Czech pilots patrolling Baltic airspace, within the NATO Baltic Air
Policing operation, have had to intervene in five cases of air-space
violations since they took over the defence mission on September 1st, Czech
Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar told the ctk news agency.
All the incidents in which Czech Gripen fighter jets identified and intercepted uncommunicative aircraft concerned Russian planes.
The Czech Republic has five Gripen fighter jets and some 70 soldiers stationed at Amari base in Estonia. Its mission will end on December 31st of 2019.
A windstorm dubbed „Mortimer“ which felled trees and brought down power
lines in the Czech Republic on Monday is reported to have damaged 300,000
cubic metres of forests, which is approximately 300,000 trees.
The state-own forest company Lesy CR, which owns half of the forests in the country, said it did not yet have a damage estimate.
The added volume of timber which will need to be processed is expected to further decrease the price of timber on the market which has seen a glut from enforced logging due to bark-beetle infestation.
The Czech branch of Transparency International says it will ask the Justice
Ministry to look into the decision of the Regional Council of Central
Bohemia which halted an infringement procedure against Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš on the grounds of a complaint regarding a possible conflict
The council said it had found no evidence that Andrej Babiš had any influence over the companies he had placed in trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.
Transparency says it has serious concerns regarding possible bias, since the Central Bohemian administration is dominated by Prime Minister Babiš’ ANO party.
A complaint against the prime minister was previously debated by the Černošice council which arrived at the opposite conclusion and meted out a 200,000 crown fine for the offense. Babiš appealed the decision.
The government will address fears that the extension of the tolling system
to some grade one roads as of next year could result in excessive road
traffic on smaller roads in the vicinity, Transport Minister Vladimír
Kremlík told journalists after meeting with the mayors of local
municipalities on Tuesday.
The minister said that the government would monitor the situation for six months and in the event of a problem extend the toll to the roads that are being used to by-pass the system. Trucks will be banned from branching off highways and grade one roads from the outset.
Building a government quarter in Letnany would save taxpayers 378 million
crowns annually which the government is now paying in rent for buildings in
the city centre, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said at the start of a
conference on administrative buildings currently underway in Prague.
Talks between the government and Prague City Hall on building a government quarter in Prague’s Letnany district are deadlocked over the conditions under which city hall would be prepared to make the premises available.
City Hall wants the government to finish constructing the outer ring-road around Prague, to finance the inner ring-road and build a hospital.
The prime minister is in favour of getting a private investor to finance the inner ring-road and says Prague needs a trauma-centre more than it needs a hospital.
The police are investigating Cardinal Dominik Duka on suspicion that he had
covered up a case of sexual abuse in the Dominican Order.
The news site seznam.cz which broke the story said the victim, who remains anonymous, claims had reported the abuse to Dominik Duka but he had failed to take action against it.
The victim claims the abuse went on for years while he was training to become a priest.
The priest who abused him later left the order after being accused of sexual abuse by several others. He died before the case came to court.
Cardinal Duka admits he remembers such an incident years ago and says he failed to act because the priest swore on the cross that the young man was lying.
The cardinal says he is ready to cooperate fully with the police.
Czech Foregin Minister Tomáš Petříček and his German counterpart Heiko
Maas met in Prague on Monday, where they signed a joint Czech-German
Strategic Dialog statement to be followed for the next two years. Strategic
co-operation is to be followed in the areas of research, education,
transport, climate issues and security.
Mr. Petříček said that the Czech Republic is also looking to involve Germany more in Visegrad Four negotiations.
Věra Jourová, the European Commission Vice-President nominee, will be
asked how she can independently supervise the observance of rule of law in
the Czech Republic during her hearing in the European Parliament next
Monday, the Czech News Agency reports. Ms. Jourová, who was chosen as
European Commission Vice-President for values and transparency by the
future commission president Ursula von Der Leyen, was proposed as the Czech
candidate by the government of Andrej Babiš, who was found to be in a
conflict of interests by a preliminary EU audit in May.
Damian Boeselager, a German MEP on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), told the Czech News Agency that unlike some Czech MEPs, Ms. Jourová has never opposed Mr Babiš and so it must be clear that she will not disregard any criticism regarding the rule of law in the Czech Republic.
Just as for other EU Commission candidates, Ms. Jourova’s hearing will take three hours, during which MEPs will have the opportunity to ask a total of 25 questions.
Children’s‘ rights and their treatment in Czechia have not improved
much in the past eight years, according to a new report by the Czech
Helsinki Committee, whose details were discussed at a press conference on
Monday. The document will be examined later this week by the UN’s
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The analysis states that care for endangered Czech children is still splintered across multiple ministries, the amount of boys and girls in foster homes, while down since 2011, is still high and children’s opinions are not always taken into account at court.
According to the Miroslav Prokeš from the Alliance for Children’s’ Rights, Czech society still sees children more as objects rather than partners.