Daily news summary


Nine People in Need local staff killed in attack in Afghanistan

The Czech aid organisation People in Need has suspended all its activities in Afghanistan after nine of its local employees were killed in an attack on Monday. The NGO has also taken steps to ensure the safety of its staff in Afghanistan in the wake of the attack in the Zari district in the north of the country. The victims included seven aid workers – six men and one woman – and two guards. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but it comes as the Taliban have intensified their annual spring offensive.

Prague 6 mayor files lawsuit after bacteria in water supply leaves scores sick

The mayor of a Prague district in which scores of people had to be taken to hospital after drinking contaminated tap water has filed a lawsuit against an unknown perpetrator for reckless endangerment. Prague 6 mayor Ondřej Kolář said it was necessary to evaluate the entire situation and to draw conclusions that would help prevent a similar situation in future. Thousands of people in the Dejvice and Bubeneč districts were without water for days last week after bacteria escaped from a “dead-end pipe” into the main supply.

Zeman: Plans to curb presidential powers revenge by failed candidate Dienstbier

President Miloš Zeman says government plans to curb the powers of his office are an attempt at revenge on the part of the government’s legislation chief Jiří Dienstbier, who was a failed candidate in the 2013 presidential election. Mr. Zeman made the comment on Czech Television in response to news of proposed changes to the constitution. These include the Senate having to co-sign on appointments to the board of the Czech National Bank and foreign policy becoming the remit of the government alone. Mr. Dienstbier said the main aim of the proposals was to safeguard the country’s parliamentary rule.

Ceremony held at statue of Jan Hus on Old Town Square following renovation

The statue of Jan Hus on Prague’s Old Town Square has been presented to city representatives and citizens following a renovation job carried out in connection with the 600th anniversary of the death of the religious reformer and the 100th anniversary of the creation of the monument. Speaking at Tuesday‘s event, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Hus had been a central figure in Czech history. Mr. Sobotka also signed a memorial document which was placed in a box by the statue’s cornerstone along with Tuesday’s newspapers and other items. A number of events are being held in the Czech Republic in connection with the anniversary of Hus’s burning at the stake in July 1415.

LGBT Memory Centre opens in Prague

A memory centre mapping the history of the community of gays, lesbians, transexuals and bisexuals in the Czech lands opened in Prague on Monday. The centre, operated by the Society for Queer Memory, houses an exhibition about the history of the Czech LGBT community offering personal stories as well as historical documents. It is divided into five themes: identity, everyday life, persecution, emancipation and literature. The aim of the organizers is to establish an institution similar to the Schwules Museum in Berlin and the QWien in Vienna.

Health Minister says decision to sack head of Dobřany psychiatric hospital definite

Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček has said he will not reconsider his decision to sack the head of the psychiatric hospital in the town of Dobřany, despite the fact that the hospital staff have stood up for him and are ready to go on strike alert in his defence. The health minister sacked Vladislav Žižka last week after the hospital released one of its patients without waiting for a second opinion from a specialist. The man killed a young woman within 24 hours of being released. This is the second time such an incident has happened in the last seven months.

Unique natural burial ground opens in Prague

A unique natural burial ground named Les vzpomínek (Forest of Memories) has been opened in the Prague district of Ďáblice. People can bury the ashes of their loved ones under trees at the site, which will not feature headstones. The director of the Prague Cemeteries Administration, Martin Červený, said it would allow for environmentally friendly burial in a natural setting not reminiscent of a normal cemetery.

Prague’s oldest railway bridge set for renovation project

Prague’s oldest railway bridge, the Negrelli Viaduct, is to undergo renovation, Czech Television has reported. The mid-19th century structure runs over a kilometre from the Masaryk to Bubny train stations via Štvanice island. A project set to begin in January will involve the replacement of stones, the repair of seams and the renovation of its numerous arches. The viaduct was designed by the pioneering Austrian engineer Alois Negrelli and was first used in 1850.

Two Czech films to compete for top prize at Karlovy Vary

The Czech films Kobry a užovky (The Snake Brothers) and Domácí péči (Home Care) will compete for the Crystal Globe for Best Film in the official competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. Kobry a užovky has already had cinema distribution but Domácí péči will receive its premiere at the festival, which is this year taking place for the 50th time. Helena Třeštíková’s latest work Mallory will compete in Karlovy Vary’s documentary competition.

Šafářová reaches semis at French Open

Czech player Lucie Šafářová has reached the semi-finals of tennis’s French Open. The 28-year-old beat Gabrine Muguruza of Spain 7-6 6-3 on Tuesday to set up a clash with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic for a place in the final in Paris. Šafářová had never previously got past the third round at the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.