Ivan Bílek will no longer head the Czech Republic’s General Inspection of Security Forces, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka revealed on Monday. According to Mr Sobotka, Bílek – who came under extensive criticism recently as a result of the so-called Olomouc investigation – asked of his own accord to step down. The prime minister called the move a reasonable one; trust in the office has allegedly suffered after the anti-corruption police charged four people, including two high-ranking officers, in a corruption scandal. Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec were among others who welcomed the move.
Czech singer Marta Kubišová was hospitalised on Sunday, the spokeswoman for Prague’s Ungelt Theatre Linda Skarlandtová revealed, saying the singer had suffered a heart attack on Sunday - her 73rd birthday. The spokeswoman added Ms. Kubišová had been at home with her daughter and partner who were able to help. She said the singer was now fine and stressed, in her view, that no additional information would be released for the time being. Ms Kubišová is a legend of the Czech music scene who was banned from performing by the former Communist regime. She is a signatory of Charter 77 and was honoured by the late Vaćlav Havel.
The government on Monday approved a plan to send 20 soldiers to help guard Slovenia's border with Croatia. The move follows earlier steps to provide help in Hungary in the face of the EU’s continuing migrant crisis. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Monday that the officers, who will come under the command of Slovenian superiors, will depart later this week. He said the mission would last one month to a month-and-a-half and that the Czech personnel would be home before Christmas.
In related news, the Czech government on Monday also approved the sending of up to 50 soldiers, including engineering and health officers, to help Slovenia with border protection, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický confirmed. The soldiers will depart for Slovenia in mid-November.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will visit a detention facility for refuges in Běla-Jezová this week accompanied by EU ambassadors. The visit, at the request of the officials, is scheduled for Thursday, November 5. The Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová, whose portfolio includes child protection, will also take part in the tour. Serious doubts about conditions at Běla-Jezová, not least for families with children, were raised by the country’s ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová, in September. The interior minister admitted shortcomings but rejected the brunt of the criticism, saying that proper standards had been met.
The Czech government will send 105 million crowns to countries worst-hit by the migrant crisis by year’s end and an additional 68 million will be released in 2016, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed on his Twitter account on Monday. The money will mainly go to two EU funds, for Syria and Africa, Mr Sobotka wrote. The Czech Republic will also make further contributions to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Czech Republic will send most of the money to the Madad EU regional trust fund that the European Commission and Italy founded last December, the Czech News Agency said.
Fifty-three people died in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic during the month of October, according to statistics released. The overall number of road fatalities this year rose to 546 – up by 18 over the same period in 2014. Additionally, in October more than 2,000 people suffered serious injuries and more than 19,800 suffered light injuries. So far, the worst months for traffic accidents were July and September, when 80 and 79 people lost their lives.
Conditions in the manufacturing in the Czech Republic worsened for the third-straight month in October, according to the Czech news Agency – citing industry analyst Markit Economics. Purchasing Managers Index numbers dropped from 55.5 to 54 points, according to the firm. The index monitors production, new orders, employment, supplier delivery times and inventory. A value higher than 50 points is positive, representing improvement. In the Czech Republic, new orders grew at their slowest pace in two years largely due to weaker exports.
The Constitutional Court will examine whether hospitals have the right to charge fathers for being present at the birth of their children. This follows a complaint by lawyer Martin Cypris who says the payments demanded are illegal. Some hospitals have stopped charging fathers who want to be p[resent at births following a 2012 law on hospital services. Some hospitals though have continued the practice. Courts in the past have ruled both for families and hospitals on the question. The health minister has defended charges, but only if the really reflect extra costs.
A Czech Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on Sunday evening after apparent problems with one of the motors. The plane returned to the airport soon after take-off following loud engine noise. One of the passengers later confirmed the news to Czech Radio. A return flight from Prague to Amsterdam was cancelled Monday. Technicians are probing the cause of the emergency landing.
Czech goalie Ondřej Pavelec had a night to forget against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Sunday, allowing five goals in the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-1 loss. The Habs are first in the NHL on 22 points – having won 11 of 13 games so far. Winnipeg is eighth in the league and last won on Saturday: 3-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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