Police say they are not planning to heed a call from local officials in Husinec on the outskirts of Prague to evict a group of Romanian Romanies who have set up a makeshift camp there. The Romanies, who are keeping a vigil for a relative who is seriously ill in a Prague hospital, were previously camped elsewhere in the city and are now on private land with the permission of its owner. However, they have no running water or other basic facilities and the mayor of Husinec, Marie Těthalová, called on the police to expel the group by lunchtime on Sunday. She said there was no way the municipality would pay for mobile toilets or drinking water. The Romanian Romanies arrived in Prague over a week ago after a teenage relative they regard as a prince almost drowned in a lake in central Bohemia.
Romanian Roma camping by a lakeside near Prague for the last week have moved to a tract of land offered them by a private owner. The invitation ends a rather tense dispute between the campers, of whom there were originally about 150, and the local municipal office, which has been protesting their stay in an area that is a natural reserve and their mistreatment of the grounds. The group, which now numbers 30, came to Prague from Romania one week ago to support a young relative they call their prince, who nearly drowned while swimming in the Czech Republic. The 17-year-old remains in hospital in critical condition.
The Cuban press has accused the Czech ambassador to the United States of working for the CIA, writes Hospodářské noviny on Tuesday. The paper Granma Internacional claims that Petr Kolář was selected and recruited by the CIA in the late 1980s. The Czech Foreign Ministry has responded by saying that the claims are ‘nonsense’ and deserve no further reaction. The Czech Republic has long been a strong critic of Fidel Castro’s regime. The Czech ambassador in the US, Petr Kolář, recently told an American newspaper that Cubans should ‘take the situation into their own hands’ and strive for regime change.
A wooden Orthodox church is to be built in the north Bohemian town of Most as a memorial to the 40,000 Romanian soldiers who died during the liberation of Czechoslovakia during World War II. The announcement was made in Prague by the metropolitan of the Orthodox church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the head of the Romanian Orthodox church. The church, dedicated to St Valentine, should open its doors for the first time in 2009.
Police in Romania have arrested a group of alleged people traffickers who they say sold Romanian labourers as virtual slaves in the Czech Republic, the AFP news agency reported. The Romanian authorities say the group promised workers high earnings in the Czech Republic but then sold them for 150 euros per person to Czech or Ukrainian middlemen. The workers then had their documents taken and were made to work for little money and small amounts of food. Some of them managed to escape and returned home with help from the Romanian Embassy in Prague. An estimated 500 people were abused in this way, AFP reported.
The Czech Republic is one of half a dozen or so EU countries that has given citizens of the Union's two newest members - Romania and Bulgaria - unfettered access to its labour markets. So far there's been a trickle, rather than a flood of Romanians and Bulgarians arriving in this country. That's partly because for skilled professionals, the standard of living is not really that much higher here than at home. But some have come, nonetheless - including Silviu Dascal, a 26-year-old IT consultant from the Romanian city of Arad. He's now working at
The Romanian embassy has filed an official complaint against the treatment of a Romanian national by the Jihlava hospital authorities. The woman in question had an accident on Czech territory and underwent two life-saving operations in the Jihlava hospital. Since she had no health insurance card the hospital refused to discharge her until her family covered the cost of treatment. She was later discharged when the Romanian embassy guaranteed payment. The embassy's protest note says the woman was "taken hostage" and treated in a humiliating manner. The hospital management has yet to respond to the accusations.
This week in Czech Books we are gripped by poetry fever. The Czech Republic is in the middle of an international poetry festival, the "Den poezie" - or Poetry Day. As we'll be finding out, the festival reaches some of most far-flung corners of the Czech Republic; we also explore what makes the "Generation 2000" of young Romanian poets tick, as they bring their work to a Prague audience.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus is visiting Romania this week to meet the country's top officials as it gears up to join the European Union, together with its neighbour Bulgaria. EU membership has been high on the agenda of talks with Romania's top officials, as well as the United States visa requirements, a concern shared by both countries.
Why do Czechs need a visa to travel to the United States while US citizens only need a passport to visit the Czech Republic? This is a question that comes up again and again. The US authorities have two main answers: the terrorist attacks of September 2001 have led to a stricter visa policy to protect national security; secondly the number of Czechs who enter the United States on a tourist visa to work there illegally is estimated at tens of thousands and has to be regulated. Both arguments sound pretty convincing, but some Czechs are not willing