The Czech Pirate Party held a party conference in Prague over the weekend, discussing policy issues and re-electing Ivan Bartoš party chairman. Bartoš was elected by the strength of 57 votes beating his only rival Petr Bajgar hands down. Student Jakub Michálek was elected deputy chairman. The party’s old-new chairman said the Pirates wanted to be represented in politics, but had no interest in being a ruling party. The party has fielded candidates both in the regional and Senate elections due this fall. The Czech Pirate Party has 223 members and 987 registered supporters. Its Facebook page is followed by more than 30,000 users.
The 2012 international festival of artistic blacksmithing is taking place at Helfštýn Castle over the weekend. This year the event attracted over 400 blacksmiths from twenty countries including the US, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. The festival was established in 1982 and has gained considerable popularity over the years. It allows blacksmiths to present their craft to the public not just exhibiting pieces they are proud of but working on new ones in the castle courtyard to show off their skills to visitors. It has also become a popular meeting place for people in the blacksmiths trade. This year’s festival attracted close to 10,000 people.
The owner of several devastated apartment buildings on the outskirts of Ostrava has disregarded a court order for him to tear down one of the run-down apartment blocks since it presents a serious health hazard. The deadline for demolition expired on Saturday night. The owner, Oldřich Roztočil, says he will appeal the ruling since an expert assessment he commissioned says the building can still be saved. The case has attracted media attention since the other derelict houses are inhabited by a number of Romani families, who are refusing to move out despite leaking sewage pipes and no running water. They have started effecting minor repairs in the hope of being allowed to stay in their homes.
Petra Kvitová beat Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (9), 7-5 on Saturday to win the New Haven Open, the Czech star's second WTA tournament title in three weeks. The second-seeded Kvitová trailed 5-2 in the second set before reeling off five consecutive games for the victory that avenged a loss to the Russian in the Olympic quarterfinals.
A thief who stole cables in the Šumperk region over the weekend disconnected some thirty telephone landlines. The man stole close to two hundred meters of cables during the night in view of selling them as scrap material. The company has estimated the damage at around 20 thousand crowns. If he is caught the culprit could face up to six years in prison.
Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has said he will propose changes to the supervisory board of Prague’s Public Transport Company. In a televised debate on Sunday the mayor said that in view of the ongoing situation he personally would favour a board of experts rather than politicians and would vote for one smaller in size. The crisis in the company’s management escalated last week when the board’s members clashed over the decision to sack company head Vladimir Lich with two Civic Democrats, five TOP 09 representatives and one independent board member supporting the move in an 8:7 vote. Three supervisory board members later quit amidst growing controversy. The former company head was sacked over alleged bad management and poor communication skills, but he himself has filed a criminal complaint against several former high ranking company officials saying that many past contracts had been concluded on highly unfavourable terms for the company.
American rock band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Prague’s Synot Tip Arena football stadium on Monday August 27th. The band which is promoting its latest album I’m With You will roll out a mix of old and new hits for fans including Ethiopia, Factory of Faith, Monarchy of Roses as well as the popular Dani California, Scar Tissue, Under the Bridge or Californication.
Interpol has been asked to provide assistance in the ongoing investigation into IZIP, the controversial electronic health records project which was abandoned earlier this year for being ineffective and overpriced, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Saturday. The Czech anti-corruption police who are investigating a number of suspect deals in public procurement reportedly asked Interpol for assistance in investigating a foreign link. The ambitious electronic health records project IZIP launched in 2002 cost taxpayers 1.8 billion crowns and was scrapped by the government in May of this year as ineffective and financially disadvantageous.
Eight hundred and eighty one people were ordered out of their homes in connection with domestic violence in the first seven months of the year, according to the White Circle of Safety, an NGO assisting victims of domestic violence. Restraining orders were issued on average for a ten day period to give victims time to re-think their situation and take measures to protect themselves and their children. According to the NGO 12 percent of the perpetrators are repeat offenders. Domestic violence has been perceived as a crime in the Czech Republic since 2004 and the law enabling perpetrators to be ordered out of their homes was passed in 2007.
Seventy-five political parties and movements will compete in the autumn regional elections, the CTK news agency reports. The Civic Democrats, TOP09, the Social Democrats and Communists have fielded candidates in all 13 regions as have a number of smaller parties not represented in Parliament such as Milos Zeman’s Party of Civic Rights, the Green Party and the Pirates’ Party. Voters will thus have a broader choice of candidates than they did in the last elections when they could chose from 60 political groupings.
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