The former Auschwitz concentration camp hosts an exhibition on the fate of Czech Jews in the Terezín ghetto, the news agency DPA reported. The exhibit features diaries, photos and other artefacts secretly made by Terezín inmates, the head of the Auschwitz museum said. During the Holocasut, tens of thousands of Czech and Slovak Jews were transported from Terezín to Auschwitz. In 1943, the Nazis established a special section in the camp for families coming from Bohemia and Moravia but in July 1944, all of its 7,000 inhabitants were killed in what was the largest mass murder of Czechoslovak citizens during the war.
The number of suicides registered in the Czech Republic in recent years is growing, the news agency ČTK reported quoting official statistics. Last year, 1647 Czechs took their own lives which was nearly 300 more than in the previous year. However, demographers say that despite the increase, the numbers of suicides are lower than in the past. The highest number of people who killed themselves – over 4,000 – was recorded in 1934.
The chairman of Public Affairs, Vít Bárta, has announced he will run in the upcoming election under the banner of Dawn, a political movement founded by tourism expert turned senator Tomio Okamura. Mr Bárta will head the candidates’ list in the region of Plzeň and faces the Civic Democrats’ Jiří Pospíšil and others. Mr Okamura strongly welcomed Mr Bárta as a candidate, saying – in his view – the leader of Public Affairs (the upstart party in the last election) was the only minister who had taken seriously anti-corruption recommendations put forward by the government’s economic advisory council, NERV, seriously. Over the course of the last three years, Public Affairs was first a coalition member, continuing in the opposition after the party splintered into two groups, one of them LIDEM formerly led by Karolína Peake.
Volunteers for Svetluška, a Czech NGO raising money for the blind in conjunction with the Endowment Fund of Czech Radio, hit Czech streets on Monday in various towns and cities as part of a annual pledge drive. Six thousand volunteers, dressed in black & white, wearing the characteristic Svetluška logo, asked for support. One on the main faces of the programme, in the long-term, has been Czech musician and singer Aneta Langerová.
The Czech Environmental Inspectorate has halted the planned demolition of the former Setuza chemical plant in Lovosice after it was discovered the site housed many tonnes of hazardous chemicals. The information was confirmed by spokeswoman Simona Ciganková. Compounds of radioactive elements were also among the chemicals found in the plant. Inspectors will inform the Regional Office´s environmental section, Lovosice Town Hall and the State Office for Nuclear Safety about the situation, the spokeswoman said. The inspectorate will also launch administrative proceedings on sanctions against the complex's current owner. As a company, Setuza produced technical lubricants, oil bases as well as fodder mixtures.
Senior police officers are leaving the anti-corruption and financial crime unit of the Czech police, the internet news site Novinky.cz reports. The news report says there is growing discontent in the unit ahead of a planned overhaul under its new chief Milan Komárek. According to Novinky this state of affairs dates back to a dispute between Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová and the units’ former chief Tomáš Martinec who left his post in May as a result of the highly-publicized controversy. The stated aim of the planned overhaul is for the unit to work on fewer, but more significant cases, and to develop closer cooperation with other units of the police force. The officers who are leaving are reported to be experts in the field.
About a hundred of people joined "a kissing protest" outside the Russian embassy in Prague on Sunday in support of homosexuals living in Russia. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples kissed outside the embassy. Similar protests have been taking place in other European capitals. In June Russia passed a law according to which people spreading information on "non-traditional sexual relations" among minors face high fines or imprisonment.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a crime suspect who have benefitted from the New Years Amnesty declared on January 1 by then-President Václav Klaus, will stand trial. The defendant, Jiří Štepánek, was caught after nine years spent on the run in the Caribbean; he is charged with fraud connected to the former ownership of an car dealership. His case was reviewed by the Supreme Court at the request of the Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman. The court has struck down amnesty in cases where suspects attempted to avoid justice. In another case, Milan Šenfeld and Martin Čihula face charges of tax evasion.
Ecologists from the NGO Friends of the Earth have called on the Czech Environmental Inspectorate to look into logging at the Šumava National Park which they charge has devastated areas. They maintain that loggers had broken the law, operating in areas that were off limits. In their view, heavy machinery damaged not only a tourist path but the ground soil in places. Loggers, they alleged, also cut down trees in an area where nature is meant to be left untouched. The national park management has not yet reacted to the allegations.
Expert analysis commissioned by Germany’s opposition Green Party, has questioned the safety of the Temelín nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic. The latest issue of the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on the matter. According to the magazine, the study cast doubt on the quality of welds between Temelín’s pressure vessel and the surrounding cooling system, arguing that their quality was not well-documented or that existing documentation contained mistakes. The matter has been raised before and Czech experts found no defects in construction. Germany’s environment minister, Peter Altmaier, according to the publication, also saw no reason to press for additional tests at the Czech plant, earning him criticism from opponents of nuclear energy in Germany.
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