Working hours in the Czech Republic are the third longest in the European Union, according to the daily Právo. Citing the results of an international survey, the paper puts the average work week for Czechs at 42.9 hours, with one in four employees saying they work from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The survey, which maps key changes in employment over the last 50 years, suggests that two fifths of employees do not leave the office for lunch breaks and devote an average of 42 minutes to their work in the evenings.
Interior Minister, Radek John, says the government coalition (which consists of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and his own Public Affairs party) have agreed not to support any of the proposals of the opposition in Parliament. Speaking at a party press conference, Mr John said the approach was a matter of “coalition loyalty”, which he said meant that coalition partners would not be siding on occasion with the opposition, as they did sometimes under the previous government. Opposition proposals that the coalition condones will be incorporated into its own bills.
The Municipal Court of Brno on Thursday handed down a suspended sentence to a man who physically attacked opposition leader Bohuslav Sobotka, then the deputy chair of the Social Democratic Party, earlier this year. Mr Sobotka suffered a slight spinal injury when he was punched in the face at a pre-election rally by the drunken man, who had moments earlier been applauding his speech. The judge in the trial said it was the first time a public figure had been attacked in such a way in 90 years of Czech history.
More than a hundred police officers are searching the Prague district of Troja for a young girl who went missing on Wednesday afternoon. Nine-year-old Anička was last seen leaving a group of friends after school and did not return home. A police dog found her bag and a bottle near an area of garden cottages near the Kobylisy metro station on the route to her house. Mounted units and a helicopter with thermo-vision are also involved in the search. Detectives have reported that the area in which her items were found is frequented by drug users and homeless people.
Meanwhile, a study released on Thursday reports that pre-school students are taller and heavier than they were 30 years ago. The findings were released by the non-profit association Happy Time, which compared the height, weight and sporting results of some 2000 children with the results of a similar test conducted in 1977. In terms of sports, children in Prague are reported to have improved greatly in the 33-year timeframe, while the performance of children in villages has decreased. Children of both genders regardless of location have grown by an average of two centimetres and weigh on average 0.5 kilograms more.
A major international military exhibition for Nato and Partnership for Peace members has begun in Prague. The Future Soldier trade fair, featuring over 100 commercial exhibitors from 25 countries, runs until Saturday in Letňany, on the outskirts of the city. Delegates to a concurrent conference called Urban Peacekeepers will discuss peace keeping, dealing with asymmetric threats and fighting terrorism. The Czech Republic is hosting Future Soldier every second year between 2008 and 2014.
Screenwriter Jiří Křižan died of a sudden heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 68. Mr Křižan wrote scripts for film and television for nearly fifty years, some of his best known works being ‘Stíny horkého léta’ (Shadows of a Hot Summer) and ‘Je třeba zabít Sekala’ (Sekal Has to Die), for which he was awarded the Czech Lion film prize in 1998. He was also a close friend and advisor to former president Václav Havel, and one of the authors of the Charter 77 movement’s list of demands from the Communist government, called Několik vět. He passed away near him hometown of Valašské Meziříči.
Archaeologists have uncovered a prehistoric wooden structure at the hill of Vladař near Karlovy Vary that they believe may be more than 2,000 years old. The structure was apparently part of a water reservoir that served a fortified settlement at the top of the 700m hill. Tests have found that the oak from which the structures’ beams were hewn was cut sometime after the year 463 BCE. The beams are to be preserved at the Museum of Archaeology and History in Lausanne, Switzerland, as the Czech Republic lacks an adequately equipped laboratory, and will be brought home to be exhibited a year later. Archaeologists involved in the work called it a discovery of Europe-wide, if not global, importance.
The number of children who have experience with drinking alcohol in the Czech Republic is continuing to grow, according to a survey published by the company Median. The results suggest that while 37% of young people aged 14 to 19 had drunk alcohol in the year 2000, that percentage grew to 44 in 2005 and 58 in 2010. Of adults, 81% say they consume alcohol, an increase of seven percent over the last decade.
Prague City Hall has decided to suspend the planned relocation of the Slav Epic from Moravský Krumlov to the capital until after this weekend’s municipal and senate elections, saying that the issue had become over-politicised. Moravský Krumlov welcomed the decision. Prague said that the next step would be to send a “polite letter” to officially ask when the paintings might be moved. Moravský Krumlov was fined 80.000 by a circuit court in Znojmo for preventing the move. The two cities have been in a heated row over Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau masterpiece, which is a major tourist attraction for the small Moravian town, at least since the recent decision of the Znojmo court that they could be removed to Prague.
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