In the News 17.11.09

Celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and democracy

CONCERT FOR DEMOCRACY. Last Saturday night saw a kick-off of celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Former president Václav Havel opened the eclectic concert of music in the Prague Crossroads, former St Anne Church, in the Old Town, which featured American musicians Suzanne Vega and Lou Reed, and opera singer Renee Flemming.

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Among the special guests was also Czech President Václav Klaus. He thanked his “predecessor Václav Havel for his central role” in the non-violent 1989 revolution.

The audience could watch short video-greetings from world leaders and musicians, such as the US President Barack Obama, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish singer and activist Bono, British singer and activist Peter Gabriel and plenty of others.


BBC’S GIFT TO HAVEL. BBC decided to give Václav Havel a little gift for the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. As part of a season of programmes celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC World Drama presented his latest play called Leaving.

The chancellor of an unnamed state is leaving office. But does he have to leave the state villa as well? You can find out here.


CHRISTMAS TOGETHER. Czech president Václav Klaus pardoned the jail sentence of Pavel Kudrik, whose baby daughter is in a critical condition after arson attack against the family’s house in the north Moravian village of Vítkov.

Also read:  14-day quarantine now compulsory for all Czech residents returning from abroad

Kudrik, who also sustained serious injuries in the fire, was arrested after two days in an Opava hospital and transported to a prison, where he was to serve a one-year sentence for theft. Kudrik had been sentenced long before the attack, but failed to report to jail in December. The police only traced the man while investigating the suspected arson attack against his family.

On April 18 a group of unknown arsonists attacked a house in which nine people were sleeping. Three of the family members were severely injured.

The most badly affected was a two-year old baby called Natálka who has suffered from burn injuries covering 80 percent of her body. Natálka was kept long months in an induced sleep.

Now it looks like the family will spend the Christmas together in their new home, which they were able to buy from the charity financial support of the Czechs.


FROM THE EUROPEAN AFFAIRS TO THE EUROPEAN UNION. Incumbent minister Štefan Füle was picked our man in Europe. He was nominated the EU commissioner for the Czech Republic.

Also read:  The coronavirus epidemic is slowing down in the Czech Republic, with 3,869 confirmed cases

It took long behind-the-door negotiations and permanent disagreements among the parties to finally agree on one man.  Füle has been nominated by the two major parties – the Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Civic Democrats (ODS).


MORE BATTLES TO COME. President Václav Klaus confessed that he seriously considered stepping down because of the Lisbon Treaty. While holding a discussion with students of the Prague’s Faculty of Law, he admitted there had been a lot of pressure and tension. He said he had realized stepping down would not be a solution and decided to stay.

“In certain moments and hearing certain remarks I was quite close to quitting,” Klaus said.

“More battles will follow and I think it is important to be part of them,” he added.


ANOTHER OPENING. The Czech dissident turned President Václav Havel opened a two–day session of the European Parliament.

The first of the two-day session was dedicated to commemorating of the 20th anniversary of Velvet Revolutions that swept across Europe.

Addressing the EP audience Václav Havel stressed that communists were in “power for the first time and hopefully for the last time”.

Havel last addressed the EP nine years ago as the President of the Czech Republic.


17 NOVEMBER CELEBRATIONS. The celebrations of the Velvet Revolution, which put an end to forty years of communism, will continue on Tuesday November 17 with a gathering in Prague 2 – Albertov at 4 pm, followed by a rock concert on Národní třída and another gathering on Wenceslas Square at 6,30 pm.

Also read:  Number of Czech COVID-19 cases rises by 282 to 4472 on Saturday

Only those who never collaborated the communist regime have been invited to performed at the Národní třída concert – Vladimír Mišík, Monkey Business, Dan Bárta, Vlasta Třešňák, Lenka Dusilová, Vladimír Merta, Pavel Zajíček, Tony Ducháček, Michal Ambrož, rappers James Cole, Vladimir 518 a Orion.

It all will be broadcast live by Czech Television. Enjoy be it on TV or in the streets of Prague.

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