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17-03-2019

Czech politicians welcome pro-European candidates making Slovak presidential runoff

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, has welcomed the fact that Zuzana Čaputová and Maroš Šefčovič have made it into the second round of Slovakia’s presidential elections. Mr. Petříček said both were guaranteed to fight against extremism and hatred.

Jan Lipavský of the Czech Pirate Party said Čaputová’s first place finish was a great success for liberal politics in Central Europe, adding that both remaining candidates were for Slovakia taking an unequivocally pro-European direction.

ANO’s Jaroslav Bžoch said it was good that both were more pro-European than Eurosceptic, adding that he saw a link between their reaching the runoff and the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak, as Slovakia was looking for change.

Lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner Čaputová received 40.5 percent of the vote in the first round. Šefčovič, who is a European Commissioner, got 20.7 percent. The runoff takes place in less than two weeks.

Český Krumlov to impose charge on buses to curb tourist flying visits

Český Krumlov, which draws over a million tourists from around the world every year, is to impose charges on buses entering the South Bohemian town in a bid to regulate short-term visitors and raise revenues, Czech Television reported. The scheme, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, will begin in June. The local authorities say 16,000 coaches arrive in Český Krumlov every year, with figures reaching up to 100 a day in summer.

A deputy mayor told Czech Television that the number of buses stopping off in the small UNESCO-listed town represented an enormous strain.

A representative of Český Krumlov’s tour guides association said groups of Asian tourists sped through the town taking photos before soon departing for other destinations.

Each coach entering the tourist hotspot will have to pay CZK 1,250 with advance booking or CZK 1,500 without.

Czech women reach Equal Pay Day for 2018

On average Czech women only reached the same amount of pay as Czech men earned in 2018 on March 17, making Sunday Equal Pay Day, according to the group Business & Professional Women ČR. Female employees in the Czech Republic earn one-fifth less than male ones and would have to work for over 14 months to make the same amount that men do in 12.

The Czech Republic ranks among the EU states with the widest pay gap between the genders. The difference is greatest among university graduates, Business & Professional Women ČR said, citing official government data.

Czechs driving on right exactly 80 years

Czechs began driving on the right side of the road on this day 80 years ago. The Nazis introduced the change from driving on the left on March 17, 1939, two days after their occupation of the Czech lands began.

However, plans for such a switch had been in place for some time. Czechoslovakia had signed up to the Paris Convention, which committed the state to going right, in 1926 and had eventually got around to setting May 1, 1939 as the date for the switch.

French doc Heart of Stone takes top prize at One World festival

The film Heart of Stone has taken the Best Film prize at this year’s edition of the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague. The winning documentary is about an Afghan refugee in France. The Best Director award went to Denmark’s Mads Brugger, maker of Cold Case Hammarskjold.

The festival’s prize for the best Czech film in competition went to The Good Death by Tomáš Krupa, which is about a woman who goes to Switzerland for assisted suicide.

Brno synagogue remembered on 80th anniversary of torching

People in Brno on Sunday marked the 80th anniversary of the burning down of the Moravian capital’s Great Synagogue shortly before Adolf Hitler arrived in the city. Around 100 people laid flowers and lit candles at the spot where the synagogue had stood on the corner of the streets Spálená and Přízova.

The building was completed in 1855 and had a capacity for over 1,000 worshippers. It was burned down on the night of March 17, 1939 by Brno Nazis, evidently as a “gift” to Hitler, the Czech News Agency wrote.

17-03-2019