The spokesman for President Miloš Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, has criticised a call made by over 1,300 Czech academics for more tolerance toward asylum seekers. Speaking at a regular briefing at Prague Castle, Mr. Ovčáček said in his “personal opinion” the academics' internet petition served to merely deepen the gap between Czech society and “so-called elites”. President Zeman recently said nobody had invited asylum seekers and they should respect Czech rules or leave the country. An opinion poll in July suggested that over 70 percent of Czechs were against the acceptance of refugees.
The internet retailer Amazon is planning to build a centre in Prague that would provide around 3,000 jobs. The newspaper Hospodářské noviny reported that the US company was eyeing a site in an industrial park at Horní Počernice on the outskirts of the city for the 40,000 square-metre centre, which would be for returned goods. Amazon has been hiring around 1,000 people over the summer for a new distribution centre located at Dobrovíz near Prague.
The police have proposed that files be charged against former politician David Rath and eight other people in connection with a case for which Mr. Rath has already received an eight and a half year jail term. The accused are suspected of manipulating public tenders and EU funds in the Central Bohemian Region, of which Mr. Rath was governor. The charges – which involve eight companies – were hived off from the one-time minister’s first trial in order to speed up the process. Mr. Rath has appealed the verdict in the initial case.
Tuesday is the 25th anniversary of the first major rock concert in Prague following the fall of communism when the Rolling Stones performed at the city’s Strahov Stadium. Around 100,000 people attended the now legendary show, for which tickets cost CZK 250, a considerable sum at the time. A visit by the band to President Václav Havel at Prague Castle was much reported on and the proceeds of the concert went to his wife Olga Havlová’s Good Will Committee.
Zdeněk Lyčka has been appointed the general director of the international network of Czech Centres. Mr. Lyčka, who is 57, is a former Czech ambassador to Denmark and had hitherto served as deputy general director of the network. The twenty-two Czech Centres around the world are run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and serve to promote Czech culture on the international stage.
The oldest preserved translation of The Bible in Czech has been put on display at the museum in the town of Litoměřice in north Bohemia. Completed in 1414, the Litoměřice-Třeboň Bible was created for Petr Zmrzlík, a friend of the religious reformer Jan Hus. It features two types of spelling of Czech due to the fact the language was evolving so rapidly at the time. The bible, the property of the Litoměřice bishopric, can be viewed by the public until the end of the month.
The top Czech handball player Filip Jícha has joined Barcelona on a four-year contract. The 33-year-old, who was named world player of the year in 2010, moves to the reigning Champions League holders from Germany’s Kiel. Jícha spent eight years at Kiel, during which time he won the Bundesliga title seven times and the Champions League twice.
Transit on a tram line between Most and Litvínov affected by a fire at chemicals plant Unipetrol last Thursday has resumed. The decision for transport to resume was taken by the crisis management team late Monday. Some one thousand employees, meanwhile, are slated to return after fire fighters wrapped up operations. Although trams have resumed, production at the petrochemical factory remains at a standstill.
Every 25th Czech (or one in 25) is over the age of 80, a study conducted by the country’s Institute for Labour and Social Affairs has learned. A quarter of a century ago, the number stood at one in 40. Last year, there were more almost 419,000 people in the country over the age of 80, compared to 259,000 in the year 1990. Specialists say marked increase in the number of people living to ripe old age is the single most significant demographic change in the Czech Republic this century.
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