Czech President Miloš Zeman says the two sides in the civil war in Syria are interested in signing a peace deal in Prague. Syrian government and opposition representatives are currently in talks in Geneva over a cessation of the four-year conflict. Speaking in New York on Tuesday shortly before a speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Zeman said both sides were already speaking about a Prague declaration, though this would likely take some time to come about. He held talks with Syrian’s foreign minister, Wallid Muallem, and had planned to speak with opposition figures but they failed to make the meeting on time.
In a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, called for coordinated action against the cancer of terrorism under the UN Security Council. In a 10-minute address in English, Mr. Zeman said small military units equipped with drones and helicopters should work with intelligence services to eliminate the leaders of terrorist organisations. He said that Europe was facing a big migration crisis as the result of terrorism in the Middle East and Africa and pointed out that the US, Russia and Europe had all been the victims of terror attacks.
The Czech economy is growing even faster than expected, according to figures released Wednesday by the Czech Statistical Office. The latest figures put growth in the second quarter compared with the same period last year at 4.6 percent. The original August estimate was for 4.4 percent. That means that the local economy is expanding at the fastest rate since 2007. Second quarter growth compared with the first quarter stood at 1.1 percent.
The head of public broadcaster Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, is suspected by its supervisory council of breaking its rules with the employment of his son, Andrej, by the radio station, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. It said that the chairman of the council, Michal Stehlík, expressed doubts about the legality of the move at Wednesday’s supervisory council meeting. Duhan was reported not to have attended the council meeting citing health reasons. Deputy head of the radio, René Zavoral, confirmed Andrej had been employed until August 31. Michal Stehlík said he wanted a written explanation from Duhan and added that he was prepared to call a special meeting of the council on the matter.
Czech police and army staged joint exercise on the Austrian border Wednesday to prepare for a scenario where there is a surge of immigrants through the country. Around 500 police officers and 300 soldiers are taking part in the exercise. One of the main tests will be see how communications between the army and police function on the ground. Since stepped up border patrols in June, Czech police have detained around 3,000 illegal immigrants. The Czech Republic has so far not been a main transit country for immigrants headed towards Germany and other countries.
The Constitutional Court ordered on Wednesday a local court to reopen the case of a farm confiscated from the famous Mašín family of anti-Nazi and later anti-Communist opponents. The farm near Kolín was partially returned to the family after 1989 but the family have since been fighting for a full restitution. Such moves led by Zdena Mašínová were blocked by the regional court on procedural grounds. Josef Mašín was one of the so called ‘Three Kings’were led resistance to the Nazi occupation. Sons Josef and Ctirad were part of an anti-Communist group before fleeing to the West in 1953.
A Prague court rejected Wednesday the claim of US heavy metal singer Randy Blythe to more than 15 million crowns in damages. The claim was connected to the one month in custody which Blythe spent following charges against him connected with the death of a fan at a Prague concert in 2010. The fan was allegedly thrown off the stage by Blythe and later died from head injuries. The charges against Blythe were rejected in March 2013. Blythe’s lawyer said he would discuss the next moves with his client. An appeal can be lodged with Prague’s Municipal Court. Blythe is known as the lead singer of the group Lamb of God.
Around 148,000 Volkswagen group vehicles with faulty emission measurements have been sold in the Czech Republic according to the Ministry of Transport. The total breaks down with 101,000 Škoda Auto vehicles, 38,000 VW cars and vans, 7,000 Audi vehicles, and 1,800 vehicles from Spanish producer SEAT. The figures are for vehicles sold through dealerships, meaning that the total could be higher. The Ministry of Transport says it would like to carry out its own tests of Škoda Auto vehicles.
Prague was unable Wednesday to provide travellers with its electronic transport opencard tickets after the failure in the system software. City authorities were expecting trouble from Thursday, a deadline in the ongoing wrangle between the original provider of the opencard software and services, the company eMoneyServices. The battle between the authorities and company has been taken to the courts. The electronic card was pushed through during the era of former mayor Pavel Bém at an estimated cost of 1.75 billion crowns. The city has been trying to reclaim the rights to the opencard software.
The reserve price of 790 million crowns was offered in an auction of a choice piece of real estate in the centre of Prague on Wednesday. One foreign bidder, whose identity has not been revealed, made the offer for the former monastery building on Náměstí Republiky. The building, oned by the state, has long been largely abandoned. The buyer has 60 days to pay. The building carries a conservation order which could limit its future uses. The monastery was founded by Irish monks in the 16th century.
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