Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has addressed a statement from Sudeten Germans, who said at the weekend that they expect "a considerable breakthrough" in relations with the Czech government. In an interview for the German news agency DPA, Mr Schwarzenberg said he wasn’t sure what they expected, but that they may want an official apology for the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia at the close of WWII. The late president Václav Havel expressed regret for the acts in 1990. Mr Schwarzenberg said he was not fond of empty gestures and that real cooperation between Sudeten Germans and Czechs was the most important thing. Decrees issued at the end of WWII allowed about 2.5 million ethnic Germans to be transferred from the country and their property confiscated.
Roma representatives will not press charges against a boy who falsely stated he had been seriously beaten by members of the community. The chairman of the national association of Roma told the Czech Press Agency on Monday that they wanted to make a conciliatory gesture and make sure that the entire situation is put to rest in a calm and dignified manner. Mass demonstrations broke out in Břeclav last month when the fifteen-year-old was hospitalised and lost a kidney. Last week he confessed that he had actually fallen off a railing.
Czechs have a very negative perception of various kinds of EU directives, according to pollsters Factum Invenio. The survey, conducted for the insurance company Česká pojišťovna, said that Ninety-one percent of respondents, for example, took notice of the regulation setting the size of cages for laying hens at farms - possibly also because egg prices grew sharply as a result of the directive. The mandatory use of energy saving bulbs and restriction of smoking at public places was also registered by most Czechs, 82%, in each case.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas says union plans to block government ministries on Tuesday are violent and lack democratic legitimacy. Speaking after a meeting of the Civic Democrat executive council, Mr Nečas said that demonstrating and expressing one’s opinion was one thing, but trying to keep people from going to work or to a government office was unacceptable and could lead to ‘jeopardising freedoms’. He added that the relevant authorities should react accordingly. Various unions plan to join with activists and students to protest reforms by blocking access to the ministries of culture, health and finance over the coming weeks.
A commemoration of the assassination of Gestapo chief and governor of the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich took place at
Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sunday, which marks the 70-year anniversary
of the event. The commemoration, which was under the auspices of Defense
Minister Alexandr Vondra and deputy chairman of the Senate Přemysl
Sobotka, aimed to raise awareness of the importance of the fact that plans
to extinguish the Czech nation were thwarted by the assassination. Other
commemorative events were held across the capital.
The targeted killing of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in the Operation Anthropoid took place in Prague on May 27, 1942. British-trained Czech commandos parachuted into the Nazi-held protectorate and severely injured Heydrich by tossing a bomb into his car. He died as a result from the injuries suffered in the attack. The Gestapo chief's assassination became a symbol of Czech independence and was later hailed as an important moment in the resistance movement. His death led to a wave of revenge acts, including the Lidice massacre.
Deputy chairman of the Czech Senate and presidential candidate of the Civic Democrats Přemysl Sobotka has won the primaries in Western Bohemia. He defeated his opponent, MEP Evžen Tošenovský, by 273 votes and was able to consolidate his current lead in the presidential primaries. Overall, he has gained some 66 percent in regions where primaries were held so far. The voter turnout of about 20 percent was the lowest yet.
The actress Zita Kabatová died in Prague on Sunday at the age of 99 years after a long period of illness. Zita Kabatová was one of the last living stars from the golden era of Czech film, the 1930s and 1940s. Her first on-screen appearance was in the film Světlo jeho očí in 1936. By the end of the decade, she had performed in ten movies. After the Second World War, the actress was a member of a village theater group and worked as the director of several Prague cinemas.
Franz Pany, the head of the Sudetengerman group Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft, has slammed Czech President Václav Klaus at the group’s annual gathering on Sunday. He said that the Czech head of state had a contrarian attitude toward Germany and Europe. Good sense, realism and an openness for mutual understanding needed to return to Prague castle, he added. On Saturday, the group had honored the Czech-born writer Max Mannheimer, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, with its Karl IV. prize.
Police are investigating a case of four men burgled a house in the early hours of Saturday morning. The group had disguised themselves as policemen to gain entrance into the house. The owner of the house injured one of them severely and the burglar died as a result of his injuries. He had threatened the wife and daughter of the house owner at gunpoint. His accomplices stole some 150 000 Czech crowns.