The first ever LGBT pride parade in Ostrava took place on Saturday
afternoon. An estimated 300 mainly young people participated in the
procession, which passed through the centre of the Czech Republic’s third
city before culminating in an event offering music and talks at the
Komenský sad park.
Around 30 opponents of the parade also gathered in the centre of the city, many of them bearing symbols of local football team Baník Ostrava. Riot police kept them away from the pride participants.
This year’s November 17 is the 30th anniversary of the start of the
Velvet Revolution and more events than usual are planned for the state
holiday, the Czech News Agency reported. These include the opening of a new
permanent exhibition at Prague’s National Museum focused on 20th century
Czech and Slovak history.
The biggest events for the public will take place at the capital’s Albertov, Národní and Wenceslas Square, which are locations closely associated with the demonstrations that led to the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.
Most of the events taking place will be co-ordinated by Festival of Freedom. A candle-lit procession will take place, the event Národní Promenade will again be held and a Concert for the Future is set to draw crowds to Wenceslas Square. Post Bellum will present its annual Memory of the Nation awards to those who stood up to totalitarianism.
Karolína Plíšková has missed out on the chance of becoming women’s
world tennis number one after being knocked out in the quarter-finals of
the Cincinnati Masters in the US. The Czech was beaten 3-6 7-6 3-6 by
Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in a match that lasted almost two and a half
Plíšková, who is 27, was previously world number one for two months in the summer of 2017. She has never won a Grand Slam tournament.
The Czech government is preparing a carbon tax that will concern coal and
gas heating, the news site iDnes.cz reported on Saturday. Cabinet members
are set to discuss the proposal, which is aimed at reduced greenhouse gas
emissions, at the end of September. The move is required under the Czech
Republic’s commitments to the European Union.
The minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, told newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes that the government had decided that those who pollute the environment ought to pay.
The carbon tax will not concern municipal gas heating systems as heating plants already pay a tax in the form of emissions allowances, which is factored into prices.
Police are investigating comments made by an MP from Tomio Okamura’s
Freedom and Direct Democracy. In a Facebook post in January Karla
Maříková compared Muslim migrants to invasive species of plants and
animals that ought to be banned from the entering the European Union. She
is suspected of incitement to hatred.
A Ministry of the Interior report on extremism for the second quarter of this year referred to an investigation into Ms. Maříková’s comments.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will not be in a government with
Michal Šmarda, the Social Democrats’ nominee for arts minister. Miloš
Zeman said this week that he would not appoint Mr. Šmarda and Mr. Babiš
told reporters on Friday he shared the president’s view that he was not a
Social Democrats leader Jan Hamáček pointed out that the prime minister had himself originally proposed Mr. Šmarda for the cabinet post.
Mr. Zeman has rejected Mr. Šmarda’s nomination despite being required under the constitution to appoint ministers proposed by the head of government.
Mr. Babiš is due to discuss the post of arts minister with the president on Tuesday and says the situation must be resolved next week.
The Social Democrats have threatened to quit the government over the matter as the culture ministry is their domain under the coalition agreement.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is to meet with President Miloš Zeman next
Tuesday to try to resolve the controversy surrounding the appointment of a
new culture minister.
President Zeman this week refused to appoint the nominee chosen by the Social Democratic Party, reigniting a crisis that may bring down the government. The Social Democrats have threatened to walk out of the ruling coalition if their nominee is rejected.
Opposition parties are calling for the prime minister to act and ensure that the president respects the Czech constitutional order.
Under the Czech Constitution the president is bound to accept the prime minister’s request for the dismissal of a given cabinet minister as well as the nominee chosen to replace him.
Twenty-eight Czech soldiers who served in foreign missions in Kosovo, Italy
and Afghanistan received medals of merit from the army’s deputy
chief-of-staff, Lieutenant General Jaromír Zůna on Friday.
Zůna thanked them for their dedicated service and for helping to fulfil the country’s commitments in NATO and the European Union. The Czech participation in foreign missions is appreciated and highly valued, Lieutenant General Zůna said.
The Czech Army has had soldiers stationed in Kosovo since 1999. Until 2011 it had a contingent of 500 soldiers there. Three of the decorated soldiers served in the naval Operation Sophia and 14 of them were deployed in Afghanistan.