The Czech Republic is planning to change its name to “Czechia” to make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing.
The European country will retain its full name but Czechia will become the official short geographic name, as “France” is to “The French Republic”.
If approved by parliament, the country’s new name will be lodged with the United Nations.
Along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic was established when Czechoslovakia broke in two in 1993.
Some of the Czech Republic’s best-known exports, including its Pilsner Urquell beer and ice hockey team, currently use the word “Czech”.
However, “Czech” is an adjective and cannot properly be used as a name for the country.
Some have criticized “Czechia” as ugly, or too similar to “Chechnya”, the semi-autonomous Russian republic.
Czech novelist and dissident Ludvik Vaculik, who wrote the Two Thousand Words manifesto during the 1968 Prague Spring, has died at the age of 88.
Ludvik Vaculik’s June 1968 manifesto demanded openness from officials in the then Czechoslovakia and called for the resignation of those who misused power.
Two months later, Soviet-led forces invaded Czechoslovakia, ending hopes for political reforms.
Ludvik Vaculik’s novels include The Axe, The Guinea Pigs and The Czech Dreambook.
The novelist – like his contemporary and fellow-writer Milan Kundera – initially supported the Communists when they took power in Czechoslovakia in 1948.
However, in 1967, a year after Ludvik Vaculik published his first major work, The Axe, he was expelled from the Communist Party, following a highly critical speech at a writers’ congress.
A year later, Ludvik Vaculik was asked to write his Two Thousand Words manifesto to support reformers within the Communist Party under the liberal leader Alexander Dubcek.
In 1970, Ludvik Vaculik wrote The Guinea Pigs – a bleakly comic novel about the cynicism pervading everyday life in the years after the pro-Soviet crackdown.
Several years later, Ludvik Vaculik was one of a group of dissidents who wrote the Charter 77 human rights manifesto, along with the playwright and future President Vaclav Havel.
After the 1989 Velvet Revolution, Ludvik Vaculik was widely published and received a number of literary rewards.