Easter Monday, observed as a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrates the country’s colourful folklore traditions. Groups of carollers visit the homes of their family members and friends, carrying braided willow sticks, known as pomplázka. They playfully whip girls and women to ensure their good health over the next year, and in return receive coloured eggs, sometimes elaborately decorated. This ancient tradition is believed to have stemmed from pre-Christian pagan rituals. These traditions are particularly alive in the east of the Czech Republic.
Three dissident MPs from the junior coalition party Public Affairs will not support the government in Tuesday’s vote of no-confidence in the lower house of Parliament, the news website idnes.cz reported on Sunday. MPs Stanislav Huml, Kristýna Kočí and Jaroslav Škárka, who were expelled from the smallest party in the centre-right coalition over their role in the recent government crisis, said the cabinet’s shake-up was not sufficient to ensure the continuation of several key reforms. Even without the dissenters, however, the government has a comfortable majority of 115 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.
In March, the three expellees blew the whistle on alleged corruption practices within the party. The resulting scandal ended with two of the ministers for the Public Affairs party leaving the posts in the cabinet.
Candidates for the Public Affairs party will not participate in upcoming do-over local elections in the community of Krupka, in northern Bohemia, the party’s ballot leader Pavel Horák said on Sunday. Vote for seats on the local municipal council is held again on May 7, after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the results of October’s elections were null and void as some candidates paid citizens for their votes. Public Affairs’ Pavel Horák said other parties and groups are offering the same lists of candidates for the do-over elections, which will again corrupt the vote.
People will not have to memorize their new ID numbers that will be handed out in mid 2012, deputy head of the Czech personal data protection agency, Antonín Šusta told the Czech news agency ČTK on Monday. The country’s authorities are planning to give each Czech citizen a specific identifier; unlike the ID numbers that are currently in use, they won’t reveal the person’s age and gender. Mr Šusta said the new numbers are primarily designed for internal official use, and it won’t be necessary to memorize them. The introduction of new ID numbers will cost some 130 million crowns; the Olomouc-based firm, TESCO SW, recently won a public tender to design and set up the new system.
Twelve people have died in road accidents in the Czech Republic over Easter; another four people were killed on Thursday. A 73-year-old man, a member of a motocross event organizing team, who died of injuries sustained when he was crossing the track and was hit by one of the racers. The relatively high number of road deaths occurred despite Czech police’ increased presence on the roads over the weekend; traffic police set up more than 150 patrols, focusing primarily on drunk driving and speeding.
The Czech surrealist film director, Jan Švankmajer, started working on his new movie, Insect. The film will have comedy features, and should be finished by 2015, the film’s producer, Jaromír Kalista, told the Czech news agency ČTK on Sunday. Jan Švankmajer’s new film will be based on his own short story from 1971, and will also incorporate parts of the 1922 play, Pictures from the Insects’ Life, by the brothers Karel and Josef Čapek. Mr Švankmajer and his team are now looking for producers; the film’s budget should not exceed 40 million crowns, or less than 2.5 million US dollars.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team lost to Sweden 4:2 in Brno on Sunday, in the final game of the Czech Hockey Games. The Czechs had a better start but the Swedes won the second period 2:0 and their great defence did not allow any further goals. Jaromír Jágr scored his second goal for the national team this season, after marking four points in the match against Russia. Regardless of the loss, the Czech won the tournament after beating Finland and Russia. In their final preparatory game ahead of the world championships in Slovakia, the Czechs are facing Canada on Wednesday.
The new few days will be mostly overcast with rain setting in most parts of the country. Daytime highs should range between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.