The lower house of Parliament has approved an amendment to the Aliens Act
that would make it easier to expel foreigners who have been repeatedly
convicted of crimes in the Czech Republic.
The Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats), who drafted the amendment, said it would speed up the expulsion process to at most six months, in part because the Supreme Administrative Court would have at most 90 days to appeal such an order.
Currently, proceedings to revoke a foreign offender’s residence permit can now last over two years, Mr Hamáček said, noting the case of a drug dealer that took six years.
Regarding the employment of foreign nationals, he said the Aliens Act amendment would also allow the government to introduce extraordinary work visas for a limited period of one year, thereby giving the government greatly flexibility to respond to market conditions.
Among other things, the draft would let the Cabinet set quotas for economic migrants or introduce compulsory integration courses for foreign workers.
The Czech airline Smartwings has announced it is complying with the
directive of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on grounding the
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft type.
The company currently operates 7 Boeing 737 MAX. A number of night flights had to be redirected to Ankara and Tunis as a result. The company has a fleet of 40 other planes at its disposal.
EASA issued the directive on Tuesday after a number of countries and airlines independently grounded their planes in reaction to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight which was operated by this aircraft type. It was already the second deadly accident of the 737 MAX, raising serious questions over its safety.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček handed out Medal of Merit awards
to 14 people who assisted the Czech Republic’s entry to NATO 20 years
Among the laureates was the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who was a leading voice in advocating for expansion of the military alliance to central Europe, former NATO secretary general Javier Solana and his successor in the post George Robertson, officials who headed NATO at the time of the country’s admission and during its first years in the alliance.
On the home scene, the awards went to the former foreign ministers Jaroslav Šedivý, Jan Kavan and Karel Schwarzenberg, former defence ministers Vladimír Vetchý, Alexandr Vondra and Luboš Dobrovský as well as former army chiefs of staff Jiří Nekvasil and Jiří Šedivý.
Russia is striving to undermine the unity of NATO member states, Slovak
President Andrej Kiska said at a security conference in Prague marking
twenty years since the alliance’s first expansion eastwards.
President Kiska said Moscow was using all the instruments at its disposal to achieve this goal – economic interests, diplomacy and propaganda.
Polish President Andrzej Duda echoed these sentiments saying that Moscow was trying to drive a wedge between NATO member states and was using provocations to see how far it could go and how NATO would react.
He likewise stressed the danger of cyber warfare and propaganda, which he said was another potent instrument in Russia’s arsenal.
Police have charged seven people with illegal production and sale of
marihuana over the internet.
The suspects allegedly produced large quantities of marihuana at eleven plantations in Moravia selling it to people in 75 countries.
The two main organizers, who were in charge of production and sales, may get a jail sentence of up to 12 years.
Senate committees are divided on whether the upper chamber should support
the nomination of Aleš Gerloch for the post of constitutional court judge.
The Senate’s Legal Matters committee recommended supporting the nomination, while the committee for Human Rights Issues voted against.
Senators opposing the idea cited Gerloch’s close relationship with President Zeman, who nominated him for the post. The Senate is to vote on the matter on March 20th.
The Czech Republic is marking the 20th anniversary of its entry into NATO
on March 12th, 1999. It joined the alliance together with Poland and
Hungary in NATO’s first expansion eastwards after the fall of communism
in Central and Eastern Europe. The celebrations, which include gatherings,
debates and exhibitions, are culminating at Prague Castle where President
Miloš Zeman is hosting heads of state, NATO representatives and foreign
Foreign visitors, government officials and NATO representatives have been addressing a security conference held to mark the anniversary. In his speech, Prime Minister Andrej Babis highlighted the fact that NATO membership is in the Czech Republic’s vested interest since it provides a guarantee of security. He said the Czech Republic would meet its commitment to spend two percent of the country’s GDP on defence by 2024.
Speakers addressing the conference cited international terrorism, Russia’s expansionist ambitions and cyber warfare as the main threats facing NATO today.
Among the VIP guests attending the celebrations are the former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright who was a leading voice in advocating for expansion of the military alliance to central Europe. She is among 14 people who will receive the Medal of Merit Award for Diplomacy from Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček.
A third degree avalanche alert has been declared in the Krkonoše Mountains
following several days of heavy snow and strong winds.
The mountain rescue service says the situation is extremely dangerous since a combination of factors have created a highly unstable layer of snow on many slopes.
Skiers have been warned not to take risks or stray from marked trails.
The Czech Republic’s most famous Romany singer Věra Bílá has died at
the age of 64, the news site Romea.cz reported. The singer reportedly died
in hospital after suffering a heart attack.
Bílá gained international acclaim performing Romany folk songs with the group Kale. They released their first album in 1996 and in later years performed live at venues around Europe and the United States.
Věra and Kale split up in 2005 on account of Bílá’s problems with gambling. Only this week she was planning to make a big comeback with Jan Bendig and Milan Krok, one of the singers from Kale.
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