Czech politicians have paid tribute to the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said her firm and principled stand had contributed to the fall of communism in eastern Europe and that her style of government had been an inspiration to the post-communist world. Mr. Nečas further highlighted the former British prime minister’s courage and dedication in bringing about unpopular but necessary reforms. Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake described Margaret Thatcher as an exceptionally strong leader who was not afraid to swim against the tide in defending her views on personal responsibility and a free market.
Former Czech president Václav Klaus has described former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s demise as a huge loss for Europe. Mr. Klaus said Margaret Thatcher was one of great leaders of the 20th century; a dedicated proponent of freedom, democracy and market economy. Himself a former prime minister who shared Mrs. Thatcher’s views, Mr. Klaus recalled their cooperation in the post communist days saying Margaret Thatcher had given the Czech government staunch support and valuable advice as it undertook the transformation from a communist-controlled state to a market economy. He said her voice would be sadly missed in Europe and urged that her legacy should not be forgotten.
The Czech Foreign Ministry announced on Monday it is not planning to evacuate its embassy in North Korea despite growing tensions in the region. According to a ministry spokesperson the decision was made in the light of the latest information received from the country’s embassies in Pyongyang and Seoul. The Foreign Ministry said it would continue to closely monitor developments and consult the situation with other EU member states. The North Korean authorities told embassies in Pyongyang they could not guarantee their safety after April 10 and there is speculation the warning could be linked to possible new nuclear tests. No diplomats appear to have left the North Korean capital so far.
A sixteen year old schoolgirl was killed and twenty young people were injured when a French coach crashed on the D5 highway near Rokycany early on Monday. The coach is reported to have careened off a motorway bridge. It was carrying 50 passengers most of them aged between 12 and 15. Twenty people were taken to hospital, three of them were airlifted with serious injuries. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The names of Czech victims of the Holocaust were read out at a memorial on Prague’s náměstí Míru square on Monday, which is international Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah. Individual stories of victims of the Nazi genocide of Jews and others were also read out at the event, which is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust, the Czech News Agency said.
Poland says growing criticism regarding the quality of Polish food imports to the Czech Republic stems from competition on the market. In a statement for the media the Polish Embassy in Prague said on Monday that Polish food inspections were conducted fully in adherence with European standards and accused the Czech side of orchestrating a smear campaign against Polish goods with the intention of increasing the share of Czech food products on the home market. The embassy said this tactic could backfire since the two countries were often seen as one region and one market. The quality of Polish food imports is expected to dominate the agenda of this week’s Czech-Polish business forum.
The Czech media often stereotype Romanies and portray them in a negative light thus worsening their public image, according to an analysis conducted by the government agency for social integration and released on Monday, International Roma Day. According to the analysis, three fifths of all the items on Romanies which appeared in the media between September 2011 and May 2012 concerned crime in which Romanies were named as the perpetrators. The analysis says media output on the Romany minority shows little variety and focuses largely on crime followed by extremism and housing problems. There were substantially fewer reports on Roma culture, history and traditions.
According to a report by the Hertie School of Governance the debt crisis in the Euro zone has significantly curbed corruption in the public sector. According to the study countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal have all benefitted, unlike Greece which remains highly susceptible to corruption. The Czech Republic which is not a euro zone member, ranks near the bottom of the list of countries which have a serious problem with corruption together with Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia.
The national vehicle registration system is reportedly in good working order after a two-week break and stations around the country are processing applications successfully. Hundreds of people are waiting to be served. The new system which is linked to the Schengen database has been dogged by problems since it was introduced in July of last year. As of April the system changed hands and is now being administered by ICT and Telephonica.
The chilly April weather has been breaking temperature records around the country. The monitoring station at Kvilda in the Šumava Mountains measured a record low temperature for April 8 at -19 degrees Celsius on Monday. A long-term weather forecast predicts a significant warming in the coming week with day temperatures expected to reach 19 degrees in a week’s time. However the month of April should remain below average as far as temperatures are concerned.