The Croatian authorities have done a u-turn on a ban which prevented foreign tourists from bringing meat and dairy products into the country. The ban, which will be lifted on July 1, had angered many Czechs, who traditionally bring along their own food during travels to both domestic and foreign locations. In fact, the ban was considered by many Czechs as so outrageous, that it threatened to curtail their holiday travels to that country. Croatia has been a popular holiday destination for Czechs since communist times, due to its relative proximity and seaside resorts. Last year, an estimated 800,000 Czechs visited the country.
Overnight storms on Tuesday caused minor damage and flooding across the country. Northern Bohemia suffered the most with many people reporting flooded basements and there was even a case of a house catching fire from a lighting strike. In other parts of the country, trees were reportedly uprooted by strong winds.
Authorities have unveiled what they describe as appalling conditions at a pig-farm close to the town of Jihlava. The farm contained 237 dead pigs, with another 115 in a severely deteriorating condition. Apparently, the pigs had not been provided with food or water for months, and had been forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The farmer at the site has defended his farm saying that his pigs had fallen ill and that he was unable to afford a vet. The authorities in the region have stated that this is the worst case of animal abuse they have seen in 35 years.
The Czech High Court has ruled that the case of Milada Horáková, who was executed by the communist regime in 1950 has not expired due to a statute of limitations. This ruling specifically revives a possible criminal case which could be brought against Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, a procurator in the case, and today an elderly woman in her eighties. The controversy around Ludmila Brožová-Polednová has continued for a number of months as authorities argue over her role and whether she can be prosecuted for her alleged direct involvement in the death of the Czechoslovak anti-communist dissident Milada Horáková, who was executed after a notorious Stalinist show-trial. The current High Court Ruling means that the Prague High Court must again assess the case.
Civic Democrat MPs have threatened disciplinary proceedings against Social Democrat Shadow Health Minister David Rath. The threat comes as a result of harsh language used by Dr Rath to describe his counterpart, Health Minister Tomáš Julínek. Whilst introducing a proposed bill that would outlaw the privatization of hospitals, Dr Rath labeled Mr Julínek as a “corrupt” figure, accusing him of taking bribes from the pharmaceutical industry. The comments were made on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies and were greeted by jeers from the ruling Civic Democrats, who immediately announced that they would file disciplinary proceedings against the Shadow Health Minister. The situation was only calmed after the MPs went into a short recess.
A new survey by the STEM polling agency suggests that most Czechs prefer buying homemade goods rather than foreign ones. According to figures published by STEM, 69 percent of Czechs make a point of seeking out Czech-made goods when shopping. 57 percent of Czechs also prefer Czechs brands to foreign ones. However, the figures also reveal that Czech goods are embraced for their perceived low prices rather than their quality. According to the survey, another, more positive perception among Czechs is that their own goods carry a greater tradition and are made by Czech hands, whereas foreign goods do not carry such associations.
The Czech crown has broken yet another record in trading against the Euro. On Wednesday morning, the Czech currency reached 24.63 crowns to the Euro and 15,96 crowns against the dollar. However, analysts were uncertain as to what exactly had caused the currency to rally so strongly, especially in light of the fact that surrounding countries tended towards a slight weakening of their currencies. In recent months, the crown has consistently broken records against the Euro, although most analysts expect that it will stabilize by the end of the year.
The International Olympic Committee has failed to put Prague on a shortlist of candidates for the 2016 Olympic Games – this puts an official end to Prague’s official bid. The controversial proposal had ceased to become realistic in recent months, with the slow downscaling of financing to promote the Games in Prague. Meanwhile, the bid also received much criticism from within the country, with many noting that Prague was simply to small a city to host such a seismic global event.
Czech beekeepers have reported that they lost more than a third of their bees over the winter. They estimate the damage will run into more than one hundred million crowns and have called the losses a “catastrophe.” The losses are reportedly down to a warm winter, which allowed a species of mite to decimate bee stocks. Beekeepers have asked the government for assistance, and it has promised 25 million crowns to renew the colonies. However, beekeepers have warned that the new colonies will not be fully established until the following year. Due to large stocks, honey prices are not expected to climb at present.