MPs have overturned a presidential veto on new rules for the Czech Republic’s four national parks: Krkonoše, České Švýcarsko, Podyjí and Šumava. President Zeman had refused to sign the legislation, which had strong backing from environmental groups, saying it did not acknowledge the particularities of the Šumava national park. The Ministry of the Environment says the bill provides stability in that no changes can be made to a new system of zones in national parks for 15 years. The state is also now barred from selling off any of the land.
The Magnesia Litera award for Czech book of the year has gone to Jezero (The Lake) by Bianca Bellová. The post-apocalyptic novel alludes to the collapse of the Soviet empire as well as pointing to today’s geopolitical situation. The prestigious Magnesia Litera for best work of prose went to Marek Šindelka’s Únava materialu (Material Fatigue), which was inspired by the recent migrant crisis. Prizes in six other categories were also handed out at Tuesday’s awards ceremony in Prague.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says he will discuss a court ruling in the UK relating to the death of a Czech citizen with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday. Earlier he summoned the British ambassador to Prague, Jan Thompson, to discuss the matter. Mr. Zaorálek said he had major doubts regarding the acquittal of a British man who had been accused of beating Czech Zdeněk Makar to death with a bicycle lock in a street attack last September.
Big names in Czech ice hockey have questioned the NHL’s decision not to release players for next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. A member of the Czech team that won gold in Nagano in 1998, Jiří Šlégr, said the move was a step backwards as the Olympics would have less value. For his part, Vladimír Růžička, who has taken part in five Olympics as a player and coach, said there had been no better advertisement for the sport of ice hockey than the Olympics.
President Miloš Zeman has appointed Jiří Havlíček minister of industry and trade. He replaces Jan Mládek, who was sacked by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the end of February. Mr. Havlíček says he will focus on pushing through legislation aimed at reducing data charges for mobile device users. Inaction in that regard was cited as a reason for the dismissal of his predecessor. Mr. Havlíček was previously a deputy industry minister.
A new guidebook to Brno has come in for strong criticism from representatives of nearby towns that it disparages, Novinky.cz reported. Entitled “This is Brno”, the guide compares Kuřim to a labour camp and a monument to the loss of human judgement, as well describing the wine cellars of Velké Pavlovice as kitschy buildings that are a mockery of architecture. Its authors say they wished to present an unorthodox view of the region. However, one town mayor described the publicly funded publication as a work of childish provocation.
Prague’s Parkhotel is to be considered for protected status after a group of experts from the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture filed a petition with the Ministry of Culture. The 1960s structure, one of the city’s leading hotels when it opened, is located in the Holešovice district near the Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The ministry can take several months to decide whether to make a site a cultural historical landmark.
The head of the recently established Czech Literary Centre, Petr Janyška, has left the position after only five weeks, the news website Lidovky.cz reported. Mr. Janyška took up the post in late February, less than two months after the launch of the institution, which is tasked with promoting Czech literature internationally. He told Lidovky.cz that he had quit but refused to outline the reasons. A translator by profession, Mr. Janyška was one of the founders of the weekly Respekt and worked for several years as a diplomat.
A British court has cleared a 29-year-old British national who was accused of battering to death a Czech man following an argument in a fast food store in East London last September, the ctk news agency reported. Raymond Sculley was accused of beating catering manager Zdeněk Makar to death with a bicycle chain after he and a group of biker friends following him out of a chicken shop where they got into a spat. Sculley, who claimed to have acted in self-defense was also acquitted of an alternative charge of manslaughter. According to commercial TV Prima, Makar’s family is seeking ways to challenge the verdict.
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