A Brno court has sentenced six members of the far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice for committing acts of hate speech at a May 1 gathering in the city a year ago. Party leader Tomáš Vandas received a suspended sentence and a fine of 25,000 crowns, while five other party members got similar punishments. Mr. Vandas, who is the election leader of the Workers’ Party for Social Justice, was formerly the head of the far-right Workers’ Party. That party was banned by the Czech Constitutional Court in February.
The minister of the environment, Rut Bízková, said on Wednesday that the fact that some anti-flood barriers are still unfinished has significantly contributed to the damages caused by the floods in Moravia. She added that municipalities needed to make a stronger effort to have flood walls built. Mrs. Bízková, who was meeting with the flood committee in the Moravian city of Brno on Wednesday, said that the Environment Ministry had earmarked substantial funds for the construction of anti-flood barriers. The current situation, she added, should be a signal for mayors across the region to start better protecting their municipalities.
Most swollen rivers in Moravia have started going down, though complications caused by flooding remain in many areas. Only the lower part of the Morava in south Moravia continued to rise on Wednesday; its water levels are expected to start dropping on Thursday. In North Moravia, flooded soils have started moving; three houses had to be demolished as a consequence. Some of the hundreds of people evacuated earlier on Wednesday from the south Moravian town of Troubky were able to return home. Troubky was devastated by floods in 1997. Thousands of homes remain without power. Forecasters say it will continue to rain for the next few days. The floods have claimed one victim to date, a woman of 69 who drowned in her garden in Třinec on Sunday after the River Olše burst its banks.
The Czech Republic will see more than 140 events linked to beer and brewing in 2010, according to a survey by the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Some 700,000 visitors are expected to attend the various open-door events at breweries, beer festivals and other celebrations centered on the beverage across the country. Altogether, some 250 different brews will be available for tasting at the various events. In recent years, growing interest in beer culture has lead to a growth in beer festivals and brewery tours. Following the opening of a beer museum in Plzeň, other cities and towns are planning to open beer museums as well.
The headquarters of the Communist Party in Prague was covered with red paint on Tuesday night. A group that opposes the Communist Party admitted to being behind a similar attack the previous night. The group cited the party’s failure to distance itself from the crimes of communism as the main reason for covering part of the façade of the party’s headquarters with red paint. The deputy leader of the Communist Party Miloslava Ostrá said that damages caused by the first attack amounted to around 50,000 crowns. Police are investigating the case.
The Czech Insurance Association estimates that floods across Moravia will cause insured damages of up to 320 million Czech crowns. Insurance companies have described the increase in reported cases as growing explosively. The company Česká pojišťovna alone had 1500 cases amounting to damages of 40 million crowns reported by noon on Wednesday. Vehicles and family homes were most affected, but some larger damages of public transportation facilities and businesses have also occurred.
The Czech Republic have beaten Canada 3:2 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany. There was great interest in the game in the Czech Republic, as failure to take at least one point would have seen the team exit the worlds with the country’s worst placing ever in the competition. After Canada went ahead the Czechs came back with goals from Lukáš Kašpar, Jaromír Jágr and Jakub Klepiš to open up a two-goal lead that was only threatened when their opponents made it 3:2 with little over a minute remaining. The Czech Republic will take on Finland on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals; the Finns knocked the Czechs out at the same stage at the Olympics earlier this year.
Václav Kasík, the former general director of Czech Radio, was named to the post of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra director on Wednesday by Václav Riedlbauch, the minister of culture. Mr. Kasík replaces Vladimír Darjanin, who was removed from the office after less than a year due to allegations of poor management of the Philharmonic Orchestra’s budget. The length of Mr. Kasík’s term was not specified. It is likely that when a new minister of culture takes office following the general elections later this month, Mr. Kasík will be replaced by a new director.
According to preliminary estimates by the Association of Regions of the Czech Republic, damages linked to the floods in Moravia will reach billions of crowns. The association’s director, Michal Hašek, said on Wednesday that the regions affected will need to agree on the exact funds to be earmarked for the construction of anti-flood barriers. He added that the Moravian-Silesian region’s prison authorities had offered that up to a hundred prisoners with lighter charges could help in the clean-up effort. Regions not affected by the floods are also preparing to send help. The regional authority of Prague will send technicians and drying equipment to the region. Meanwhile, the government approved 50 million crowns in aid, while officials said the amount could be raised to 100 million crowns.
In related news, Václav Klaus, the Czech president, has said that rather than paying to fix houses that repeatedly become damaged during floods, the government should invest in moving such buildings further away from rivers that tend to flood. He added that the government should carefully consider if it is reasonable to set aside extraordinary funds to build anti-flood walls. He said that their construction was often problematic due to conflicts with private land-owners.