Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has publicly criticised the minister of
transport, Dan Ťok, who is an appointee of his own ANO party. In an
interview published by iDnes.cz, the prime minister said the transport
chief was “too soft” on his subordinates and needed to be tougher and
more thorough. Mr. Babiš replied in the affirmative when asked whether the
minister needed to fear for his position.
For his part, Mr. Ťok told Novinky.cz that he did not wish to be a clone of Mr. Babiš and that his style was not to shout at people.
The country’s biggest motorway, the D1, has been beset by problems recently and Mr. Ťok was derided by critics for saying they would have been avoided if it had started snowing later in December.
Double Olympic champion Ester Ledecká has been crowned Czech Sportsperson
of the Year. The 23-year-old came first in the poll of sports journalists
by a record margin after stunning the world at the Winter Olympics in
February with gold in both alpine skiing’s super-G category and the
snowboard parallel giant slalom.
Speed skater Martina Sáblíková finished second in the poll, ahead of biathlonist Michal Krčmář in third. Sáblíková took silver in the 5000m at the Winter Olympics while Krčmář earned silver in biathlon sprint.
Condolences and messages of support for the injured and the families of the
victims are pouring in from politicians and members of the public.
President Zeman and Prime Minister Babiš said they were deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy, adding that their thoughts were with the families who had lost loved ones and the miners recovering in hospital.
Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček said the matter must be thoroughly investigated in order to ascertain whether the tragedy was not caused by negligence.
Condolences have also come from EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
The mayor of the near-by town of Stonavy has appealed to the locals to tone down Christmas and New Year celebrations, saying this was a time for reflection. Ostrava will dim the lights on dominant buildings in recognition of the tragedy and black flags were hoisted on many buildings in memory of those killed.
A special account has been set up to help the families of the victims.
The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) which on Monday
released a warning that the use of devices developed by the Chinese
companies Huawei and ZTE could present a security threat has moved to
reassure ordinary citizens that the warning does not apply to them.
The agency which issued the warning on the ground of its own findings and based on information about Chinese espionage activities from the military counterintelligence service said it was aimed at organisations and persons who fall under the state’s cyber security law.
The Office of the Government and individual ministries have been getting rid of the respective equipment since the alert came.
A Slovak national arrested in Prague last year on suspicion of planning a
terrorist attack has been charged with terrorist activities and propagating
The man was arrested after the police raided his Prague flat and discovered chemicals and other materials needed for production of home-made explosives.
The case will be dealt with by the Prague Municipal Court. If convicted, the man could face up to 15 years in jail.
A special commission has been set up to investigate the cause of the
accident at the ČSM mine. According to the Czech Mining Authority it is
clear even now that the concentration of methane must have crossed
permitted norms more than 4.5 times.
The incident is the worst mining accident in the Czech Republic since 1990, when 30 miners died in a fire at a mine near Karvina.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited the scene of the accident early on Friday, as did Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Poland has declared Sunday a day of mourning for the victims of the tragedy.
Over 200,000 people visited the historic building of the National Museum
since its re-opening in October, the museum wrote on its website on Friday.
The building was closed down in 2011 to undergo a major renovation, which cost around 1.8 billion crowns. It was partially reopened on October 28 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The National Museum will be free of charge until the end of the year. All of the museum’s premises will be accessible as of March next year.
Thirteen miners died and another 10 suffered injuries after a methane
explosion at the ČSM hard coal mine in the north-east of the Czech
Republic on Thursday. Eleven of the dead were Polish nationals.
The explosion occurred about 800 metres below the ground at around 5 p.m. on Thursday. The blast devastated some of the underground areas with poor visibility, obstructing the efforts of the rescue units.
According to Ivo Čelechovský of the state-owned OKD company, which operates the mine, three of the injured miners remain in hospital, one of them in a critical condition.
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