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Czech PM offers 60 experts and ten million crowns to EU's Frontex

The Czech Republic has offered some 60 experts and about ten million crowns to the EU Frontex agency, the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Thursday after arriving in Brussels to attend the EU emergency summit on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Mr Sobotka said he offered to increase the Czech Republic’s contribution to express the country’s solidarity with the refugees. At the same time, he said that the decision on asylum must be made by sovereign governments of the particular EU member states and not by any EU bodies or other EU countries. The Czech Prime Minister also suggested that the summit should decide on a possible operation against people traffickers.

Cabinet clears troop deployments for Mali, Golan Heights UN missions

Czech troop deployments for the United Nations missions in the Golan Heights and Mali were approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday. A total of around 30 soldiers would participate in both missions lasting through 2016. The Czechs already have been operating in Mali as part of a security force in the capital and in training local soldiers. But the new mandate in the north of the country would involve 26 specialists helping to counter Islamic radicals. The mandate in the Golan Heights could result in up to five Czech soldiers being sent there. The UN would be expected to cover around 80 percent of the costs of the missions. Parliament will still have to approve the Cabinet decision.

V4 defence ministers agree on protection of common airspace

Countries of the Visegrad Four, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, need closer cooperation in protecting their common airspace, the countries’ defence ministers agreed on Thursday at a meeting in Tomášov, near Bratislava. The prime ministers of the V4 countries are set to meet in June discuss the Common Sky project. The Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glvac said Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already agreed on the protection of their common airspace. According to Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický, cooperation in air defence is crucial. The ministers also discussed a joint military force that should be operational by 2016.

Amnesty International: Czech schools discriminate and segregate Roma children

Roma children in Czech schools face daily discrimination and segregation, the human rights watchdog Amnesty International says in a report released on Thursday. According to Amnesty International, the situation is caused by the Czech government’s longstanding failure to address deeply engrained prejudice within the education system. Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil, Shetty, said that that by “failing to properly address this issue for years the Czech government is not only breaching European Union and human rights law but is restricting the life chances of tens of thousands of Czech citizens.” In reaction to the report, the Czech Ministry of Education told the Czech News Agency that it had recently taken a number of measures in support of inclusion.

Green Party launches campaign in support of maintaining coal mining limits

The Green Party on Thursday launched a campaign in support of maintaining the brown coal mining limits in the Czech Republic. The move came in response to the government’s long-term energy plans, which do not rule out partial relaxation of the environmental limits. The campaign, which includes a petition addressed to the government, will culminate in June, when the government is scheduled to discuss the country’s energy concept. Among its signatories are senators Eliška Wagnerová, Jitka Seitlová, Libor Michálek, Václav Láska and Václav Hampl.

Supreme Court judges sign deal with government over retroactive pay

Judges of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic on Thursday signed a deal on retroactive pay with the government. Under the deal the state will find around 1.2 billion crowns to partially compensate judges for insufficient pay over the years 2012 to 2014. The settlement became necessary after the Supreme Court ruled that the Ministry of Labour had made a miscalculation when it set the pay levels of judges and state attorneys, which led to them being unknowingly underpaid for three years. The deal will save the state some four million crowns.

New air link between Prague and Beijing to start on 22 September

A new air link between Prague and Beijing should be launched on September 22, the Speaker of the lower house of Parliament Jan Hamáček announced on Thursday. Mr Hamáček made the comment after meeting with the representatives of the Chinese company Hainan, which would operate the new route. The company is planning to start with three flights a week. Mr Hamáček said he is also scheduled to meet with the head of Chinese air carrier China Eastern to discuss a possible opening of another link between Prague and Shanghai.

Nearly 26 million tourists came to CR in 2014

Some 25.7 million foreign tourists visited the Czech Republic last year, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office and the Ministry of Regional Development on Thursday. Nearly ten percent of them merely transited the country and 51.6 percent of them stayed for one day only. Among those who stay for a longer period of time are mainly Germans, Russians and Slovaks. They usually spend on average six days in the country. Most of the one-day visitors to the Czech Republic also come from Germany and Slovakia, followed by tourists from Austria.

Police investigate Wednesday’s car explosion as attempted murder

Police are investigating Wednesday’s explosion of a car in Prague as attempted murder, a spokesman for the police, Jan Daněk, informed on Thursday. A bomb placed under a Skoda Octavia car exploded in Prague’s district of Měcholupy at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday. A 40-year-old woman who was sitting in the car in the time of the explosion suffered serious injuries.

Czechs beat Finland 4:1 in ice hockey warm up

In ice hockey, the Czech team won 4:1 against Finland in its warm up match for the world championships on Wednesday night. The Czechs came back after going behind in the first minute of play. Four NHL returnees featured in the Czech line-up: Jan Heyda, Jakub Voráček, Tomáš Hertl, and Martin Erat. Jakub Voráček played a key role in three of the Czech goals without scoring himself. The Czech win makes it six victories from the last seven for the national team. Manager Vladimír Růžíčka said the defensive performance in the first period was weak but said he was satisfied with the overall performance.