• 05/07/2021

    A bill to compensate women unlawfully sterilised mainly by the former regime passed a second reading in the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. If the bill becomes law, victims – mainly Romani women – could apply for a one-off payment of CZK 300,000.

    Beginning in 1966, Romani women and others where systematically sterilised without their full and informed consent as a way of controlling their birth rate. State policy in Czechoslovakia fully regulated the practice in 1971, as the Czech Public Defender of Rights noted in a 2005 report.

    The statute of limitations on financial compensation for non-pecuniary damage is three years. Without special treatment from a judge, hundreds of victims would therefore be ineligible for compensation. Women who underwent sterilisation between 1 July 1966 and 31 March 2012 are eligible for compensation. According the bill’s authors, up to 400 people could apply.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    In its new forecast, the Czech National Bank has lowered its estimate of economic growth for this year, but has improved its estimate for 2022. Newly, it expects economic growth of 1.2 percent this year and growth of 4.3 percent next year.

    In its February forecast, the CNB expected growth of 2.2 percent this year and growth of 3.8 percent in 2022. Central bank governor Jiří Rusnok said that the stability of market interest rates was consistent with the new forecast, followed by their rise from about June.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    As of next Monday, all museums, galleries and sights in the regions of the Czech Republic obliged to shut their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic will reopen, Health Minister Petr Arenberger told reporters on Thursday.

    Group tours, however, are not yet permitted. This applies above all to cultural monuments, such as palaces and castles. According to Arenberger, the first major easing in the cultural sector should take place on May 24. However, he did not name the conditions for that to happen beyond a maximum of 50 percent capacity for cultural events in buildings.

    Arenberger and Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek have yet to agree on what conditions should be for a resumption of cultural activities, with the health minister envisaging requiring the more expensive PCR tests and Zaorálek antigen tests.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    Friday should be cool and cloudy with occasional light rain. Average daytime highs of 8 to 12 degrees Celsius are forecast for Bohemia, and 12 to 16 degrees Celsius in Moravia and Silesia. Strong winds with gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour are anticipated.

  • 05/06/2021

    Four months after its inauguration, an exhibition dedicated to Czech theologian, educator and philosopher Jan Amos Komenský, also known as Comenius, finally opened its doors to the public, following the easing of anti-coronavirus restrictions earlier this week.

    The exhibition presents some 500 artefacts on loan from around 80 museums and collectors from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Austria. It is being organised within the framework of the 350th anniversary of the death of Comenius, considered the “father of modern education”.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    A regional governor has gone on the record alleging that Interior Minister Jan Hamáček boasted of having secured 1 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Pardubice Governor Martin Netolický, a fellow Social Democrat, was quoted by Seznam Zprávy and later confirmed the information to Internet television channel DVTV.

    On Wednesday, Hamáček said he was filing a civil complaint against Seznam Zprávy over an article in which multiple sources said he considered negotiating with Moscow for anti-coronavirus vaccines in exchange for Prague’s silence over the alleged involvement of Russian agents in the deadly Vrbětice explosions of 2014.

    But according to Netolický, Hamáček boasted that having secured the Sputnik V doses would boost support at the ballot box for the Social Democrats, of which he is party chairman.

    Netolický said the conversation took place on April 15, which is the same day Seznam Zprávy reported a meeting took place at the Interior Ministry during which Hamáček told several senior diplomatic, judicial and other officials of his intention to travel to Moscow to negotiate a silence-for-doses deal.

    A few days earlier, Tomáš Petříček was sacked as foreign minister ostensibly for having sought the Social Democrat party chairman post, and Hamáček temporarily was serving the top Czech diplomat. Opposition parties have branded Hamáček a “traitor” and are calling for a thorough investigation into the matter.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    Slavia Prague beat archival Sparta Prague 3-0 in the semi-final of the MOL Cup on Wednesday evening. The red-and-whites will battle Viktoria Pilsen away on May 20 for the national trophy.

    Slavia forward Jan Kuchta scored twice for Slavia and defender Tomáš Holeš once. Slavia have not lost the derby since March 2016.

    Thanks to a Ministry of Health pilot project to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions, some 1,420 fans watched the semi-final at the Letná stadium, 10 percent of capacity.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek (Social Democrats) and his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, met in Prague on Thursday to discuss bilateral and EU issues and agreeing on crossborder travel before the introduction of pan-European covid passports. They also presided over a presentation of the book “Neighbours: Czech-Austrian History”, along with authors Václav Šmidrkal and Hildegard Schmoller.

    Kulhánek took up the ministerial post on April 21 and met Schallenberg for the first time. His first working trip abroad in office was to Slovakia, where he met his counterpart Ivan Korčok and Prime Minister Eduard Heger. On Friday, he is due to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four (Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary) and Japan in Warsaw, and is also preparing a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Tošimic Motegi.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    On Wednesday 76,099 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Czech Republic, the second-highest number in a single day since the campaign began, and over 10 percent more than a week ago. Wednesday was the first day vaccination registration was open to all people over age 50 with recognised insurance coverage.

    To date, 3.42 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the Czech Republic. Approximately 1.04 million people (less than 10 percent of the population) have been fully vaccinated.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 05/06/2021

    The lower house of Parliament continued discussion Thursday on a bill to compensate women unlawfully sterilised mainly by the former regime. If the bill is adopted, victims – mainly Romani women – could apply for a one-off payment of CZK 300,000.

    Beginning in 1966, Romani women and others where systematically sterilised without their full and informed consent as a way of controlling their birth rate. State policy in Czechoslovakia fully regulated the practice in 1971, as the Czech Public Defender of Rights noted in a 2005 report.

    The statute of limitations on financial compensation for non-pecuniary damage is three years. Without special treatment from a judge, hundreds of victims would therefore be ineligible for compensation. Women who underwent sterilisation between 1 July 1966 and 31 March 2012 are eligible for compensation. According the bill's authors, up to 400 people could apply.

    Author: Brian Kenety

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