News Tuesday is 45th anniversary of self-immolation of Jan Zajíc
Tuesday marks the 45th anniversary of the self-immolation of Jan Zajíc in response to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops and the “normalization” period that followed. Aged 18, Zajíc set himself on fire on 25 February 1969 as he felt a similar move by Jan Palach the previous month had failed to shake the indifference and apathy of Czechoslovak society in the wake of the occupation.
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More than 300 Czech bookshops were on Wednesday offering 15 percent reductions on their prices as part of a campaign to cut Value Added Tax on books. The Association of Czech Book Sellers and Publishers has welcomed the government’s proposal to cut the current 15 percent VAT rate on books to 10 percent but says that it still believes that the right rate should be 5 percent. The association says a 10 percent rate would still leave the Czech sales tax on books higher than in most other European countries.
The Czech football association has given up on the idea of making a bid to co-host the European Championships in 2020. The final nail in the coffin for the bid was the refusal of Prague’s City Council to sign up to an agreement between it, the association, and European football’s governing body, UEFA. Prague city councillors said they were afraid Prague would have had to cover costs of the event if there were problems and complained that the football association had not been in contact over the previous three months. The Czech football association had been hoping that proposals to enlarge Prague’s Eden stadium would make it eligible to host some of the European championship games which UEFA wanted to share between 13 cities.
In NHL action on Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens swept Tampa Bay at the
Bell Centre, winning their best-of-seven series 4:0. The Canadiens won the
game 4:3. Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec got an assist in the match;
Ondřej Palata got a goal and an assist for the losing team.
Elsewhere, the San Jose Sharks defeated L.A in overtime to take a 3:0 stranglehold on the series. Upcoming Czech star Tomáš Hertl tied the game at three to send the game to extra time; the winner was scored by Patrick Marleau.
Star football goalkeeper Petr Čech suffered a shoulder injury in Chelsea’s match on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid which has put him out for the rest of the season. Čech collided with Atletico’s Raul Garcia and came off in just the 18th minute. He was replaced by 41-year-old Mark Schwarzer, making only his second appearance in the competition. The semi-final ended 0:0. The teams will meet next week for the second-leg at Stamford Bridge.
Prague hockey club Lev Praha have taken a 2:1 lead in the Gagarin Cup final against Magnitogorsk. The teams met for Game 3 in Prague on Tuesday. The match appeared headed for overtime, but Lev’s Justin Azvedo scored with just 21 seconds left on the clock to clinch the win. No non-Russian team has ever won the Gagarin Cup; Game 4 takes place in Prague on Thursday.
Kometa Brno beat Zlín 3-1 on Tuesday in Game 4 of the Czech hockey league finals to stave off elimination. Zlín still lead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and will have another chance to clinch the title, next time on home ice. If Zlín win, they will claim the league title for the first time in 10 years.
The country's Interior Ministry has been given a 60 thousand crown fine by the Office for Personal Data Protection for making public footage of the arrest of Jana Nagyová (now Nečasová) last year. In December, footage of the arrest was aired on a popular Sunday debate programme on Czech TV. Nagyová, along with her husband, former prime minister Petr Nečas as well as a former key aide, face bribery charges - the exchange of lucrative posts for three former MPs for not toppling the former government. The Office for Personal Data Protection said that releasing footage of Nagyová's arrest was not justifiable in the public interest. Robert Šlachta, the head of the anti-organised crime unit who released the footage, said he did not believe he had broken the law; he stressed he had wanted the footage to be seen to prove the arrest had been by the book.
Police arrested four people at the beginning of April involved in the ‘old school’ production of the illicit drug heroin – cooking the drug from handpicked, dried and ground poppy plants at a house in Kolín, east of Prague. According to the police, the main coordinator in production and distribution is 43-year-old Jan Jukl, the guitarist for punk band Plexis, together with his girlfriend. News website idnes reported that both were themselves users. The production of heroin in the Czech Republic is rare; according to idnes, 95 percent of the drug comes from abroad - Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries in Asia. The gang also produced and sold marijuana and sold the Czech methamphetamine pervetin, bought from a third party.
The Czech state has reached an agreement with New World Resources to help wind down operations of its Paskov black coal mine: mining at the site will continue for three more years before it will be due to close and the government will provide 600 million crowns for social programmes for miners. The matter will be discussed at the cabinet level next week, the Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek confirmed. The state will have to honour its end of the agreement only as long as the mine is kept running until 2017.
Prague city councilors have kept open the possibility of a tramline one day being reintroduced at the city’s popular St. Wenceslas Square, passing changes in the metropolitan plan for future developments. Originally, there was opposition to the idea within the assembly and from Prague 1. The potential route was modified, however, only to reach the top of the square from the city’s Vinohrady district, before veering off and traveling to the city’s main railway hub. If the route were introduced it would not traverse the length of the square as some had hoped. Changes would have to be made to the city’s Magistrala throughway to allow for the tram.