Charles University has offered roughly 20 students from Ukraine the chance to complete their studies in Prague, the institution said on Friday. The offer only applies to students who face direct persecution in their country and who could receive the university’s Václav Havel Fellowship, which is for students affected by persecution in totalitarian and authoritative countries. Ukrainian students could start attending courses in Prague immediately, the university said. A similar offer came on Thursday from Palacký University in Olomouc.
The Czech government welcomes the deal reached on Friday between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the country’s opposition leaders, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. After days of violent clashes which left more than 70 people dead, the deal paves the ways for forming a new government and an early general election. Mr Sobotka told reporters on Friday that in case of need, the Czech Republic was ready to accept hundreds of refugees from Ukraine and help provide medical care for those injured during the conflict. However, Czech authorities have not registered any increase in the number of people seeking asylum in the country.
Events in Ukraine have repercussions across the wider region; neighbouring countries, like Slovakia, are already preparing for the potential arrival of refugees, and Poland has been heavily involved in the diplomatic effort. The Czech Republic is slightly further removed from the crisis, but the tremours can be felt here too - the country has a large Ukrainian population, many of them migrant workers, and on Thursday evening hundreds of Ukrainians demonstrated on Wenceslas Square. Some Czech organisations - like the NGO People in Need - are getting
Police in the town of Liberec are bracing for possible problems in connection with an ultra-right concert which is to take place at the Rock Pub club in the city centre. The concert by the nationalist group Sons of Bohemia is expected to attract extreme right supporters from around the country. Other clubs in town are closing their doors in protest of the event.
Some 400 Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic rallied in Prague on Sunday in support of anti-government protests in Ukraine. A procession which arrived in Old Town Square in the capital shouted slogans, carried photos of people beaten by the police in Kiev, and prayed. The rally criticized Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich who they said was waging a war against his own people. An estimated 200,000 people from Ukraine live in the Czech Republic where they account for the largest ethnic minority.
A member of the country’s large Vietnamese community, Mimi Lan Nguyen came to the Czech Republic in the early 1990s while still in her early teens. Today she is a successful fashion designer with a flagship boutique on the capital’s Štěpánská St. The shop is actually on the outside of the grand city centre Lucerna Palace, and it was there that Mimi began introducing me to “her Prague”.
The authorities in Prague 7 have fined an artist over a series of works combining the Czech national flag with that of the Romany people. He says the flags, which appeared on an embankment in the city last summer, were meant to foster debate on tensions between the two communities. However, the local town hall accuses him of defaming a Czech national symbol.
The Czech state welfare payment system has collapsed after the software provider, the firm Fujistsu Technology Solutions, shut it down. The company won a contract on running the system two years ago but the Czech anti-monopoly regulator last year cancelled the tender over breach of rules. The ministry has returned to a payment system it previously used but will have to feed in all data from the Fujistsu software. The ministry has set up an emergency team to deal with the situation; some labour offices are likely to limit their opening hours as a result.
Bavaria's police has heightened checks a border areas to prevent individuals from bringing in unsafe and illegal firecrackers, rockets and other pyrotechnic devices sold in Vietnamese markets on the Czech side of the border not far from crossings. German officials warned that many of the items were dangerous, packed with more explosive material than was the norm. Officials said they had stopped a vehicle smuggling one tonne of the goods, representing a potential health risk.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, served the traditional Christmas lunch for the homeless and the poor. The lunch was served at the Archbishop Palace and the Capuchin monastery in Prague’s Hradčany district on Wednesday. The menu included beef stock with liver dumplings, beef in cream sauce and roast duck, the organizers said. Some 270 people arrived for the lunch whose tradition started 15 years ago.
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