The Czech Police proudly announced last year that a new initiative would see the force more multi-cultural. Members of the country's biggest minority group, the Roma, would be motivated to join the force. In some districts in Moravia a number of Romanies are acting as social workers to help inform their communities about their rights. The aim of the police project though is to fight xenophobia within the rest of society.
In Business News this week: the Constitutional Court rules against an amendment to a law giving compensation to clients of three bankrupt banks; The Czech Consolidation Agency makes a large loss though by its standards the results are good; the Czech Republic and Ukraine may sign an agreement dealing with the issue of Ukrainians working illegally in this country; environmentalists protest a possible raise in brown coal mining limits; and Czech hotels record almost 13 million guests.
A boat on the Vltava River in Prague - which has been refurbished to act as shelter for the city's homeless - had to be evacuated on Saturday night after it received an anonymous phone call saying there was a bomb on board. 120 people staying at the facility had to spend a large part of the night on the street while police conducted a search. No explosive devices were found. Police now believe the call was probably placed from a nearby phone booth by a disgruntled homeless man who had been refused accommodation on the boat because he was drunk. The forty-four-year-old cargo boat, which is called the Hermes, was refurbished by city authorities and opened as a homeless shelter with 250 beds at the start of this month.
The decision to adopt a child is a big choice for a couple to make and once they have agreed on it they are usually eager to bring their new baby or child home. However, as elsewhere, adopting a child in the Czech Republic can be a long and painful process. There are long queues of childless couples waiting to adopt kids- and seemingly - a lack of children. Yet at this time there are 22 thousand children in institutional care waiting to find new homes. Dr. Petra Vrtbovska from the Prague Institute for Foster Care explains what's keeping them
The city of Prague has opened an unusual shelter for the homeless: a cargo boat converted into a hostel providing 250 beds. The boat, anchored on the Vltava River in the centre of Prague, opens for business to Prague's estimated 5,000-6,000 homeless on Thursday. The city authorities say it is the first homeless boat hostel of its kind in Europe. For 20 crowns (around a dollar) the homeless will be given a bunk bed, a cup of tea and access to sanitary facilities.
In the Communist era, it was illegal in this country not to have a place to live. All this has changed in the 16 years since the Velvet Revolution, however, and there are now an estimated 5000 homeless people on the streets of Prague. This has proved to be a difficult problem to deal with, and the homeless have become an increasingly visible presence on the streets of the Czech capital, often sleeping on trams and buses. One of the reasons for this is that no Prague municipality is willing to grant permission for a homeless shelter in its neighbourhood,
Photos of a wall built by the authorities in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem to separate local residents from Romanies have gone on show at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The wall was built in 1999. It was removed after being criticised by human rights groups as an example of institutional racism in the Czech Republic. Romany groups are calling on the UN to appoint a special representative on Romany issues.
The number of people infected with the HIV virus in the Czech Republic increased significantly last year. According to the National Reference Laboratory for AIDS, 2006 saw the highest number of new cases since 1985. Of the 93 newly registered patients last year, ten had full blown AIDS. The latest figures suggest that a total of 920 people in the Czech Republic have HIV or AIDS, of whom just about one half - 464 - live in Prague.
Romano Hiphop is the title of the latest CD by the Czech Romany rap artist Gipsy. The album is actually released under the name Gipsy.cz, because this time he has collaborated in a group project with other Romany musicians. When I met Gipsy in a Prague café, he told me why - unlike on his previous release Ya Favourite CD Rom - he had incorporated traditional Gypsy music this time round.
In 80 locations around Prague posters have just appeared announcing bizarre regulations curtailing the liberty of evidently randomly chosen sections of society, such as people with freckles. The city's Jewish Museum is behind the campaign - it aims to interest young people in history by reminding them of the fate of Jews before and during World War II.
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March 25, 1945 – the day the Americans bombed Prague deliberately