Children aged less than 10 will have to have their own travel documentation or passports from 2012 according to a change in the law passed by the Czech upper house, the Senate, on Thursday. The move will remove the possibility of young children travelling on their parents' passports. The change meets European Parliament demands aimed at curbing the possibility of children being kidnapped or victims of child trafficking. The amendment still has to be signed by the president.
Czech President Václav Klaus drew a distinction between the way Latvia and Greece have handled their deep economic problems on a visit to the Baltic state on Thursday. While Greece faces ongoing public protests against a tough austerity programme aimed at curing its public debt, Latvia has pushed through similar measures with little reaction. The Czech head of state said the difference was that Latvia had experienced Communism. The country appreciated the advances made in the last 20 years and saw the current sacrifices as a step that had to be taken to consolidate them and then progress, he said. Latvia has been one of the worst hit EU countries with the economy shrinking 18 percent last year and unemployment climbing beyond 20 percent
The Czech Insurance Association said on Thursday that companies have already fielded around 4,000 demands for flood damages adding up to around 500 million crowns, around 24 million US dollars. A spokeswoman for the association told Czech Radio that demands were expected to reach around 10,000 with claims amounting to around 1.0 billion crowns. This compares with the around 34 billion crown insurance bill for damages during the 2002 floods which mainly hit Bohemia and the capital, Prague.
A Czech bid to host the ice hockey world championships in 2015 will be debated at a two-day meeting of the International Ice Hockey Federation starting on Thursday. The Czech Ice Hockey Association has fixed on 2015 because the competition is likely to be stronger than in 2014, when the Winter Olympics are also taking place. The only other candidate to host the 2015 championships is Ukraine. A factor in favour of the Czech bid is likely to be the near unblemished performance of the Czechs in hosting the 2004 World Championships.
Nicholas Winton, who saved 669, mostly Jewish children, on the eve of the outbreak WWII, has celebrated his 101th birthday. In contrast to last year, when a series of events in the Czech Republic and Britain marked his 100th birthday, the event passed quietly at his home outside London with friends. Mr. Winton arranged the evacuation of children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of war fearing what would be happen to them under the Nazis. Many of their relatives later perished in the extermination of the Jewish population. His action was only brought to public attention after several decades.
A Brno court has sentenced six members of the far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice for committing acts of hate speech at a May 1 gathering in the city a year ago. Party leader Tomáš Vandas received a suspended sentence and a fine of 25,000 crowns, while five other party members got similar punishments. Mr. Vandas, who is the election leader of the Workers’ Party for Social Justice, was formerly the head of the far-right Workers’ Party. That party was banned by the Czech Constitutional Court in February.
The minister of the environment, Rut Bízková, said on Wednesday that the fact that some anti-flood barriers are still unfinished has significantly contributed to the damages caused by the floods in Moravia. She added that municipalities needed to make a stronger effort to have flood walls built. Mrs. Bízková, who was meeting with the flood committee in the Moravian city of Brno on Wednesday, said that the Environment Ministry had earmarked substantial funds for the construction of anti-flood barriers. The current situation, she added, should be a signal for mayors across the region to start better protecting their municipalities.
The Czech Republic will see more than 140 events linked to beer and brewing in 2010, according to a survey by the Czech Beer and Malt Association. Some 700,000 visitors are expected to attend the various open-door events at breweries, beer festivals and other celebrations centered on the beverage across the country. Altogether, some 250 different brews will be available for tasting at the various events. In recent years, growing interest in beer culture has lead to a growth in beer festivals and brewery tours. Following the opening of a beer museum in Plzeň, other cities and towns are planning to open beer museums as well.
Most swollen rivers in Moravia have started going down, though complications caused by flooding remain in many areas. Only the lower part of the Morava in south Moravia continued to rise on Wednesday; its water levels are expected to start dropping on Thursday. In North Moravia, flooded soils have started moving; three houses had to be demolished as a consequence. Some of the hundreds of people evacuated earlier on Wednesday from the south Moravian town of Troubky were able to return home. Troubky was devastated by floods in 1997. Thousands of homes remain without power. Forecasters say it will continue to rain for the next few days. The floods have claimed one victim to date, a woman of 69 who drowned in her garden in Třinec on Sunday after the River Olše burst its banks.
The headquarters of the Communist Party in Prague was covered with red paint on Tuesday night. A group that opposes the Communist Party admitted to being behind a similar attack the previous night. The group cited the party’s failure to distance itself from the crimes of communism as the main reason for covering part of the façade of the party’s headquarters with red paint. The deputy leader of the Communist Party Miloslava Ostrá said that damages caused by the first attack amounted to around 50,000 crowns. Police are investigating the case.
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