Around 200 people commemorated Romany victims of the Holocaust at the site of the former Lety concentration camp in southern Bohemia on Sunday. Speaking at the memorial service, member of the government board for minorities, Štefan Tišer said political parties should not try to win support using xenophobia present in parts of the Czech society. The participants criticized the government for having failed to remove a large pig farm from the site of the camp. Some 5,000 Czech Romanies were transported into concentration camps during WWII; 90 percent of were killed.
Czech Education Minister, Petr Fiala, on Sunday apologized to all those affected by problems with this year’s school leaving tests in maths. The minister acknowledged that the exams, which were held last week, were too difficult. Only six percent of students who opted for the more difficult alternative passed the maths test, and critics said most students could not solve the tests within the given time limit. Mr Fiala said his ministry will review the exams and come up with a solution.
Some Czech municipalities abuse the welfare accommodation system, according to an analysis by the Labour and Social Affairs ministry, the news agency ČTK reported. Some cities and towns establish welfare accommodation facilities in which they charge high rent and then cash in on welfare benefits. The system, which has been abused for years, has now become a strategy in some municipalities, according to the report. The analysis also found out the situation of those living in socially-excluded areas deteriorated as dependence on welfare and social benefits has never been higher.
Czech mothers on average earn less than women without children, while fathers earn more than men without families, according to a new survey by the Central European Labour Studies Institute released on Sunday. The inequality is most evident in the age group of 30 to 39 where women without children make nearly 6,000 crowns less than those with children. The differences between salaries of those with and without children are higher in Prague than in other regions, according to the survey in which some 13,000 people took part.
The Czech Ministry of Defence will see approval from the government with using up to two million crowns on development and humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, a spokesman for the ministry told the news agency ČTK on Sunday. The ministry would like to increase the funds in 2012 and in the next two years which will see a gradual decrease of Czech military presence in Afghanistan. The government will discuss the issue at its session on Wednesday.
The 67th edition of the Prague Spring international music festival began in the Czech capital on Saturday with a rendition of Bedřich Smetana’s My Country by the Czech Philharmonic with the visiting conductor Vasily Petrenko, to the standing ovations of the audience in the Municipal House. The festival offers 46 concerts, including performances by the Vienna Philharmonic, the St Petersburg Philharmonic, the soprano Magdalena Kožená and tenors Ian Bostridge and Mark Padmore, and others. The festival continues until June 3.
Ethiopia’s Deressa Chimsa and Agnes Kiprop from Kenya won the International Prague Marathon on Sunday. The Ethiopian runner covered the distance in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 25 seconds, finishing less than a minute behind the track record. Agnes Kiprop finished the race in 2:25:40. The best Czech runner Jan Kreisinger finished 13th, four seconds under the Olympic limit.
Thieves have stole 1.6 million crown, or over 80,000 US dollars, worth of equipment from participants in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Nové Měšto na Moravě, a police spokeswoman told the news agency ČTK on Sunday. On at least four occasions, thieves took bicycles and other equipment that belonged to riders from the US, Holland and the UK, including a prototype bicycle worth over half a million crowns. The police are trying to establish whether the thieves worked individually or as an organized group.
The Czech national hockey team lost to Russia 0:2 on Sunday in the Stockholm group of the world championships in Sweden and Finland. The Russians struck first just 24 seconds after the start of the game, and then again at the start of the start period in a 5-3 power play. The Czechs were active in most of the game and took more shots at the goal than the opponents but could not overcome the excellent Russian goalie, Konstantin Barulin. The Czech will next play Germany on Tuesday.
Slovan Liberec won the Czech football title after a 0:0 tie against runners up Viktoria Plzeň in the final round of the top division. Defending champions Plzeň needed a win to clinch the title but failed to convert several good opportunities, and finished third in the league table, three points behind the champions. Sparta Prague beat České Budějovice 3:0 in the final round and finished second. Two Prague teams, Bohemians 1905 and Viktoria Žižkov, are relegated to the second top division.