Another group of ethnic Czechs being repatriated to the Czech Republic from Ukraine arrived by government plane at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport on Sunday afternoon. They were greeted by the Czech president, Milos Zeman, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, and the minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek. The 35 who flew in on Sunday join 44 others who arrived by bus earlier this month. The Czech government has to date granted fast-track permanent residence to 140 ethnic Czechs in Ukraine. It has earmarked CZK 66 million for a repatriation programme that includes free accommodation, financial support and help finding permanent housing and employment.
President Miloš Zeman says the newly elected leadership of the Social Democrats loyal to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will have to bear responsibility for the party’s election results. The “monochromatic” leadership will have nobody to blame if things go badly, said the president, who previously headed the Social Democrats. A wing of the party loyal to him have lost influence since a failed attempt to oust Mr. Sobotka after elections in late 2013. Speaking on a TV discussion show on Sunday, Mr. Zeman also described the Social Democrats’ decision to have a 40 percent quota for women as an insult to women; incompetent men will be able to complain that competent women are only on electoral lists because of their gender, he said.
A 21-year-old homeless Slovak man has confessed to stabbing a random stranger in the neck at the Invalidovna station in Prague’s Metro system on Thursday morning. The man, who has been remanded in custody, could face up to 10 years in prison for the attack, which left a male passenger of 39 with a serious neck wound. The suspect said he had had no conflict with the victim prior to the violent incident. Police said they had identified him after a tip-off from a member of the public.
Civic Democrat MEP Jan Zahradil has slammed ANO chief Andrej Babiš for comments he made about Vietnamese people, the news site Echo24 reported. The finance minister said in a lower house session that one reason he wanted to bring in electronic cash registers was that the Vietnamese “don’t pay tax, as is well-known”. Mr. Zahradil described the comment as disgusting populism with a racist subtext. Earlier Marcel Winter of the Czech-Vietnamese Society had described Mr. Babiš’s words as an embarrassing.
Glassmakers Dechem were named Grand Designer of the Year for 2014 at the Academy of Design Awards at Prague’s Estates Theatre on Saturday night. Dechem, comprised of architect Michaela Tomišková and glassmaker Jakub Janďourek, also picked up Designer of the Year and Producer of the Year prizes. As well as CZK 100,000 to be spent creating next year’s award, the pair received kimonos made by the 2013 winner, Monika Drápalová. The Newcomer of the Year and Public awards also went to glassmakers.
Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka has been nominated for the post of chairman of the Christian Democrats by his local party branch in the Moravian town of Přerov, perhaps paving the way for a leadership challenge against Pavel Bělobrádek. Mr. Jurečka, who is currently deputy chairman of the Christian Democrats, said he would reveal more about his plans on Tuesday, iDnes.cz reported. The smallest party in the governing coalition will hold a congress in Zlín on May 23 and 24.
Temperatures in the second half of March should be above average for the time of year, reaching up to 14 degrees Celsius, according to a regular monthly forecast released on Saturday by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute. However, the turn of March and April should be accompanied by a drop in temperatures and the first half of next month is expected to be colder than long-term average. Easter weekend, the first in April, is likely to be rainy.
The Social Democrats have made a thinly-veiled attack on their ANO coalition partners in a programme resolution passed at a party congress in Prague on Saturday. The document states that the Czech Republic’s system of democracy cannot be the subject of manipulation by rich oligarchs who own and control companies, the media and political groupings. ANO are headed by Andrej Babiš, a billionaire businessman who runs one of the country’s biggest firms and owns daily newspapers and the most popular Czech radio station. The Social Democrats said that in order to avoid Czech democracy becoming a “parody” legislation needed to be introduced defining conflict of interest more clearly and tightening rules on party financing. ANO came from virtually nowhere to finish second in elections in 2013 and have consistently topped opinion polls.
Police in Prague have arrested a man suspected of stabbing another man at Invalidovna station in the city’s Metro system on Thursday. The suspect attacked a 39-year-old man who was getting onto a train and stabbed him in the neck before fleeing the scene. The victim, who sustained a deep wound, was taken to the city’s Na Homolce hospital. Police say there are no indications the two knew each other.