An international team of veterinarians have successfully harvested eggs
from the last two surviving northern white rhinos on Earth, in the hope of
bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.
The effort to save the species is spearheaded by Dvůr Kralove Zoo, which in 2009 sent four northern white rhinos to Kenya in a bid to encourage them to breed.
The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, leaving two females, Najin, 30, and her daughter Fatu, 19, as the only survivors of the subspecies.
Neither can reproduce naturally and scientists are hoping to make embryos from the harvested oocytes and transfer them to a surrogate southern white rhino mother.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Czech chargé
d'affaires to issue a sharp protest over the vandalizing of a statue
of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague on the anniversary of the Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In a diplomatic note to the Czech Foreign Ministry the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the act as an insult to those who had laid down their lives in the liberation of Czechoslovakia and demanded that the matter be investigated and the culprit punished. It further called on the Czech authorities to remove the red paint and prevent similar incidents of vandalism in the future.
The Czech Foreign Ministry stated that it regretted the incident but said any decisions regarding the statue were fully in the hands of the local administration of the Prague 6 district.
Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. After being present on several fronts in WWII, Konev was involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was also present in Berlin for the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Swimmer Jan Čejka won a gold medal at the FINA World junior swimming
championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Friday. He won the 50m backstroke
clocking 25.08s and breaking the senior national record.
Čejka was the European Junior Champion in the 200 back in July and also took a bronze medal in the 100 back. His 200 back in 1:57.51 is also a Czech Record.
Social Democratic Party leader Jan Hamáček has received full backing from
the party’s deputies’ group in the lower house over the manner in which
he handled the crisis surrounding the naming of a new culture minister.
Mr. Hamáček said after Friday’s meeting of the group that he was confident he still enjoyed strong backing from the party leadership and there would be no attempts to undermine party unity.
The Social Democrat leader recently came under fire from some regional party members who said he should have been more emphatic in defending the party’s position in talks with the prime minister and president and even made good on his threat to walk out of the coalition government.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is to receive an additional 5.9
billion crowns in state funds in 2020, Labour Minister Jana Maláčová
said following marathon talks on money matters with Finance Minister Alena
Extra money for IT projects, as requested by the labour minister is still to be debated.
The draft budget for the ministry was originally set at 676.4 billion, a sum that Ms. Maláčová said was woefully inadequate for the tasks at hand. She had originally requested an additional 11 billion crowns.
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked
the entrance to the Ministry for Regional Development on Prague’s Old
Town Square shortly before noon on Friday demanding that the government
reduce emissions from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Ministry for Regional Development is represented in a government commission which will debate the gradual phasing out of coal mining and the country’s future energy mix. The activists argued that such a decision should be the result of a broad debate and consensus in society.
Twenty-four people are now reported to have been charged in a massive tax
evasion scam involving 270 million crowns, according to a spokesperson for
the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime.
The charges against seven foreign nationals and 17 Czechs who operated fictitious companies came following a largescale operation in close to 60 sites across the Czech Republic. All except two of the suspects are currently being held in custody.
The several–month-long operation involved over 400 police and customs officers both at home and abroad. In simultaneous raids on homes and offices the police secured assets worth 68 million crowns and a number of illegally held weapons.
The number of government programs for the employment of foreigners in Czech
companies will be halved as of September 1, the President of the Chamber of
Commerce Vladimír Dlouhý told reporters on Friday. The present six
programs will be reduced to three and the conditions for including workers
and employers in the program will be unified.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will only handle employers' applications for highly qualified employees or researchers, while the Chamber of Commerce will assist companies with all other employee applications.
In the transformed Qualified Employee Program, the Chamber will accept applications from companies for workers from Ukraine, Montenegro, Serbia, the Philippines, India, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Mongolia. The government sets individual annual quotas for each country.
From September the quota for workers from Ukraine will also be gradually increased to 40,000 per year. So far it has been 19,600 people.
The former deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Czech
Republic (ÚZSI) Zdeněk Blahut has been charged with fraud and abuse of
office, the Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague reported on Friday.
No further details were released.
According to the news site idnes.cz Blahut’s detention is part of an ongoing investigation into the financial management of the Foreign Intelligence Service. The news site claims the police also questioned the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Jiří Šašek and the former interior minister Milan Chovanec, who appointed Blahut to office. Chovanec later dismissed the claim.
The Foreign Intelligence Service’s principal goal is to provide foreign intelligence vital for the security and protection of the Czech Republic’s foreign policy interests and economic interests.
Blahut served as its deputy head from September 2014 until January of this year.
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