In related news, Czech politicians have rejected Václav Klaus’ call for the country to withdraw from the EU. President Miloš Zeman said the EU was beneficial for the Czech Republic, and that the country’s membership was also beneficial for the EU. Mr Klaus’ views were also dismissed by the Social Democrats, the Civic Democrats, and other parties.
The Czech Association of Scouts and Guides has complained about a commercial campaign by the mobile phone operator T Mobile. In the series of video commercials launched in July, the firm pokes fun at the scouting movement whose members are presented as impractical and dull fools running around in the forest with phones and tablets, the association said. The operator has denied the claims, and said they had offered to sponsor the organization. However, the scout association said the firm never delivered on its promise.
A court in Brno on Thursday rejected an appeal by Mercedes Dietrichstein who demanded the return of her former family property confiscated after WWII on the basis of the so-called Beneš decrees. Ms Dietrichstein sued several public institutions which now own the property including the chateau in Mikulov but a court in Břeclav rejected the lawsuit three years ago. For several centuries, the Dietrichsteins were one of the most significant aristocratic families in Moravia. Their property was confiscated after the Second World War as Ms Dietrichstein’s father was a member of the pro-Nazi Sudetendeutsche Partei. In a separate lawsuit against the town of Mikulov, Mercedes Dietrichstein has asked for the return of her family crypt and other property located in the town. A court in Břeclav is scheduled to hear the case in November.
The Czech Republic is set to receive around 412 million crowns from the European Union’s Solidarity Fund to deal with damage caused by June’s massive flooding, Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said on Thursday. The funding is yet to be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states. Along with Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic filed for aid in the wake of floods that hit Central Europe in June. In the Czech Republic, 15 people died in the flooding which inflicted damages of 16.4 billion crowns.
CSKA Moscow defeated the Viktoria Plzeň football team 3:2 in a Champions League match in St. Petersburg on Wednesday night. This is Plzeň’s second match in the group stage of European football’s most prestigious competition. Having lost to Manchester City in their first game, the Czech title holders are now ranked last in their group. Plzeň will next play last season’s Champion League winners Bayern Munich in Germany.
In his new book, former Czech president Václav Klaus calls for the Czech Republic to leave the European Union. In the book entitled “Decision Time” which is to be published next week, Mr Klaus argues that the EU deepened various negative features of the Czech society, politics and economy by overregulation, disregard for the sovereignty of national governments, and diminishing their responsibility. In an interview for the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Thursday, Mr Klaus also called for a fundamental change in people’s thinking, similar to that which occurred after the fall of communism. Mr Klaus, whose second term as president expired in February, now heads his own Prague-based institute.
The Josef Jungmann prize for the best translation into Czech was awarded to Anežka Charvátová for her translation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666 from Spanish. The Josef Jungmann prize has been given out annually since 1991 on the day of Saint Jerome, who is the patron saint of translators. At this year’s ceremony, Věra Koubová, who is best known for translations of Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche, was inducted into the hall of fame.
A court in Prague on Thursday rejected a request by former Central Bohemian governor David Rath to be released from custody. Mr Rath, a former prominent member of the Social Democrats, was arrested in May 2012 on corruption charges; he faces accusations of manipulating public contracts awarded by the region. Another defendant in the case, the former director of a central Bohemian hospital Kateřina Pancová, was released from custody last week. The trial against Mr Rath and 10 other people started in August, and is expected to conclude in the coming months.
New legislation introduced last year to curb corruption in public procurement has failed, suggests a new survey by the consultancy firm Otidea released on Thursday. 95 percent of companies which took part in the poll said they still encountered public procurement projects tailored to suit a particular bidder; meanwhile, around 70 percent of public officials said tenders were not more transparent than they were before the legislation came into force. The poll also suggests that one in six officials admitted to having accepted undervalued bids which have become a new strategy for companies to win public contracts.
The psychedelic rock band Plastic People of the Universe are marking their 45th anniversary with a concert in Prague on Thursday. The band was founded in the capital in September 1968. It was later banned by the communist authorities and its members were sentenced to prison terms in the 1970s which provoked the creation of the human rights manifesto Charter 77. The band, whose style is sometimes described as “dissident rock”, has recorded nine studio albums that were only officially released after the fall of communism.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s