The spokesman for President Miloš Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, says a recently launched video service showing appearances by the head of state are intended as a counterweight to state broadcaster Czech Television, Echo24.cz reported on Saturday. Mr. Ovčáček told the news site that his office had started posting the videos as Czech TV did not carry objective reports about Mr. Zeman’s visits to the country’s regions. In two months such videos have 50,000 views, he said. While they have hitherto been circulated via Twitter they will soon begin appearing on the president’s Facebook page.
A dispute between Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and the Prague 1 town hall surrounding the brandishing of a noose at a demonstration is set to go to court, Právo reported on Saturday. In an action filed by Mr. Chovanec, he states that officials uncritically accepted the testimony of the man who held the noose – directed at “traitorous” politicians willing to accept quotas of refugees – at an anti-migrant rally on Wenceslas Square last summer. Prague 1 shelved the case largely on the basis of a statement from the man when it should have properly considered all aspects of the matter and attempted to ascertain whether any violations had occurred, the minister’s petition states. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he supported Mr. Chovanec's move.
An extra CZK 300 million in state grants to replace old boilers will be available this year. The European Commission has agreed to fund the Ministry of the Environment scheme, making the move conditional on the money only going to renewable energy sources, meaning boilers using pure biomass or heat pumps. The Ministry is due to discuss the project with representatives of the Czech Republic’s regions in the coming weeks, a spokesperson said.
This year’s Prague Spring International Music Festival will close on Saturday night with a concert of the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the city’s Municipal House. The orchestra will be conducted by Tomáš Netopil and accompanied by the young Israeli soprano Hila Fahim. The 71st edition of the Czech Republic’s biggest classical music event opened on 12 May at the Municipal House with the traditional performance of Smetana’s My Country. The 2016 edition of the festival has featured 14 orchestras and 65 soloists and conductors.
Temperatures in the next month should be average for the time of year, the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute said in a regular four-week forecast issued on Saturday. Czechs can expect temperatures ranging from 20 to 26 degrees Celsius in the coming week and a little higher in the following three-week period. Rainfall should also be average for the month of June, though it is expected to increase at the end of the month.
The Czech Ministry of the Interior will this year buy more than 100 new radar speed guns with a video function, iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. A spokesperson for the police presidium told the news site that the devices, which are expected to cost around CZK 34 million, would replace existing ones purchased almost a decade ago. As well as measuring speed they will continually record in video with a view to also detecting other traffic violations such as illegal overtaking, the spokesman said.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is set to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan on a visit to Armenia next week, according to a working version of his programme released by his office. The Czech Republic has not recognised the killing of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, unlike a number of other European states, most recently Germany. However, Mr. Zeman did use the term genocide during a visit to Prague by his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in 2014; his office said the Czech president was expressing his personal opinion.
Relations within the Russian community in the Czech Republic are worsening, according to a 2015 report on the state of the country’s minorities prepared by the government’s council for minorities. The deterioration of relations within the Russian community stem from controversy over the crisis in Ukraine, rivalry among Russian entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic and the fact that newcomers from Russia often fail to respect established norms. The report also mentions increased lobbying from Russians in Parliament and among Czech politicians as well as increased pro-Putin propaganda.
The centre-right TOP 09 party wants to propose an amendment to the asylum law that would make it mandatory for people who are granted asylum in the Czech Republic to take part in integration programs. The party’s deputy chair Helena Langšádlová presented the proposal to journalists in Prague on Friday. She said support for refugees was important and the country should admit those in need but stressed that clear rules would have to be laid down and observed in the process; those granted asylum would have to make an effort to integrate, those not willing to learn Czech and comprehend our values and traditions would have to leave the country. TOP 09 is also pushing for schools to provide better education about different cultures and religions in order for Czechs to be more open to foreigners.
Close to 300 Roma musicians took part in a Roma music parade through the centre of Prague on Friday. The event held within the Khamoro week-long festival of Romany culture was attended by over a dozen music ensembles from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Macedonia, France, Spain and Russia. The festival, which included debates, lectures, film-screenings and workshops, ends on Saturday with a gala concert.
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