There are around 10.5 thousand “Russian little men” operating in eastern Ukraine, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Monday, the news website idnes.cz reported. Mr Zaorálek made the statement in a public debate on Czech foreign policy in the lower house, in reaction to a question from the public about who was responsible for the bloodshed in Ukraine. Mr Zaorálek statement is the first estimate given by a Czech official about the number of Russian troops directly involved in the fighting in Ukraine, the news website said.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has said he will file a criminal complaint against an Ostrava hospital formerly managed by the current Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček. Mr. Babiš claims the hospital squandered large amounts of public funds. The finance minister and health minister are locked in a highly publicized dispute with Mr. Babiš accusing Mr. Němeček of poor management of the health sector and Mr. Němeček saying that the finance minister uses media owned by his company Agrofert to damage his reputation. The row between the two members of cabinet is to be debated at a special meeting of the ruling coalition this week. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has expressed regret that his colleagues in cabinet are fighting out their differences in the media.
Police experts were called to deal with a number of buried crates containing munitions which were found in the close vicinity of a rail track near Olomouc on Monday, the ctk news agency reported. The crates were discovered by diggers working near the rail track. The crates were not buried deep and most of them allegedly contained hand grenades. The track was closed for the day and pyrotechnics experts gradually removed the munition and searched the vicinity. Police are investigating the case.
The opening of Prague’s newly completed tunnel Blanka scheduled for December 2nd may have to be postponed due to a slide in the schedule of the final technology tests, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reports. The paper says that while the city council has not yet announced a delay, the tests started on Friday and according to the contract signed are to last for a period of 55 days. The city’s former mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has criticized the new city council for having dragged its feet on issuing a public tender for the company which would undertake the tests. Deputy mayor Jiří Nouza told the daily that the company in question was working around-the-clock to try to meet the deadline.
The police have confirmed receiving a fresh threat from the blackmailers who threatened to spread the Ebola virus in public places if they did not receive one million euros from the state. According to police experts on the case the perpetrators are very likely sophisticated hackers who have proved extremely clever at covering up their tracks and do not actually have the means to carry out their threat. Police specialists are cooperating on the case with foreign experts. If caught and convicted the blackmailers could face up to 12 years in jail.
The Spanish police are reported to have arrested four Czech nationals caught smuggling 369 kilograms of cocaine on a boat heading for the Canary Islands. The boat was sailing from South America under a Czech flag and the drugs were hidden in a number of secret compartments. The four offered little resistance and the boat was towed to port in Las Palmas.
President Miloš Zeman has begun a three-day visit to Moravia and Silesia. On Monday he met with the mayor of Ostrava and local politicians to debate the problems of the region, among which are high unemployment and severe air pollution. The president is due to meet with members of the public and visit some of the region’s leading companies among them Tatra Truck in Kopřivnice and Semag in Havířov.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic dropped by 0.2 percentage point month-on-month to 7.1 percent in October, the Labour Office said on Monday. The situation on the labour market is influenced by the economic revival and ongoing seasonal work in gastronomy, construction, tourism and agriculture. In the coming months, unemployment is expected to stagnate or grow moderately with the gradual decrease in seasonal work and the ending of fixed-term work contracts, the Labour Office said.
The ANO party of the centre-left ruling coalition is gaining increasing public trust and would win a landslide victory in general elections, according to the outcome of a poll by TNS Aisa. According to the poll results ANO would now win 35 percent of the vote gaining 85 seats in the lower house. In the last elections it won 18.6 percent of the vote 47 seats. The second strongest party – the Social Democrats would be left far behind with just 18 percent of the vote while the right wing TOP 09 would get 9.5 percent.
Stanislas Wawrinka beat Tomáš Berdych 6-1,6-1 in his opening game at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London on Monday. Berdych, who did not earn a single break point, lost the match in just 58 minutes. The seventh-seed lost hasn’t had a good year. Several injuries meant that Berdych missed out on quite a few tournaments and didn’t win a single Grand Slam.