It was a story that sells papers – a homeless man finds an abandoned baby boy in a garbage can and saves his life. Miroslav Szamseli, a man who’d been homeless for 15 years was suddenly a household name and his life changed overnight. However, late last week, the story that moved millions of Czechs took an unexpected twist. The sudden change of fortune landed the homeless man in a psychiatric clinic.
A homeless man, who saved a newborn abandoned in a rubbish bin in December, has been taken to Prague’s Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital for treatment. Police assisted in escorting the baby’s saviour, Miroslav Szamszeli, to the hospital after he reportedly tried to attack a doctor treating him for a sprain. Earlier the man had jumped from a 3-metre high window at a new place of residence. The spokeswoman from the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital said on Friday that Mr Szamszeli’s behaviour was in reaction to heightened media attention. She said he had since calmed and his condition is stable. Doctors will assess possible next steps after further evaluation.
Welcome to Radio Prague’s special New Year’s Day programme dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Republic. The country now celebrates two foundation days – October 28 in memory of the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and January 1. On that day in 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries – Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The latter anniversary seems to be rather less celebrated, as if it had happened by coincidence. To discuss the achievements and the losses, the victories and the defeats of the 15-year-old
The Jewish community in Plzen, western Bohemia, is organizing a gathering outside the city’s Great Synagogue on January 19 in protest against a neo-Nazi march planned for that day. The march is supposed to take place two months after a similar event in Prague where thousands gathered in the Jewish quarter to stop neo-Nazis from marching on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. The far-right group plans to march past the synagogue in Plzen to protest against restrictions of freedom of speech. Czech Jewish organisations say this is only a pretext as the march will take place on the eve of the anniversary of the first transport of Plzen Jews to Nazi extermination camps during WWII.
Three quarters of young Czechs have a negative attitude towards the Roma, according to a survey of 12 to 20 year olds. The survey, by non-governmental organization People in Need, indicates that Czech teenagers have a negative view of prostitutes, prisoners, drug addicts and homeless people. At the same time, more than three quarters of respondents said there was no discrimination in the Czech society. According to Dzamila Stehlikova, the minister in charge of human rights, the attitude of Czechs towards minorities is not improving fast enough.
The police broke up a skinhead party in the town of Jirkov shortly after midnight on Saturday after several of the locals complained about the noise. The party was attended by close to a hundred skinheads. Four of them refused to comply with police orders and were taken to the local police station for questioning but were later released without charges.
Three suspected neo-Nazis serving in elite units in the Czech Army will almost certainly be sacked by the military, the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes has reported. The newspaper recently broke the news that the three men regularly attended international neo-Nazi meetings and demonstrations, something confirmed by witnesses and the police. The army’s Chief of Staff Vlastimil Picek told the paper that the military police were in charge of the case, but refused to speculate on the final outcome. He did say the army would take a tough stance on extremists from both sides of the political spectrum in the future. He made clear he will propose to Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova that newly enlisted soldiers sign a special statement upon joining the military, confirming they have no allegiance to organisations promoting racial intolerance or hatred.
Eleven Vietnamese nationals have been charged with people trafficking and pimping, the news website Novinky.cz reported. The 11 were arrested on Saturday night by the police’s organised crime unit, which later conducted searches of the suspects’ homes in Prague and Domazlice. There were also raids on three brothels in the capital and one in Cheb.
Sculptor David Cerny’s “Hanging Man” causes a panic in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A young man climbs up Prague’s famous astronomical clock to win a bet! And ski resorts in the south Bohemian mountain range are working around the clock to make artificial snow for Prague. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
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