A monument to Czech airmen who fought in Britain’s RAF in World War II has been unveiled at Klarov in Prague. The statue in the shape of a winged lion was donated by the city’s British community. It was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon by Nicholas Soames, the grandson of UK wartime leader Winston Churchill. However the monument has been criticised by local preservationists, who say the grassy area it stands on – which already hosts another statue – is inappropriate.
Disputes between the minister of justice, Helena Válková, and her subordinates are causing negative publicity for the government, Prime Minister Bohoslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. The Social Democrat premiere said neither Ms. Válková nor her ANO party chief Andrej Babiš had delivered on recent pledges to calm the situation at the Ministry of Justice. Hana Marvanová quit as first deputy justice minister in early June after a dispute with the minister, while on Tuesday (after Mr. Sobotka’s comments) Ms. Válková dismissed the deputy minister for prisons, Pavel Štern, a Social Democrats’ appointee, over his handling of a contract to buy electronic tags.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the country disagrees with any linking of violence and religion. Mr. Zaorálek made the comments to diplomats from Arab states in Prague on Tuesday. The move followed angry reactions after the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, told an audience in Israel that there was a link between violent attacks by Islamic radicals and “Islamic ideology”. The foreign minister said the Czech Republic supported religious tolerance and aspired to have good relations with the Arab world.
Councillors in Brno have voted to ban prostitutes from soliciting anywhere in the Moravian capital. A previous ban applied only to certain areas of the city. Those caught offering sex for money will be fined 1,000 CZK on the spot or a fine of up 30,000 CZK at the local authority. A Town Hall spokesperson said the move was aimed at protecting young people and public morals.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has reached agreement with trade unions on maintaining their tax breaks. An income tax bill pushed through by a previous finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, was to have done way with tax exemptions for unions from the start of next year. That provision will now be dropped, the head of the Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, Josef Středula, said after talks with Mr. Babiš. Benefits such as staff public travel passes and rewards for long-term service in the police or army will also now remain untouched by the changes to income tax legislation.
Customs officers in Prague have seized 16 tonnes of walnuts from Bolivia that could be harmful to health. The walnuts contain aflatoxins, which are among the strongest known carcinogens. None of the nuts reached consumers in the Czech Republic, a spokesperson for the customs authority said on Tuesday.
Czech athlete Barbora Špotáková has had to drop out of the women’s javelin at the Golden Spike in Ostrava due to illness. The Olympic champion and world record holder is suffering from suspected appendicitis. Sprint star Usain Bolt is also not coming this year to the Czech Republic’s biggest athletics meeting, but other big names such as Justin Gatlin are taking part.
Councilors in the district of Prague 7 agreed on steps on Monday to ban gambling venues: primarily affected would be outlets with video gambling terminals. The move must still be approved by Prague City Hall. A spokesman confirmed that Prague 7 had long pursued policies to curb gambling and had opted for zero tolerance based on the results of a recent referendum. The referendum was not conclusive due to a low voter turnout but a majority voted in favour of a complete ban as opposed to partial restrictions.
The mayor of the town of Dobroviz, Martin Saft, signed a cooperation agreement with developer Panattoni on Monday on the construction of a distribution centre for US company Amazon, Safr told the Czech News Agency. The agreement includes a pledge by the developer to build a local motorway bypass by the end of 2015, to modernise a municipal sewage treatment plant, and to contribute an annual one million crowns to the town.The investment is worth 100 million crowns and should pave the way for some 1,500 jobs. The distrubution centre is to be opened within a year. Panattoni director Pavel Sovička confirmed that preparatory work will begin this week.
City Hall has announced planned changes to Prague’s parking system: until now, so-called blue zones were reserved for local residents and businesses but a new phone app will make it possible for motorists to pay and park in blue-marked spaces for up to two hours. The planned change is primarily to make life easier for entrepreneurs who have found it exceedingly difficult to park in areas during the day. In addition, parking spots will also be labelled in orange and purple: purple will be for residents or for non-residents who pay via parking meter. The system should be broadened to districts that did not use blue zones until now. The proposal will still have to be passed by city councilors.
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