The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic has upheld a law that is blocking the sale of land locked in a restitution battle between church and state. In Monday’s verdict, however, the court urged action, saying that the long-lasting neglect of lawmakers to solve remaining ownership issues between the state and the church is unconstitutional. The ruling judge said that the court did not wish to be dragged into a political battle. The verdict came after a group of senators had tried to push through the cancellation of a law that is blocking Czech towns from selling or building on land locked by a long-standing conflict regarding the restitution of church property.
Senior members of the three parties in the process of forming a government coalition are met on Thursday to discuss the state budget Prime Minister Petr Nečas announced on Wednesday that the coalition was aiming to operate on a state budget deficit of 135 billion Czech crowns. Public finances are one of three remaining open chapters in the ongoing coalition negotiations, along with education and health. Mr Nečas has said that the new government should be formed by mid-July, once the coalition agreement has been finalized.
The 45th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is to kick off on Friday. This year’s festival features 205 films; about a quarter of those are world premieres. The opening film, which will be shown on Friday night, is Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart. Among this year’s famous guests is British actor Jude Law, who will be receiving the festival’s President’s Award. The festival runs until July 11.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the city of Prague is to be held responsible for an accident that happened six years ago, when a British citizen was seriously injured by a Christmas tree that toppled over on the city’s Old Town Square. The man, who spent several months recovering from the accident, will receive 560,000 Czech crowns in compensations. Previously, the city of Prague appealed a verdict from 2006 under which the injured man was to receive 2.5 million Czech crowns, on the grounds that the organizers of the Christmas market were responsible for all safety issues. The verdict of the Supreme Court cannot be appealed.
Former Czech president Václav Havel will begin filming an adaptation of his play ‘Leaving’ on Thursday. Shooting will take place over two months in the east Bohemian town of Česká Skalice, around 160 kilometers north-east of Prague. Mr Havel is making his debut as a film director at the age of 73. ‘Leaving’ was Havel’s first play after a 20-year gap and made its stage debut in 2008. It recounts the story of a chancellor who quits power and enters the political wilderness accompanied by a large dose of cynicism. Havel’s wife, Dagmar, will have a major acting role in the new film.
Starting Thursday, restaurants and bars in the Czech Republic will have to display stickers at their entrance that inform customers whether the establishment is smoking or non-smoking. Failure to comply with the new measure can result in fines of up to 5000 Czech crowns. In case staff allows customers to smoke on premises which are designated non-smoking areas, bar and restaurant owners can be fined up to 10,000 Czech crowns. The measure is part of a change in the anti-smoking law which was approved by the Czech president a year ago. Owners of bars and restaurants were given a year to implement the change.
Three Czech tourists on holiday in the Caribbean drowned on a boat tour to the Trinity Falls waterfalls. On Wednesday, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed news of the accident, which happened on Monday. According to an eye-witness, the accident happened when one of the six passengers on board, a 70-year-old woman, ignored instructions from the captain not to jump into the water. Her husband and another passenger attempted to save her, but were killed in the process. The nearest Czech embassy in the Venezuelan Caracas is in contact with relatives of the accident victims.
Trade-unionists are protesting the future government coalition’s planned changes to the labor law. After coalition negotiations on Wednesday, the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs announced they are planning to loosen restrictions regarding short-term work contracts along with making changes to the labor law that would help create more part-time positions. Under the new legislation, severance packages are also to be cut. According to unionists, the government is taking advantage of the global financial crisis to push through changes in law that will favor employers.
The Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has not advanced to the finals at Wimbledon. In the semi-finals, the 20-year-old, who is ranked 62nd world-wide, was defeated by the American world number one Serena Williams, who booked her place in the Wimbledon final with a 7-6(5) 6-2 win over her Czech opponent. Kvitová’s reachied the semi-finals at Wimbledon after a sensational performance in a tough three-set match on Tuesday.
The number of employees who hold two jobs continues to grow in the Czech Republic. According to data published by the Czech Statistical Office on Thursday, 100,500 people held down two jobs in the first half of 2010, 6,800 more than in the same period of the previous year. This figure has been on the rise for the past four years. About half of those who hold two jobs are employed and do freelance work on the side. Men between the ages of 30 and 39 are most likely to be working two different jobs.
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