Cardinal Dominik Duka has hit out at Prague’s mayor, Zdeněk Hřib, after
the latter compared efforts to return a Marian column to the city’s Old
Town Square to recreating a huge statue of Stalin that stood at Letná
Plain. In a letter, the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church called on
Mr. Hřib to apologise for his words.
Cardinal Duka said the mayor had failed to realise the meaning of communist dictatorship and what Stalin symbolised.
A group of activists is pushing for the recreation of a Marian column that was torn down in 1918 by protesters who regarded it as a symbol of former Austrian rule. However, they do not have permits to erect a new monument.
The National Library and the Ministry of Culture have signed a memorandum
under which the state has taken control of the rights to “the Blob”, a
futuristic design for a new library building by the late Jan Kaplický.
Under the agreement inked on Tuesday, the architect’s widow has given up
the copyright on the design. However this does not mean that the project
will necessarily now be realised.
The Prague-born, internationally renowned architect Kaplický won an international competition to design a new National Library building in 2007. However, the project ran into objections and the then arts minister said it was too expensive.
President Miloš Zeman says people who have recently been demonstrating
against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are in fact protesting against free
elections. Speaking at the start of a visit to the Vysočina Region, he
said this was in contrast to those who in 1989 demonstrated for free
Mr. Zeman said he did not expect the Babiš government to end until its term concludes in two and a half years’ time. The prime minister’s critics will have to wait until the next elections for change, he said.
Over 250,000 people took part in a protest calling for Mr. Babiš to resign in Prague on Sunday. They say his appointment of a new justice minister soon after police recommended the PM face criminal charges of subsidy fraud creates fears that he could try to interfere in the case.
The oldest drawings on present day Czech territory are lines and
geometrical images created on cave walls by hunters in the early Stone Age,
meaning around 4,200 BC, Právo reported on Tuesday, citing new
Researchers have been examining the drawings, which are on the walls of the Kateřina Cave in the Moravian Karst protected nature reserve. The meaning of the drawings is unclear, they say.
Archaeologist Martin Golec of Palacký University in Olomouc said his team only recently ascertained that the drawings were in fact prehistoric and were not made in the modern age.
An adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel The Prague Orgy shot in the Czech
capital will get a cinema release in October, the producers announced. The
film is helmed by Czech director Irena Pavlásková and stars Canadian
actor Jonas Chernik as Roth’s protagonist, Nathan Zuckerman, while
Russian Ksenia Rappoport is the female lead.
Pavel Kříž plays Zuckerman’s Prague guide and is just one of a number of well-known Czech actors in the movie.
The original novel is based on Roth’s experiences in Prague in the 1970s.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, will attend events in Russia next May
marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. He was invited to
the take part by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose advisor Yuri
Ushakov visited the Czech head of state on Monday.
Mr. Zeman participated in celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Moscow in 2015 and has taken part in similar events at the Russian Embassy in Prague.
Russia marks the end of the war on May 9, a day later than Western European countries. The Czechs previously followed the Russian model but later switched to May 8.
Babiš: Government has fulfilled around fifth of tasks in first year
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says his government has fulfilled around one-fifth of the tasks it set itself when it was appointed a year ago this week. The ANO-Social Democrats cabinet discussed its achievements in its first 12 months at a meeting on Monday evening, a day after mass protests in Prague against Mr. Babiš.
The government outlined 657 tasks on taking office. It has carried out 138 of them so far, the PM said.
On Wednesday the coalition is expected to win a no-confidence vote called after a preliminary European Commission audit found Mr. Babiš to be in conflict of interest in connection his business affairs.
In April police recommended he face trial on a different matter, the abuse of EU subsidies. Mr. Babiš installed a new justice minister the next day, sparking a series of demonstrations against him that culminated on Sunday.
The Czech Ministry of Defence has signed a contract to purchase 62 Titus
armoured personnel carriers from the company Eldis Pardubice for over CZK 6
billion, a spokesperson said on Monday. The Czech Army should receive the
vehicles in 2022 and 2023.
The chief of the General Staff, Aleš Opata, said the Titus would replace the army’s current outmoded equipment. Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar said the contract would contribute to the modernisation of the country’s ground forces and successfully concluded a project begun four years ago.
The government has approved a draft state budget for 2020 envisaging a
deficit of CZK 40 billion. The same level of deficit is also expected in
the following two years under the plan produced by the minister of finance,
Alena Schillerová. She said a priority of next year’s budget would be
increasing old aged pensions as well as teachers’ salaries.
Junior coalition partners the Social Democrats abstained from the vote, saying the budget was insufficiently generous to those most in need.
The draft budget is subject to change and Ms. Schillerová will hold consultations on it with other cabinet members through the summer.
The Communist Party, which supports the minority government on key votes, is demanding a maximum deficit of CZK 30 billion next year.
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