News Politicians slam Okamura for populist statement
Politicians across the board have denounced last week’s statement by Dawn party leader Tomio Okamura that the hundreds of Romanies who died in the Lety concentration camp were not Holocaust victims as shameful and populist. Mr. Okamura said in an interview for Parlamentnilisty.cz that the term concentration camp was highly misleading since Lety was a camp for people who avoided work and the Romanies who died in it died of old age or illnesses they developed as a result of their migratory lifestyle. The minister for human rights, Jiri Dienstbier, said Mr. Okamura should apologize and retire from politics, while TOP 09 deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek described his words as “disgraceful, bordering on the criminal”. Mr. Okamura’s statement has evoked outrage across the political spectrum, and has also elicited criticism from the head of state. It is being linked to the autumn Senate and local elections with Mr. Okamura attempting to attract votes at any cost.
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Premier League champions Chelsea, with goalkeeper Petr Čech, won their last match of the season on Sunday, defeating Sunderland by a score of 3:1. The keeper faced 17 shots in what is likely to be his last match for the Blues; Čech has been allowed to negotiate a possible move with one year left on his contract. The legend, who won numerous honours with Chelsea including the Champions League was replaced as No. 1 in goal this season by Belgian Thibault Courtois.
The Christian Democrats, at their continuing party congress in Zlín on Sunday condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and rejected the redrawing of the country's borders through military force. In a statement, the Christian Democrats - members of the country's ruling coalition - made clear they were in favour of current sanctions against Russia and were even for a tightening of measures if the situation called for it, to get Russia to change its current course.
A two-year-old boy in the area of Hradec Králové was seriously injured by a dog on Sunday morning. The child was transported to hospital; the police are investigating the incident. The boy boy's injury, while serious, was not life-threatening.
A unique tiara which was commissioned for his wife by Czech diplomat Vojtěch Mastný almost 100 years ago, sold for 1.44 million crowns in auction in Prague on Saturday. The opening bid was a minimum of 360,000 crowns. Four interested buyers reportedly bid for the luxury item.
The leader of the smallest government coalition party, the Christian Democrats Pavel Bělobrádek, has told delegates at the his party's congress in Zlín that the party needs to continue meeting its promises and to uphold its programme, saying backing the current coalition government was necessary to meet its goals. Mr Bělobrádek also stressed the Christian Democrats needed to change their image as a "clerical" or Christian party for Christians, saying they needed to show how it had changed and wanted to modernise the Czech Republic. On Saturday, Mr Bělobrádek was re-elected as chairman, receiving 251 out of a possible 275 votes from delegates.
Petr Čech started in goal on Sunday in the last match of the season in what is widely expected to be his last game for his longtime club Chelsea. The Czech player has been with Chelsea for 11 years and was the No. 1 goalkeeper for most of them. During that time he won four Premiership titles, the Champions League, and other honours. He is expected to sign with a new club this summer, a year before his contract with the Blues officially expires. Čech, a legend at the London club, lost his place as top 'keeper this year to Belgian Thibault Courtois.
The authorities on Sunday warned residents of Prague's Dejvice district to not drink their tap water, even after boiling, saying it was not safe. Many locals on Saturday night are reported to have suffered from diarrhea; around 150 people were taken to hospital, the website iDnes reported. The spokesman for Pražské vodovody a kanalizace, Tomáš Mrázek, warned the water likely contains coliform bacteria. The cause of the contamination is not yet known. The warning affects some 32,000 people and streets affected are listed at www.pvk.cz. Cisterns with drinking water have been set up in affected areas. Some restaurants opted to close on Sunday after the warning was issued.
Former governor and Social Democrat MP David Rath, on trial on corruption charges, will reportedly be represented by lawyer Marcela Ondřejová of the firm Bezděk & Partner, provided no underlying reasons exist meaning she would have to turn the case down. The news was reported by the website Česká justice and confirmed by the defendant. A week or so ago Mr Rath withdrew power of attorney granted his previous defence team; his new lawyer was chosen ex officio. The former politician faces a possible seizure of assets and up to 12 years in prison if he is found guilty of having taken bribes and of having manipulated public tenders in the Central Bohemian region.
Following on from the finance minister on Friday, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Dukovany nuclear reactor on Saturday and outlined his scenario for how the sector should develop. Sobotka said the government’s recently approved long term energy framework envisages one new reactor at Dukovany and another at power company ČEZ’s second site at Temelín. Sobotka said Dukovany should have priority, partly because of the strong support for nuclear power in the region, and a tender for the new reactor there could be held by the end of 2016. Dukovany’s four current reactors are likely to be phased out from 2035 onwards.
The 66th Sudeten German Congress began in Augsburg, Bavaria, on Saturday with improved relations between Germany and the Czech Republic at the forefront of discussions. No mention was made of the Beneš Decrees, which controversially expelled around 3 million Germans, mostly living in the Sudetenland, from Czechoslovakia after WWII. German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Emilia Müller said the Sudeten community, many of whom live in Bavaria, could be a foundation stone for improved German-Czech relations. She praised the resolution by Brno’s Council last week expressing regret for the expulsion of Germans to Austria in 1945. Around 1700 are believed to have died on a forced march out of the Czech city