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Government approves proposal to host Syrian refugees

The Czech government accepted on Wednesday a proposal for the country to take in 15 Syrian families who are now living in camps outside their country. The Ministry of Interior has proposed to offer help to the families of Christian Syrians who are now living in exile in Jordan and whose children have fallen sick. It’s estimated that more than three million Syrian have fled across their borders during the current civil war in the country.

TOP 09 says immigration policy too restrictive

Leaders of the opposition TOP 09 party said in reaction that the Czech government should do much more and take in hundreds of Syrian refugees. The party added that the Czech Republic should also revise its immigration policy and take a less selfish stand. The Czech Republic currently has one of the lowest acceptance rates of immigrants in the whole European Union. President Miloš Zeman said he opposed the government offer. Humanitarian help should be offered in the country or neighbouring states, he said. The centre-right opposition party, the Civic Democrats, said humanitarian help should be offered but not asylum on Czech soil.

Crown recovers after comments by central bank governor

The Czech crown continued to rebound from its recent weakness on Wednesday morning. At one stage it had firmed around 0.4% against the euro and almost 0.7 percent against the dollar. The recovery started late Tuesday after Czech National Bank governor Miroslav Singer said in a blog that he saw no reason for the bank to react to low inflation figures caused by weak oil prices and falling food costs. December’s annual inflation figure was just 0.1 percent sparking fears the bank might shift its target exchange rate for the euro lower than the current 27 crowns.

British authorities holding 62 Czech children

Czech diplomats are currently involved trying to return 62 Czech children in the care of British authorities to their parents. That figure was given to the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes by the head of the Brno-based International Office for the Legal Protection of Children. Zdeněk Kapitán said the care orders were made regarding the children of the some 100,000 Czechs now living in the country. The office is dealing with the case of around 145 Czech children worldwide.

Poison letters to finance minister were contract job: paper

The Italian suspected of sending poison to the Czech Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš was being paid to do and apparently had other accomplices, the Czech daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday citing Slovenian police sources. Slovenian police announced the24 year old had been caught this week. Dnes said the man crossed the border into Slovenia to post letter contaminated by poison to several destinations. Czech authorities have not so far moved to demand his extradition. Poison letters arrived at the finance and other Czech ministries in November last year.

Health minister: Draft legislation envisages blanket ban on smoking in bars and restaurants

The minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, says draft legislation prepared by his ministry envisages an across-the-board ban on smoking in Czech bars and restaurants. The bill had included the possibility of a ban only on smoking at hostelries where food is prepared; however that option has been removed from a version sent for review by other ministries. In an interview in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper Hospodářské noviny, Mr. Němeček said he believed that the legislation would go through and that the public were demanding such a change. Several attempts to ban smoking in Czech bars and restaurants have come to nothing over the years.

Tribute paid to architect Jan Kaplický

Homage will be paid Wednesday to Czech architect Jan Kaplický on the sixth anniversary of his death. The association Jan Kaplický Dnes, which was formed in 2012, is holding a series of discussions about the world famous architect and the state of Czech architecture and urban planning today at Prague’s Oko cinema. Kaplický emigrated to Britain where he made a name for himself with his daring designs. But his attempts to realize his work in his homeland met opposition from architectural conservatives.

Sentences quashed against actors who impersonated police

Prague’s municipal court on Wednesday threw out charges against two actors who shot an advertising clip for a disabled charity pretending to be police officers. The stunt backfired when one member of the public stopped for alleged speeding had a heart attack. The man in his sixties was taken to hospital and charges later pressed. The two actors were originally given eight month conditional sentences by a Prague 6 court. In their defence, they said that they did not think anyone would take them seriously and their uniforms were not identical copies of those used by the police.

Czechs make gruesome parasite discovery

Czech doctors have made what they believe to be a unique discovery for the country and whole of Central Europe. They extracted what they believe to be a 10 centimetre long parasite, probably a giant kidney worm, which hitherto has not been known in the region. The parasite was discovered when 76 year old patient turned up complaining of bleeding. The normal host of the parasite, which can destroy kidneys, is dogs with human infection rare and virtually unknown in the Czech Republic.

Hašek’s no. 39 jersey retired by former club Buffalo

The great Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek had his no. 39 jersey retired by Buffalo Sabres in a ceremony at his former club’s arena on Tuesday night. The move signifies Hašek’s legendary status at Buffalo, where “the Dominator” spent most of his career. He won the Vezina trophy as the league’s best goaltender six times and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player twice while at the club. Hašek, now 49, was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in November, becoming the first Czech to receive that honour.