News German President Gauck to visit Czech Republic next month
German President Joachim Gauck is set to arrive in the Czech Republic on a three-day official visit in early May, a spokesman for the Czech president said. The visit is planned between May 5 and 7. No details of the president’s programme in the Czech Republic have been released but the German head of state will likely take part in commemorating the end of WWII as well as the Prague uprising against the Nazi rule which began on May 5, 1945. Mr Gauck and his Czech counterpart, Miloš Zeman, first met in Germany last June; the German president first officially visited the Czech Republic in 2012.
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The Czech Bar Association has urged its members to offer their services to the foreign migrants held in Czech detention centres. According to Stepan Holub, the lawyer coordinating the volunteer effort, the Bar Association has received signals from journalists and the Ministry of Justice that migrants are in dire need of legal aid. They are held in detention, with no money, no possibility of contacting a lawyer and no knowledge of the Czech language, frequently they are unaware of the fact that they have the right to legal services, Holub told the news site ihned.cz. Twenty lawyers have so far offered their services.
Several hundred people are expected to join the fourth Roma Pride march through the centre of Prague on Sunday afternoon. The event is an annual celebration of Romany culture and identity and aims to draw attention to the discrimination of Romanies in the Czech Republic, be it in the sphere of housing, education or on the job market. Similar Roma Pride marches are taking place in 13 European capitals. There are estimated to be around a quarter of a million Romanies living in the Czech Republic.
Allstar Refugee Band, Tonya Graves, Michael Kocáb and Monika Načeva will perform at a charity concert in aid of migrants on Sunday evening. The concert at Prague’s La Fabrika is co-organized by People in Need and United Islands. We want to make people remember what their lives were lie 30 years ago, the fact that many Czechs also fled from communism and were not welcomed with teargas in Western Europe, the head of La Fabrika Richard Balous told the ctk news agency.Well-known Czech emigres have pre-taped video messages for the audience and two short films will be screened from Syria and Turkey, documenting the plight of Syrian refugees.
People in fifty Czech towns and cities can take part in a series of events entitled Days of Architecture which focus on city planning and interesting architectural buildings in the given locality. The Days of Architecture, organized by the civic association Kruh, aim to raise public awareness of decisions impacting people’s surroundings, insensitive reconstructions, co-existence of historic and modern architectural styles, public spaces and the revitalization of communist-era housing estates. The program includes lectures, forums, film screenings, and excursions in search of architecture and interesting exhibitions that are dedicated to new trends in architecture.
The Food Inspection Office says that over a third of Czech restaurants, delis and eateries are not complying with the law on allergy labelling which went into force in December of last year. The office says 37 percent of restaurants and eating places inspected either failed to provide the respective information on their menus or only gave it on request. According to the legislation food businesses are bound to provide information relating to 14 of the most common allergens, including eggs, milk, fish, molluscs and peanuts. While the information is now available on pre-packaged foods, restaurant and deli owners have not yet fully complied with the norm, arguing that it is obtrusive and confuses their diners who are generally not interested in the ingredients of their dishes.
Petr Dongres, the former head of President Zeman’s security team, has been appointed deputy head of the special operations force responsible for protecting public officials and visiting foreign dignitaries, the ctk news agency reports. Dongres asked to be released from his post in the president’s service after a breach of security last month in which activists, posing as chimneysweeps, managed to climb onto the roof and hung a pair of red underpants in place of the presidential standard. He had served as head of security at Prague Castle since 2012 when his predecessor Jiri Sklenka resigned after a man in the street shot several pellets at then president Klaus from an airsoft plastic gun.
The power utility ČEZ has applied for a new ten-year license for the operation of the first unit of the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The current license is due to expire at the end of this year. The first unit was taken out of operation at the end of August for safety tests and maintenance. In requesting a new license ČEZ will be required to prove to the State Nuclear Safety Authority that Dukovany fully complies with all internationals safety requirements. The plant’s first unit was put into operation in 1985. The four-reactor plant was originally projected with a 30-year life span but the power utility wants to significantly extend it through modernization. ČEZ has to gain new licences for the remaining three units in 2016 and 2017. The Dukovany nuclear power plant covers one fifth of domestic electricity consumption.
Police officers around the country are working overtime in order to fulfill their duties and meet the additional requirements stemming from the migrant crisis, police chiefs from different regions have confirmed. South Bohemian police chief Milan Bajcura said that in exceptional circumstances such as the migrant crisis police officers could be ordered to serve an extra 150 hours a year without financial compensation. He said his men were not only working overtime but spent more hours on standby in the event of an emergency call. However he assured the public that the police was not neglecting its regular duties as a result of its involvement in the migrant crisis. The Interior Ministry is to get more money next year to deal with the crisis.
Prague City Hall is making plans for the resettlement of up to 200 asylum seekers, the internet news site idnes.cz reported on Saturday. The news site says that while the Prague authorities have issued no official statement, work is underway on finding accommodation, employment and schools for refugees who request asylum in the country. Although few refugees have so far requested asylum in the Czech Republic the Czech Republic is expected to take in over 3,000 migrants within the EU mandatory redistribution of refugees around Europe. The first 500 are expected to arrive before the end of the year.
The ombudsmen of the Višegrad Group have signed a joint declaration concerning refugees and their human rights. At the conclusion of their annual meeting in Višegrad, Hungary, on Friday the ombudsmen of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia declared that it is the moral and legal obligation of European member states to take responsibility for refugees. The signatories declared that they will seek to ensure that authorities in their countries treat every migrant and refugee in a humane and non-humiliating manner by observing laws, EU directives and international and European agreements. The two-day meeting was attended by the Czech Republic’s Anna Šabatová, Hungary’s Laszlo Szekely, Poland’s Stanislaw Trociuk and Slovakia’s Jana Dubovcová.