One person died in an apartment building fire in Vrbno pod Pradědem, in the north east of the country, on Saturday night; 40 people had to be evacuated. The fire broke out in a flat on the third floor of the four-storey building; nine apartments were destroyed by fire; others were severely damaged by smoke and water. The evacuees were put up in a local gym before the local authorities find substitute accommodation for them. The cause of the fire is being investigated; the fire brigade estimated the damage at around eight million crowns.
Czechs would like one of the country’s leading theatres, rather than
Prague airport, to be named after the late president Václav Havel,
according to an online poll by the Sanep agency released on Sunday. Nearly
24 percent of those polled said they preferred a theatre to bear the name
of Václav Havel, compared to the less than 20 percent who want Prague’s
Ruzyně airport to be named after him. Over 18 percent of the people who
took part in the survey would like to rename one of Prague’s prominent
streets in Václav Havel’s honour, while just over 20 percent would not
The former Czech president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel died on December 18, 2011, aged 75. The authorities have not yet decided how to honour his memory although many proposals have been put up for debate.
The film Rodina je základ státu, or Long Live the Family, by Robert Sedláček, won four annual Czech film critics’ awards 2011. The film captures some of the issues of the contemporary Czech society by following a bank manager running away from the police with his family which is not aware of his problems. The movie received awards for best film, best director, best screenplay and best actress in supporting role which went to Simona Babčáková. The film Flower Buds won awards for best camera and best actor in leading role. Alois Nebel received the award for best musical score.
Some 300 people gathered in the town Varnsdorf, in northern Bohemia, on Sunday to call for protection against crime ascribed to local Romanies. The protestors also criticized the authorities for not providing information about crimes allegedly committed by the Romany minority. No incidents were reported to have taken place at the rally. In recent years, the poor north Bohemian region has been ridden with ethnic tensions between Romanies and ethnic Czechs; after a series of conflicts last year, the government increased police presence in the area and promised to implement social programmes.
The Czech national handball team beat Germany 27:24 on Sunday in the opening game of the European championships in the Serbian city of Niš. The Czechs had a very good start and were ahead 8:3 in the 11th minute, leading 14:9 at halftime. After the intermission, the Germans pushed hard to equalize but only managed to get one goal behind the Czech team which eventually gained a five-goal lead. The German side came close again in the final part of the match but the Czechs held out. The game was considered very prestigious as 11 out of 16 players on the Czech team play in the German top handball league, including the current World Handball Player Filip Jícha who scored seven goals the game.
Planned early retirement bonuses should be made available to workers of all professions, according to the Czech Finance Ministry. A spokesman for the ministry told the news agency ČTK on Sunday new legislation that is being prepared by the ministry would not limit these benefits to people with demanding jobs, as originally proposed. Beginning in January 2013, people with individual retirement pension accounts should be able to apply for early retirement under better conditions than before; the state will cover their health and social insurance. The planned changes are part of the government’s overhaul of the pension system.
The government would like to extend legal deadlines for some privatization cases from the 1990s, deputy PM Karolína Peake told Czech TV on Sunday. This year, the statutes of limitations will expire in some of the biggest privatization deals, including those of the mining firm OKD and the engineering company Škoda Plzeň; Ms Peake said she would propose the extend these deadlines so that their investigation could be completed.
More than 2,400 Czechs have applied to the Defence Ministry for the status of members of anti-communist resistance, a spokesman for the ministry said. Each application will be reviewed by the National Archive, the Archive of the Security Forces and the Institute for the Documentation and Investigation of Crimes of Communism before it is approved; the ministry will start granting the status in February. A deputy interior minister said that while some of the applicants included court verdicts in their applications to prove their anti-communist activities, others list their issues with the communist regime that are not related to resistance. Anyone granted the status of anti-communist resistance fighter will receive 100,000 crowns and their retirement pension, if lower than average, will increase to reach the country’s average pension.
The fate of a Czech citizen aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship which
capsized off the Italian coast on Friday remains unknown, the online news
portal lidovky.cz reported. There was one Czech national traveling aboard
the ship according to the passengers’ list released on Saturday; however,
the Czech Foreign Ministry has not confirmed that any Czechs were traveling
on the ship.
Some 4,000 passengers were aboard the Costa Concordia which was launched in 2006 by Czech supermodel Eva Herzigova. Three people died in the accident that occurred when the ship ran aground, while another 70 are missing.
Czech President Václav Klaus on Saturday dismissed a proposal by the
senior coalition Civic Democrats to hold a popular vote on joining the
EU’s planned fiscal union. Speaking after talks in Vienna with Austrian
President Heinz Fischer, Mr Klaus, who opposes the plan, said politicians
should assume responsibility and take a decision. The Czech president
rejected the planned fiscal union as “radical liquidation” of member
The Czech coalition government remains divided on the issue; PM, and Civic Democrat leader Petr Nečas hinted he was opposed to the plan, while Foreign Minister and chair of the coalition TOP 09 party Karel Schwarzenberg threatened to quit the cabinet if the Czech Republic does not join.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’