The Czech coronation jewels will be on display at the Prague Castle again after five years, for the occasion of the election of the new president. The jewels will be displayed at the Vladislav hall at Prague Castle between May 10 and 19. The entrance will be free of charge. Among the jewels is the St. Wenceslas crown that was made and first worn by Charles IV in 1347. The other objects, such as the royal sceptre, the orb and the coronation vestment come in the 14th, 16th and 17th centuries.
Financial analysts at the Česká spořitelna bank have calculated that Czechs spend approximately 5% of their total expenses abroad, based on the fact that their spending outside of the Czech Republic by credit and debit cards amounted to 45.9 billion crowns last year. Analysts claim that the number of trans-border shopping trips is on the rise due, to a large extent, to the rise in the Value Added Tax and the weakening of the crown. What is interesting is that the Czech Statistical Office estimated the amount spent abroad to 2.3%, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. This may mean that the Czech households are not as badly off as it has seemed from official statistics, the report claims.
Holešovice Fashion Market is taking place on Friday and Saturday of this week for the fifth year in a row. The fashion market, held at Prague’s Holešovice market hall, offers clothes, accessories and other creations by Czech and Slovak independent designers. The market will be open on Saturday until 10 pm.
The second annual Arnošt Lustig Prize has been awarded to the radio and television announcer Kamila Moučková, who openly criticised the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and was a signatory of Charter 77. In August 1968, Ms Moučková said on live television that Czechoslovakia was occupied and was subsequently led out of the studio by Soviet soldiers. She was later fired and banned from working in her profession. Until 1989 Ms Moučková, who is now 85, worked as a cook, a cleaning lady and a factory worker, and was constantly questioned by the secreted police until the Velvet Revolution, when she was able to return to her previous occupation. The Arnošt Lustig Prize is awarded to people who have exhibited courage, perseverance and humanity throughout their life.
Ahead of a debate in the lower house of parliament over healthcare fees, the opposition Social Democrats said they want to revoke hospital-stay fees for children up to the age of 18. Currently all hospitalized patients, including children, pay 100 crowns per day. The Social Democrats released an official statement reiterating their earlier claims that if they win the 2014 elections they plan to revoke all healthcare fees that were introduced by Mirek Topolanek’s government.
The Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting has launched an investigation over alleged violation of journalistic objectivity and balanced reporting of the presidential campaigns on Czech Television and the private TV Prima broadcaster. Two shows on Czech Television are being put in question over their objectivity, while Prima is being investigated over the choice of the candidate chosen for their televised presidential duels before the first round of elections, where nine candidates were in the running. The late night talk show of Jan Kraus has also been questioned over impartiality.
With warmer spring temperatures, this weekend is expected to be the last of the season for ski hills still open. Many have already shut down for the spring and summer but several across the country still boast good conditions, including sites in the Krkonoše Mountains such as Harrachov, Špindlerův Mlýn and Medvědín. Even areas no longer running lifts, for example in the Jeseníky Mountains, still have 94 centimetres of snow – ideal for cross-country skiing, meteorologists have noted.
State attorney Jan Petrásek filed a proposal on Friday with the Brno Regional Court for Ronald Adams, the CEO of Moravian lorry maker Tatra Truck, to be charged with corruption. Mr Adams, an American national, is suspected of having offered a 20 million crown bribe to try and secure a military contract with the Czech Army. He was accused by former defence minister Martin Barták, himself a suspect in the case. Mr Adams allegedly discussed the bribe at the IDET trade fair in Brno in 2009. In the past, Mr Adams refused to comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation; later he described details of backstage negotiations between Tatra and representatives of the Czech state in an interview for Lidové noviny. He admitted to the daily that a bribe was mentioned but said he had only tried to suss out the situation.
U.S. President Obama has awarded Czech-born Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun the Medal of Honour posthumously for his extraordinary heroism while serving with the 3d Battalion of the US army during combat operations in the Korean War. The Medal of Honour is the highest US military award. Speaking at Thursday’s ceremony President Obama said Chaplain Kapaun had walked bravely through enemy fire to provide comfort and medical aid to injured and dying soldiers. He died in a POW camp in 1953. Members of Chaplain Kapoun’s family and a number of Korean War veterans looked on as President Obama handed the Medal of Honour to the chaplain’s nephew.
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