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05-09-2015

Opposition parties welcome Visegrad meeting outcome

The country's centre-right opposition parties, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats, welcomed steps agreed by the Visegrad 4, including the rejection of EU quotas on refugees. The regional grouping of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, has instead offered to help on a voluntary basis; the Czech Republic, for example, agreed earlier to accept 1,500 refugees over the next two years. On Friday, members of the V4 offered to provide expertise and equipment to help bolster the Schengen zone’s outer borders and combat human traffickers and support the fight against Islamic State during the current immigrant crisis. TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Ženíšek said his party had called for the rejection of quotas, a reliance on existing measures and the creation of hot spot centres, since January. He criticised the V4 for, in his view, not directly addressing growing xenophobia and racism in the V4 over Europe's refugee crisis.The Communists while welcoming Friday's meeting in Prague and outcome, suggested the move should have come earlier.

Former president launches new anti-migration petition

Former Czech president Václav Klaus has launched a new anti-migration petition hoping to attract thousands of signatories. The first signature was Mr Klaus' own. In the petition, the former head-of-state has called on the current government to secure the country's borders using the police and military, and called for the rejection of refugee quotas and for existing agreements and asylum policies to be respected. Mr Klaus said he had been urged to friends and supporters to launch a petition in response to a pro-migrant initiative begun recently by Czech scientists. Polls suggest that the vast majority of Czechs see the migration crisis as a major problem; there have been a number of demonstrations against the country accepting more refugees. Others have launched initiatives to help those in need.

Doctors, pharmaceutical company employees, charged with corruption

Czech police have charged 15 doctors and 19 employees at two pharmaceutical companies with corruption, the spokesman for the anti-corruption unit Jaroslav Ibehej has confirmed. The news was reported by Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes. According to the daily, the doctors allegedly received kickbacks in return for pushing the pharmaceutical companies' products. Monies paid amounted to at least nine million crowns, but possibly ten of millions more; police are investigating an additional 200 doctors for possible involvement.

Dozens of motorcyclists plus number of antique car owners back Švejk statue

Dozens of motorcycle fans and a number of antique car owners turned up on Saturday to back a project for the installation of a statue of famous Czech literary character Josef Švejk in Kralupy outside of Prague. So far, the initiative has 380,000 crowns in donations but is still short by some 150,000. Eighty-four motorcycle owners took part in a ride to help raise the remaining funds. The statue is based on actor Rudolf Hrušinsky who played the iconic character in the 1956 film The Good Soldier Švejk.

Activists cook up soups to draw attention to problem of food waste

Activists on Saturday prepared some 2,000 free servings of soup outside Prague's National Theatre to draw attention to the problem of food waste. Minestrone, potato soup and an Indian soup were all served after being cooked from less than attractive vegetables normally thrown away and not found in supermarkets. Activists aimed to show that perfectly good food is wasted daily which could instead be consumed.

Six thousand football fans see Jaromír Blažek benefit match

Some six thousand football fans saw a benefit match in honour of 42-year-old former Sparta Prague goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek, pitting former Sparta legends against the Blaža All-Stars. Players included Libor Sionko, Karel Poborsky and Tomáš Řepka for Sparta, and Patrik Berger, Jan Koller and Milan Baroš for the All-Stars. The latter won 3:2. Blažek played one 35 minute half for each team at Sparta's stadium at Letná - allowing no goals.

Cooler weather ahead, say experts

Cooler weather is expected over the course of next week, according to meteorologists at the HydroMeteorological Institute. Daytime temperatures are expected to be below 20 degrees Celsius. The week from September 14 is expected to be the warmest of the month.

05-09-2015