The extreme cold, in all likelihood, took the life a homeless man early on Saturday morning: he was found dead near a supermarket in Prague 8. The man was around 50 years of age. An autopsy will be needed to determine the exact cause of death. A day earlier in Prague a man of around 42 died at a metro entrance in Zličín. Alcohol consumption, together with the freezing conditions, were the key factors.
The bout of freezing cold weather this week claimed two lives in the Czech Republic, both of them homeless people in Prague. Altogether six homeless people have frozen to death in the big cities since the onset of winter. In view of the sub-zero temperatures over the weekend police officers have been ordered to make frequent rounds of the usual sites where homeless people gather and take them to shelters.
A regional court in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem on Thursday gave a maximum 10 year jail sentence to a Roma youth who brutally assaulted a 12-year-old boy last year. The court upheld nearly all the charges against the 16-year-old accused, including sexual abuse, robbery, blackmail and attempted murder together with his partner in the attack. He was not charged because he was 15 years old at the time. The judge also described the attack as racist. The court heard that during the attack the youth said he would inflict the same treatment as Hitler had done to the Roma population. The court was told that the victim of the attack was given intensive care in hospital and still suffers psychological scars and has to take anti-depressants.
The 11th annual Mezipatra Queer Film Festival that features movies exploring gender and sexual identity has come to an end, having attracted more than 9,000 viewers. This year’s chosen theme was “high art” pitting artsy and intellectual movies against vulgar comedies about gays and lesbians. The festival offered 72 movies, three of which premiered at the festival –Squealing, Imaginary loves and Miss Kicki.
In the course of the two-day summit Prime Minister Nečas met for talks with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in an effort to get Canada to review its visa policy towards Czech citizens. Canada re-imposed visas on Czech nationals in July of 2009 in the wake of a stream of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic. Ottawa is now in the process of introducing a less benevolent asylum law and Mr. Nečas said he had failed to get assurances that the visa question would be reviewed before such a law was in place.
After a first leg in the Moravian capital Brno, the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival opens in Prague on Thursday with a programme that combines movies exploring gender and sexual identity with a series of other cultural and social events. Mezipatra, the biggest event of its kind in the Czech Republic, has been going since the year 2000; on the eve of the Prague opening, I asked director Aleš Rumpel how the festival had changed over the years.
The Czech minister of education, Josef Dobeš, says a decree on increasing the integration of Romany children into regular Czech schools will be prepared by January for approval in the New Year. Mr Dobeš made the statement a day after non-governmental organisations complained that enough was still not being done to combat racial discrimination against Romany pupils. Three years after the European Court of Human Rights found the Czech state guilty of such discrimination for sending many Romany children to schools for the mentally handicapped, the NGOs have threatened to take fresh legal action against the country if more progress is not made.
The Czech Republic has been accused by a number of non-governmental human rights watchdogs and education groups of taking no steps to stop discrimination against Romany children in schools, in spite of a landmark European decision that discrimination was built into the country’s education system. They say promises to take action have gone unfulfilled and they are now threatening to bring the country to book again.
Speaking at the summit, Slovak President Gašparovič said that Roma issues were particularly thorny for his country and the Czech Republic, which are frequent targets of criticism over their Roma communities. Mr Gašparovič said that the individual countries were unable to resolve the problems on their own in the short term, and that they should be discussed further at the level of the European Union. Mr Klaus remarked that he understood why Mr Gašparovič would want to bring Roma issues to the European level, saying that the mass exodus of Roma to France would not have happened had it not been for the Schengen Agreement on open borders.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”