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.
The landslide which buried part of the under-construction D8 highway, linking Prague with Saxony in Germany, was caused by negligence in the operation of a nearby quarry, according to an expert study commissioned by the Czech Transport Ministry, the internet site aktualne.cz reported on Friday. The slope landslide buried part of the highway near the town of Litochovice in June of last year following heavy rainfall. The ministry is now claiming billion crown damages from Kamen Zbraslav, the company operating the quarry.
Shops and restaurants will not be banned from advertising their goods and services solely in a foreign language, the ctk news agency reported. A draft bill which would have allowed municipalities to issue such a ban, forcing entrepreneurs to advertise in Czech as well, was rejected by deputies in the lower house on Friday. The bill emerged in reaction to complaints from municipalities and citizens. For instance Karlovy Vary, which has a large Russian community, pointed out that a large number of shops and restaurants only advertise their goods and services in Russian which is often incomprehensible to the locals. Critics of the bill, led by the Civic Democratic Party, said it would be an unjustified bureaucratic intervention into local enterprise.
The Czech Republic provided development aid worth close to 5 billion crowns in 2015, according to a preliminary estimate published by the Czech Development Agency. The money was used to secure access to drinking water for villages in Ethiopia, finance the education of socially challenged children in Palestine and help farmers in Afghanistan, among others. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa Czech firms have shown a growing interest in investing in the developing world, but there are few willing to invest in the poorest countries.
Police have charged eight Czechs and one Slovak national in connection with a security van robbery in 2013. The attackers stopped the van transporting cash and stole over 2 million crowns. One of the security guards was injured in the attack. A number of those charged have admitted their part in the plot. If convicted they could get sentences of between 5 and 12 years.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will pay a two-day working visit to Moldova on June 9-10, the Office of the Government announced on Friday. The Czech prime minister will hold talks with his Moldovan counterpart Pavel Filip and President Nicolae Timofti. The talks are expected to cover Moldova’s ambition to join the EU, the crisis around Transnistria, a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine governed by Russian separatists, and bilateral ties, predominantly ways of boosting business and trade.
The Czech economy grew by 3.0 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, according to revised figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday. Compared to the previous quarter, the country’s gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent. The figures are slightly lower than the previous estimate which expected a year-on-year growth of 3.1 percent and quarterly growth of 0.5 percent.
As of 2018, retailers in the Czech Republic will most probably be banned from providing plastic bags to customers free of charge. On Friday, the Government's Legislative Council recommended a new law on packaging, which would comply with new EU directives. The law has to be adopted by November of this year and would take effect from 2018. If this does not happen, the Czech Republic would face a fine of at least 54 million crowns from the EU. All big retailers in the Czech Republic have already started charging customers for plastic bags.
Czech businessman Igor Sládek has announced his intention to run for president in the upcoming presidential elections in 2018. The advert was published in Thursday’s edition of the daily Mladá Fronta dnes. The 66-year old Sládek, who emigrated to Germany and the US in the 1980s, highlighted his fears about immigration in his explanation and said that the Czech Republic had to defend itself against Islam, even if it meant leaving the EU. In order to officially register as a candidate, he would have to collect 50,000 signatures or win the backing of a set number of members of the lower house of parliament or the Senate.
War veterans Karel Kuttelwascher and Jaroslav Klemeš are among the nominees for this year’s state awards, which will be handed out at Prague Castle on the occasion of Independence Day on October 28. Members of the lower house presented the list to president Miloš Zeman on Thursday. The famous RAF pilot Kuttelwascher is to receive the highest honour, the Order of the White Lion, in memoriam. Nominees for the Order of Merit include for instance geologist Václav Cílek and historian Petr Čornej. Astronomer Jiří Grygar, who was originally included on the list, has asked to be removed but didn’t specify the reasons.
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