The second gay Pride Parade took place in the Czech capital on Saturday, with thousands taking part. Organizers estimate that this year’s parade drew even more attendees and onlookers than last year, when the estimated participation was 8,000 people. Parade participants walked from Wenceslas square to Střelecký island accompanied by floats with music and dancers. Festival organizers said that their Facebook account was hacked on Friday night and false information about changes in the schedule was sent out to fans. But the event went ahead without any glitches. A few dozen supporters of the conservative group D.O.S.T. came to Wenceslas square to protest the event before the start of the parade. And some members of the Young Christians walked with the parade carrying signs and sometimes chanting slogans that were offensive to homosexuals, but no serious conflicts were reported. A number of political and public figures showed support for Prague Pride, including presidential candidate and vice-chairman of the Social Democratic party Jiří Dienstbier, members of the Green Party, Young Social Democrats and the U.S. Embassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen. The Prague Pride festival will finish on Sunday with an ecumenical service and a number of afternoon events.
Glassmakers from the Czech company Kavalierglass created the biggest whisky bottle in the world. The hand blown bottle, which can fit 228 liters of whisky, is 1.7 meters tall and weighs 50 kilograms, will be registered in the Guinness book of records. The bottle was commissioned by a Scottish whisky producer Edrington Group. The Guinness book record will be the first for Czech glassmakers.
Czech police arrested a 29-year-old man and found bombs, bullets and explosive substances at his apartment. In a press conference on Saturday, the police say the man, who was arrested on August 10, was most likely planning a sophisticated bombing attack. During the search of the man’s apartment, they found a police uniform and car siren, which the Ostrava resident was probably planning to use for the attack. The man’s internet communication led Ostrava police to suspect him of sympathizing with the Norwegian mass murdered Anders Breivik. The suspect had been arrested in the past for setting off a bomb explosion in an unpopulated area.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Friday pledged to override the Senate’s veto of a bill that would raise the Value Added Tax rates by one percentage points to 15 and 21 percent, cancel cuts on tax insurance for employees, and raise taxes for people earning more than 100 thousand crowns a month. The tax hikes are one of the key components of the government’s consolidation package aimed at bringing the gap in public finance to under three percent of GDP in 2013. The Prime Minister is confident that the coalition parties will secure the 101 votes necessary for the lower house to overturn the Senate’s decision.
Civic Democrat presidential candidate, deputy speaker of the Senate Přemysl Sobotka opened his campaign headquarters in Prague on Friday. At the opening, Mr. Sobotka highlighted several issues that he is likely to campaign on, such as the introduction of direct voting in the elections for the lower house. Czech MPs are currently elected on party tickets. Mr. Sobotka also announced that if elected he would oppose the adoption the euro in the country. The Civic Democratic candidate is one of around 15 people who have announced their intent to run for president in the first Czech popular presidential elections in the winter of 2013.
The Building Authority in Ostrava has called on the owner of houses in the
Přednádraží slum to make repairs in six of the buildings within the
next 60 days. The authority deemed 74 apartments as uninhabitable.
Residents, who are for the most part Romani, and chose to remain in the
buildings were told they must vacate the premises. The owner is facing a
fine of 200 thousand crowns if he does not carry out the repairs in due
Authorities have already issued eviction notices two weeks ago. At the time, over 100 residents had refused to leave. The Building Authority has filed a petition Friday for court-sanctioned evictions. The owner, Oldřich Roztočil, had previously expressed willingness to carry out repairs on his property but said he will not do so unless the city fixes the sewer system that is municipal property.
Jiří Dienstbier, the Social Democratic candidate for the 2013 presidential elections, has expressed his support for new laws to permit gay couples to both enter into registered partnerships and adopt children in the Czech Republic. Discussing his position, Dienstbier stated that he believed that no institute could supplant an upbringing provided to a child by a stable couple. Recent opinion polls have Dientsbier achieving around 6% support while independent candidate Jan Fischer leads the pack with 34.5%, according to the Meridian agency.
Anti-corruption police raided the offices of Prague’s Public Transit
Company, or DPP, Friday morning. The case is supervised by the Prague High
State Attorney’s office, which has not yet released any information
the cause or findings of the raid. The company’s newly appointed
Magdalena Češková said the search was connected to the charges filed on
Wednesday by DPP’s former director general Vladimír Lich against
potentially fraudulent activities of the company’s former managers. Ms.
Češková also said that members of the non-profit organization
Transparency International assisted the police in the raid, and that DPP
will file a complaint as a result.
Lich was unexpected sacked from his post of chairman of the board of directors on Wednesday, and from his position as director the next day on the grounds of bad management. Prague mayor Bohuslav Sobotka expressed vehement disagreement with the move.
The week-long Prague Pride festival celebrating diversity and the gay and lesbian community in the Czech Republic will be coming to an end this weekend. On Saturday, the Prague Pride parade will take place in the Czech capital, starting at Wenceslas Square and finishing at the Střelecký island. While on Sunday, an ecumenical service will be held for festival participants in cooperation with the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. The festival has been criticized by a number of conservative and religious groups, some of whom will most likely be present at the Saturday parade to protest the event.
The regional court in Brno made the first ruling in a case connected to
the controversial secondary school leaving exams. The case was brought by
female student against the South Moravian Regional Authority for a
negligent assessment of her appeal of her exam results. The Regional Court
ruled on Friday that the Regional Administration has to re-evaluate with
greater care the student’s appeal against a failing score in the Czech
language written exam.
This year, Czech students took the first unified state leaving exams, with a 21.2 percent rate of failure, which is an increase of 1.7 percentage points from last year’s test run. Many students have filed complaints over the grading of the test, especially the essay sections. Regional Administrations have complied with approximately a third of the complaints. Education Minister Petr Fiala recently sacked the head of the company that created the tests and ordered and audit of the exams.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech Republic bracing for wind storm Sabine
Ron Perlman: Cinema is a much bigger art-form than superhero movies represent
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery