Representatives of the country’s Olah Romanies elected a new king in the town of Hradec Králové on Saturday. Their new monarch is to be fifty-two-year- old entrepreneur Robert Beneš from Brno. Although Benes was elected by Olah representatives from dozens of towns and cities, he may not be accepted by all Olah Romanies. For instance the Olah clan from Ostrava was notably absent from the vote. Elections of previous Olah kings have been known to stir controversy. In 2001 Jan Lipa was elected king of the Olahs, but a congregation of Olah Romanies in Brno refused to accept him and elected Jan Horvátko instead. Lipa died in 2012, Horvátko a year later.
A poll conducted by the Median agency suggests that the Social Democrats would once again win general elections gaining 21 percent of the vote, trailed by ANO which would receive 19.5 percent. The Communist Party would come third with 15 percent support, followed by TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats with 11.5 and 8.5 percent respectively. The poll contradicts the findings of the CVVM, STEM and PPM factum agencies which in March all featured ANO as the strongest party on the Czech political scene today.
A prisoner on the run was employed as chief economist by the National Museum of Agriculture from which he syphoned off ten million crowns before being detected, commercial TV Nova reported. The man who was serving a seven-year sentence for embezzlement escaped from the Hradec Králové jailhouse last summer and shortly after won an open competition for the position of chief economist at the Museum of Agriculture under a false identity. He syphoned off a third of the museum’s annual budget before being detected and once again managed to escape as police were arresting him.
The number of hepatitis A cases in the Czech Republic is reported to be on the rise and the health authorities are recommending vaccination for vulnerable groups of the population. Doctors registered 49 cases of hepatitis A in March of this year, the second highest number in any single month in the past decade and more than a hundred percent increase compared to last March. Last year 348 people contracted the disease which is a 25 percent increase on 2012. There is an increased risk of contracting the virus in crowded public spaces such as public transport, shopping malls, post offices, or the cinema.
One of the Civic Democratic Party’s most generous private donors in 2013 was a 22-year-old hairdresser on maternity leave who has no private income, according to Saturday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes. The paper notes that the young woman who gave the Civic Democrats a gift of one million crowns does not even own the cottage where she has permanent residence. The young woman in question refused to comment and party deputy chair Martin Kupka said the party was not in a position to check out the private finances of its donors. Party leader Petr Fiala said he knew nothing about the affair since he was not party chairman at the time. The party has had problems in the past with contributions from non-existent or fake donors.
The Social Democrats on Saturday launched their campaign to elections in the European Parliament. At a press briefing in Olomouc, party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said he would consider it a success if the Social Democrats defended their current seven seats in the assembly. The party will spend 25 million on campaigning and its candidates will appear at election rallies and debates around the country. Mr. Sobotka said it was important to generate greater public interest in the elections and bring as many voters to the ballots as possible. Elections to the European Parliament are scheduled to take place on May23-24.
The Czech Republic wrapped up their Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Japan on Saturday easing to a straight sets victory in the doubles rubber to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in Tokyo. After battling to singles wins on Friday, Radek Štepánek and Lukáš Rosol paired up for a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Tatsuma Ito and Yasutaka Uchiyama at the Ariake Coliseum to set up a last four encounter against either Germany or France.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, has released details of his salary. In his online blog, Cardinal Duka wrote that his monthly gross salary was just over 23,700 crowns, or around 1,180 US dollars. After deducting his monthly expenses including rent, energy bills and others, he is left with around 3,000 crowns that he spends on books, travels, and charity, he wrote. The cardinal’s decision came in response to criticism of a controversial restitution deal under which the Catholic Church is set to receive property confiscated by the Communist regime as well as over 47 billion crowns in compensation for property that cannot be given back.
A total of 148,000 five- and six-year old children have enrolled for elementary school, the highest number in ten years, a spokeswoman for the Education Ministry said on Friday. The ministry expects that around 116,000 of them will start school this September while the rest will have to wait a year. Last year, 112,000 children entered first grade. The numbers of first graders have been rising over the last three years, causing capacity problems in Czech schools.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Friday asked Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to consider sending Czech troops on a planned peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, Mr Ki-Moon told the news agency ČTK. Prime Minister Sobotka said he would ask the Defence Ministry to evaluate the petition; the UN chief reportedly suggested a Czech field hospital as well as Air Force units could take part in the mission. During his visit to Prague,Ban Ki-Moon also praised the Czech Republic for its support of human rights and humanitarian aid efforts. Mr Ki-Moon also received Charles University’s Golden Medal for supporting understanding and cooperation between nations.