The ninth edition of the week-long Prague Pride festival celebrating sexual
minorities culminated on Saturday afternoon with a massive parade through
the Czech capital.
Despite the rain, organisers said more than 30,000 people turned out to watch or take part in the colorful event, marked by wild costumes and floats.
Among the marchers in procession under the rainbow flag from Wenceslas Square to Letná Park, on the other side of the Vltava River, were representatives from 11 embassies. They marched under the banner Diplomats for Equality.
The festival’s theme this year is ‘Together Within Reach’. It notes that 50 years since the birth of the gay rights, in the Stonewall protests in New York, many same-sex couples still shy from public displays of affection due to intolerance.
For the first time this year, the LGBT rainbow flag will be flown at the city’s Town Hall in support of the Prague Pride festival. After the parade, a dance party will continue in the Letná Park area.
Prague City Council has been mapping wells through the capital towards
creating a drinking water supply network that can be in emergencies, the
newspaper Lidové Noviny reports.
Experts have surveyed and tested some 12,500 wells, of which specialists have chosen 45 that could serve in cases of emergency, such as drought or contamination of the greater supply.
Prague aims to have the system in place within two years, the daily reports.
The 2021 national census should be carried out in March so as not to clash
with state holidays or school breaks, the Czech Statistical Office has
Under a draft law prepared by the office, only households that do not complete an online questionnaire will be surveyed in person.
Some questions included in the 2011 national census have been dropped. For example, as to whether the household has hot water, a private bathroom and toilet, and an internet connection.
Questions regarding occupants’ religion or level of formal education will also be dropped as such information is registered in other forms.
The online census will last 14 days, after which surveyed will visit households in person over a 24-day period. Participation is compulsory.
Czech tennis player Marie Bouzková has reached the semi-finals of the WTA
tournament in Toronto following a win against Simona Halep of Romania, who
suffered from a heel injury.
The 21-year-old qualifier, ranked No 91, has gone six matches without dropping a set. Bouzková next faces the heavily favoured American star Serena Williams, the No. 10 seed, on Saturday.
Bouzková won the 2014 US Open girls’ singles title. She made her WTA debut the following year at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, where she lost in the first round. She made it to the second round of Wimbledon this year.
Her compatriot Karolína Plíšková, seeded No. 3, lost to Canadian Bianca Andreescu.
Czech society has changed dramatically since 1989, and not only
politically. Czechs are living longer and having fewer children, but while
the population is aging it is not declining, thanks to an influx of
immigrants. These are among some of the more striking findings of the Czech
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, the life expectancy for a Czech man was 68, eight years lower than today at 76. In the last year of Communism, a Czech woman could expect to live to 75.5, compared to 82 now.
Seniors now account for nearly 20 percent of the population, up from 13 percent in 1989. Meanwhile, children under the age of 15 make up 16 percent of the population, down from 22 percent three decades ago.
The Czech Republic experienced a baby boom around 2008, when the so-called Husák's children generation of the 1970s, began having children of their own. Even so, the annual birth rate reached a maximum of 120,000. In recent years, it has been around 114,000.
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, there were 3.4 foreigners for every 1,000 Czechs compared to 53 today. Thirty years ago, one in 294 residents were born abroad, compared to one in 19 today.
The Czech government has temporarily suspended plans to give farmers
blanket permission to use a certain type of rat poison in fields, orchards,
meadows and vineyards. The cabinet is set to debate the proposed use of the
Stutox II poison on Monday.
The Environment Ministry said Stutox II presents a serious threat to birds and other animals, including household pets, and that its use violates the law on landscape protection.
Its use was given the green light by the Central Institute for Supervision and Testing in Agriculture. The institute, which is under the auspices of the Agriculture Ministry, has confirmed that the poison had never been used on Czech territory.
Czech farmers had sought permission to use the poison mainly to combat a widespread infestation of voles, which have decimated grain and rapeseed crops and are threatening corn, beet, sunflower production.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) has described the
irregular granting of Czech visas to Iranian entrepreneurs as having
resulted from an “individual failing” on the part of the recently
recalled Czech ambassador to Iran.
The daily Deník N reported on Wednesday that the Czech Republic had recalled career diplomat Svatopluk Čumba from Tehran early following an investigation of fraudulent practices in granting Schengen visas to Iranians.
According to the daily, the scheme allegedly also involved the Czech-Slovak -Iranian Chamber of Commerce, led by Jan Kavan, a former Czech Foreign Minister, and Zdeněk Zbytek, a former officer in the Czechoslovak Army who led a tank battalion during the Velvet Revolution.
Amb. Čumba allegedly granted 400 priority visas to individuals recommended by Kavan and in doing so circumvented standard procedures for granting Schengen visas.
Petříček said he was prepared to provide full details to the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Parliament. The General Inspectorate of the Czech Foreign Ministry has been investigating the alleged practice.
As of September, Czech Gripen fighters will monitor and patrol the airspace
over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as part of a NATO mission.
The Czech Army confirmed on Friday it would jointly patrol the Baltic States’ airspace along with alliance members Belgium and Denmark.
As in the years 2009 and 2012, Czech pilots will protect the airspace of the Baltic States, which do not own supersonic fighters of their own. Most recently, Czech Gripens were deployed over Iceland.
Altogether there are four NATO Multinational Battlegroups of the Enhanced Forward Presences (eFP) in the Baltic States and neighbouring Poland, established to deter Russia from further aggression following its annexation of Crimea and incursions into eastern Ukraine.