News Czech National Heritage Institute refusing to give up Bouzov Castle
The Czech National Heritage Institute has refused to hand over Bouzov Castle in Moravia to a religious order within the church restitution process as it believes that the restitution law does not apply to this particular property, the ctk news agency reported. A spokesperson for the institute said Bouzov Castle was confiscated under the post-war Benes Decrees, i.e. before the 1948-1989 communist period o which the church restitution law applies. He moreover argued that the claimant was not able to prove having used the property between February 1948 and January 1990 for spiritual or pastoral purposes, which is required under the law. The property was claimed by the Czech branch of the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, which is a German Catholic Order, the successor of Teutonic Knights.
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More than 19,000 students began taking the first part of their high school leaving exams, known as maturita, on Monday, choosing between math and a second language as optional subjects. Twenty-seven percent chose mathematics as their voluntary subject; compulsory in the exam, for example, is the Czech language. Education Minister Kateřina Valachová launched the exam day at the Prague Na Zatlance high school, telling journalists afterwards that when she was a student facing her own exams, she had had a bad case of nerves. The minister said she had said nothing of the sort to the students on the big day, however. In all, some 70,000 students are to take their leaving exams this term.
Forty-one people died on Czech roads over the month of April, two fewer than the same period last year, ČTK confirmed; 149 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic since the beginning of the year. That is fewer by eleven than the same period in 2015. The head of the traffic police, Tomáš Lerch, told the Czech News Agency that the lower number of fatalities may have been influenced by a colder Spring than usual, as there were fewer motorcyclists and cyclists on the road; the two belong to the highest-risk group when it comes to road accidents.
Legendary Czech hockey forward Jaromír Jágr has been confirmed as one of the three finalists this year for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying the “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”. At 44, Jágr led his team the Florida Panthers on points this season – becoming the oldest player in NHL history to pass the 60 point plateau (he had 61). He helped his team win the Atlantic Division for the first time; hopes for a longer Stanley Cup playoff run were ended in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders. A recent New York Times prolife mapped the player’s training regimen which has helped him stay at the top of his game.
The movement Bloc Against Islam, which had had hopes of running on a joint-platform with the Dawn party in regional and Senate elections this autumn, will try to regroup under a new banner, news site iDnes and the Czech News Agency reported on Monday. The bloc, whose leader Martin Konvička faces charges of inciting hatred, is likely to morph into a political party, possibly named Alternative for the Czech Republic, iDnes wrote; bloc leader Martin Konvička made no secret the party would push an anti-migrant and anti-Islam agenda. Besides upcoming communal elections, the Czech Republic will hold parliamentary elections in 2017.
The minister of transport, Dan Ťok, is set to demand the cancellation of a Czech Railways competition to purchase over CZK 10 billion of new trains, the daily E15 reported. In the minister’s view the tender process has been designed to exclude foreign firms by setting criteria that can be met by only one company, Škoda Transportation. Mr. Ťok is considering making changes in the leadership at Czech Railways in connection with the competition and other matters, E15 said.
Two Czech citizens have been expelled from Macedonia after being accused of damaging property during violent anti-government demonstrations in the capital Skopje. The two, aged 24 and 25, have been barred from reentering the country, the Macedonian news agency Zhurnal reported on Sunday. The English-language website The Independent said that the two had been accused of vandalising monuments during the opposition-organised protests.
ANO, the second biggest party in the coalition government, would have received 27.5 percent of the vote if elections had been held in April, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the TNS Aisa. This would give Andrej Babiš’s party 72 mandates in the 200 seat Chamber of Deputies. Government leaders the Social Democrats would get 18.5 percent of the vote and 48 seats, the survey suggests. In a poll conducted by TNS Aisa in March ANO had one percent more backing and the Social Democrats enjoyed three percent more support.
A series of political gatherings took in Prague on Sunday to mark the International Workers’ Day state holiday. Block Against Islam was one of two groups that held protests against migration, while another demonstration was organised in support of refugees. Several political parties, including the Communists, held events in the capital, while a traditional gathering of anarchists also took place. Police said all of the events had passed off calmly.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says his Social Democrats will propose a 10-percent pay rise for doctors and nurses as a means to averting a crisis in the country’s health care services. Mr. Sobotka made the promise in a May Day policy statement that he presented in the Moravian town of Vyškov. A doctors’ union recently said that if the legal limit on overtime was adhered to there would not be enough doctors to serve patients in the Czech hospitals. The prime minister said his party they will also push for a 10-percent salary increase for teachers.
Veteran pop star Karel Gott is due to undergo stomach surgery in the next fortnight that will conclude his treatment for cancer, his spokesperson told the Czech News Agency. The singer, who is 67, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma towards the end of last year. Bild quoted the multi-million selling artist as saying his convalescence was going more slowly than he had expected; he told the German newspaper that he had trouble breathing and would need to think long and hard about returning to performing.