The Czech government has moved to curb widespread profiteering from social housing. The draft legislation, which was approved by the cabinet this week, should stop hostel owners from charging exorbitant rents for substandard housing. However, social workers say that the socially disadvantaged need access to the housing market which is often denied due to their race.
The Czech Jewish community has protested against the presence of American actor Mel Gibson at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival and the fact that he is to be presented with the Crystal Globe Award in recognition of his contribution to world cinema. In a letter sent to the festival’s president the Jewish community says that Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ portrays Jews as evil and bloodthirsty enemies of Jesus and argues that the award presented to him may fuel anti-Semitism.
The annual Prague Pride parade will take place on August 16, the organizers said. The march will take start in Wenceslas Square; it will then pass along the river to conclude on the Letná plain. Organizers said they expect some 10,000 people to take part in the march which will be preceded by a five-day festival. This year, the festival will highlight issues faced by the LGBT community in Russia and some other eastern European countries, the event’s director, Czeslaw Walek, said. Last year, around 20,000 people joined in the march.
A 17-year-old girl from Slovakia won the Miss Roma 2014 beauty pageant held in the eastern Czech town Hodonín on Saturday night, the news website novinky.cz reported. Romany girls from Slovakia also finished on second and third place. The contest included a czardas dance which the jury said played a big role in evaluating the finalists. Organizers believe the beauty contest is a way of fostering Romany girls’ self-confidence.
Hundreds of people turned out for the third annual street art festival Ghettofest in Brno over the weekend. The festival takes place in the city’s poorest quarter, a slum area commonly referred to as the Brno Bronx. The two-day undertaking, which aims to combat prejudice and highlight the conditions in which some of the city’s poorest inhabitants are living in, offered visitors music, dance and theatre performances as well as sports events, exhibitions and public debates. The festival will end with a mass and a prayer for peaceful co-existence.
In Magazine: a 1905 oil painting of Emperor Franz Josef has gone from the waste dump to a Viennese auction house, a stolen Cinderella film costume is mysteriously returned, an 11-year-old schoolboy wins a “minister for a day” award and a twenty-three-year–old student says he has the answer to finding shelter for the homeless.
A survey released by the Czech Statistics Office released this week has shown that the standard of living in the Czech Republic continues to lag behind western counterparts. Although salaries have gone up, so have expenses and in real terms many households are earning less. Meanwhile, roughly 1.5 million people are living on – or well under – the poverty line. The only good news there is that the number there has gone down by one percent year-on-year.
Around 1.5 million Czechs are faced with poverty or material deprivation according to survey results released Wednesday by the Czech Statistical Office. The actual proportion of the population threatened with poverty actually fell last year to 8.6 percent from 9.6 percent, the office said. That total includes around 45 percent of those without jobs. The office said that although average household incomes rose in absolute terms last year they fell in real terms once higher costs were taken into account. The total facing material deprivation, defined as lacking basic household equipment, came to around 679,000.
Hundreds of Ukrainian nationals waited calmly in lines in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Prague as well as the Ukrainian consulate in Brno on Sunday to cast their vote in Ukraine’s presidential election. The polls remain open until Sunday evening. Ukrainians are electing a new head-of-state following months of unrest after the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych. Pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country have reportedly managed to violently disrupt voting in areas.Ukrainians rank among the largest minorities in the Czech Republic: the number of eligible voters in the Czech capital is 14,437 and there are an additional 3,268 in the Czech Republic’s second-largest city.
There is a growing crossover between football hooligans and neo-Nazi groups, according to a newly published report from the BIS intelligence service. The trend has been observed at anti-Roma demonstrations. The report said that in general political extremists did not represent a genuine threat to democracy in the Czech Republic last year. However, the number of crimes committed linked to political extremism grew slightly in 2013. The most common such crime was “supporting groups aimed at repressing the rights and freedoms of others”.
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