President Miloš Zeman flew to New York on Saturday night. The highlight of his trip will be an address to the United Nations general assembly on Tuesday in which he is set to make a call for a united stand against Islamic radicalism. Zeman was due on Sunday to meet with members of the Czech community in New York and speak with company bosses with Czech roots. The Czech head of state is due to fly back to Prague on Wednesday.
Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek warned Sunday that a drop in Volkswagen exports could have an impact on Czech sub-contractors to the German manufacturer. Volkswagen exports, especially to the US, could be impacted by the scandal over manipulated emissions measurements for diesel cars which erupted last week. Also speaking on Czech Television’s flagship current affairs programme, TOP 09 MEP Luděk Nidermeyer said that the manipulated measures were an open secret. Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto is part of the Volkswagen group.
Deputy prime minister in charge of innovation and research, Pavel Bělobrádek, has opened an incubator for Czech companies in New York. The MeoHub has been backed by US optics company Meopta, whose founders have Czech roots, in cooperation with the Czech Association for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses. So far, five Czech companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a foothold in the US market. Bělobrádek said he appreciated the fact that this was a ‘bottom up’ initiative. Czech exports to the US are currently growing at twice the rate of most other markets.
Former Constitutional Court judge and current member of the Czech upper house, the Senate, Eliška Wagnerová, warned on Sunday that the Czech Republic could face proceedings in the European Court of Justice for keeping the children of refugees in detention centres. Minister of Interior Milan Chovanc, however, has insisted that the country is respecting all EU rules. It would be much worse to split families than keep them together in detention centres, he added. Chovanc said that half of the 3,000 immigrants who have been detained since June on Czech soil have been returned to Austria. At the current rate, the Czech Republic should be able to deal with the immigrant crisis without more detention centres, he added.
Damage from the stunt raising a large pair of red underpants over Prague castle by the guerrilla art group, Ztohoven, totalled 100,000 crowns, presidential spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Saturday. The spokesman gave the news on Twitter without giving further details. The artists, posing as chimney sweeps, got past security to climb onto the roof of the castle, lower the presidential standard and raise the underpants last week. They said the stunt was aimed at putting the spotlight on head of state Miloš Zeman’s alleged lack of values and attempts to cultivate links with Russia and China.
Czech company Touax, which produces modular containers used for housing immigrants, says it cannot keep up with current demand and could look to employ immigrants because of the difficulties hiring qualified Czechs. The company says it is currently working at around 90 percent capacity with orders from Germany, Sweden, Hungary, and possible contracts from Austria. The firm employs around 250 and is looking to hire another 30 but cannot find Czechs qualified as electricians or for assembly work. It says it will look to hire in nearby Poland or then look at hiring immigrants.
In football, Slavia won the traditional city derby against Sparta Prague 1:0. The sole goal of the encounter was scored by Jaromír Zmrhal in the 45th minute. It is the first time since the end of 2012 that Slavia have won a league game against Sparta. The previous five matches had all been defeats. Slavia’s win ends Sparta’s unbeaten record in the top Synot league so far this season.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st