News Monument to writer Škvorecký unveiled in Náchod
A monument to the late Czech writer Josef Škvorecký was unveiled in his native town of Náchod, eastern Bohemia, on Sunday. The monument is in the form of a bench with a realistic statue of the writer. Josef Škoverecký, who was born in Náchod in 1924, came to prominence in the 1950s with the novel Cowards which depicted the end of WWII in his town through the eyes of a teenager. He left Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion of 1968 and settled in Canada where he and his wife launched Sixty-Eight Publishers which published books by authors banned in Czechoslovakia. Josef Škvorecký died in 2012.
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The testing of water samples from a well at a children’s summer camp in the Jihlava area have confirmed the presence of salmonella, officials have confirmed. Roughly a week ago, 28 children suffered health complications at the camp as a result of the bacteria: 17 of them had to be transferred to hospital as well as two adults. The summer camp has been closed for the time being and is due to reopen in mid-August at the earliest.
The Czech Republic will take in 80 Syrian migrants in Turkish refugee camps per the European Union’s agreement with Turkey, Czech daily Lidové noviny reports. The newspaper cited Czech Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Malá as confirming the move. The exact date of their arrival was not specified but they are expected in the Czech Republic sometime in October. Two weeks ago the Czech Republic received files on Syrian refugees interested in applying for asylum from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; vetting is being conducted by the security services.
Ostrava Transport, running public transit in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city, is planning on expanding and upgrading its existing tram fleet with 40 new low-floor trams. The news was confirmed by the agency’s head, Roman Kadlučka. The company wants the new vehicles to offer commuter comfort inclduing air conditioning. The tender is to be conducted online for reasons of transparency. The deal is worth a reported 1.4 billion crowns.
The first group of Czech athletes has arrived at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the upcoming summer games. According to news site idnes, the team had expressed relative satisfaction with the accommodation and found no problems, the head of the Czech delegation Tomáš Houska, confirmed. Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Italy found the facilities lacking, idnes reported, saying that Australian athletes were looking for alternative accommodation at local hotels.
French President Francois Hollande will arrive in the Czech Republic on Wednesday on an official working visit, when he will meet with Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman. The news was confirmed on Monday by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for the Czech head of state. During his visit, President Hollande will also meet with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr Hollande was originally scheduled to travel to Prague last week but the date was postponed in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice which claimed 84 lives.
The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell by 11.3 percent in the first half of 2016, according to police statistics released on Monday. In all, the police registered some 115,314 crimes in the first six months. Of those, some 42.5 percent were reportedly solved. Out of crimes committed, 7,735 were violent. There were 65 murders, down by 24 from the same period last year. The region of Central Bohemia had the most with 13 while Liberec had none.
Czech businessman František Savov is to be extradited from Great Britain to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday citing spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová of the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague. She spoke after a court in London rejected his appeal over an earlier ruling loast year. Mr Savov, best-known as the owner of Mlada fronta publishers, is wanted on the suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering going into the hundreds of millions of crowns. The 44-year-old businessman has denied any wrongdoing.
A report on extremism published by the Interior Ministry suggests that extremist groups in the country lost momentum in the second quarter, not finding new topics to attract potential supporters besides the migrant crisis. Right-wing groups in particular have been further weakened as they compete for the largely the same followers. According to the report, the most significant recent development from the persepctive of Czech extremists was Brexit (the decision by Great Britain to leave the European Union).
More than three-fifths of Czechs in a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency said they supported the right of adoption by same-sex couples. Less than one-third of those who took part in the survey said they were against. Lawmakers are currently debating an amendment dealing with ‘second-parent adoption’, granting the non-biological partner in a registered partnership the same legal rights to the child; the earliest that the debate will continue is in September.
A meeting of the tripartite – government, union and employers representatives – is not likely to reach a consensus on Monday on a raising of the minimum monthly wage, the Czech News Agency reports. According to the service, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has backed an increase of no more than 700 crowns per month for a total of 10,600 crowns, which is also seen as suitable by employers. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wants the total to be 11,000 and unions 500 crowns more. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has backed an increase to at least 11,000. The monthly minimum wage was last raised at the beginning of 2016 – from the previous 9,200 crowns to the current 9,900.