Prague’s Municipal court has allowed Russian dissident and art activist Oleg Vorotnikov to go free on a written promise he will not leave the Czech Republic as long as he is subject to legal proceedings. The artist is wanted in Russia for hooliganism. The Czech judge overhearing his case took into the account that Mr Vorotnikov had been travelling in the Czech Republic with his family at the time of his arrest and not “in hiding” ; she also considered the nature of the charges against him. The artist’s lawyer welcomed the outcome, but expressed fear that if the artist, a fierce critic of the Putin regime, were returned to Russia, he would face persecution. He also suggested Mr Vorotnikov will try and seek political asylum in the Czech Republic. The Russian activist is the leader of the art group Voina, which has ridiculed the Putin regime through street art, for example, spraying a giant phallus on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg across from the headquarters of the secret services.
Organisers in charge of the Lidice Memorial, a bronze monument to the children of Lidice - war victims from the Czech village razed by the Nazis in WWII as reprisal for the assassination of acting Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich - have been ordered to add the name of sculptor Jiří Hampl to a plaque attributing the work solely to his late wife. The academic sculptor Marie Uchytilová who died in 1989 is credited with the design but her husband contributed to the work's realisation in bronze. František Vyskočil, a representative of the Lidice Memorial organisation, maintains the work was Mrs Uchytilová's alone; he says an expert assessment should determine the nature of the contribution by her husband and has recommended that the matter be taken before the country's Supreme Court.
The Interior Ministry will receive an additional 420 million crowns from the state budget for next year, Czech TV reported on Wednesday, outlining that Interior Minister Milan Chovanec had reached a compromise agreement with Finance Minister Andrej Babiš. Earlier in the week, Mr Chovanec had telegraphed that the ministry would need an additional 1.1 billion crowns for 2017, a proposal Mr Babiš largely rejected. Following the agreement, the Interior Ministry budget for 2017 will be higher by 3.8 billion crowns overall from the previous year. Some of the additional finances will go towards preparing police forces against terrorism, including the acquisition of new arms, defense equipment and other items.
One of the Czech Republic’s leading breweries, Plzeňský Prazdroj, is set to raise its prices by an average of 3.2 percent from the start of October. It will cost pubs and restaurants an extra 60 hellers a half-litre for the 10-degree lager Gambrinus and one crown more a half-litre of the 12-degree Pilsner Urquell. The brewer said it was raising its prices to cover more expensive raw materials, in particular hops, and investment in modernizing and expanding its sales.
The Czech Republic now have no way of reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. Josef Jandač’s men only have one point after a 6:0 loss to Canada and a 3:2 defeat to Team Europe on penalties and had their hopes of advancing extinguished when Canada beat the US on Tuesday. The Czechs will face the US on Friday in a game to decide third place in their group.
A four-star hotel opened at Prague’s landmark Dancing House building on Tuesday. Most guests at the city’s best-known building of the post-1989 era can enjoy views of Prague Castle from the two-storey part of the structure that has been converted into the hotel. One of the investors in the project, former soccer star Vladimír Šmicer, said the hotel might be expanded in a couple of years if the venture proves a success. The Dancing House was designed by Frank Gehry and local architect Vlado Milunic and was opened in 1996.
Young people in the Czech Republic drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and take drugs less than they did five years ago, according a Europe-wide study. However, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs still found that Czech 16-year-olds have more experience with such habits than average Europeans of their age. While 8.2 percent of Czech teens smoked in 2011, last year the number had fallen to 4.5 percent.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says he would vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump in November’s US presidential election if he had American citizenship. Speaking to iDnes.cz, Mr. Zeman said if elected Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton would follow the unsuccessful policies of President Obama. Mr. Obama has managed to unsettle the entire Middle East, the Czech head of state told the news website. Mr. Zeman compared Mr. Trump to Ronald Reagan, who he said had initially been ridiculed as a “dumb actor” but went on to become one of the greatest US presidents.
From next year car drivers in the Czech Republic will not need motorway vignettes to use certain sections of motorway, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, announced on Tuesday. The 11 sections of motorway set to become free to use are mainly on the outskirts of cities such as Prague, Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem. Mr. Ťok said his ministry was unlikely to see much of a falloff in revenues thanks to the change, which he said was intended to help local drivers who at present do not use the sections of motorway concerned.
The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, says he expects the coalition government to approve next year’s budget on Wednesday. Mr. Babiš said he would discuss outstanding questions at a meeting of government leaders prior to a cabinet session. The ANO chief told reporters on Tuesday that the budget deficit for 2017 should remain at CZK 60 billion. Mr. Babiš said agreement still had to reached with the Ministry of the Interior, which is controlled by the Social Democrats and is seeking extra funding for the police to combat terrorism, and the Ministry of Regional Development, which is controlled by his party.
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