The Czech Big Brother awards, recognizing the biggest privacy intruders of 2018, have gone to Facebook, the Czech Financial Administration and the company iRobot, producing intelligent vacuum cleaners. In the Czech Republic the awards have been presented since 2005 by the Iuridicum remedium civic association.
When 23-year-old Jan Vlachynský and his friend decided to open a bar in their local town they hedged their bets on originality and customer service. Seven years later it seems their project paid off bigtime. He now co-owns five bars across Brno whose distinct character has not only made them popular among locals, but has been covered by prestigious outlets such as the New York Times and The Guardian. I popped down to the Moravian capital to ask him about the secret behind his success.
The Czech Republic has a new media freedom watchdog. A number of leading journalists this week established a Czech branch of the International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists set up to protect press freedom and support independent journalism wherever it is under threat.
Pope Francis this month publicly acknowledged the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns and has vowed to do more to fight the problem. The issue came to the fore amid the Catholic Church’s overall reckoning with the sexual abuse of minors. Here in the Czech Republic, Cardinal Dominik Duka – who in the past has characterized such scandals as attacks on the church – has now agreed under pressure to meet some of the victims face to face.
You could be forgiven for mistaking the CyberDog Technology and Information Centre on the outskirts of Prague for a “wine bar”, the futuristic two-storey structure housing it for a “building”, and the resident bartender named “Kuka” for a hermaphrodite robot. Such is the nature of the first project to be realised by the Black N' Arch studio, co-founded by conceptual artist and sculptor David Černý.
Psychiatric care in the Czech Republic has been profiting from a trend towards external care, which keeps psychiatric institutions from overflowing and lets patients function in society. To support this development, the Health Ministry set up special mobile psychiatric teams in 2018 and plans to create up to 100 in the future. But securing financing from health insurance companies may prove crucial.
A decade ago, the Czech Republic had more gaming machines per capita than any other country in the European Union. But “one-armed bandits” have steadily disappeared from the nation’s dive bars following the introduction of new legislation and statues, and many municipalities have outright banned casinos.
To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the introduction of the crown, the Czech National Bank has issued special coins and banknotes that members of the public can trade for their normal equivalents. The coins and banknotes can be used as currency, but most eager collectors will be unwilling to give them up.
The founders of a project to educate Czech schoolchildren about HIV and AIDS, named in honour of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, plan to take it worldwide. The phenomenal success of the new biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” has raised the project’s profile ahead of its global launch – which its founders say is a happy coincidence.