A festival aimed at fighting the stigma attached to mental illnesses is taking place on the embankment of the Vltava river in Prague. The series of events include an exhibition of paintings by artists with mental health problems, film screenings, concerts and debates which are all intended to relay the feelings of people suffering from mental health problems. Psychiatrist Radkin Honzak says fear of stigmatization leads many people to hide their problems and put off a visit to a specialist which adversely affects their condition.
Doctors registered 109 new cases of HIV in the first five months of this year, according to the National Reference Laboratory for HIV and AIDS. Since 1985 when the authorities first started testing for HIV, the virus was diagnosed in 3,015 cases. Of that number one thousand cases were registered in the last five years. Doctors warn that while the incidence of HIV in the Czech Republic is relatively low compared to other states, there has been a steady increase in the number of HI cases in recent years due to the fact that many people no longer see AIDS as a threat and don’t bother to take precautions.
The 52nd Karlovy Vary international film festival will come to an end on Saturday night with the traditional gala awards ceremony. Alongside the announcement of this year’s prize winners, Hollywood star Jeremy Renner will receive the festival’s President’s Award and the outstanding Czech screenwriter and director Václav Vorlíček, 87, will be honoured for his lifelong contribution to Czech cinematography. In the course of the past week visitors to the festival were able to take their pick from over 170 movies and documentaries. In the coming days the films shown in Karlovy Vary will be screened at two cinemas in Prague and Brno.
Czech Interior Ministry offers EU, Italy money, experts and police to help solve migrant crisis The Czech Interior Ministry has said the Czech Republic is ready to provide 800,000 euros in support of EU activities in Libya aimed at curbing the flow of migrants to the EU as well as send experts and police officers to help deal with the problem of illegal migrants in Italy. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec outlined the proposal in a letter to his Italian counterpart Marc Minniti saying that the practice of detentions had worked well in the Czech Republic and could be successfully applied in Italy as well. Minniti earlier called on EU member states to help ease Italy's situation. The Czech Republic has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to help out with money, experts and police officers but remains strongly opposed to the redistribution of refugees based on mandatory quotas.
Socially-challenged parents who have a problem paying for their children’s school lunches can file a request for subsidies as of July at labour offices around the country, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Friday. The project, now in its fifth year, is supported by European funds and will cover ten thousand schools around the country. Past years have shown that the social behaviour and grades of socially-challenged children improve rapidly once they start eating lunch with their classmates.
A Prague court has rejected a request for compensation from former dissident and Charter 77 signatory Petr Hanzlík who was persecuted by the communist secret police and one of the victims of Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Hanzlík sued the Interior Ministry asking for 12 million in compensation for the property he was forced to leave behind and 700,000 for loss of pension. The court ruled that the statute of limitations on communist crimes had expired. Hanzlík’s lawyer has said his client would appeal the case.
Czech Railways is hosting an international conference of rail operators in Prague. Among the company representatives present are CEOs from Deutsche Bahn, France’s SNCF or the Russian RZD. The aim is to debate improvements in international rail transport and work on creating faster rail links between East and West. The Czech Republic’s present priorities are to improve rail links with Austria and Germany. Security in rail transport is also high on the agenda.
The Czech state veterinary authorities have now confirmed twenty-two cases of African swine fever in wild boar. The first incidence of the disease, which does not affect humans, appeared at the end of last month. Special monitoring of the wild boar population has been introduced and farmers have been asked to take heightened precautions. If domesticated pigs catch the disease they have to be put down and cordons placed around the farms in question.
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