Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 14, 2021

Planned flyover of Charles Bridge for Navalis canceled as "unsuitable," protesters punished for violence in Prague, Arenberger in the hot seat. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.05.2021 09:53:00 (updated on 14.05.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Arenberger leased property to the hospital he headed for millions

Czech Health Minister Petr Arenberger has earned millions of crowns by renting real estate to the Prague-Vinohrady teaching hospital of which he was a director before becoming health minister in April, server Seznam Zpravy writes. Arenberger told the server that since his April 7 appointment as health minister, he has set the rent sum at a symbolic one crown a month. According to several sources from the hospital, the monthly rent was an estimated CZK 100,000, Seznam Zpravy writes, adding that such a sum also arises from its calculation based on the square meter price combined with the area of the two-story building hosting the hospital archive. This data shows that Arenberger gained some CZK 6 million in rent from the hospital in the past five years. PM Andrej Babiš said Arenberger committed an offense but has redressed his mistake, and has to explain the information about his property in detail. ČTK

Anti-government protesters punished for violence in Old Town Square

Courts have given suspended sentences of nine to 20 months to six participants connected with police skirmishes at an anti-government rally held in Prague last year, a spokesperson for the Prague State Attorney's Office told reporters Thursday. The courts also punished several offenders with fines, and one defendant was banished from Prague. In total, 11 people faced charges. On October 18, 2020, a rally against the government lockdown measures to curb the Covid epidemic took place. Protesters threw bottles, stones, litter bins, and bangers at police officers. The police used tear gas, a water cannon, and flashbangs against the rioters, and horses and armored vehicles were also deployed to stop the rioters More than 140 people were detained after the demonstration. Twenty police officers and some of the protesters suffered injuries during the incident. ČTK

Navalis fly over of Prague's historical Charles Bridge canceled

Five JAS 39 Gripen and L-159 Alca jet planes were to fly over Prague's historical Charles Bridge as part of the Navalis celebrations honoring Czech Saint John of Nepomuk on Saturday but organizers canceled the event following criticism from Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib. The flight was to take place at the request of Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka and with the presidential military office's consent. "I consider this way of using the [city's] historical center disrespectful and uncivilized. I consider it extremely unsuitable to link religious issues with the military," said Hrib (Pirates). Furthermore, the flight would jeopardize waterbirds, he said. Launched in Prague in the Baroque period, the St John of Nepomuk (1349-1393) celebrations were resumed in 2009 and staged annually since. This year, they will mark the 300th anniversary of John's beatification. They take place near the Charles Bridge, a site linked to John of Nepomuk's martyrdom. ČTK

Kupka's painting sold for 2.4 million dollars in New York

The painting "The Diagonal Planes I" Frantisek Kupka, a Czech co-founder of the abstract art movement, was sold for USD 2.4 million at the Sotheby's auction house in New York during an auction of impressionist and classic modern art. According to the auction catalog, the painting probably dates back to 1924 and returns to the market after 16 years from a private collection in California. In June 2005, it was auctioned off for GBP 237,000in London. Thursday's New York auction featured paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, and Marc Chagall, as well. The most expensive item was a two-meter water lilies painting signed by Claude Monet that sold for USD 61 million. ČTK

The first exclusively electric Škoda hits the market

Domestic dealers launched sales of the Škoda Enyaq iV electric SUV yesterday. The car is the first purely electric Škoda Auto model that the Mladá Boleslav carmaker does not also produce in a version with an internal combustion engine. According to industry insiders, it has considerable potential, especially for Western European customers. Škoda Auto plans to sell up to 2,000 Enyaq electric cars in the Czech Republic this year. Including the Octavia and Superb hybrid models, the domestic agency would like to sell around 4,000 battery-powered cars.

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