Both Czechs and Slovaks benefited from the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993, former Czech president Vaclav Klaus told the ctk news agency. He said that by going their own ways the two nations had maintained their close relationship and managed to avoid a great many problems they would have faced in a common state. Then prime minister, Vaclav Klaus led the Czech team negotiating the terms of the so-called Velvet Divorce after the Slovak Parliament passed a resolution declaring Slovakia’s right to a sovereign state and full independence on July 17, 1992. On the same day then Czechoslovak president Vaclav Havel announced his resignation from office. He was later elected President of the Czech Republic.
A social survey by the Ipsos polling agency has revealed a marked lack of trust in the young generation by people aged over 30. The survey among over-30 respondents revealed that 79 percent of them consider young people to be self-centered individuals who would prefer to spend all their time playing computer games and chatting on social networks and who only engage in charity if it is to their benefit. Only a third of under-30 respondents confirmed this. 49 percent said they did not have the time to engage in charity, while 30 percent of young people said they lacked money to be able to help. 13 percent of young people said they engaged in some kind of charity regularly, 17 percent try to help occasionally.
The Czech Catholic Church has said it wants to establish closer cooperation with municipalities and play a bigger role in public life. Cardinal Dominik Duka said after the July plenary session of the Czech Bishop’s Conference that in the coming months the Catholic Church would like to sign memoranda on cooperation with the local administration of towns and villages willing to enter into such cooperation. He said this would involve charity work, participation in local events and improving the grounds in the vicinity of churches and graveyards.
A festival aimed at fighting the stigma attached to mental illnesses is taking place on the embankment of the Vltava river in Prague. The series of events include an exhibition of paintings by artists with mental health problems, film screenings, concerts and debates which are all intended to relay the feelings of people suffering from mental health problems. Psychiatrist Radkin Honzak says fear of stigmatization leads many people to hide their problems and put off a visit to a specialist which adversely affects their condition.
Doctors registered 109 new cases of HIV in the first five months of this year, according to the National Reference Laboratory for HIV and AIDS. Since 1985 when the authorities first started testing for HIV, the virus was diagnosed in 3,015 cases. Of that number one thousand cases were registered in the last five years. Doctors warn that while the incidence of HIV in the Czech Republic is relatively low compared to other states, there has been a steady increase in the number of HI cases in recent years due to the fact that many people no longer see AIDS as a threat and don’t bother to take precautions.
The 52nd Karlovy Vary international film festival will come to an end on Saturday night with the traditional gala awards ceremony. Alongside the announcement of this year’s prize winners, Hollywood star Jeremy Renner will receive the festival’s President’s Award and the outstanding Czech screenwriter and director Václav Vorlíček, 87, will be honoured for his lifelong contribution to Czech cinematography. In the course of the past week visitors to the festival were able to take their pick from over 170 movies and documentaries. In the coming days the films shown in Karlovy Vary will be screened at two cinemas in Prague and Brno.
Czech Interior Ministry offers EU, Italy money, experts and police to help solve migrant crisis The Czech Interior Ministry has said the Czech Republic is ready to provide 800,000 euros in support of EU activities in Libya aimed at curbing the flow of migrants to the EU as well as send experts and police officers to help deal with the problem of illegal migrants in Italy. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec outlined the proposal in a letter to his Italian counterpart Marc Minniti saying that the practice of detentions had worked well in the Czech Republic and could be successfully applied in Italy as well. Minniti earlier called on EU member states to help ease Italy's situation. The Czech Republic has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to help out with money, experts and police officers but remains strongly opposed to the redistribution of refugees based on mandatory quotas.
Socially-challenged parents who have a problem paying for their children’s school lunches can file a request for subsidies as of July at labour offices around the country, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Friday. The project, now in its fifth year, is supported by European funds and will cover ten thousand schools around the country. Past years have shown that the social behaviour and grades of socially-challenged children improve rapidly once they start eating lunch with their classmates.