiving specialist care. Neighbours said the animal had been vicious and attacked other dogs. The Czech police register several cases of dogs attacking children every year.
In related news, Prague is set to increase the capacity of shelters and
drop-in centres for the homeless by the year 2020, the Czech News Agency
reported. The city authorities will also put more effort into resocialising
the homeless, invest in social and starter flats and expand field
programmes, under a new plan due to be discussed by the city council in the
coming weeks. Around 4,000 people currently live on the streets of the
Czech capital, though that number is projected to increase to as many as
13,000 within seven years, according to the authors of the plan.
Tapestry tribute to Václav Havel unveiled at airport
A large tapestry dedicated to the late former president Václav Havel was unveiled at Prague’s recently renamed Václav Havel Airport on Sunday. The French-made tapestry is based on a painting created by the award-winning Czech-born artist Petr Sís and originally published in the newspaper Hospodářské noviny on the day of Mr. Havel’s funeral last December. The work was the idea of the organisation Art for Amnesty and has been funded by a group of admirer’s of Czechoslovakia’s first post-Communist president, including rock stars such as Sting and members of U2.
The heavy metal musician Randy Blythe has been charged in Prague with causing bodily harm with lethal consequences. The frontman of the group Lamb of God is accused of pushing a fan from the stage during a concert in the city in 2010, resulting in his death. Blythe, who is currently in the US, spent five weeks on remand in Prague earlier this year before being released on bail. If found guilty, he could receive a five- to 10-year jail term.
Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Tuesday that the Czech Republic would only agree to the creation of a European Union banking supervisory body if the bloc granted extra powers to national regulators. Mr. Kalousek said Prague wanted a commitment that the Czech National Bank would have the final authority in the case that a daughter company of an international bank was transformed into a branch, as branches do not come under national regulators. He pointed out that over 90 of the Czech banking sector was owned by the daughter companies of banks based in the eurozone.
Archaeologists have found rare medieval artefacts in the courtyard of a building on Loretánská St. in the Prague Castle complex that should in future house the Václav Havel Library. The excavations have uncovered human bones, ceramics and coins from the era of Vratislaus II of Bohemia. The protected building was purchased for the Havel Library by the wealthy businessman Zdeněk Bakala. Some conservationists have objected to the project, which has yet to receive a construction permit.
Fire officers were called out on Tuesday morning to put out a fire at the Czech National Library at Prague’s Clementinum. The small fire – which broke out in a kitchen in the administrative section of the library – did not cause any injuries. The damages are being assessed. A spokesperson for the Prague fire service said that the cause appeared to be an electrical fault. The National Library is currently undergoing renovations.
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