With Vietnamese gangs getting increasingly involved in the drug crime scene in the Czech Republic, the Czech authorities have requested assistance from Vietnam’s police and judiciary in dealing with the problem. A meeting of the country’s interior ministers on Monday paved the way for close cooperation in fighting drug-related crime.
A housing crisis has developed over the last two decades in the Czech Republic with the stock of local council accommodation for the least well off shrinking as flats and houses were sold off while the numbers of those needing an affordable roof over their heads increased. The government is now working on putting together an all-embracing policy to address the problems but there are no illusions this will be an easy task.
A group of Vietnamese police officers and lawyers are due to arrive in the Czech Republic later this month to help the Czech authorities deal with the Vietnamese community’s growing involvement in drug-related crime. The officers will serve as undercover agents and try to infiltrate Vietnamese drug gangs which are involved in growing marihuana and trafficking the home-made drug crystal methamphetamine not only in the Czech Republic but to neighbouring Germany. Following Czech-German talks on cracking down on cross border crime last month, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec on Monday met with his Vietnamese counterpart in Prague to consider effective means of addressing the problem.
The Czech government has moved to curb widespread profiteering from social housing. The draft legislation, which was approved by the cabinet this week, should stop hostel owners from charging exorbitant rents for substandard housing. However, social workers say that the socially disadvantaged need access to the housing market which is often denied due to their race.
The Czech Jewish community has protested against the presence of American actor Mel Gibson at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival and the fact that he is to be presented with the Crystal Globe Award in recognition of his contribution to world cinema. In a letter sent to the festival’s president the Jewish community says that Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ portrays Jews as evil and bloodthirsty enemies of Jesus and argues that the award presented to him may fuel anti-Semitism.
The annual Prague Pride parade will take place on August 16, the organizers said. The march will take start in Wenceslas Square; it will then pass along the river to conclude on the Letná plain. Organizers said they expect some 10,000 people to take part in the march which will be preceded by a five-day festival. This year, the festival will highlight issues faced by the LGBT community in Russia and some other eastern European countries, the event’s director, Czeslaw Walek, said. Last year, around 20,000 people joined in the march.
A 17-year-old girl from Slovakia won the Miss Roma 2014 beauty pageant held in the eastern Czech town Hodonín on Saturday night, the news website novinky.cz reported. Romany girls from Slovakia also finished on second and third place. The contest included a czardas dance which the jury said played a big role in evaluating the finalists. Organizers believe the beauty contest is a way of fostering Romany girls’ self-confidence.
Hundreds of people turned out for the third annual street art festival Ghettofest in Brno over the weekend. The festival takes place in the city’s poorest quarter, a slum area commonly referred to as the Brno Bronx. The two-day undertaking, which aims to combat prejudice and highlight the conditions in which some of the city’s poorest inhabitants are living in, offered visitors music, dance and theatre performances as well as sports events, exhibitions and public debates. The festival will end with a mass and a prayer for peaceful co-existence.
In Magazine: a 1905 oil painting of Emperor Franz Josef has gone from the waste dump to a Viennese auction house, a stolen Cinderella film costume is mysteriously returned, an 11-year-old schoolboy wins a “minister for a day” award and a twenty-three-year–old student says he has the answer to finding shelter for the homeless.
A survey released by the Czech Statistics Office released this week has shown that the standard of living in the Czech Republic continues to lag behind western counterparts. Although salaries have gone up, so have expenses and in real terms many households are earning less. Meanwhile, roughly 1.5 million people are living on – or well under – the poverty line. The only good news there is that the number there has gone down by one percent year-on-year.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
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