An historic mountain chalet known as “Libušín” destroyed by a fire in 2014 should be restored within three years, Jindřich Ondruš, the head of the Wallachian Open Air Museum confirmed on Monday. The project is being underatken by the Brno firm Archatt, which won the tender to restore the site. Libušín was inspired by folk architecture and designed by Art Nouveau era architect Dušan Jurkovič. Named after the mythical Princess Libuše, the site opened in 1899.
The number of Czechs who see foreigners as a threat to their way of life has gone up according to a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency. According to the poll, some 78 percent of respondents felt that not everyone should be allowed to stay just because they expressed an interest; some three-quarters replied that foreigners should be allowed to reside in the Czech Republic only under certain conditions. Four percent replied that foreign nationals should be allowed to resettle in the country without restrictions.
President Miloš Zeman has suggested that criticism of the European Union on his part was not to try and “break it” but on the contrary to help focus on outstanding problems; the president was reacting to a recent charge by the prime minister that he criticized the EU as often as his predecessor Václav Klaus. Mr Zeman, for example, ridiculed the planned 1,500-strong border patrol meant to prevent the entry of up two million refugees. He called it a “ragtime army” which would do nothing to help. He suggested the EU was in dire need of real personalities like Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Charles de Gaulle or Francois Mitterrand.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will reject mandatory refugee quotas at a meeting of European interior ministers this Thursday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka tweeted after the matter was discussed at the weekly government meeting. The Czech government remains opposed to mandatory refugee quotas on the grounds that such a system simply does not work, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek reiterated at the weekend. The Czech government instead supports the existing agreement on the return of refugees with Turkey and remains in favour of a stronger European border and coast patrol. At the weekend, the prime minister said that if a permanent mechanism which divided refugees among the EU countries was introduced, the Czech Republic would challenge it in court.
Participation in NATO as well as joint foreign-missions in Afghanistan and Mali and the fight against Daesh will be priorities for the Czech military over the next two years, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický tweeted on Monday. All missions still have to be approved by Parliament; the Defence Ministry is counting on allocating around 2.3 billion crowns for the missions. The current mandate for foreign missions expires at the end of 2016.
The District Court for Prague 1 rejected a request by former lawyer Zdeněk Altner to freeze Social Democratic party accounts, allegedly for failing to pay a 10,000 crown deposit. Mr Altner told Czech Radio he paid the fee on Monday and the court had reached its decision prematurely. In a recent court ruling, the Social Democrats were ordered to pay 337 million crowns owed to Mr Altner for past services, which had gone unredeemed. The party has lodged an appellate review request with the Supreme Court and says it will await the outcome of the appeal before making the payment, on the grounds that the money could end up in a foreign account and would be hard to retrieve if the court ruled in its favour.
The Florida Panthers, with Czech star player Jaromír Jágr, were defeated on Sunday in Game 3 at Barclay’s Center of their first round Stanley Cup playoff match-up against the New York Islanders. The win sees the Isles take a 2-1 series lead. The Islanders scored in overtime to clinch the win. The final score was 4:3. In the pre-game run-up, NHL.com suggested on a list of five things the Panthers needed to do as the series shifted to Brooklyn, was for the top line of Jágr, Huberdeau, Barkov to “break through”. Barkov scored on Sunday and Huberdeau earned an assist but Jágr was kept without a point. Game 4 takes place on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Petr Čech returned for his first match for London club Arsenal against Crystal Palace on Sunday after a six week layoff, a match the Gunners were expected to win. Instead, they got a disappointing 1:1 draw. Arsenal dominated throughout, going ahead in first half, maintaining 72 percent possession and firing 21 shots; yet they were still punished by a late strike by Yannick Bolasie. The player scored at the near post – a goal Čech probably should have stopped. Arsenal are in fourth place in the Premier League.
A rare Gothic painting, Madonna of the Golden Crown, was returned to its original place at the Zlatá Koruna monastery in south Bohemia after 78 years on Sunday. The painting was placed in the newly restored Abbot’s Chapel of the monastery. The Madonna of the Golden Crown was painted between 1410 and 1420 and was most likely commissioned by the Cistercian monastery. It was hidden during WWII, after which it was housed at the National Gallery. Over 300 people attended a special mass celebrating its return.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has no information with regard to the possibility that Czechs may have been among the victims or injured in Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake in Ecuador. According to the latest figures released 238 people were killed in the quake and over 2,000 were injured. Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova said no one had reported anyone missing and people who had registered with the ministry’s travel data base DROZD were safe, but noted that the rescue operation was still underway as was the identification of victims.