Czech daily news roundup: Thursday, January 13, 2022

Marathon session held for government confidence vote, Operation Anthropoid commemorated, Czech status as foreign film mecca threatened by cuts. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.01.2022 09:39:00 (updated on 13.01.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

13:00 Czech Prime Minister recorded swearing during confidence session

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala was caught swearing by a microphone during the Czech Parliament's session on the confidence vote in the new government. Fiala did not notice that his microphone was still switched on when making an obscene comment about the slow progress of the confidence vote. His comment was relayed to the entire hall by microphones and speakers. A spokesperson for the government said Fiala is only human and that he swore out of frustration because deputies were unwilling to gather in the voting hall on time.

10:00 Government confidence vote coming this afternoon

The Czech Parliament will vote on the confidence motion in the new Czech coalition government this afternoon after hours of debate. The vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. Acrimonious debates have taken place since yesterday, with the opposition lambasting the new government's policy program as unrealistic. Discussions went on last night until 5 a.m. The opposition SPD party also wanted to raise the topic of the STAN party's financing in a special session, but the government parties did not agree to this session. The SPD claimed STAN has been sponsored by a man subject to criminal prosecution and that Interior Minister Vít Rakušan should therefore resign.

Politics Marathon session for confidence vote in new government

The lower house of the Czech Parliament discussed the vote of confidence in the new government led by Petr Fiala for more than 19 hours yesterday, with speeches continuing until 5 o’clock in the morning.

More MPs still want to have their say. Among the most vocal was former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who delivered an hour-and-a-half long speech criticizing the new government’s policy program. Heated debates meanwhile took place between current and former ministers on proposed legislative changes. The debate is largely performative; the government parties do not require any opposition votes to pass the vote of confidence.

History 194 candles lit in Pardubice on Operation Anthropoid anniversary

Memorial candles have been lit to honor those in the Czech village of Lidice who assisted in Operation Anthropoid, the successful assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich during WWII, which took place 80 years ago. Czech paratroopers based in the United Kingdom managed to kill Heydrich in what is viewed as Czechoslovakia’s greatest domestic resistance achievement during the war. Heydrich, who oversaw a brutal Nazi rule in Czechoslovakia, was attacked in Prague’s Kobylisy neighborhood and later died of his injuries.

The town of Lidice was razed to the ground by the Nazis in retaliation, as it was believed people who assisted the operation lived there. 194 people in the town were killed. Domestic members of Operation Anthropoid in the Pardubice region provided radio connection between resistance fighters at home and in exile. 

Czech film Czech status as foreign film mecca threatened by cuts

The Czech Film Fund has temporarily suspended incentives attracting foreign film productions to the country. Experts warn that while ongoing productions won’t be threatened by the changes, the cuts could discourage new productions from choosing the Czech Republic.

The change comes after the Czech Republic enhanced its position as a global filming favorite during the pandemic. While other countries made life difficult for international film projects, the Czech Republic offered attractive incentives and relatively relaxed entry requirements for foreign nationals. But incentives for foreign filmmakers will now be suspended until the end of March, with funds already exhausted from the state budget subsidy for 2021 and uncertainty about budget for the coming year.

Restitution Court rules that Cistercian abbey is owed huge amount of Czech land

The Czech Constitutional Court has ruled that the Cistercian Abbey in Vyšší Brod is eligible for around 2,000 hectares of local land which it was awarded in a decision relating to the law on church restitutions, but which a state-run forest management firm subsequently challenged.

The case has been the subject of a protracted legal battle. But the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest legal authority, has canceled another court’s decision, ruling that the Cistercian’s claim is legitimate. The land was seized from the abbey by the Communist regime on the pretext of the controversial Beneš decrees which took effect after WWII.

Czech Hobbies Czechs among the world’s biggest exotic animal exporters

The Czech Republic is, according to the latest data, one of the world’s biggest exporters of endangered and exotic animals species. It’s thought the Czech predilection for keeping and breeding exotic animals is one of the more bizarre legacies of twentieth-century Communism.

2020 saw 55,000 animal species exported from the country, according to data from the Environment Ministry. The number of illegal animal trades is growing. It’s thought that the keeping of exotic species has its roots in the limitations imposed on international travel during Communism; people brought exotic species home as a hobby instead. Birds make up most of the exported animal species, in both legal and illegal trades.

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