A meeting of foreign ministers of the Višegrad Four, Germany and Luxembourg in Prague on Friday failed to resolve the dispute over mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees within the EU. The six foreign ministers stressed the need to find a common strategy in dealing with the crisis and welcomed the latest proposals presented by the European Commission this week but failed to find common ground on the divisive issue of mandatory quotas. The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland said mandatory quotas were unacceptable and did not present a satisfactory solution since it was not clear how migrants would be kept in the state to which they were allotted. The meeting in Prague was an effort to reach a breakthrough on the issue ahead of Monday’s meeting of EU justice and interior ministers in Luxembourg.
The Czech Republic has had to start importing electricity after the Temelín nuclear power plant’s two reactors were both disconnected from the grid. The first reactor was disconnected on September 3rd due to a technical fault in the non-nuclear section of the plant. The second block was disconnected on Friday due to a fault in the turbo generator. The 2,000 megawat plant is the biggest source of electricity in the country and covers a fifth of overall consumption.
Czech philosopher, former dissident and co-founder of Charter 77 Radim Palouš has died at the age of 90, the ctk news agency reported. He served as the first post-communist rector of Prague’s Charles University after 1989. During the communist years one of the country’s leading academics was persecuted and forced into manual labour. In a condolence letter to his family Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the country has lost a man of conviction, a respected philosopher and one of the key figures of the country’s modern history.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will take part in the international summit against Islamic State terrorism held on the sidelines of the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of September, the Office of the Government reported on Friday. The Czech prime minister said the summit was of crucial importance since ISIL presented a growing threat to global security. President Miloš Zeman and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek will also be travelling to New York for the session of the UN General Assembly.
A group of Czech Interior Ministry’s experts will examine new applications filed by ethnic Czechs from Ukraine for resettlement to the Czech Republic, head of the Presidential Office foreign department, Hynek Kmoníček, told the Czech News Agency after a meeting with expatriates on Wednesday. The experts will arrive in Kiev on September 27 and stay there for one week. Věra Doušová, representative of the Czech expatriates, said after the meeting that the examination process concerns about 200 ethnic Czechs, whose applications were previously declined. To date, 414 people applied for permanent residence in the Czech Republic and 151 have already moved to the country.
Eighty Czech soldiers who served on foreign missions received distinctions and commemorative medals from the hands of Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky at the National Memorial on Prague’s Vitkov Hill on Friday. Seventy of them are back from an air-policing mission over Iceland, seven served on a NATO mission in southern Turkey and three recently concluded their mission in KFOR in Kosovo.
The newly-constructed Blanka tunnel complex in Prague is to open to traffic on September 19th at 2pm, according to the Prague councillor responsible for transport infrastructure Petr Dolinek. In the first days drivers should expect a 50 km speed limit. The tunnel complex was built as part of the Prague City Ring Road. It is the longest road tunnel in the Czech Republic and the longest city tunnel in Europe. The complex of three tunnels –over 6.5 km in length -will connect the area west of Prague Castle with Trója district in the northeast. The complex cost nearly 37 billion crowns and its completion was four years behind schedule.
The World Press Photo exhibition opens in Prague’s Karolinum, the seat of Charles University, on Friday night. Over 140 of the world’s best documentary photos will be on display until October 4th. This year’s overall winner is the Danish photographer Mads Nissen who won this year’s world photo contest with an intimate image of Jon and Alex, two gay men in St Petersburg, Russia. The winning picture is part of a larger project by Nissen called Homophobia in Russia. The picture was selected from close to a 100,000 entries submitted by close to 6,000 press photographers from 131 states.
The renowned Czech violinist Václav Hudeček has received the prestigious Italian award Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia presented to artists for propagating the country’s good name abroad. Hudeček is one of the world’s leading interpreters of the music of Antonio Vivaldi and Niccolò Paganini. The award was presented to Hudeček at a special ceremony at the Italian embassy in Prague on Thursday.
Czech defender David Limbersky was stripped of the captaincy of Viktoria Plzen on Friday, over a drink driving incident. Limbersky allegedly crashed his car in Prague’s Smichov district and tried to flee from the scene. Police said officers witnessed the crash and detained the driver after he tried to escape. They said his blood-alcohol level was 1.5 percent. Limbersky was heavily fined by his club and could face up to three years in prison if tried and convicted.