- President Miloš Zeman has explained why he refused to name as professor a leading Czech intellectual.
- Descendants of shoe magnate Jan Antonín Baťa are demanding that the Czech state return billions of crowns worth of property to them.
- A trial involving five former City Hall officials over the controversial Opencard system has been adjourned indefinitely.
- The Czech crown jewels will be returned to their vault in St. Vitus’ Cathedral on Monday afternoon.
- The number of home births in the Czech Republic has increased markedly in the last two decades.
President refused to name Putna because of gay pride sign
President Miloš Zeman clarified on Monday the reason he refused to name well-known literary historian Martin C. Putna a university professor. Mr Zeman revealed as the crux of the problem a placard Mr Putna carried at Prague’s gay pride parade, which had read, loosely-translated, “Catholic queers salute Bátora”. The sign referred to a highly-controversial former ministry official who opposed the parade two years ago. The president stressed on Monday that he respected peoples’ sexual orientation but suggested there was a difference between that and carrying the placard in question. Martin C. Putna is widely-recognised as a Catholic intellectual who has focussed on questions of homosexuality and religion. He is also a vocal critic of the president’s, going so far as to ridicule him in a video ahead of the election earlier this year.
Press: Baťa family demanding return of billions of crowns worth of property
Descendants of shoe magnate Jan Antonín Baťa are demanding that the Czech state return billions of crowns worth of property to them, Právo reported on Monday. An associate of the Baťa family told the newspaper that they were willing to take the matter to the international courts. The property was nationalised under post-war presidential decrees on the grounds that Baťa had allegedly collaborated with the Nazis. However, in 2007 a Prague court overturned Jan Antonín Baťa’s conviction on collaboration charges. The founder of the international shoe company left Czechoslovakia in 1939 and later settled in Brazil, where he founded a number of towns.
Trial adjourned indefinitely
A trial involving five former City Hall officials over the controversial Opencard system was adjourned indefinitely on Monday by Prague’s Municipal Court. The decision followed a complaint put forward by the state attorney that the chairman of the panel of the judges hearing the case was biased.
Crown jewels to be returned to vault
The Czech crown jewels will be returned to their vault in St. Vitus’ Cathedral on Monday afternoon. Thirty-one thousand people saw the jewels over the 10 days they were exhibited at Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall.
Zeman warns against succumbing to manipulation at Terezín memorial ceremony
Speaking at an annual memorial ceremony on the site of the former Terezín concentration camp in central Bohemia on Sunday, President Zeman warned against succumbing to manipulation. He said if people allowed themselves to be manipulated they would become like sheep. The president pointed to the intellectuals who had been duped on visits to the Soviet Union and also mentioned the effect of Nazi propaganda. The Nazis forced around 155,000 Jews to go to Terezín (Theresienstadt); around two-thirds of them did not survive the war.
Large rise seen in number of home births in Czech Republic since early 1990s
The number of home births in the Czech Republic has increased markedly in the last two decades, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting a head doctor at a leading Prague hospital. While in 1990 only 16 babies were born at home with the assistance of a midwife, that figure had risen to 150 in 2009. The highest number occur in Prague, while the fewest take place in the Zlín region in South Moravia. Czech health insurance companies refuse to cover home births.
Exhibition of Czech crown jewels ends
An exhibition of the Czech crown jewels at Prague Castle came to an end on Sunday; they are set to be returned to their vault in St. Vitus’ Cathedral on Monday. Tens of thousands of people have queued to see the treasures since they went on display on May 10 in connection with the inauguration of a new Czech president earlier this year. The collection consists of the gold, jewel-encrusted St. Wenceslas crown, the St. Wenceslas sword, the royal orb and sceptre, the coronation cloak, the coronation cross and other items.
Head of Orthodox Church making four-day visit to Czech Republic
The head of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I, is set to begin a four-day visit to the Czech Republic on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Czech Roman Catholic Church said on Saturday. The patriarch is coming to the country in connection with celebrations marking the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the Orthodox missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. Patriarch Bartholomew blessed an Orthodox church in Šumperk in 1998 and returned to the Czech Republic the following year to attend Forum 2000 at the invitation of Václav Havel.
Only city council can save Baník Ostrava from bankruptcy
The Czech top flight soccer club Baník Ostrava will go bankrupt if the council in the north Moravian city does not vote to purchase Baník’s Bazaly ground at an extraordinary meeting on Monday. The club, whose history stretches back 90 years, would be expelled from the first division. Baník’s stadium is valued at around CZK 115. Some councillors have said they will not support its purchase and the coalition that governs in the city is said to be divided on the matter.
It should be fair with the chance of rain or storms in the next few days. Temperatures in the Czech Republic are expected to reach a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius.