A UNESCO-listed Baroque Trinity column in the Czech city of Olomouc has been damaged by an unknown perpetrator, according to police. The perpetrator is also accused of stealing artefacts worth 100,000 crowns from the site. The Baroque Column of the Holy Trinity represents the largest assemblage of Baroque statuary in a single sculpture in all of Central Europe.
A new poll by the Median agency suggests that 12.8% of Czechs have tried illegal drugs. The figures also revealed that men tended to be more inclined towards this activity with 16.1% of men to 10.2% of women revealing drug use. In terms of age groups, of 20-29 year-olds, 20.1% said “yes”, while 18.6 of 12-18 year-olds answered “yes”.
The Interior Ministry has disseminated proposed legislation to football clubs around the country that would enable them to access a central database of Czech football hooligans. The government is hoping that by the next football season, which begins in August, the proposed database will be up and running. The move represents attempts by the government to address hooliganism in the country in which additional security cameras and other security measures at stadiums are also being considered.
Football, and the Czech team have started their preparation for Euro 2008 by winning a friendly against Austrian third-league team St. Andra 5:1. All twenty of the Czech players selected for the championships had a chance to stretch their legs in the course of the match. Goals came from Koller, Baroš, Fenin, Svěrkoš and Vlček. This match is the first of three such preparatory meetings to get the Czech team into shape for their opener against co-hosts Switzerland in Basel in two weeks’ time.
Artists gathered at Prague’s National Theatre on Sunday to stage a seven-hour concert in protest against the way the arts are funded in the Czech capital. The concert kicks off a series of cultural events called ‘Dny neklidu’ (‘Days of Unrest’), which will include dance, theatre, music and visual art. Organisers of the ‘Days of Unrest’ are unhappy with the way that Prague Town Hall administers its budget for culture, in particular its new system of grants for theatres. Over 20,000 people have signed a petition urging the council to change the current funding system. The councilor responsible for the funding of the arts, Milan Richter, has said that he will look into changing the current system.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra has said that he expects the Czech parliament to make its final decision on the stationing of a US radar base on Czech soil by August. In an interview for state broadcaster Czech Television on Sunday, Mr Vondra said that he expected both American and Czech delegates to have signed the radar agreement and the accompanying SOFA (Status of Forces) agreement by late July. Voices from within the government coalition have called on the government not to put its name to anything before this November’s American presidential elections, which they say, could have a major impact on US foreign policy. On Sunday, Mr Vondra responded to these calls by saying that it was best to sign now – as a new US administration could want the Czechs to pay in part for the radar and its upkeep.
In sport, Czech women’s tennis number one Nicole Vaidišová is out of the French Open after losing to her compatriot Iveta Benešová in the first round. Vaidišová lost the first set on a tie-break, 6:7, before collapsing in the second set, which Benešová won 1:6. Unseeded Benešová will now meet either the Russian Anastasia Rodionova or China’s Shuai Peng in the second round. She will be joined in the second round by fellow Czech Lucie Šafařová who beat Sandra Kloesel 6:1, 6:1 on Sunday.
A six-year-old who was kidnapped and flown to Australia by her father has been brought back to the Czech Republic by her mother, the website tn.cz reported on Sunday. Tereza Vichnarová disappeared at Easter during a long weekend with her father and was flown out of Europe before her mother reported her failure to return home. As Tereza’s father did not break Australian law through his actions, the Czech authorities were helpless, but the girl’s mother flew to Australia and fought a legal battle to have Tereza returned to her care. Mother and child touched down on Czech soil late Saturday evening, the website said.
The Serbian ambassador to Prague pulled out of the Czech Republic on Sunday morning, following the Czech cabinet’s decision to recognise Kosovo’s independence. Upon his departure, the ambassador Vladimir Vereš said that he thought the Czech government’s move had done much to damage Czech-Serbian relations, but that he hoped the two countries could still cooperate on political and economic matters. The Czech government moved to recognise Kosovo’s independence on Wednesday, on Friday, Czech president Václav Klaus met the outgoing Mr Vereš and said he was ‘ashamed’ of the cabinet’s decision.
Sunday sees the start of the Khamoro festival of Roma culture, which will run throughout this week in Prague. This tenth Khamoro fest gets underway on Sunday evening with the bands Guločar and Le čhavendar playing at the capital’s Rock Café. As well as concerts, the festival will consist of an academic conference, flamenco seminars, film showings and an exhibition of contemporary Romany art. According to the organizers, nearly 100 artists from over 8 countries are participating in this year’s festival. More information can be found at www.khamoro.cz.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st