News Czechs commemorate Heydrich’s assassins
President Miloš Zeman, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, and other officials as well as veterans and members of the public have commemorated the British-trained commandos who assassinated high-ranking Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. Wednesday marks on the 72nd anniversary of their death. Jan Kubiš and Josef Valčík, along with five other soldiers parachuted into Bohemia, took their own lives after having been cornered by Nazi forces in a Prague church, three weeks after the assassination. Speaking at a ceremony held at the church, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said the Czech Republic owed its existence to heroes like them.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
The Minister of Interior Milan Chovanec wants to cancel joint patrols by soldiers and police by the end of the month. He made the announcement on Thursday during the ministry’s conference on terrorism. Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels at the end of March, the government deployed some 550 soldiers to join police patrols at airports, railway stations, selected embassies and other high-risk sites. The minister wants to keep joint patrols in the capital during the European conference on Interpol, which is taking place from May 18 to 20.
Czech children spend on average two hours a day in the outdoors, according to a survey carried out by the Median agency for the foundation Proměny. On weekdays, schoolchildren spend on average an hour and 41 minutes outside, while at the weekends, time spent outdoors increases to two hours and 49 minutes. According to the head of the Proměny foundation, Jitka Přerovská, there are big differences between children as regards their age and their parents’ educational background. Younger children between the age of seven and nine with university-educated parents tend to spend more time outdoors than others.
The Czech-Slovak investment group Penta on Thursday unveiled a massive development project in the centre of Prague, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, a British architectural design firm launched by the recently deceased world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid. The Central Business District should be built in the vicinity of Masaryk Station, where Penta acquired around 15000 square metres of land in January. The project includes eight administrative buildings with an area of over 90,000 square metres. The first building could be completed by the end of 2019, the spokesman for Penta, Ivo Mravinac has said.
The controversial Russian motorcycle gang the Night Wolves will take part in a two-hour ride through Prague on Saturday, according to the association Red Eyed Ceue, which organizes the event. The bikers are also planning to attend a ceremony at Prague’s Olšany cemetery honouring the victims of WWII. Some 80 members of the controversial gang are travelling through the Czech Republic on their annual ride from Moscow to Berlin to mark the end of WWII. The ride has been approved by Czech authorities.
Greek authorities have detained two Syrian nationals with Czech passports, which they wanted to use on their way to Switzerland, the Greek radio station Athina984informed on Thursday. Two men aged 22 and 29 were apprehended by the police at Iraklia airport on the island of Crete. They have been accused of forging official documents.
If the mining company OKD, which has filed for insolvency, is not able to pay wages and severance payments to employees, the state will take over, the Minister for Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, said on Thursday. According to Mr Mládek, the company will run out of cash already in June. OKD filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, after the Czech government had rejected appeals from the firm – which employs around 10,000 people – for financial support to help it close lossmaking mines and restructure its business.
Betting company Fortuna said it business boomed in the first quarter of the year with the value of bets placed rising by around 26 percent to total around 250 million euros. But operating profit plummeted by around 37 percent to 4.6 million euros. Fortuna, majority owned by the Penta group, said one of the main factors was a steeper betting tax in the Czech Republic. The group operates in the Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Hungarian markets.
The Arnošt Lustig prize for 2015 will be awarded to the writer and scenarist Jiří Stránský, The prize is awarded to those contributing to the community through their courage, humanity, or spirit of justice. In past years winners have been bishop Václav Malý and presenter Kamila Moučková. The prize was created in 2011 in honour of the world famous Holocaust survivor and Czech writer who died that year.
Czech President Miloš Zeman is considering using his veto to block the new school law, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said, according to the news agency ČTK. Ovčáček did not give reasons for the president’s possible stance. President Zeman has in the past spoken out against greater steps at schools towards the inclusion of the minority groups and children with various disabilities but this is not covered in the proposed law. It calls for obligatory leaving exams to include mathematics and for all two year olds to be offered places in schools from 2020. The president later announced his veto, arguing that the changes would put a heavy financial burden on some local councils.
Trading in New World Resources, the company owning the mining company OKD, were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The ČTK news agency reported that NWR is attempting to get trading suspended on the Prague and Warsaw exchanges as well. The Prague excahgne later said trading would be suspended Thursday. Shares in NWR lost around 20% of their value on the Prague exchange at opening on Wednesday where they were trading at 8 halers each.