In the News 16.3.09

In the News 16.3.09

HUMAN RIGHTS AND MORE AT ONE WORLD. Last week saw an opening of what is believed to be one of the biggest human rights film festivals in Europe.

Films that deal predominantly with human rights abuses but over the years have extended the angles of human rights gain increasingly more popularity with Czech as well as foreign viewers that happen to be or live in the city of Prague.

Every year festival visitors may vote the best film and so far among the hits is a British film about everyday life of Japanese people earning the minimum necessary to survive Japan – A Story of Love and Hate. This socially critical documentary paints the Japanese society, which is geared towards productivity, in a different light, and shows how shining examples of industriousness can turn into exhausted wrecks.

Burma VJ tells a story of a young reporter Joshua who together with three dozen other brave Burmese from the Democratic Voice of Burma organization decided to make a detailed record of anti-government demonstrations in September 2007 and their subsequent brutal suppression. Tuesday’s screening of this film is followed by a debate with experts on Burma and Burmese activists.


FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS AND MORE. Farmers from new EU member states decided they want to be treated equally and get the same payment conditions as their counterparts in the older EU member states.

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They gathered on Friday to hit the streets of Prague, talk to Czech Agriculture Minister and EU commissioner who happened to be in town. Whether they will be reimbursed as generally as their “colleagues from the West” is yet to be seen.


DIGGING UP HISTORY. Several weeks ago she was an unknown woman with a little boy sitting on her lap.

Now we know her and her son’s name as well as the story of her whole family. They all perished in Auschwitz in October 1944 after they missed a chance to leave the Nazi-occupied country due to the boy’s illness.

Last autumn, the Jewish Museum in Prague decided to trace the names and research the fates of hundreds of mostly unidentified people in Nazi-era portrait photographs. The museum posted the pictures on the internet and called on the public to contact the museum if they could provide any clues.

The woman with the boy turned out to be Gertruda Zelenková, wife of the famous interwar architect and stage architect František Zelenka, and their son Martin.

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ONLINE BALLOT FOR EP ELECTION. New right-wing party – Party of Free Citizens – headed by Petr Mach is using an internet to choose their candidates for the forthcoming European Parliament (EP) election that will take place in June this year.

The party has nominated 27 candidates for the EP election. Whoever is going to be the leader of the PFC ballot will be decided by its members via internet.

The PFC registered members can vote their candidate via the party’s web site as of today. All the candidates published their CVs and photographs. The vote is due to close on March 25.


NEW HOME OF FORMER COMMUNIST JUDGE? Last year former communist prosecutor Ludmila Brožová-Polednová was sentenced to six years in prison for sending pro-democratic politician Milada Horáková to the gallows in 1951.

Have a look at a prison where former communist prosecutor Ludmila Brožová-Polednová is due to start her jail sentence on March 20.


NOT A DRUG BUT A MEDICINE. At a global drug conference organized by the UN Commission of Drugs and Narcotics in Vienna Bolivia’s president Evo Morales chewed a coca leaf to demonstrate his point that the plant is harmless and should be remove from the international list of narcotic substances.

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Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, spoke about Morales and chewing coca to Aktuálně.cz.

“Whoever in Bolivia chews coca for his or her own need, he or she should not be included in the same category like a cocaine dealer,” Langer said, swiftly adding that one room is not big enough for him and Evo Morales, since both of them are so “vastly different.”

He also compared the ban of coca leaves in Bolivia to trying to ban slivovitz in the Czech Republic, which would certainly break the heart of our eastern fellow citizens.


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