This weekend marked the last days of the skiing seasons for many, but not all, Czech ski centers. Many ski resorts in the south Bohemian Šumava, northern Bohemian Krkonoše mountains and in the Vysočina region finished off an unusually long season. Some mountain resortss like Klinovec in northwestern Bohemia or the Bílá ski center in the eastern Beskydy mountains will remain open next week.
Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek said that he will recommend for governmental approval a plan to purchase two more transportation aircrafts for the army. During the Sunday talk show Partie on the Prima Family channel Mr Picek said he will present the government with a detailed document concerning the transportation and helicopter air force in the second half of the year. The minister wants to acquire more airplanes, saying that the four CASA planes that were purchased in a highly disputed deal in 2009 do not fulfill all the needs of the Czech army.
Ahead of a debate in the lower house of parliament over healthcare fees, the opposition Social Democrats said they want to revoke hospital-stay fees for children up to the age of 18. Currently all hospitalized patients, including children, pay 100 crowns per day. The Social Democrats released an official statement reiterating their earlier claims that if they win the 2014 elections they plan to revoke all healthcare fees that were introduced by Mirek Topolanek’s government.
The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting has launched an investigation over alleged violation of journalistic objectivity and balanced reporting of the presidential campaigns on Czech Television and the private TV Prima broadcaster. Two shows on Czech Television are being put in question over their objectivity, while Prima is being investigated over the choice of the candidate chosen for their televised presidential duels before the first round of elections, where nine candidates were in the running. The late night talk show of Jan Kraus has also been questioned over impartiality.
The Czech coronation jewels will be on display at the Prague Castle again after five years, for the occasion of the election of the new president. The jewels will be displayed at the Vladislav hall at Prague Castle between May 10 and 19. The entrance will be free of charge. Among the jewels is the St. Wenceslas crown that was made and first worn by Charles IV in 1347. The other objects, such as the royal sceptre, the orb and the coronation vestment come in the 14th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Financial analysts at the Česká spořitelna bank have calculated that Czechs spend approximately 5% of their total expenses abroad, based on the fact that their spending outside of the Czech Republic by credit and debit cards amounted to 45.9 billion crowns last year. Analysts claim that the number of trans-border shopping trips is on the rise due, to a large extent, to the rise in the Value Added Tax and the weakening of the crown. What is interesting is that the Czech Statistical Office estimated the amount spent abroad to 2.3%, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. This may mean that the Czech households are not as badly off as it has seemed from official statistics, the report claims.
Holešovice Fashion Market is taking place on Friday and Saturday of this week for the fifth year in a row. The fashion market, held at Prague’s Holešovice market hall, offers clothes, accessories and other creations by Czech and Slovak independent designers. The market will be open on Saturday until 10 pm.
The second annual Arnošt Lustig Prize has been awarded to the radio and television announcer Kamila Moučková, who openly criticised the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and was a signatory of Charter 77. In August 1968, Ms Moučková said on live television that Czechoslovakia was occupied and was subsequently led out of the studio by Soviet soldiers. She was later fired and banned from working in her profession. Until 1989 Ms Moučková, who is now 85, worked as a cook, a cleaning lady and a factory worker, and was constantly questioned by the secreted police until the Velvet Revolution, when she was able to return to her previous occupation. The Arnošt Lustig Prize is awarded to people who have exhibited courage, perseverance and humanity throughout their life.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas and ex-president Václav Klaus will attend the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher next week, according to government spokesman Jan Hrubeš. The funeral service is to be held on Wednesday, April 17 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London which can accommodate up to 2,300 guests. Former president Klaus has long cited Mrs Thatcher as an inspiration in politics; he met with her personally on many occasions. Among other former world leaders, Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan’s widow, Nancy Reagan, both declined invitations for health reasons, ČTK said.
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