TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek has appealed on the government to consider the plight of the 60 Iraqi Christian refugees who were scheduled to settle in the Czech Republic within a relocation project initiated and financed by the NGO Generation 21. The project was unexpectedly scrapped last Thursday after 25 of the 89 refugees already here gave up their asylum status and left for Germany and another eight returned to their homeland. Kalousek said that the 60 refugees who had been promised asylum should not be made to pay for the behavior of a group of their compatriots.
The coming two weeks are expected to bring above-average temperatures, according to a monthly forecast published by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Office. The second and third week in April should bring highs of 20 degrees Celsius. Last Tuesday monitoring stations registered the warmest day of the year with the temperature in Karvine hitting 26.9 degrees. Century old records for that day were broken in many parts of the country.
The inhabitants of Slavětice located not far from the country’s oldest power plant Dukovany are voting in a referendum on the planned construction of a fifth unit and a possible nuclear waste dump in the vicinity. A no vote could mean that the town would go against an earlier agreement with the power utility ČEZ and lose its annual 2.2 million crown subsidy. Voting takes place between 9am and 9pm on Sunday. A fifth reactor at Dukovany is part of the government long term energy strategy.
Close to half of Czechs have high cholesterol levels seriously increasing their risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease, Czech Radio reported citing the results of a nationwide survey on the health of the population. According to doctors this is most commonly caused by a poor diet. Sixty percent of deaths in the country are related to heart disease.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said he would resign from office if an investigation into the security operation surrounding the recent visit by the Chinese president should reveal that the police received an order to implement a selective approach in favour of Chinese demonstrators. Speaking in a debate on TV Prima the interior minister said individual officers may have been over-zealous in performing their duty but he ruled out that they had received orders to act as they did. Czech human rights protesters who were detained in street skirmishes with large groups of often aggressive Chinese nationals out to greet their president claim that the police invariably intervened against them despite the fact that they were the victims of an attack by the Chinese. The incidents are being investigated.
There is a severe lack of IT specialists on the Czech labour market, Czech Radio reported on Sunday citing leading personnel companies. According to the head of ManpowerGroup Jaroslava Rezlerova the situation has been deteriorating in recent years and the country now lacks around 100,000 IT specialists. Prague has 400 vacancies despite the fact that starting salaries in the field are on average 15,000 crowns higher than in other areas. This is a common trend across Europe which currently lacks 700,000 IT specialists.
David Koller was named singer of the year at the Czech music industry's annual Anděl awards ceremony on Saturday night, and his album ČeskosLOVEnsko was voted Album of the year. The female singer of the year award went to Klára Vytisková. Kryštof picked up the Band of the year award and Barbora Poláková was voted Newcomer of the year, her song Nafrněná winning the award for the best song of 2015. Michal Pavlíček was inducted into the Czech music hall of fame. In their speeches the artists repeatedly criticized President Miloš Zeman.
A console table by designer Carlo Bugatti was sold at auction for one million crowns by the Zezula auction house in Brno on Saturday, the ctk news agency reported. The rare piece was sold to a private bidder from abroad. The starting price was 950,000 crowns. The oriental-like table is made of different types of wood, carved and inlaid with mother-of-pearl and decorated with a parchment painting of an exotic landscape with birds.
Anti-immigration groups organized a symbolic blockade of three Czech border crossings on Saturday. Close to two hundred people gathered at Cinovec on the Czech-German border, among them members of the Block against Islam, the Dawn party and the German Pegida. The organizers of the protest claim the authorities are not doing enough to fight mandatory quotas and “Islamic terrorism”. Several dozen protesters gathered at the České Velenice crossing with Austria but allowed drivers to pass in both directions. The protest at Kraslice on the Czech-German border held up drivers predominantly on the Czech side, since the German police diverted traffic. An anti-immigration protest also took place outside the Social Democratic Party headquarters in Prague.
The leadership of the Social Democratic Party on Saturday approved a
package of austerity measures which should help cover the 337 million crown
fine the party was ordered to pay its former lawyer Zdenek Altner by the
Prague Municipal Court. It plans to reduce the number of its employees,
save on campaigning in the autumn regional and Senate elections and has
appealed for members to make individual contributions. This year the party
aims to save 55 million crowns.
The Social Democrats lost a drawn-out dispute with Altner regarding the fee for his services in a court case over the ownership of Lidový Dum, the party’s long-time headquarters in Prague. The 337 million crown contractual fine is the result of interest building up over the past 16 years. The Social Democratic Party has lodged an appellate review request with the Supreme Court regarding a verdict by the Prague Municipal Court but this does not suspend the enforcement of the verdict and the party has taken out a loan in order to be able to pay the money.