Members of a regional branch of the Christian Democrats are being asked to pay up to 200,000 crowns (around 11,000 USD) if they want to be included in the party’s list of candidates for early elections this autumn. On Monday, the newspaper Hospodářské noviny reported that the party was in dire need of money and hoped to plug some of its 25 million-crown shortage by charging its members standing for election. The proposal only affects members of the Christian Democrats belonging to the Zlin branch of the party. The suggestion is that all members of the regional branch’s leadership pay 50,000 crowns for the privilege, while those high up the party’s list of candidates, and therefore with the highest chance of being elected, pay up to 200,000 crowns into party coffers.
Cases of animal maltreatment in the Czech Republic should be more severely punished, the Supreme State Attorney’s Office recommends in a new report this Monday. The Czech Republic’s new penal code, which will come into effect in January next year, redefines what constitutes animal cruelty. As of January 2010, those who neglect animals can also be charged with maltreatment, up until now, it has only been those who actively inflict cruelty upon animals who have been liable to such charges. The new report suggests that those who know of animal cruelty and do not report it should be subject to punishment as well. In the report, the Supreme State Attorney’s Office said that animal cruelty must not be ‘ignored, let alone tolerated’.
Seventy-five people died on Czech roads in July, the Czech police said on Monday. In July last year in comparison, 101 people died on the country’s roads. There is speculation that the fall in deaths year-on-year could have in part been thanks to a major shock campaign launched by the Transport Ministry last September. Similarly, the police’s summer road campaign, aimed at motorcyclists in particular, is thought to be bearing fruit. Last year some 41 motorcyclists died in accidents during the summer holidays.
Prague hospitals have issued a call for individuals to donate blood as soon as possible, since mid-way through the summer supplies are running thin. In the summer, blood shortages often occur because individual donations decrease, along with the number of organizations that are able to sponsor blood drives, Czech Radio among them. Donors of all blood types are welcome, but there is an urgent need for type A positive, A negative and O negative blood donors. In view of the swine flu people returning from abroad have been asked to wait a week before donating blood.
A former political prisoner has said his communist jailers used physical violence and drugs to get the admissions they wanted. Jan Janku, 88, who was jailed in the hardline 1950s, told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the investigator on his case beat him senseless, knocking out some of his teeth in the process, and when he failed to force from his the admission he wanted he gave him cherries injected with a drug that resulted in hallucinations, insomnia and headaches. Although historians suspected former communist prisoners were being given drugs, none of them ever publicly confirmed this to date.
The adoption of up to 30 bills that should bring Czech legislation in line with EU directives will be delayed due to the early general elections scheduled for October 9-10, the CTK news agency reports. All bills that the current parliament will fail to pass by then, will fall through and will have to be submitted again to the new government and the new Chamber of Deputies. As a result, the adoption of these bills could be delayed by up to half a year. One of the bills the Czech Republic is to pass on the basis of an EU agreement, is the proposed reduction of VAT from 19 to 9 percent for certain services such as hairdressers, shoe repairers and restaurants. The lower house has approved the bill in the first reading, with two more still to come.
The Czech Defense Ministry has confirmed that it is planning to sell its military airport near the west Bohemian town of Plzeń without a public tender. The airport is to be sold to its current tenant –the firm PlayStation Plzen –by the end of the year. The firm’s director Michal Čermák said he planned to turn it into an international airport and logistics centre. The price of the property and assets is estimated at several hundred million crowns. The Defense Ministry has come under fire for not holding a public tender on such a significant sale.
Czech jazz singer Eva Pilarová turned 70 on Sunday, with a concert that marks close to half a century on stage. Four times winner of the Golden Nightingale award Pilarová has performed just about every genre and recorded dozens of solo albums, favouring jazz and swing. She was a member of the famous Semafor and Rokoko theatres and in the course of her long career has sung with the likes of Jiří Suchý and Jiri Šlitr, Waldemar Matuška and Karel Gott.
The head of Prague’s Troja Zoo Petr Fejk has confirmed that he is being considered for the post of director of the Bohemian National Hall in New York. The hall, built in the late 19th century by Czech immigrants, re-opened last year following a major re-construction and will once again serve as an important social centre, housing the Czech Centre and other Czech institutions in New York. Mr. Fejk said that assuming he got the job his role would be that of a manager and he would represent the Czech Republic on a cultural and social level. Petr Fejk has served as director of the Prague Zoo for eleven years during which it underwent a major transformation and is now rated the seventh best zoo in the world.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague