The poet, playwright and novelist Irena Eliášová spent her early childhood in a Romany village in south-western Slovakia. The memory of this time has become the defining experience in her writing. But Irena does not write just about the lost world of her childhood in the 1950s and 60s. She has also written powerfully and poignantly about the life of Roma in the Czech Republic today. Yet even when she writes about the present, her work is permeated with a sense of family and community that also draws us back to an older world of Roma tradition. David
Police in Most briefly detained two homeless men on Friday after a passerby witnessed the two boarding a local tram with a dead boar. The men said they had found the animal as road kill near the town’s train station. The police took the carcass away for proper disposal after filing a report, writes Mladá fronta Dnes.
In its quarterly report on national security the Czech intelligence service BIS recently warned of an alarming rise in anti-Roma sentiments among the public. The report referred to a growing number of anti-Roma marches in Czech towns and cities organized by ultra-right groups but openly supported by many ordinary citizens. There are concerns that the Roma are being made a scapegoat for the country’s social problems and that growing hostility towards the Roma minority will make coexistence even harder.
Czech Labour and Social Affairs minister Frantisek Koníček on Tuesday unveiled the mainstays of a national strategy for preventing and tackling homelessness in the Czech Republic. The plan involves both effective prevention and assistance such as social housing, better access to medical care and improved social services.
Around 1,000 people received a free lunch on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday in a campaign highlighting food waste. A group called Save Food handed out meals prepared from products that would otherwise have been discarded by supermarkets as they neared their expiry date. The ingredients were supplied by Makro and Tesco, the only supermarket chains cooperating with Czech food banks. The organizers said Czech legislation should allow retailers to hand out nearly expired foodstuffs to groups working with homeless and socially handicapped people.
Some 100,000 Czechs are threatened with homelessness, the Czech minister of labour and social affairs, František Koníček, told reporters on Tuesday. The current homeless population of 30,000 could rise dramatically, mainly in the most vulnerable groups such as young people leaving institutional care, handicapped people, single mothers and retired people, or those who lose their jobs shortly before retiring, Mr Koníček said. The minister also outlined a strategy to curb the rising numbers of homeless people: the state should provide social housing to those threatened with losing their homes; increase the scope of social services, and provide better health care to people living in the streets.
The state of human rights in the Czech Republic deteriorated in 2012, the Czech Helsinki Committee said in its annual report released on Tuesday. The human rights group noted that unemployment, the negative effects of social reforms, lower accessibility of health care as well as rising anti-Roma sentiments were among the major trends registered last year. The group also warned that the situation of the Roma community was rapidly deteriorating as increasing numbers of the population see Romanies as scapegoats for various problems in the society. The Helsinki Committee criticized politicians for exploiting the situation, and accused some media of misleading coverage of anti-Romany riots.
Most of the country’s political parties have completed their candidate lists for the upcoming election to the lower house. One question on voters’ minds was or is – without a doubt – how many top female candidates would be nominated. The Communists, the Civic Democrats and the Greens have fielded four and three top names respectively, more than the other parties. Even so, observers, including Jana Smiggels-Kavková of Forum 50% which promotes gender equality, say there is still very little to cheer about.
About a hundred of people joined "a kissing protest" outside the Russian embassy in Prague on Sunday in support of homosexuals living in Russia. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples kissed outside the embassy. Similar protests have been taking place in other European capitals. In June Russia passed a law according to which people spreading information on "non-traditional sexual relations" among minors face high fines or imprisonment.
A passerby found a box full of human skulls in a container on Prague’s Londýnská St. on Thursday. Detectives said the 15 skulls were numbered, indicating that they belonged to a collection. On Wednesday, a homeless man came across part of a skull in a rubbish bin on Jindřišská St. in the city centre. It too had a number and police are currently investigating whether there is a connection between the two finds, a spokesperson said.
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