The Czech Republic will take an active part in the effort to combat the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček told journalists on Thursday. More details are to be revealed at the start of the week. The plan may involve the sending of both medicine and medical equipment. The health minister was reacting to an appeal launched by Doctors without Borders which earlier sent an open letter to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Six months after the beginning of the epidemic, new cases are on the rise, while riots have begun and entire health systems were collapsing, the organisation wrote. Isolation centres for the treatment of Ebola are overburdened and health personnel on the front lines themselves are catching the deadly virus. On Thursday, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said it was the country’s duty to help. In West Africa, the death toll from Ebola has reached almost 2,300.
An autopsy has confirmed that a nine-year-old child found dead after she went missing in Klášterec nad Ohří in the Chomutov area was murdered. The little girl failed to return home from school on Tuesday afternoon; her body was found a day later within a kilometre of her home. Police have released no additional details as the investigation is ongoing. Residents of the town responded to the tragedy by laying flowers and stuffed toys and candles at the child’s school. Town representatives also called a meeting with state police and school administrators to decide on next steps. As a result, security in front of local schools will be heightened by police patrols. Principals are asking parents to accompany their children to school, whenever possible, while pupils are being told to remain in groups.
Five-year-old UK boy Ashya King, recently operated for a brain tumor, is to begin treatment at Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre on Monday. According to the centre, Ashya is gaining strength in hospital ahead of the procedure. A special mask had to be produced for the child to be used during proton radiation treatment. The child will undergo therapy Monday to Friday over the next six weeks.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has postponed a trip to Iraq which had been scheduled for Monday when the minister was to have met with Kurd representatives to discuss Czech ammunitions being provided to help them in the fight against Islamist militants. The reason for the postponement is a planned Paris conference on Iraq security to be attended by top Iraqi officials. At the end of August, the Czech government agreed to send the Kurds munitions including bullets, grenades, and anti-tank shells no longer needed by the Czech Army.
The Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický has said the ministry’s budget should increase by roughly two billion crowns annually; he said there was agreement at the cabinet level, after the government discussed parts of the budget for 2015 on Wednesday. Originally, the Finance Ministry had expected a drop in defence funds in 2016 and 2017 by several hundred million. The Czech Army wants to use part of the new funds to hire around 1,500 new soldiers per year. The government will discuss next year’s state budget again on September 22.
Hygiene officers have ruled out the deadly Ebola virus in the case of a student from Tanzania hospitalised at the regional hospital in Pardubice, after suffering high fever. Tanzania is not on the list of countries hit by the Ebola outbreak, but the patient had reportedly recently seen his girlfriend from Congo, which is. For that reason, officials were prudent in determining that Ebola was not present. The patient is to undergo further tests to determine the exact cause of illness. According to the Czech News Agency, the student may have caught malaria.
The country’s Muslim community has not applied for enhanced rights almost ten years after it registered in the country. September 17 will mark the tenth anniversary, the Czech News Agency writes. Under Czech law, enhanced status would entitle the community to teach Islam in public schools, establish Islamic schools, provide religious services in the army and in prisons while Muslim marriages would also be officially recognized. However, the Muslim community has failed to meet several conditions for the rights to be granted, reportedly neglecting, for example, to publish annual reports over the 10-year-period. The Culture Ministry, its spokeswoman made clear on Thursday, would reject the application under such circumstances.
The municipal court in Brno on Wednesday acquitted two publishers and an editor, who were accused of propagating Nazism by publishing Adolf Hitler’s speeches. The publishers of the book said they wanted to make historic documents accessible to Czech readers while making a profit, arguing that Hitler was a “stronger brand that Coca-Cola”. The prosecution argued that Hitler’s thoughts were not placed in proper context, and could therefore influence uninformed readers. The judge said that the publishers clearly stated in the preface that they were submitting the texts to the readers in their authentic form without trying to evaluate them.
The body of the nine-year old girl, who went missing on Tuesday in Klášterec nad Ohří, was found dead on the outskirts of the town, just one kilometre from her home. The parents of the girl called the police on Tuesday afternoon when she didn’t return from school. The girl’s mother wrote on her Facebook profile that she was allegedly seen walking with an unknown man. The police say they are is investigating the case as murder. The cause of the death is not known and should be determined by a post mortem examination.
Police have detained an 18-year-old youth from Děčín suspected of mugging six women over the period of five days. Most of those mugged were seniors. The suspect took their bags or purses by force, apparently to be able to steal enough to pay for food and lodgings. He was picked up by police as he stalked a potential target. Police are asking the suspect be remanded in custody; if found guilty, the suspect could face up to 10 years behind bars.