Next Tuesday, a week after the tragic shootings at the University Hospital
in Ostrava, sirens across the country will hoot for a short period at
mid-day, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told the press on Tuesday. He
said that the remembrance act will be similar to that which took place
after the shooting in Uherský Brod in 2015.
This Tuesday morning, construction engineer Ctirad V. killed six people and injured a further three before taking his own life, using an illegally owned handgun. It is the second most deadly shooting in modern Czech history, only preceded by the murder of eight people in Uherský Brod, where eight people were shot in a restaurant before the gunman turned the weapon on himself.
More than a third of the Czech Republic is currently suffering from
drought, Environment Minister Richard Brabec told journalists after meeting
with local Central Bohemian mayors in Prague. Despite 2019 seeing more rain
than in previous years, it is not enough to counteract six years of drought
which the country has gone through. Unless 2020 sees above average
rainfall, it is very unlikely that the accumulated groundwater deficit will
be eliminated, the Environment Minister said.
Some CZK 12 billion have been allocated from state budgets between 2014 to 2020 to combat the effects of drought, 2 billion of which remain in the reserve.
The Constitutional Court ruled to uphold a complaint by eight Taiwanese
citizens who are currently being held in custody after receiving so-called
subsidiary protection in the Czech Republic for one year, Czech Television
reported on Tuesday. The eight individuals are suspected by China to have
run a gang responsible for eliciting tens of millions of crowns from
several Chinese women in Prague and China is asking that they be
extradited. However, according to the constitutional judges their detention
is devoid of purpose because extradition is not yet possible. The case has
been returned to local courts in Prague which are to decide on the length
The suspects deny their guilt and have stated that they fear the use of torture, or execution in China, in part due to the hostile relationship between China and Taiwan for the past 70 years.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party maintained its lead in the polls
in November, according to a newly published STEM agency survey. ANO
received 34.9 percent of voter preference, leaving the second placed Pirate
Party trailing far behind with 10.9 percent. The third placed Civic
Democrats would receive 10.6 percent of the vote according to STEM,
followed by the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party with 9.1 percent of
preferences. The Mayors and Independents and the Communist Party both
received just over 7 percent, while the Social Democrats, who are currently
in government with ANO would get 6.4 percent. The last party to cross the
required 5 percent threshold to get into the lower house of Parliament are
the Christian Democrats with 5.5 percent. TOP 09, which currently sits in
the Chamber of Deputies would receive just 3.7 percent.
According to the Czech News Agency, the survey was carried out after the November 17 protests against the prime minister, but before last week, when he was both found to be in a conflict of interest by a European Commission audit and criminal charges for subsidy fraud were restarted against him.
Both the Police and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček have denied that there
were any attempts to make Prague City Hall begin with the testing of test
facial recognition technology in surveillance cameras. Their statements
were made after Czech Radio’s online news site iRozhlas acquired a letter
sent in September by the Regional Police Directorate to City Hall, which
talked about facial recognition testing in specific areas, including Prague
Airport and strategic metro and railway stations.
According to the interior minister the whole issue has been inflated and the police issued no demands, but simply voiced their suggestions with intent to start a debate. However, iRozhlas has pointed to the fact that the Police Deputy for External Service Petr Matějíček writes twice asking “for a pilot project to verify the functionality of face recognition cameras in selected locations of the city”.
Prague City Hall councillors have indicated they will not allow the police to activate automatic facial recognition cameras in the city.
The consumer finance group Home Credit, owned by the richest Czech Petr
Kellner, hired a PR agency to improve the media image of the Communist
Party of China and thus influence Czech society in its favour, news site
Aktuálně reported on Tuesday, citing documents in its possession.
From April to August 2019, money for some 2,000 hours of work was apparently paid by Home Credit to C&B Reputation Management. The PR agency was hired to “help those who support the Chinese regime in the media and attack its critics” and also organised the creation and activities of an institute called Sinoskop – Institut for Contemporary China, Aktuálně writes. However, the director of the agency, Tomáš Sazima, says that its work was only to “moderate the debate about China and bring in relevant elements”.
In an annual report published last month the Czech counterintelligence service BIS considered the spread of China's influence in the Czech Republic to be one of the greatest security threats.
The state is set to collect CZK 1.6 billion from Prague Airport this year.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors Václav Řehoř told Czech Radio
that this was a logical consequence of the economic results of the airport
which have been developing “above expectations“. He said that
extraordinary revenues, such as the sales of air craft, played a role in
the increased profits. Last year, the state collected only CZK 350 million,
while in 2017 it was CZK 2.5 billion.
The airport is planning to invest tens of billions of crowns in the next few years. This will include a CZK 16 billion expansion of its second terminal, as well as a new parallel runway.
A shooting in the University Hospital in Ostrava has left seven people dead
and a further three injured. At around 7am on Tuesday, a man started firing
at the heads and chests of people in the hospital's traumatology
waiting room. Four people died immediately, a further two in intensive
care. All of the victims are reported to have been patients. A Rapid
Deployment Unit of the police was soon dispatched to the hospital was
placed under lockdown.
The suspect, a construction engineer with a criminal record identified as Citrad V., used an illegally held 9mm handgun. He then fled in a grey Renault before shooting himself in the head and later dying in hospital. His employer told Czech Radio that the man believed himself to be very ill and frequently visited medical stations.
Prime minister Andrej Babiš and Health Minister Adam Vojtěch arrived at the hospital later in the day. Mr. Vojtěch has also set up a special crisis team. President Milos Zeman, has offered his "deep condolences" and is in contact with the interior minister, according to his spokesman. Other politicians have also been expressing their condolences. Police President Jan Švejdar thanked policemen for their "rapid and professional" reaction.
The Ostrava hospital shooting is the second most tragic in the history of the Czech Republic. In February 2015, a man in a restaurant in Uherský Brod shot eight people before taking his own life.
Slavia Prague lost 1:2 against German side Borussia Dortmund in Tuesday’s
last round of Champions’ League group stage matches. Dortmund’s Jadon
Sancho put the home team in the lead in the 10th minute, but Slavia’s
Tomáš Souček managed to equalise just before the end of the first half.
Despite chances, Slavia was not able to put another goal in the net and
Julian Brandt scored the winner for Dortmund in the 61st minute.
Slavia finished bottom in the table, five points behind third placed Inter Milan, losing four games and drawing two. However, the Czech team’s performance has been viewed by many Slavia fans as dignified in view of the elite teams the Prague side had to face. Meanwhile, Dortmund’s victory means the team has qualified for the knockout phase along with Barcelona.