Prague has renamed the square Pod kaštany where the Russian Embassy is
located after the murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
The renaming ceremony was led by Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib in the presence of Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna. The square was renamed as a gesture of solidarity with Russian pro-democracy and human rights campaigners.
Nemtsov, one of President Putin’s most vocal critics, was gunned down on 27 February 2015. Prague City Council also recently voted in favour of renaming a promenade in the Bubeneč district after investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, slain a decade earlier.
The Central Epidemiological Commission met on Thursday to discuss measures
which would be implemented in the event of the spread of the coronavirus to
the Czech Republic. At a press briefing following the meeting Health
Minister Adam Votěch warned against mass panic and food hoarding. He said
doctors had been given instructions how to deal with suspected cases of
coronavirus infection and that facemasks would be available within a
More than 135 people have so far been tested for the COVID-19 virus with all results negative. However a number of Czechs who have returned from high risk areas in northern Italy are in quarantine and preventive measures are in force at the country’s international airports.
With the spread of the virus to more European countries Czechs have been buying up face-masks and have started hoarding food in the event of a crisis. Some companies have ordered employees who have recently been to Italy or Asia to work from home for a fortnight.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport says the coronavirus scare
has reduced the number of outgoing and incoming flights by around 25 a day.
A further decline is expected in the coming weeks.
All direct flights to and from China were suspended at the beginning of February and as of Thursday February 27th Czech Airlines suspended all direct flights to South Korea, which has the second largest number of coronavirus infections after China.
The airport has introduced monitoring of passengers arriving from other destinations where the coronavirus has been confirmed and passengers from northern Italy go via a special gate attended by medics.
The company Respilon from Brno which recently announced it had developed
special facemasks which would provide protection against the coronavirus
says it will be able to market them within a few weeks.
The company is producing the masks, made of nanofiber and copper oxide which are capable of effectively eliminating the virus, in Israel in cooperation with its Israeli partners. Production in Brno should start in May.
Respilon cooperated with three Chinese companies and has around 750,000 masks in China but cannot get to its supplies in view of the present situation in the country.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has asked the Trump administration to review the
national security implications of AT&T’s Inc’s planned sale of its
majority stake in Central European Media Group Enterprises (CME) to the
Czech-owned conglomerate PPF Group.
Rubio, a Republican who chairs the l Congressional-Executive Commission on China, wrote that the Czech company has a record of acting as “China’s proxies inside the Czech Republic” and added that PPF-owned telecommunications firms are working with Huawei Technologies Co to develop 5G networks.
The CME Group operates in the Czech Republic as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, reaching around 97 million people and owns some of most-watched news programming in Central and Eastern Europe, Rubio said in the letter.
PPF said in a statement it appeared Rubio was relying on “false information” from a Czech politician and disputed his characterization of CME’s market.
The company said it had only inherited Huawei’s technology as part of its acquisition of the Norwegian telecom operator Telenor last year.
The CZK 449 million project known as Czechiana, which planned to create a
publicly accessible database of Czech cultural heritage online, is
“megalomaniac” and will be cancelled, Culture Minister Lubomír
Zaorálek said on Thursday.
He went on to say that the project had been “strangely managed” and that it would have to be audited.
Similar to the EU’s Europeana website, the Czechiana project aimed to create a sort of online super museum, where images, as well as audio and video files from the country’s leading cultural institutions would be uploaded. The whole project was supposed to be finished in October this year
Former Czechoslovak and Czech president Václav Havel has been posthumously
recognised as a member of the so-called “Third Resistence“ (Třetí
odboj) by the Ministry of Defence, which issued a corresponding certificate
on Wednesday. The document states that Havel fought against Communist power
all his life regardless of his own freedom.
Havel was an active campaigner for human rights in Communist Czechoslovakia since the 1960s and spent several years in prison due to his actions and beliefs.
The Third Resistance is a term used for those who resisted Communist rule especially during the early years after the party’s takeover of the state in 1948. However, it continued until 1989.
Czech police have arrested a 41-year-old man suspected of secretly cutting
and collecting strands of women’s’ hair in Prague’s trams. The man
was caught on Prague 4’s Budějovická street with scissors and hair
strands on him.
He has since admitted that he did commit the acts, some 25 in total, and has given other hair strands that he kept at home over to the police.
Police spokeswoman Hana Křížová says he gave no rational explanation for why he cut the hair. He could face up to two years in jail for disorderly conduct.
The Czech Republic will do its outmost within the EU to begin negotiation
talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania about their entry into the union
next month, Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček said on Wednesday following
a meeting with his counterpart from Northern Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov.
Mr Petříček went on to stress that both countries have fulfilled the necessary conditions and that further delay is therefore unwarranted.
Negotiations were originally set to take place already in October last year, but were delayed until March. Some countries, such as France, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, are reserved in the matter of Balkan succession and the Czech Foreign Ministry is trying to change that Mr Petricek said.
There are hopes that Thursday’s Visegrad Four states’ negotiations with those of the Western Balkans, which are being attended by the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Olivér Várhelyi could help the process. Northern Macedonia’s accession talks into the EU were blocked for many years by Greece, due to a dispute about the formers name.