The Czech government is going to back a motion in the lower house to
establish a remembrance day of the victims of Romany Holocaust, the news
agency ČTK reported on Saturday citing government documents. A group of
MPs from several parties want to introduce March 7 as the Remembrance Day
of the Victims of Romany Persecution during WWII; on that day in 1943, the
first transport of Bohemian and Moravian Romanies was sent to the Auschwitz
extermination camp. In total, nearly 9,000 Romanies were murdered in the
Holocaust, nearly 90 percent of their pre-war population.
All ministries have expressed consent with the idea; however, the Foreign Ministry noted Holocaust victims are remembered on January 27. Should a special day be established to honour Romany victims, the ministry said, it might be necessary to also remember victims from other ethnic or social groups persecuted during the war.
Two baby polar bears in Brno Zoo were named Kometa and Nanuk on Saturday, the winning names of an online poll. The bears were born last November as their mother Cora’s second pair of cubs. The zoo is planning to keep them for a year before exchanging them for other animals. The bears have been a huge attraction for visitors; last weekend, some 8,000 people came to see them.
A draft agreement on transferring prisoners between the Czech Republic and Vietnam is being discussed by Czech government ministries, a spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry said. Under the bilateral agreement, Vietnamese national sentenced to jail in the Czech Republic would serve their sentences in Vietnam while Czechs imprisoned in Vietnam would be transferred to the Czech Republic. After the document is reviewed by relevant ministries, it will be discussed by the Czech government, the spokeswoman said.
In an interview for the Austrian weekly Profil, Czech President Miloš Zeman criticized EU’s numerous regulations. The European Union should not regulate light bulbs, smoking and alcohol, Mr Zeman said. The Czech president also voiced his objections to EU’s bailout for Greece and Cyprus, and reiterated that the Czech Republic should soon adopt the euro.
Ecological activists from Friends of the Earth have awarded the country’s environment minister, Tomáš Chalupa, this year’s Ropák (Oil Guzzler) anti-award for most damaging environmental policies. The organisation said the minister had been chosen for the distinction for a controversial bill on the protection of Šumava National Park, for supporting the expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant, and allegedly failing to act in the protection of the environment. The minister responded by saying that receiving the award meant he was doing something right and not succumbing to what he called “green hysteria”. The Ropák anti-award takes its name from a fictional creature (invented by Czech filmmaker Jan Svěrák) which survives on industrial waste. This year was the 21st time it was awarded.
Two bodies were found in the Vltava River on Friday, one near Palacký Bridge and the other near an electric power plant at Štvanice. The criminal police have begun investigations into both deaths. The body found by the bridge is that of a 40 to 50 year-old man whose identity remains unknown. The police have released no details about the second person, whose body proved difficult to retrieve.
Prague City councillors on Friday agreed on an out-of-court settlement with insurance companies over the renovation of the industrial palace at Prague’s exhibition grounds. One wing of the palace was destroyed by fire several years ago. Under the agreement, the city will receive 280 million crowns compared to the 1.2 billion crowns or so the city was asking for before. The settlement comes after a court ruled that Prague had no right to compensation in the deal, as the site during the time of the fire, was leased to a private company.
A new study obtained prior to release by the Czech news agency, suggests
that in terms of structure psychiatric institutional care in the Czech
Republic most resembles systems in the former Soviet Union and the
setting it apart from current practices in western Europe, where the trend
has been towards community care and other support systems. The study was
conducted by specialists from the Prague Psychiatric Centre: care across
European countries was examined.
In Italy, for example, many mental hospitals were closed or reduced in size. In the Czech Republic similar steps could only be taken following the introduction of alternative systems to prevent the mentally ill from ending up on the street or in prison, specialists suggested. Currently, Czech psychiatry receives 3.5 percent of the annual healthcare budget; that is to be boosted to five percent after reforms are introduced. The European average is eight.
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