Four people have been arrested on suspicion of having firebombed the home of a Roma family in Central Bohemia on Monday. Police say that the group had been walking around the village of Býchory in the early hours of Monday and calling out racist slogans, before one of them threw a lit torch into the occupied house. The residents were able to extinguish the fire without injury. The suspects, aged 20 to 25, were detained later in the day and are being investigated for attempted grievous bodily harm; should a racial motive be determined they will face up to 12 years’ imprisonment.
The Czech Republic’s leading Roma advocacy group, Romea, has announced they are suspending their collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, saying their relationship and the ministry’s work in combating right-wing extremism has taken a sharp turn for the worse. Citing the approach of the police towards extremist demonstrations this year, the ministry’s cancellation of a multilateral task force and other issues, Romea says further cooperation between them will depend on how numerous missteps will be redressed.
Czech women’s pensions are significantly lower than those of their male counterparts, statistics from the Czech Social Security Administration reveal. While male pensioners receive an average of about 11,700 Czech crowns per month, females who are retired have to make do with around 9,500 crowns per month. Their monthly pension is about a fifth lower than that of men. In addition to the number of years that someone has been employed, other factors also influence the total sum of one’s pension. On average, working Czech women’s salaries are about 25 percent below those of men’s.
In its second half, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature the Slovak film Cikán, Gypsy, by Martin Šulík, as well as over fifty other films. Mr. Šulík will present his film at the festival on Tuesday, calling it his most personal work yet. The American film and theater actor Martin Donovan also appeared at the festival on Tuesday, together with director Hale Hartley, with whom he has collaborated on many occasions. In its 46th year, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival features over 200 films, many of them by first-time directors.
In this week’s business news: Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has presented three different options for state budget cuts, the Labor Ministry has announced a tender for the new welfare payment cards, direct flights between Prague and Abu Dhabi will be launched in September, for the third time this year, a Czech travel agency files for bankruptcy, and a Czech daily writes that Vietnamese small business owners are often blackmailed into paying protection money.
Muslim leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia came to Prague on Tuesday to share their experiences and to discuss the challenges faced by their communities. The numbers of the Muslim populations in their countries vary significantly, as do their historic backgrounds. But the debate showed that some challenges are shared by Muslims across the region: islamophobia, media bias, and severe legislative restrictions.
The Czech Republic on Monday handed over chairmanship of the Decade of Roma Inclusion project to Macedonia. The project, initiated in 2005 by the World Bank and the Open Society Institute, is an international effort on the part of 8 central and east European countries to tackle a wide range of educational and social disadvantages faced by Roma communities in this part of the world. During its cahirmanship the Czech Republic established five priorities – giving Roma children equal opportunities in education, improving the position of Roma women and children, involving the Roma in local administration and improving the media profile of the Roma minority.
Several hundred neo-Nazis marched on Saturday through the town of Přerov, in the east of the country. The march, organized by the extremist Workers’ Party of Social Justice, passed through the town’s Romany neighbourhood. Hundreds of police officers were deployed to prevent clashed between the neo-Nazis and members of the town Romany community; the police confiscated a handgun and several batons and knives from the extremists. No incidents have so far been reported.
A Prague court on Thursday sent two young males to prison for setting a cottage on fire and killing a homeless man. The incident happened last September, when the four youngsters, aged 14 through 25, attacked three homeless men, who at the time were squatting a hut in a Prague forest. While two of the men were able to escape, the third was killed in the attack. He got trapped in the cellar of the cottage, which the young males set on fire. The court dealt two of the defendants sentences of 11 and 3.5 years, respectively, while the third was handed a probation sentence of one year. The fourth perpetrator was not given a prison sentence due to the fact that he was only fourteen years old when he committed the crime. He is currently in a home for juvenile delinquents.
The civic association IQ Roma Servis has awarded 11 employers with the label “Ethnic Friendly”. Among the companies who were given the label are Frutana Gold, Stavzem and the Museum of Roma Culture. To date, some forty companies and institutions have been labeled ethnically friendly by the civic association. The initiative was inspired by clients of IQ Roma Servis, who frequently experienced discrimination when searching for a job. The initiative aims to highlight employers who do employ citizens of Romani origin and promote equal opportunities for ethnic employees on the country’s labor market. The association has been handing out the label since 2007.
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