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Director Miloš Forman turns 80

17-02-2012 16:18 | Christian Falvey

Miloš Forman Director Miloš Forman celebrates his 80th birthday on Saturday, and newspapers in his native country are full of tributes. In the small category of Czech artists who have conquered the world, Forman has a seat among the likes of Antonín Dvořák and Milan Kundera and Czechs are dulely proud of him for his success. But his approach to filmmaking and style of direction also permanently altered the course of cinematography in the Czech Republic and elsewhere, a fact we discussed earlier with Karel Och, the artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.  More

Government moves to give crime victims more support and greater protection

16-02-2012 15:29 | Daniela Lazarová

Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil Being a crime victim can be a shattering experience and many who have personally experienced it say that reporting the incident and the investigation that follows can be equally agonizing. At the present time there is no code of conduct specifying how the police or state attorneys should treat crime victims and critics say their conduct often leaves much to be desired. The Czech government has now moved to correct that approving an amendment to the law which would give crime victims more support and greater protection.  More

Corruption joins Czech landmarks in satirical tourist campaign

16-02-2012 15:29 | Dominik Jůn

Critics may say that the Czech government is doing practically nothing to address the country’s high levels of corruption – the Czech Republic rates 57th out of 182 in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, four places lower than 2010’s 53rd place – but that hasn’t stopped other entrepreneurial figures from stepping in to fill the vacuum. Interested in seeing the top spots for “tunneling”, murky, hidden centres of power or finding some of the buildings that have resulted from alleged shady deals? Then Corrupt Tour may be what you’re after! They are promising to show “The Best of the Worst” as their motto puts it, their website adding that they are striving to open up an entirely new field of tourism. Or is it just all a new way to shame the country’s politicians?   More

Czech soldier in Afghanistan decorated for bravery

15-02-2012 16:18 | Daniela Lazarová

Michal Novotný, photo: Jana Růžičková, Czech Army A Czech soldier serving in Afghanistan’s southern province Logar has been awarded the United States Armed Forces Bronze Star Medal. Staff Sgt. Michal Novotný who is squad leader of the Prostějov reconnaissance unit was decorated for helping to save the life of an American soldier.  More

Constitutional Court defies EU with ruling on Czech-Slovak pensions

15-02-2012 16:18 | Christian Falvey

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday made a landmark ruling regarding the difference in pensions between the Czech and Slovak Republic. Cases exist where Czechs who worked in the other half of Czechoslovakia now receive the lower pension rate of the Slovak Republic. According to the new decision of the court, such citizens never worked in a foreign country and thus are entitled to compensatory payments to raise their pensions to Czech standards. Among the chaos this creates for the Social Affairs Ministry now is that fact that the ruling directly contradicts the European Court of Justice.  More

Baroque Bohemian Carnevale recreating centuries-old tradition long lost

14-02-2012 16:09 | Rob Cameron

Photo: CTK The annual Bohemian Carnevale got underway this week, and for the next seven days carnival-lovers will have a chance to forget the freezing temperatures in Prague with masked balls, parades and acrobatic performances. The event is an attempt to revive what was a major social event in days gone by – one that attracted big-name celebrities such as Mozart and Casanova.  More

Police crack down on women’s branch of Czech neo-Nazi movement

14-02-2012 16:09 | Daniela Lazarová

Illustrative photo: Filip Jandourek The Czech police have cracked down on a group called Resistance Women Unity, a women´s branch of the Czech neo-Nazi movement National Resistance. Fifteen women were arrested and charged with promoting and supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. I spoke to Miroslav Mareš of Masaryk University in Brno, one of the Czech Republic’s leading experts on far-right extremism, to find out more about the role of women in neo-Nazi groups in the present day Czech Republic.  More

Roma kids from special schools put Czech education system to shame in Great Britain

13-02-2012 16:17 | Daniela Lazarová

Thousands of teachers around the country are up in arms. They are unhappy about the government’s plans to gradually phase out special schools – or schools for children with a mental or physical handicap – and integrate as many of these children as possible into the education mainstream.  More

EU human rights court rules Czech state denied Kinský fair trial in property restitution case

10-02-2012 15:41 | Jan Richter

František Oldřich Kinský, photo: CTK The European Court of Human Rights denounced the Czech state for having denied a fair trial to František Oldřich Kinský, an Austrian aristocrat who sued the country over his property claims. The court said that Mr Kinský, who passed away nearly three years ago, had been subjected to abusive treatment by the Czech authorities when he sued to get back family property worth around 40 billion crowns.  More

Czech Parliament passes direct presidential elections

09-02-2012 16:26 | Christian Falvey

The Czech Senate, photo: CTK Czech citizens themselves will choose their next president in 2013 for the first time in history. After years of public and partisan discussion, and five final hours of heated debate on Wednesday, the Czech Senate passed a Constitutional amendment allowing direct election of the head of state by the people. As the current president, Václav Klaus, who called direct elections a "fatal mistake", is unable to veto a constitutional amendment, I asked political scientist Jan Outlý of the University of Hradec Králové if anything at all can stop direct presidential elections now.  More

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