Thousands of people joined Avon walk for breast cancer through central Prague on Saturday to raise awareness of the disease. The march began at Old Town Square at noon and concluded several hours later at the Žluté lázně resort on the bank of the Vltava. Some 7,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer in the Czech Republic each year, while another 2,000 die of the disease.
Social Democrat leadership on Saturday rejected a proposal to hold an inner-party vote on taxation of a controversial church property deal. Some Social Democrat officials pushed for taxing the financial compensation Czech churches receive in compensation for property confiscated by the Communist regime in the 1950s, as approved by a Czech centre-right government in 2012. Approving the plan could destabilize the Czech government as the coalition Christian Democrats strongly oppose any changes to the church restitution deal.
The Czech Republic’s Communist Party has put forward a motion to cancel legislation that prohibits Czech firms from supplying technology to the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. The party argues the law is obsolete as the power plant is complete, and no supplies of Czech equipment can take place. It is the Communist Party’s third attempt to have the law scrapped. The legislation was adopted in 2000 in a reaction to plans by a Czech firm to export air conditioning system to the plant; the plan came under criticism from US and UK governments.
Czechs tennis player Radek Štěpánek defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 1-6 6-2 6-3 at the Aegon Championships in London to reach the tournament semi-finals, his first in two years. Czech number one Tomáš Berdych, meanwhile, has been knocked out after he lost to Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the quarter-finals. Štěpánek will now face Lopez to qualify for the finals.
The town of Terezín in central Bohemian has lost an EU grant to build a visitors’ parking lot, the town mayor told the news agency ČTK on Saturday. Terezín was to receive funds from an EU’s regional operational programme to build a parking lot in front of its tourist information centre, located near its historic fortifications; however, the town will fail to invest 10 percent of the grant by the end of July, the mayor said, adding that the town will apply for a new grant in the next round of applications. Around 220,000 people visit Terezín each year, the site of a former Nazi concentration camp and a ghetto for European Jews.
Czech President Miloš Zeman is to join central and east European leaders in Budapest on Monday for Hungary’s celebrations of the fall of communism 25 years ago. The celebrations in Budapest have been planned to coincide with the 31st anniversary of the funeral of the leader of the 1956 uprising Imre Nagy who was executed following the crushing of the rebellion by Soviet forces. The Budapest celebrations are the second in a series of events marking the freedom anniversary around Europe. Other venues where celebrations are due to be held are the German city of Leipzig, Prague and Bratislava.
Lobbyist Martin Dědic who faces corruption charges has been released on bail. According to the state attorney the bail was set at 4 million crowns. Dědic is suspected of accepting bribes, money laundering and involvement in manipulation of public tenders at a hospital and transport company in Ostrava. If convicted he would face up to 12 years in jail. Eight other people have been charged in connection with the case.
The Communist Party is calling for a faster separation of churches from the State, the ctk news agency reports. The party is unhappy with the scope of the church restitution, which it considers excessive, and says this could be one way of easing the burden on public finances. The restitution law envisages a gradual reduction of state support for churches leading up to a complete separation in 17 years’ time, when churches should become fully financially independent.
Martin Elkán has been named CEO of Czech Post, the ctk news agency reports. Elkán, who headed Czech Post’s marketing division, is expected to lead the institution out of a crisis precipitated by a drop in demand for its traditional services. Czech Post will need to consolidate its finances and expand into new areas, but at the same time meet political demand for it to maintain highly unprofitable small outlets around the country. It currently employs 32,000 people.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised Czech nationals in Iraq to leave the country without delay. The ministry said that in view of the escalating violence it was no longer safe for them to remain and it might be even more difficult to leave the country at a later date. The ministry has also issued a travel warning to tourists not to enter the country.
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