A ceremony has taken place in the town of Stará Boleslav to mark the feast day of the Czech patron saint Wenceslas. Speaking at the event, President Václav Klaus and Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka stressed the importance of traditional values, family and patriotism. The president praised family as an age-old environment for the relationship of man and woman and for the education of further generations. He lamented the ridiculing of things considered traditional and conservative as being old-fashioned and excluded from public debate. Around 4,000 people attended the event, among them many church and government officials. St Wenceslas, or Václav, who was murdered in Stará Boleslav in or around 935, is one of the founders of the Czech state. His feast day was declared a national holiday (Czech Statehood Day) in 2000.
A poll suggests that former Prime Minister Jan Fischer would be the most successful candidate if direct presidential elections were introduced. According to the SC&C agency which conducted the poll for Czech Television, Fischer would receive 27% of the popular vote. The unsuccessful 2008 candidate Jan Švejnar would be close behind him at 25%. No other potential candidates received more than 20%. A statistician by profession, Mr Fischer headed the interim government that preceded the current one between April of 2009 and July, 2010.
More than a hundred people gathered in the town of Čelákovice near Prague on Wednesday to commemorate Jaroslav Honzátko, a communist police officer who was killed by the Mašín brothers 60 years ago. Speakers at the event, which was organised by the Communist party, referred to the killing as a brutal murder and a terrorist act. The anti-communist resistance activities of the Mašín group have always sharply divided Czech society. The killing of Honzátko is their most divisive act, as the officer was unarmed and chloroformed when they slit his throat during a raid on a police station to obtain weapons. Ctirad Mašín, who killed him, died last month in the United States.
A journalist, Václav Vlk, has raised a theory that a group of Sudeten German civilians killed in Dobrotín just after WWII were actually murdered by a local German communist, Robert Kautzinger, and his two sons. Mr Vlk told Czech Television that the massacre of 17 Germans in the days following the fall of the Third Reich was an act of revenge for Kautzinger’s having been sent to a concentration camp by local Nazis. The police investigator on the case still believes the murders were carried out by Czechs as vengeance killings.
The Prague Zoo is celebrating 80 years since its founding on Wednesday. A celebration in 1930s style was held in the exhibition of seals in the company of a number of former Olympic medallists and actors. Staff were dressed in period clothing and visitors who dressed up for the occasion were allowed entrance for one crown. The Prague Zoo opened its gates on September 28, 1931, originally to an eight-hectare with only a few animals. It is not home to nearly 5000 animals and has grown to 60 acres.
A team of doctors from Prague’s Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) have received the award of the official magazine of CIRSE, the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe. An article by Dr Jan Peregrin and his team analysing the results of artery reconstruction among patients with critical ischaemia in their lower limbs was rated the best of 2010. Data was collected for the article for ten years.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová has advanced to the quarter-final round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokjo, beating American Vania King 6:1, 7:6 in the third round. Her next match will be against Russian Maria Sharapova, who she last faced, and defeated, in the finals match at Wimbledon. Other Czech tennis players, Iveta Benešová and Klára Zakopalová, dropped out of the tournament.
The lower house of Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill introducing criminal liability of firms, which would enable courts to fine them, seize their property or even abolish them for serious offences. Under the amendment the chamber of deputies extended the list of crimes for which business entities can be punished to around 80. The government proposed bill will still need to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president.
President Klaus has signed into law a bill which will introduce compulsory treatment orders for serious juvenile offenders. The law will enable the authorities to order compulsory treatment for juvenile offenders of violent crimes such as rape and murder and monitor their development for an indefinite period of time. The law was approved by Parliament under pressure of public opinion following the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl by her schoolmate. Under the present system juvenile offenders have a clean criminal record and in the event of a sexual deviation the authorities have no way of making them undergo treatment after they have served time in a correctional institution or prison for juveniles.
More anti-Roma demonstrations are to be held in the northern towns of Varnsdorf and Rumburk over the weekend. The citizens of Varnsdorf are moreover demanding the resignation of their mayor and the entire town council for having failed to deal with the crisis. The towns have been racked by ethnic unrest in the wake of an influx of Romanies, several incidents of racially motivated crime and a rise in petty theft. The locals are demanding that the town hall takes measures to restore law and order in the streets and some are even calling for an eviction of the newly-arrived members of the Roma minority. Extremist groups have been riding on the wave of anti-Romany sentiment, organizing demonstrations and protest marches every weekend.
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