- Anti-Roma sentiments continue to be a major issue in the Czech society, says a report by the European Network against Racism.
- The Finance Ministry has refused to cover 2.6 billion crowns for regional projects which failed to secure EU funding.
- Speaking in the Senate, President Miloš Zeman made his case for a change of the election system.
- The police have charged two men for having failed to report a valuable find of historic silver coins.
- Speedskater Martina Sáblíková has finished second in the 3,000-metre race at the world championships in Sochi.
ENAR: anti-Roma sentiments major issue in Czech society
Anti-Roma sentiments continue to be a major issue in the Czech society, according to an annual report by the European Network Against Racism, an advocacy group. The report says little progress has been achieved in fighting discrimination against Roma children many of whom are still placed in schools for mentally handicapped pupils. The Czech Romany community also faces attacks and discrimination on the labour market, in housing and other areas. In other EU countries, the report mainly focused on the rise of islamophobia.
Finance Ministry refuses to pay for projects which failed to secure EU funding
The Czech Finance Ministry will not pay some 2.6 billion crowns, or more than 130 million US dollars, for regional projects that had failed to secure funding from the EU, according to a press release by Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek. The European Commission last month refused to pay for the projects organized by the Czech operational programme, ROP Northwest, over issues with the projects’ administration and lack of supervision. Mr Kalousek said the costs of the projects would have to be covered from the budgets of the respective Ústí and Karlovy Vary regions. Members of the regional representations meanwhile said that with no help from the ministry, the regions could not afford to do so.
President Zeman makes case for changes to election system
Czech President Miloš Zeman has made his case for changes to the country’s election system. Speaking in the Senate on Thursday, Mr Zeman said the threshold for parties to enter the lower house should be lowered from five to three percent, and suggested that the number of electoral districts should be raised. These changes would lead to a higher participation by the people in politics. Mr Zeman also said he would next week present the Senate with his list of nominees for judges of the Czech Constitutional Court.
Press: Václav Klaus to run for seat in European Parliament
Ex-president Václav Klaus is considering running for a seat in the European Parliament on the ballot of his former party, the Civic Democrats, the daily Právo reported on Thursday. If elected, Mr Klaus could become the chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists group. The eurosceptic Václav Klaus’s term as president expired earlier this month; his approval ratings were quite low when he was leaving office but commentators say that his critical stance on the EU could draw enough support from Civic Democrat voters.
Police registers slight increase in number of illegal aliens
The number of illegal aliens in the Czech Republic grew slightly last year, the head of foreign police said on Thursday. In total, the police registered 3,476 foreigners staying in the country illegally, some 200 more than in the previous year. Most illegal aliens came from Ukraine, Russia and Vietnam. Some 430,000 foreigners have long-term or permanent residence permits.
Czech activist deported from Israel
A Czech pro-Palestinian activist was deported from Israel on Thursday, a day after he was detained by the Israeli army during a march in Hebron, in the West Bank, according to a report by ISM, a Palestinian group. The Czech citizen was deported along with a Danish and a German activist. The march, which took place on the day US President Barack Obama arrived in Israel on an official visit, was to draw attention to the Palestinian movement for independence.
Two men charged for failing to report find of historic coins
The police have charged two men for having failed to report a find of thousands of historic silver coins. The treasure, consisting of coins minted between the 15th and 17th centuries, was discovered in a forest near Boskovice, in the southeast of the country, in 2011. The 29-year-old finder failed to report the discovery, as required by law, and instead sold the coins to a collector for 850,000 crowns, or more than 42,000 US dollars. But the police was anonymously tipped off, and raised charges against both men who, if convicted, face up to five years in jail.
Police search for dangerous man
A police search is underway in south Bohemia for a man suspected of attempted murder. Some 150 police officers are searching for the man in the vicinity of Jindřichův Hradec. The man is believed to have attacked his girlfriend; the police warned the man was mentally ill, and could be dangerous.
Speedskating: Sablíková takes silver at world championships
Speedskater Martina Sáblíková finished second in the 3,000-metre race at the world championships in Sochi on Thursday. The 25-year-old Czech athlete, who was defending gold medal on the track from the previous world championships, came in some two seconds after the winner, Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands. Martina Sáblíková, who has won nine world speedskating titles, is a strong favourite for the 5,000-metre event scheduled for Saturday.
Hockey: Třinec, Plzeň advance to playoffs’ semifinals
Třinec and Plzeň have joined Slavia Prague and Zlín in the semifinals of the Czech hockey league playoff. Třinec beat Sparta Prague 5:0 in the decisive match of the best-of-seven quarterfinal series on Wednesday night while Plzeň defeated Litvínov 4:3 in the seventh game of the series. The semifinal series kick off on Sunday when Plzeň face regular season winners Slavia; the best-of seven series between Zlín and Třinec starts next Tuesday.
The end of the week will be mostly overcast, with rain and snow in places and daytime highs ranging between 0 and +4 degrees Celsius.