Daily news summary
City hall rejects plan to install replica of Marian column on Old Town Square
A plan to install a replica of the Marian column that stood on Prague’s Old Town Square for over 250 years has hit the rocks after Prague City councillor vetoed the idea, on the grounds of a petition signed by over 1,000 people.
Prague City Hall earlier gave its consent to the idea and will now have to take legal action to withdraw from a contract with the Society for the Restoration of the Marian Column which wanted to give Prague a replica of the column as a gift.
The original Marian column was built in 1650 to commemorate the Habsburg victory over the Swedes.
It was torn down in 1918 by an angry mob which perceived it as a symbol of the Habsburg takeover of the Czech lands and the violent re-Catholicization that followed.
Deputy trade minister apologizes for hate speech on Facebook
Deputy Trade Minister Karel Novotný from the Social Democratic Party has apologized for an anti-Romany statement he posted on Facebook. The deputy compared Romanies to jellyfish, saying they were troublesome and useless.
Trade Minister Jiří Havlíček promptly distanced himself from the statement, saying it was totally unacceptable. Havlíček is to lose his quarterly bonuses as a result of the incident.
Police shelve case of missing 12-year-old
The police have shelved their investigation into the disappearance of 12-year-old Michaela M., who went missing in Ústí nad Labem in January of this year. The news was confirmed on Friday by regional police head Zbyněk Dvořák. Investigators have reason to believe that the child is dead.
When the case broke at the beginning of the year, investigators introduced an embargo on related information after the partner of the girl’s mother committed suicide the same month; according to the Czech News Agency, police saw the deceased as the main suspect in the child’s disappearance. Searches near the child's home and other sites yielded no clues.
Unions come to defense of Social Democratic Party’s campaign leader
Union organisations have rejected claims that a recent visit at the Czech National Theatre by Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek was a pre-election event.
Mr Zaorálek, who is the campaign leader of the Social Democratic Party, also rejected the claim earlier, saying he had been invited at the behest of the unions and had hoped to use the opportunity to meet with theatre employees.
Some theatres, actors and academicians had claimed it was a campaign stunt.
Poll suggests six in 10 make decision on who to vote for in final week ahead of election
A new poll by STEM/MARK suggests that a majority of Czech voters, six out of 10, make their decision on who to vote for in the final week before the election. According to the query, concrete proposals, political programs and individual personalities are all factors which play a role.
The poll suggests that only four percent of voters are influenced by pre-election campaigns. One in nine of those asked admitted to, in the past, having only made up their minds in the voting booth.
Czechs will go to the polls to elect a new government, next month.
Mixed results for Czech football clubs in Europa League
There were mixed results for Czech football clubs in the Europa League on Thursday night: Viktoria Plzeň were soundly beaten by Romanian side FCSB by a score of 3:0, Slavia Prague got off to a winning start on a lone goal from Necid which saw them edge Tel Aviv 1:0, and Zlín tied with Sherrif 0:0.
Mostly rain weather conditions are expected on Saturday. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of around 14 degrees Celsius.