Descendants of shoe magnate Jan Antonín Baťa are demanding that the Czech state return billions of crowns worth of property to them, Právo reported on Monday. An associate of the Baťa family told the newspaper that they were willing to take the matter to the international courts. The property was nationalised under post-war presidential decrees on the grounds that Baťa had allegedly collaborated with the Nazis. However, in 2007 a Prague court overturned Jan Antonín Baťa’s conviction on collaboration charges. The founder of the international shoe company left Czechoslovakia in 1939 and later settled in Brazil, where he founded a number of towns.
The funeral service for former politician and Prague Spring reformer Valtr Komárek, who died last week at the age of 82, will be held at Prague’s Strašnice crematorium on Wednesday. Mr Komárek was the honorary chairman of the Social Democratic Party; his death was rued by many, including President Zeman, who will be among those attending to pay their last respects, the president’s office confirmed. The service will be open to the public, ČTK reported.
Czech hockey player David Krejči has continued in excellent form in the NHL post-season, earning two assists in the Bruins’ second game against the New York Rangers. Boston won by a score of 5:2 to take a 2:0 lead in their best-of-seven series. In the first round, the Bruins eliminated the Montreal Canadiens. Krejči leads on points in the playoffs, with 16 (eleven assists and five goals so far).
Top Czech football club Baník Ostrava was saved from bankruptcy on Monday following two city council votes. The future of the heavily indebted club hinged on the Ostrava city council buying its Bazaly stadium. A first vote went against the proposal, and would have meant expulsion from the top division. But in a dramatic turn of events, a second vote was held that went the club’s way. Baník Ostrava are the 2004 league champions and have been the home of many talented players, recently, for example, seeing the return of former national squad member Milan Baroš.
President Miloš Zeman says he would like to meet the rector of Charles
University, Václav Hampl, to discuss his objections to appointing
Martin C. Putna, who teaches there, professor. Mr. Zeman said on Friday
that he would not confer the title on Mr. Putna and that if he wanted to
know why Mr. Putna could take him to court. Czech Television reported that
the president’s objections to making the academic – who was opposed to
his candidacy for head of state – a professor stem from the latter’s
participation in a
gay pride march. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Petr Nečas has called on Mr.
to explain his opposition to Mr. Putna.
Some people have called for the removal of the (usually purely formal) power to name professors, which dates back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from the head of state.
Speaking at an annual memorial ceremony on the site of the former Terezín concentration camp in central Bohemia on Sunday, President Zeman warned against succumbing to manipulation. He said if people allowed themselves to be manipulated they would become like sheep. The president pointed to the intellectuals who had been duped on visits to the Soviet Union and also mentioned the effect of Nazi propaganda. The Nazis forced around 155,000 Jews to go to Terezín (Theresienstadt); around two-thirds of them did not survive the war.
The number of home births in the Czech Republic has increased markedly in the last two decades, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting a head doctor at a leading Prague hospital. While in 1990 only 16 babies were born at home with the assistance of a midwife, that figure had risen to 150 in 2009. The highest number occur in Prague, while the fewest take place in the Zlín region in South Moravia. Czech health insurance companies refuse to cover home births.
An exhibition of the Czech crown jewels at Prague Castle came to an end on Sunday; they are set to be returned to their vault in St. Vitus’ Cathedral on Monday. Tens of thousands of people have queued to see the treasures since they went on display on May 10 in connection with the inauguration of a new Czech president earlier this year. The collection consists of the gold, jewel-encrusted St. Wenceslas crown, the St. Wenceslas sword, the royal orb and sceptre, the coronation cloak, the coronation cross and other items.
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