Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 23, 2021

Czech government presents two alternative election bills, student access to digital library extended, and Three Kings Collection total unveiled. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 23.02.2021 09:17:00 (updated on 23.02.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

ELECTIONS: Czech government presents two alternative election bills

The Czech government has approved two alternative election bills, with one preserving the current 14 constituencies and the other suggesting that voters will select from a single list of candidates in a single national constituency at its meeting today. The lawmakers have to change the election rules due to a Constitutional Court verdict that recently canceled some clauses of the election law. The first alternative, called narrow, suggests a change in the translation of votes into mandates with the preservation of 14 constituencies. This is the mechanism in which an election number is gained by dividing the total number of valid votes for the parties advancing to the scrutiny by 200. The second alternative is wider, touching upon the organization and technological implementation of the election. It proposes the abolition of 14 election regions, due to which would make the Czech Republic a single constituency.

COVID: Fund for the Future gives support on Czech-German border

The Czech-German Fund for the Future has distributed CZK 7.6 million to help border regions and Czech-German activities cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic the fund said in a press release. The money was sent to health and social organizations as well as 40 organizations that have run into financial troubles over the end of their Czech-German activities, the fund said. In the border area, help was given to 19 organizations on both sides of the Czech-German border. The fund will send money to music and dance groups as well as cultural associations and projects from the sphere of civic society. The Czech-German"Fund for the Future already sponsored people hit by the coronavirus crisis at the end of last year, when it sent CZK 11 million for relevant support and in January, when it distributed CZK 1.9 million.

Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds verteilt rund 300 000 Euro für akute Hilfe in der Grenzregion und für grenzüberschreitende Netzwerke! 🙃🇩🇪🇨🇿

Posted by ÄŒesko-nÄ›mecký fond budoucnosti/ Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds on Monday, 22 February 2021

EDUCATION: Student access to digital library to continue until June

Students will be able to use the digital library for free until June 30 after the National Library extended contracts with collective administrators. This was stated at a press conference after the government meeting by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček. University collections could be used free of charge by university students during last year's spring wave of the pandemic and again from autumn. Educators or researchers will also have online access to digitized documents from selected libraries. The Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek has previously stated that he has agreed with the chairman of the Association of Booksellers and Publishers Martin Vopěnka on the conclusion of a license agreement. The state will pay publishers compensation of CZK 80 million for unsold books, which will be available online thanks to this agreement.

POLITICS: Czech government to file lawsuit over Turnow mine

The Czech Republic will file a lawsuit against Poland with the European Court of Justice in late February or early March in connection with the extension of mining in the Polish Turow lignite mine near the Czech border, the government has decided and the Foreign Ministry told ČTK. Prague will demand that the mining in Turow be halted. The Polish Environment Ministry expressed surprise at the Czech government's decision to sue Poland over the Turow mine, the TVN 24 reported, citing ministry spokesman Aleksander Brzózka. He noted that during the recent visit by a Czech delegation headed by the foreign minister, talks had been led with the Czech Environment Ministry representatives as well. "Their course indicated that there was a chance for a settlement of the dispute," he stressed.

CHARITY: CZK 80 million raised as part of Three Kings Collection

A total of CZK 80.3 million has been raised through the Three Kings Collection this year. The event usually sees children dressed as the Three Kings collecting money door-to-door, but this could not take place due to the COVID epidemic. Caritas CR, the charity group that organizes the Epiphany campaign annually said people could only make contributions into money boxes installed in offices, shops, and churches, and also contribute online and via SMS messages. People have contributed a total of CZK 52.3 million to stationary money boxes, 24 million in online donations, and over four million via SMS messages. Spokesman Jan Oulik told ČTK that Caritas CR is satisfied with this year's result, which is a pleasant surprise with regard to the current demanding conditions. He thanked all who have contributed and said the collected money will also help those afflicted by the epidemic.

Tříkrálová sbírka potrvá už jen několik dní. Koledníci k vám letos přichází online na Děkujeme za podporu.

Posted by Arcidiecézní charita Praha on Wednesday, 20 January 2021

CULTURE: New additions to Zdeněk Miler exhibition in Kladno.

The permanent Kladno exhibition dedicated to the author Zdeněk Miler, has been completed. It was 100 years since the birth of the Krtek (Little Mole) creator in Kladno on Sunday. The exhibition opened last year in the Kladno chateau has now been complemented with the addition of Miler's authentic desk, easel, and other objects connected with his life. Its curator Pavla Slancová told reporters during Monday's presentation of the exhibition. Part of the event was the launch of a new catalog: books called Zdeněk Miler (not only) Krtek. The book is about his life and work. According to Slancová, the book should explore how Miler is also the author of a number of other works, not only Krtek. Equipment from Miler's office, where he created, was donated by his wife Emilie, who still lives in Kladno.

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