Articles

Czech town to fine clients of street prostitutes

In Law on January 2, 2012 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

The town of Chomutov, Czech Republic has had huge problems with street prostitution since the 1990’s. As of the first day of this year it has had a municipal ordinance in force, pursuant to which anyone caught soliciting a prostitute will pay a fine. Before the ordinance was adopted, only the street prostitutes could face fines if caught. Deputy Mayor of the city told a local daily newspaper that the city administration hopes the ordinance will discourage most potential clients and the women will disappear from the public streets and places. According to the ordinance, the soliciting of a prostitute is a misdemeanor “of a very sensitive nature” which is “investigated” by the municipal authority, i.e. something most men would prefer to avoid.

In addition, Chomutov Municipal Police decided in 2008 to publish photos of drivers soliciting roadside prostitutes near main roads, where doing so resulted in road rule violations and related problems. However, since the applicable law did not allow the immediate identification of the drivers (clients), this measure proved ineffective.

Most women in the Czech Republic who offer sex for money have their own tiny apartments (sometimes shared by more girls/women). Naturally, they pay no income taxes because there is no way of proving that their encounters with men actually constitute prostitution. Chomutov is near the Czech-German border where foreign truckers and German citizens were the most common clients of the local prostitutes. In the recent years, however, the demand for these services has decreased rapidly.

Articles

New book about Havel, 9 days after his death

In Literature on December 27, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel died on December 18 at the age of 75. Nine days later, a first book about his life and “career” was published. A very thin book by Jiří Heřman and Michaela Košťálová was in stores today. It is a very thin biography containing mostly photographs from the Czech News Agency and a short high-school level text about Havel’s notable achievements and key points of his presidency. The authors added a short list of sources, just like students do in their term papers. The sources include news servers and other biographies. In other words, it is just a compilation of something other people have written. The interesting thing is that a disclaimer includes a sentence which says that the information in this book has been obtained at “publicly accessible news servers”. It does NOT say, however, that it was used with a prior consent of the respective authors.

More books are expected in the upcoming weeks.

Articles

Communist TV show on the day of Havel’s funeral?

In Entertainment, Media on December 23, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: ,

Czech TV station TV Barrandov is known for airing pre-1989 communist TV shows.  In today’s terms, they would be called TV drama series. Usually they tell a story of a prominent communist who has to deal with “everyday problems”, which include people who are not true communists. These shows were produced by an order of the pre-1989 party leadership which controlled everything. Twenty-one years after the Velvet Revolution, some people still live in the past, mistakenly believing that life was better back then. And they watch these programs, even though they glorify injustice, oppression, censorship etc.

On December 23, the day of the late Vaclav Havel’s funeral, the station aired one of the worst examples of the above, a series entitled Muz na radnici (A Man at the City Hall) despite the fact that three days ago Czech PM Petr Necas asked media to alter their program to reflect the three-day national mourning period and the funeral.

True, TV Barrandov did alter their program by observing the minute of silence at noon and by airing a special documentary. These two changes were “proudly” announced in a press release on Wednesday. The management had enough time to plan and implement one more change. It could have been Havel’s favorite movie… or just anything… but the commie show was aired anyway. It is like airing a terrorist flick on a 9/11 anniversary.

Articles

Havel’s tomb to be visited by thousands of “fans”

In Politics on December 23, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

Thousands of people are expected to visit the Vinohrady cemetery in Prague to pay respect to the late president Vaclav Havel. His family’s tomb can be found here, at the second largest Prague cemetery which is also a cultural landmark. According to media reports hundreds of candles had been placed and lit near the tomb even before the Friday funeral which was attended by numerous world leaders, including Nicolas Sarkozy, Bill and Hillary Clinton, David Cameron and others. Havel’s parents and first wife Olga are also buried in the tomb. It is one of fourteen tombs located within a chapel which was built in 1897.

Articles

Candles lit for Vaclav Havel around the country

In Politics on December 21, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

As the coffin of former President Vaclav Havel went on display in Prague where thousands of people have been coming in person, people all over the country keep bringing candles to places which are more or less associated with Havel. On the other hand, there are also places which have nothing to do with him, they have just been picked at random by people who gathered to pay respect to Havel. In Brno, hundreds of candles can be seen on a fountain, in front of a memorial on the central square or in front of a theatre which used to show Havel’s plays.






Photos: (c) Petr Bokuvka

 

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Insurance company: the late president was our client

In Internet, Media on December 19, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

Some people in charge of marketing and PR at Vojenska zdravotni pojistovna (V0ZP), one of health insurance companies in the Czech Republic, are idiots. An advertisement in a black frame was posted on the company’s website today included Vaclav Havel’s photo and the words “client of VoZP”, the iHNed.cz news server wrote and TV Nova reported today.

Articles

Vaclav Havel, the symbol of democracy, has died

In Politics on December 19, 2011 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged:

As of last Sunday, Czechs will probably have a new Where were you when… question.

Where were you when you found out about the death of Vaclav Havel? Havel died in his sleep at his weekend house, following a lengthy period of health problems. Since February he has been cancelling most of his scheduled events and his public appearances were less than sporadic. According to some news reports, he has died of circulatory system failure.

Most Czech personalities comment on Havel’s undeniable contribution to the end of communism. Notable world leaders were quick to respond in their own individual ways, including Barack Obama or the Dalai Lama

His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon. (…) He played a seminal role in the Velvet Revolution that won his people their freedom and inspired generations to reach for self-determination and dignity in all parts of the world.   — Barack Obama (source: AFP)

A three-day official mourning period will be observed from Wednesday to Friday. A state funeral will take place on Friday. Havel’s family decided to have him cremated. The Czech government is considering the adoption of a special law to recognize his contribution to freedom and democracy.

The truth is that Havel taught Czechs that democracy is a hard work and that it is one of the most important things to be thankful for. Since the Velvet Revolution, Havel has commented on the issue of freedom in less fortunate countries and regions (such as Russia or Tibet), reminding world leaders (with more or fewer attributes of dictatorship) that the 20th century democracy benefits everyone. 

He represented civilized politics in the Czech Republic, which is something that we have not seen in this country for a few years. Maybe even from the moment he resigned. Some people called him idealist and said that many of his views had little in common with the way politics is done these days. But according to many Czechs, he was the force that held many politicians back… According to a recent research, 99 percent of Czechs who did not vote in the last elections are disgusted with politics.

Thousands of people passed a plain coffin guarded by the late president’s coffin to pay their last respect on Monday.

There have already been some proposals that the Prague International Airport should be named after Havel.

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