The cabinet minister responsible for minorities and human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova, has called for a debate aimed at allowing gay couples to adopt children. In an interview for an internet news server on Monday, the Green Party minister said it would be the right step considering the fact that around 20,000 children are being brought up in institutions in the Czech Republic.
Over one hundred people attended an extreme right concert in the south Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice on Saturday night. The four-hour event was monitored by around fifty police officers. Of the 120 participants, most of them are believed to belong to the neo-Nazi movement. Four bands performed at the concert - two of them were from the Czech Republic, one was from neighbouring Slovakia, and the fourth from Canada.
The Czech Minister without Portfolio Dzamila Stehlikova has dropped the idea of a collection for Romany families evicted by municipal authorities in the Moravian town of Vsetin. The Green Party minister had wanted to raise money for Romanies evicted from buildings in Vsetin last autumn as rent-defaulters and moved to rundown buildings in the Moravian Jeseniky region so that they could carry out basic repairs to their new dwellings, The evicted Romanies said they appreciated Minister Stehlikova's interest but have refused her offer of assistance. They said any financial help should come from the town of Vsetin, which was responsible for their situation.
In a newly-issued report the Czech Helsinki committee has stated that discrimination against women on the Czech labour market has not yet been quashed. According to the report, published on the group's website, many employers continue to discriminate against women. Often candidates for new jobs are asked inadmissible personal questions about, for example, plans to have children and take maternity leave. Another example cited is the case of mothers losing jobs during their trial periods because they are unable to work overtime, having young children to care for at home.
A Romany women's working group wants a fund established to compensate women sterilised without their consent. The group, part of the government's council for Romany affairs, is also calling for an apology, the council's head Czeslaw Walek said on Tuesday. A document prepared by the group says financial compensation should also go to women in cases which exceed the statue of limitations. The Ombudsman had previously called for damages to be paid in cases dating back as far as 1971.
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.
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