News NGO unveils Putin as Hitler
Members of the Czech NGO Dekomunizace have raised a giant banner at City Hall in Liberec, north of Prague, casting Russian leader Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler - complete with the Nazi dictator’s moustache and medals on his overcoat featuring the swastika and the red star. The banner was hung close to a memorial remembering nine in Liberec who were killed during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Dekomunizace, dedicated to casting light on crimes committed by the former regime, made clear it was protesting Russia’s recent invasion of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine’s domestic politics. The banner was raised with permission by City Hall; the police, however, began to investigate after charges were filed.
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The Czech Trade Inspection Authority found 19 cases of Romany and Russian consumers being discriminated against in the first six months of the year, the agency said in a press released on Monday. On two occasions, Russian clients were denied accommodation by Czech hotels over the situation in Ukraine, the authority said. In four cases, real estate agents discriminated their Romany customers by setting restrictive conditions for them, and in one case, Romany clients were not granted entry into an unspecified establishment. The authority also found that foreign customers are often charged higher prices compared to locals.
In related news, the government has approved a 3.5 percent increase in the salaries of public employees, effective of November. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová said the government had saved up around one billion crowns in this year’s budget which was enough to pay for the increase in November and December. The government was originally planning to raise the salaries in January. The salaries of some 930,000 public sector employees such as teachers, health care workers, police officers, and others, will increase by an average 730 crowns a month.
The Czech government on Monday approved the state budget for next year with a deficit of 100 billion crowns, or 2.3 percent of the country’s GDP, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. The state expenditures should next year reach 1.219 trillion crowns. The draft budget takes into account the planned introduction of a lower, 10-percent VAT rate certain goods as well as the cancellation of fees for visiting a doctor, higher tax breaks for families with children and a slight increase in pensions. The draft budget for 2015 is now set for a debate in the lower house of Parliament.
Around 110,000 EU nationals, both permanent and temporary residents of in the Czech Republic, are entitled to vote in the municipal elections scheduled for October 10 and 11, the State Electoral Commission said on Monday. The announcement comes after a Brno court upheld a Slovak man’s demand to register for the elections. A local town hall in Brno turned the man down as a temporary resident but the court argued EU nationals must meet stricter conditions to become permanent residents than Czech citizens. The State Electoral Commission said additional ballots had been printed in order to allow EU citizens to participate in the voting.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková improved to career-high 31st spot in WTA rankings after securing her second title win at the weekend. The player, who is 22, has had an excellent season, reaching four finals and converting once. The number one Czech women's player Petra Kvitová is ranked third on the same list. In men's tennis, Tomáš Berdych is at number 7 in the top ten.
A 60-year-old suspect who was caught by police after a two-day manhunt in the Bruntál area has been charged with attempted murder, among other crimes. The man allegedly attacked and seriously injured a 59-year-old woman and also posed a threat to others. Dozens of police spent the better part of two days trying to hunt down the suspect in the area near the Polish border; they managed to capture him at 2 AM on Saturday using night vision equipment. If found guilty, the suspect could face an exemplary sentence.
Czech President Miloš Zeman, speaking at Mošnov in Ostrava on Sunday, the second day of NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days attended by thousands of visitors, reiterated that fewer tanks and more unmanned drones were needed in the fight against terrorism, specifically Islamic State. The president has made the case before, namely at the recent summit in Wales. On Sunday, Mr Zeman also congratulated the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, on his election to be the next chairman of NATO's Military Committee. In his speech, he also touched upon the usefulness of the country's supersonic Gripen fighter jets, which are to begin a mission in helping to protect Iceland's air space.
Twenty-two-year-old women's tennis player Karolína Plíšková has won her second career title, winning in the final of a WTA tournament in Seoul. Plíšková defeated opponent Varvara Lepchenko in three sets by a score of 6:3, 6:7 and 6:2. The player has had an excellent season, reaching four finals this year. Last year, the player secured her first title in Kuala Lumpur.
Kateřinice, in the region of Zlín, has won the prestigious title of Village of the Year in a popular competition, beating out 12 other finalists, including Ořechov and Nová Hradečná. In all, 306 municipalities took part in the competition this year - the 20th inception. The local mayor thanked all those who took part who helped to secure the win. Kateřinice boasts a population of more than 1,000 inhabitants and rich array of organisations including a local choir and the boy scouts.
A 34-year-old man drowned on Saturday in the Ostravice River in Frýdlant after jumping off a weir into the water to try and save his dog caught in a whirlpool. He was himself caught and dragged under. Rescuers called to the scene pulled the man from the water after some 20 minutes and tried to save his life. They were able to only briefly resuscitate his heart.