The country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, has suggested that the Foreign Ministry should review Czech embassies and diplomatic missions to see which are truly needed. Mr Babiš made the statement on Monday at an annual meeting of economic diplomats. He also expressed the opinion that the activities of representative bureaux like CzechInvest, Czech Centres or CzechTourism could be streamlined. It was reported at the weekend by Novinky.cz that the Czech Foreign Ministry is facing serious financing shortfall for this year which in the worst case scenario could result in the closure of 45 embassies or general consulates abroad and loss of 270 staff. The financial shortfall this year is expected to be around 400 million crowns and is set to rise to 900 million crowns next year. Causes are the weakness of the Czech crown and extra expenses from opening up representative offices in foreign countries in recent years.
Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for coalition colleagues for suggesting that Greece should go bankrupt. At a conference of the country’s economic diplomats, Mr Babiš pointed out the country had gone bankrupt four times over 200 years. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was quick to react, saying a bankruptcy by Greece would have a negative impact on the whole of Europe. His statement was echoed by the smallest party in government, the Christian Democrats.
The country’s Foreigners' Police over the last week or so detained twice the usual number of illegal migrants after controls were increased. Before now, the police on average detained around 30 illegal migrants weekly; since police checks went up, 52 foreign nationals (mainly from Afghanistan and Syria) were stopped. The news was confirmed on Monday by police spokeswoman Kateřina Rendlová. Almost all of those detained were caught on trains from Austria, many in the Břeclav area but also in Prague and Pardubice.
Last Thursday, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec ordered a tightening of security along train routes and some motorways. The European Union is facing a massive increase in the number of refugees, largely through Italy and Greece. The European Commission has recommended quotas per member state. But the Czech government remains opposed to mandatory quotas, offering to help refugees in their own regions or refugee camps instead.
Respected American actor Richard Gere, 65, and fellow actor Harvey Keitel, 76, will be two of the main guests to attend the upcoming 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The announcement was made by the festival’s director, Jiří Bartoška, on Monday. Mr Keitel attended the festival previously in 2004 where he received a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to world cinematography; Richard Gere will be given the honour this year. The 50th inception of the Czech Republic’s most prestigious film festival will open with a screening of Time Out of Mind, in which Gere stars with Jen Malone. In the past, Gere starred in such films as Days of Heaven, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Pretty Woman. The festival begins on July 3 and finishes on July 11.
Foreign missions cost the Czech military 1.42 billion crowns in 2014, or about 170 million crowns more than in 2013, according to a report for the Chamber of Deputies. Originally, the military was to spend 1.2 billion. The budget was later increased to 1.53 billion, but the not all of the sum was not spent. The mission in Afghanistan has long been the most expensive, costing about 816 million crowns last year.
In 2013, the Afghan mission cost 1.1 billion crowns. Protecting the Czech embassy in Kabul cost over 27 million in 2014.
The costs of the preparation of soldiers and equipment for foreign missions markedly increased last year, from 37 million in 2013 to 380 million in 2014.
The police have seized some 300 tonnes of grenade launchers and munitions at a site in Bojkovice in the area of Uherské Hraďiště, Czech TV reports. According to the police, the weapons and munitions were improperly stored. The owner, a company named Pyro-Technology, denies the claim. The removal of the material secured will take place over the course of several days.
More than 2,200 children of around 4,000 eligible in Prague 6 have received a shot of Hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccination took place in recent weeks after following a serious incident of water contamination in the district. Children between 12 months and 15 years of age were believed to be at risk after drinking contaminated tap water in the area at the end of May. The contamination occurred when sewage water seeped into a pipe carrying water for public consumption. The first shot of the vaccine cost the state an estimated 2 million crowns.
Czech zookeepers providing assistance and expertise at the city zoo in the Georgian capital Tbilisi after it was devastated by recent flash floods, say they have helped find and remove the carcasses of some one hundred animals that were buried in the mud. Czech experts have been in the capital now for a week. Petr Velenský of Prague Zoo described the situation on the ground. The team of experts - five from Prague Zoo and one each from the zoos in Ústí nad Labem and Zlín - opted to help, not least because of experience with floods the Czech Republic suffered in 2002 and 2013.
The trial of Věra Marešová, a former nurse charged with killing six patients in her care at a hospital in Rumburk, began on Monday. The case was initially reported as a possible mercy killing of an elderly woman before additional suspicious deaths emerged. According to the prosecution,cited by the Czech News Agency, the nurse injected six patients with potassium in the years 2010 to 2014, leading to their deaths. Her alleged victims were five women and one man, between the ages of 35 to 85. The suspect has maintained she is innocent; if found guilty, she could be given a life sentence.
Chelsea defender and team captain John Terry has said goalkeeper Petr Čech could be worth between 12 - 15 points for Arsenal per season, if he ends up joining the London club. He made the statement in an interview for talksport.com. The media is speculating that the 33-year-old Čech will sign with the Gunners after getting the green light from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for his 11 years of service, which included helping secure a slew of titles including the Champions League. Last season Čech was bumped from the No.1 spot by Belgian Thibaut Courtois, ten years his junior. Terry told talksport that Chelsea would miss Čech, but that it was understandable that the goalkeeper wanted to play.
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