Daily news summary


Justice minister satisfied with conditions at Drahonice detention centre

Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has expressed satisfaction with conditions at the Drahonice detention centre for illegal migrants. Minister Pelikan visited the facility on Saturday not just to inspect the living conditions but to check on the work of 70 employees of the prison service whom he released to help guard the centre at the interior minister’s request. The facility is guarded since illegal migrants who have not filed for asylum do not have freedom of movement. The facility has 240 beds and is half-filled to capacity.

President in support of direct election of mayors and governors

President Miloš Zeman has spoken out in favour of a direct election of mayors and governors. Speaking at the weekend conference of the extra-parliamentary party Citizens' Rights – Zemanites of which he is honorary chairman, Mr. Zeman said mayors should be elected by the will of the people, according to a system where by the candidate with the most preferential votes from the winning party should take up the post. The Citizens' Rights party which was founded by Mr. Zeman’s sympathizers and promotes his philosophy never gained enough supporters to become a significant political force. Its chairman Senator Jan Veleba said the party was in favour of more elements of direct democracy in the political system.

ANO leader says coalition problems in the regions partly due to political inexperience

ANO leader Andrej Babiš says coalition agreements with his party are running into problems because the party is young and its members are not used to the wheeling and dealing associated with politics. The party now faces problems with its coalition partners in Prague and Brno and it lost mayors in Frydek-Místek and Ustí nad Labem.Speaking to journalists Mr. Babiš said that some ANO members were politically inexperienced and not versed in the game of political trade-offs which sometimes hampered cooperation.

Association of Pharmacists against deliveries of medicines by post

The Association of Pharmacists has criticized a proposal for Czechs to be able to get prescription medicine by post. The proposal was put forward by the owner of an internet pharmacy as a way of helping seniors, mothers on maternity leave and people living in isolated regions who have a problem getting to the nearest pharmacy. At their meeting in Benesov on Saturday pharmacists said direct contact with a qualified pharmacist is essential to minimize health risks and pointed out that pharmacists were able to meet the specific demand of individual patients and deliver medicines in person.

Prague Writers’ Festival underway in Prague

The 25th Prague Writers’ Festival is underway in Prague. The three-day event, which brings together prominent writers and thinkers from around the world, this year revolves around a particularly topical theme – that of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of occupation, fear of change. Among the invited authors are Samuel Shimon from Iraq, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi fom Iran and Constantine Kokossis from Greece who will receive the Spiros Vergos Prize for Freedom of Expression. All festival events are being broadcast live by Czech Television.

Madonna in Prague within Rebel Heart tour

Madonna will perform at Prague’s Arena on Saturday and Sunday. The singer is here within her Rebel Heart tour and her two concerts are completely sold out. In addition to Rebel Heart hits Madonna will perform some of her staples such as True Blue, Like A Virgin and La Isla Bonita and 'La Vie En Rose' the signature song of Edith Piaf. Madonna last performed in Prague in 2009.

Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša to receive very first Sir Charles Mackerras Award

Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša will receive the very first Sir Charles Mackerras Award on Saturday.The award named after the late British conductor was established by the Leoš Janáček Foundation as a mark of respect for an outstanding artist and great propagator of Leoš Janáčeks music abroad.Sir Charles left the foundation a financial contribution and it decided to use the funds for an award in support of promising artists under the age of 4O.Jakub Hrůša will accept the prize at the Janáček Theatre in Brno.