Daily news summary


Ostrava marks 70th anniversary of WWII liberation

The city of Ostrava marks the 70th anniversary of its liberation during WWII on Thursday April 30. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will launch events with a commemoration service which will be followed by military parade by units of the Czech army and a series of cultural events in the country’s third biggest city. Ostrava was liberated after a fierce battle by Red Army units from the 4th Ukrainian Front and members of the Czechoslovak Brigade. The city was staunchly defended by Nazi units as Moravia and Silesia still accounted for around 35% of remaining Nazi industrial production. The loss of the area was seen by some Nazi leaders as the final confirmation that the war was all but over.

Night Wolves organiser says members will mark Ostrava liberation

One of the organisers of the Russian motorcycle gang, the Night Wolves, has said members will be present in the city of Ostrava to market the 70th anniversary of the city’s liberation from the Nazis at the end of WWII. Andrei Bobrovsky made the announcement on the Russian radio station Govorit Moskva. Czech police, however, say they have no knowledge of any members of the motorcycle group, known as partisans of President Vladimir Putin, being on Czech soil. According to Russian news sources part of the Night Wolves contingent entered the European Union through Hungary and intend to regroup at Bratislava, Slovakia, and then head towards Berlin for the anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe. Poland said it would not allow the bikers to cross the country but Slovakia has said it will not bar them.

Government approves state budget deficit for 2016

The Czech government has approved a state budget deficit of 70 billion crowns for 2016. Under the agreement reached civil servants’ pay will rise by three percent and expenditures on science and research will increase by 1.5 billion crowns against the original proposal of 28.1 billion, the head of the ANO party deputies’ Jaroslav Faltýnek said. Mr Faltýnek said the agreement was a partial compromise, adding that the 70-billion-crown deficit was good news. PM Bohuslav Sobotka said after the cabinet meeting that the government had agreed to seek extra funds for security, pensions, science and research and co-financing rural development programmes.

President Zeman says will veto higher 150 km/h speed limit

President Miloš Zeman has said he will veto a proposal law which would, under certain circumstances, increase the speed limit on Czech motorways from 130 km/h to 150 km/h. Zeman said during an ongoing tour of the Central Bohemia region that he opposed any move that could increase road fatalities and injuries. He added that Czech motorways did simply not compare for quality with German ones The proposal to increase the speed limit, if weather and road conditions are acceptable, on certain sections of motorway has been backed by the lower house of parliament

Battle over school head scarf ban likely to end in courts: report

A Muslim girl who was banned from wearing a head scarf by a Czech nursing school is seeking an apology and compensation, her lawyer has told Czech Television. The girl, originally from Somalia, and other students from Afghanistan have reported ended their studies at the school. The broadcaster reported Thursday that the girl’s lawyer has taken the first steps towards starting legal proceedings against the school. The school’s ban divided opinion in the Czech Republic. The girl’s rights were defended by the Ombudsman but attacked by many politicians including head of state, president Miloš Zeman. He said that Czech cultural traditions should be respected.

Commissioner Věra Jourová says decision pending on Roma discrimination case

The European Commission should resolve next week whether to push ahead with proceedings against the Czech Republic for the high proportion of Roma children in so-called practical schools, the Commissioner for human rights and consumers Věra Jourová has said. She added that her staff are currently evaluating arguments presented by the Czech Republic and other sources. The Commission started proceedings last September over alleged ongoing discrimination in schools against the Roma minority. The next stage would allow the government to take corrective action. If it failed to do so, Brussels could start proceedings against the country in the European Court of Justice. The Czech government says it has stopped sending Roma to special schools for those with learning difficulties. But critics say the practical schools are just another name for the same thing.

Survey suggests around a third of Czechs suffer from depression and face breakdown

Around three out of 10 Czechs say they suffer from depression and around the same proportion believe they face a breakdown. The figures were released following a survey carried out by the psychiatric clinic of Charles University and the STEM opinion poll agency. It found three out of 10 Czechs between 25 and 65 said they suffered from depression. The highest risk groups were those between 35 and 44 and those over 51. Around 10 percent said they had considered ending their lives. The survey found 34 percent of respondents said they thought they faced a mental breakdown with around 20 percent saying they had seen clear signs of this. Four out of 10 Czechs saying they faced a breakdown were in jobs with heavy responsibilities.

Norwegian authorities take step towards adoption of Czech boy

The Norwegian child welfare service has taken initial steps to open the way for the adoption of the younger of two Czech brothers who were taken from their parents in 2011. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Wednesday. The authorities took the step despite previous claim that adoption was not being considered. According to information received by the Czech Office for International Legal Protection of Children in April, the child welfare service asked the regional authorities to launch the proceedings that would enable the adoption of the younger son of Eva Michaláková. The boys were taken from their parents over alleged sexual abuse. Although charges were never filed in the case, the brothers have lived in separate foster homes since.

Petr Čech helps Chelsea to verge of English league title

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech featured in Chelsea’s 3:1 victory against Leicester on Wednesday night. The result means that Chelsea need only one win from the last four games to secure the league title as only third placed Arsenal have a faint chance of overtaking them. Čech was making a rare appearance in goal for the club due to first choice ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois being unavailable. Home team Leicester took the lead late in the first half before Chelsea struck three goals without reply in the second half.

Hockey: Lightning down Red Wings in Game 7

The Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 7 on home ice against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday putting them into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The goalies for both sides kept the puck out of the net for two periods but Detroit rookie Petr Mrázek was beaten in the third by a slapshot over the shoulder, top corner, by Braydon Coburn. Goaltending was a key factor throughout the match and the series, with Mrázek earning two shutouts against the Bolts. On Wednesday, Mrázek was named the game’s third star.