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06-11-2017 13:59 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech human rights record under scrutiny

The Czech Republic’s human rights record came under scrutiny at the United Nations on Monday. Among the recommendations made were for the country to improve the integration of Roma in Czech society, step up the fight against racism, xenophobia and islamophobia and strive for full gender equality.

The Czech government was praised for ending the practice of segregating Romany children in special schools and reaching agreement on the buy-out of a pig farm located on the site of a former concentration camp for Romanies during WWII in order to make way for a dignified memorial to the victims.

The full list of recommendations should be made available by November 10th.

The Universal Periodic Review, through which each UN member country is examined once every five years, allows governments to review a country’s human rights record and make recommendations for improvements. In the last scrutiny the Czech Republic received 136 recommendations and fulfilled 129 of them.

President Zeman officially registers in presidential race

President Miloš Zeman has collected 113,000 signatures from the public in support of his presidential candidacy and has officially registered in the race for president.

At a press briefing in Prague at which he appeared with his wife Ivana who supervised the team of volunteers collecting signatures, Zeman thanked his supporters and said he was ready to take on his rivals in the race. He refused to comment on who he considered the most serious rival for the country’s top post.

The deadline for registering in the presidential elections is Tuesday, November 7th. There are currently 12 candidates running for the country’s top post.

Mirek Topolánek to run for president

Former prime minister Mirek Topolánek has confirmed his intention to run for president in next year’s presidential elections. Topolánek said he had sought support across the political spectrum and had collected the necessary ten signatures from senators. The former leader of the Civic Democratic Party told Czech Television his decision was motivated by the turn of events following the general elections and the possibility that a government could run the country without a vote of confidence.

The head of the Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala welcomed the decision saying Topolánek was an experienced politician with a good grasp of international affairs.

Marek Dalík turns up to serve jail sentence

Lobbyist Marek Dalík, one-time advisor to prime minister Mirek Topolanek, turned up at Prague’s Ruzyne prison to start serving a five-year sentence for corruption on Monday. He was accompanied by his lawyer and refused to speak to journalists.

Dalík, who was found guilty of soliciting a bribe in connection with a hardware military deal, earlier claimed he was innocent of the charges against him and petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the first four-year sentence. He later even changed his testimony to partially admitting having requested a certain sum of money.

After reviewing the case, the Supreme Court upped his sentence from four to five years. He has already spent seven months in custody.

Economic growth expected to accelerate

Czech economic growth is expected to accelerate to 4.5 percent this year, as compared to 2.5 percent in 2016, according to the Czech Chamber of Commerce. Next year the chamber predicts a slow-down of the GDP to 3.6 percent. This year’s eeconomic growth is driven by demand on foreign markets and consumer spending.

In its latest forecast the Czech National Bank also upgraded its growth forecast for this year to 4.5 percent, up from the predicted 3.6 in August.

Czech runner Vrabcová Nývltová seventh in New York Marathon

Czech runner Eva Vrabcová Nývltová placed seventh in the New York Marathon coming in at 2:29:41. She set a new personal record, shorter by 15 seconds as compared to her performance the worls championships in London where she placed 14th.

Vrabcová Nývltová is the first Czech female runner to cover the New York Marathon under 2:30:00. The Czech record holder was Alena Peterková who in 1991 finished the race in 2:30:36, coming in fourth.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.