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25-09-2015

People in Need on the list of aid organizations ordered out of Luhansk

Several international nongovernmental aid organizations, including the Czech Republic’s People in Need have been ordered out of Luhansk, a separatist-controlled region in eastern Ukraine. Separatist leaders said a number of Western aid groups had been told to leave the country by September 26 for "grave violations" of local laws. The only relief organization left active in the area will be the International Red Cross. The Czech Republic’s People in Need has strongly denied the allegations. The head of People in Need, Šimon Pánek, told the ČTK news agency he had no knowledge of any violations and no idea what the accusations pertained to.

Zeman calls Slovak premier to express support for Slovakia’s tough stand on migrant quotas

President Miloš Zeman has expressed support for Slovak Premier Robert Fico for taking a tough stand on mandatory migrant quotas, calling the prime minister on Friday, the Castle press office confirmed. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania all voted against at a recent summit of EU interior ministers but only Slovakia has said it will take the matter to court. The Czech government has opted to respect the results of the vote on Tuesday, saying it would not pursue legal action.

Klaus convinced government has no mandate to accept quotas

Former Czech president Václav Klaus has said he will consult with parliamentary parties and others to sound out whether there is a political will to push for a referendum on the EU’s mandatory quotas. The former head-of-state said he is convinced the current government has no mandate to enforce them. The Czech Republic, along with two other Visegrad Four countries and Romania opposed EU quotas, but was outvoted at summit of EU interior ministers this week. Mr Klaus has warned that the mandatory acceptance of refugees will fundamentally change security within the Czech Republic as well as the country's "character". A petition against migration launched not long ago by Mr Klaus has gotten almost 100,000 signatures.

Special team to gauge possible threat of infectious diseases related to migration crisis

The country’s health minister, Svatopluk Němeček, has ordered the creation of a special team to gauge the possibility of the spread of infectious diseases. The Health Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the move was in connection with Europe’s migration crisis; it stressed that the step was preventative and that Czechs faced no immediate danger. Tuberculosis was mentioned in the past, as well as other illnesses. Chief Hygiene Officer Vladimír Valenta said at the beginning of September that the Czech Republic was not in danger from "exotic diseases" as a result of the migration crisis.

Caritas launches new website for aid to migrants

The Catholic charity Caritas has launched a new website for people, parishes and organisations wishing to offer aid to refugees, including accommodation, material and financial aid, voluntary aid and various services. People can offer vacant houses and flats available for long-term rent to migrants who have been granted asylum in the country or sign up to work as volunteers for example, in helping teach refugees Czech, a spokesman for Caritas told the ctk news agency. The Czech Bishop’s Conference recently said it was ready to help integrate migrants of the Christian faith and has called on all Czech citizens not to succumb to fear and xenophobia.

President: Mynář will always have “respectable place” at Prague Castle

President Miloš Zeman has said that in the event that his chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, fails to get top–level security clearance, there will always be a “respectable place” for him at Prague Castle. The Czech media reported this week the chief-of-staff had allegedly not been cleared and the chancellor himself confirmed on Friday that was the case. In the past the president said the aid, who applied for clearance in December 2013, could not remain in the post if he failed to receive it. But the president made clear on Thursday that he fully expected Mr Mynář to appeal the decision if it was in the negative.

Supervisory board finds no reason for misgivings over Kleslová payments

The supervisory board of Czech energy giant ČEZ has confirmed the company paid former ANO deputy leader Radmila Kleslová up to 100,000 crowns per month for consulting services. Ms Kleslová, the mayor of Prague 10, herself admitted to Czech Radio that the amount had been less than half of that for a period of around 10 years, and 100,000 crowns for a year or year-and-a-half. She recently stepped down from the post of deputy leader at ANO, after coming under pressure in the media and from party leader Andrej Babiš over the issue. She had faced criticism over alleged conflict of interest, which she flatly denied. The ČEZ supervisory board found no fundamental reasons for misgivings over the payments. The politician’s contract with ČEZ is due to be terminated at the end of the month.

Small group of Czech soldiers to help in Hungary

The Czech Republic will send some 20 military personnel, transport and other equipment, and a field kitchen to Hungary in mid-October, the head of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, General Josef Bečvář, has confirmed. Czech soldiers should operate there for some two months, helping Hungary with the migration crisis. Exact details are to be finalized on October 1, the general made clear.

Poll: 55 percent express trust in president

According to a new poll by the CVVM agency, 55 percent of Czechs have expressed trust in the current head-of-state – a rise of one percent from June. Local mayor and municipal leaders, the poll suggested, enjoy the highest level of trust at 64. By contrast, trust is lowest in the lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, which enjoys just 35 percent, a slight one percent rise since the previous survey. Those who expressed trust in the president most often included seniors or pensioners as well as voters on the left of the political spectrum, the polling agency said.

Owner of Centrum Chodov invests 4.5 billion crowns to extend shopping centre

Unibail-Rodamco, which operates Centrum Chodov, has said it will invest 4.5 billion crowns in extending and modernising the complex to house 296 shops once complete. That will make it the largest centre of its kind in the country. The sales area will increase from 61,000 to 100,000 square metres, with restaurants to occupy 10 percent of the overall area. The new centre has been slated to be launched in the autumn of 2017. The Chodov project is one of the firm´s most important investment plans in the Central European region in the long term, representatives said. Arnaud Burlin, the managing director of Unibail-Rodamco for Central Europe said the centre would provide a full-fledged alternative; the Czech Republic has nearly 200 shopping centres, according to the Czech News Agency.

25-09-2015