Over 4,000 pubs and restaurants and dozens of breweries are taking part in the second annual Day of Czech Beer on Saturday. The hostelries and breweries are teaming up to offer guests special menus and tastings of unusual brews, while brewmasters will make appearances in some locations. The Czech News Agency reported that pub owners hope to create a new tradition of celebrating the country’s “national drink” on the eve of St. Wenceslas Day, a holiday celebrating Czech statehood.
A plaque to the late poet Ivan Martin Jirous is set to be unveiled in his hometown of Humpolec in the Vysočina region on Saturday. A leading figure in the cultural underground and signatory of the Charter 77 protest document, Jirous spent a total of more than eight years in communist prisons. The unveiling of the plaque will represent the climax of a festival entitled Magor’s September, in reference to his nickname magor, which means madman.
The leading Czech women’s tennis player Petra Kvitová has won the inaugural Wuham Open in China after overcoming Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-4 in the final of the WTA tournament. The Czech beat the Canadian in the Wimbledon final earlier this year. Saturday’s victory gave Kvitová her third title of the year and the 14th of her career and also secured her qualification for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore next month.
The Czech ombudswoman Anna Šabatová says the deputy ombudsman Stanislav Křeček is causing harm to her office. Speaking in Saturday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes, the public advocate said Mr. Křeček had a habit of expressing opinions at variance with her office’s official statements. The two recently clashed over a medical school’s ban on Muslim students wearing headscarves; the ombudswoman described the prohibition as indirect discrimination, while her deputy said the institution could decide on its students’ dress. Ms. Šabatová was a leading dissident under communism while Mr. Křeček is a former MP for the Social Democrats and heads a landlords’ organisation.
The Czech Foreign Ministry on Friday confirmed receiving a similar threat in the mail as the Office of the President and the Office of the Government earlier this week. All three institutions received an envelope containing a white powder and a threat sent in the name of the Islamic State. It slammed the Czech Republic for sending ammunition to Kurdish forces in Iraq which are fighting against the IS. The powder contained in the letter sent to Prague Castle was found to be harmless. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Friday that it appeared to be the work of one individual.
Another thirty-eight people who risked their lives to stand up to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989 have received recognition from the government for participating in the so-called third resistance. Among those who joined the list of resistance fighters are the former journalist and Charter 77 signatory Otta Bednářová and the former counter intelligence agent Vladimír Hučín. Altogether around 660 people have been awarded this status under a law on the third resistance passed three years ago. Among them are former dissidents, political prisoners and people who saved the lives of others by helping them to flee to the West across the heavily guarded Czechoslovak border.
A police officer on Friday won a three year long court battle to clear his name after being accused of stealing a bread roll worth six crowns in Kaufland. The officer was accused of having eaten the roll as he did his shopping and a member of Kaufland’s security took a picture of him doing so on his mobile phone. One of the most bizarre cases in the Czech judiciary dragged for three years with witnesses providing conflicting accounts, until the Supreme Administrative Court finally issued a not-guilty verdict on Friday, saying there was insufficient proof the officer in question had stolen a roll and eaten the evidence before he got to the cash-desk. The reason why the case came to court in the first place is that the officer’s superior fined him, cutting his salary for two months, for the alleged theft.
Responding to criticism regarding alleged discrimination of Romany children in the Czech education system, the Czech Education Ministry said on Friday it was paying exceptional attention to securing equal access to education for all children and considered it to be one of its main priorities. The ministry’s spokeswoman Klara Bila noted that the ministry was systematically working to include socially-disadvantaged children into the education mainstream. One of these measures, which has yet to be put into practice, is compulsory attendance of pre-school classes which would help Romany children integrate and overcome the cultural differences and language barrier that often present a problem.
The police squad fighting organized crime on Friday cracked down on a group of people involved in the activities of the firm Oleo Chemical, charging ten people with tax evasion, money-laundering and embezzlement of large amounts of company funds. Among those charged is the controversial Prague lobbyist Ivo Rittig. Oleo Chemical produces and sells biofuel and it has cooperated with companies close to Mr. Rittig.
Britain is refusing to pay the Czech Republic the equivalent of 100 million crowns in unemployment benefits paid out to Czechs who previously worked in Great Britain, Czech Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova Tominova told Czech Radio on Friday. Czechs who worked in Britain for years but retained their “centre of interest” in the Czech Republic were entitled to unemployment benefits if they failed to find work after returning home. Since they paid taxes in Britain the Czech Republic is entitled under European law to demand a refund of those benefits. The respective advisory committee of the EC has ruled that Britain must repay the debt, but London claims the decision is not legally binding. The Czech Republic wants to coordinate its steps with Poland and Slovakia whom Britain also owes money for the same reason.
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