Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said security on the Czech-Slovak border will be stepped up. He said the move had been provoked by information that one of the persons linked to the Paris attacks crossed the border twice. Those movements apparently took place five and seven years ago. Sobotka said the information was passed on by French sources. The details were made public by the prime minister following a meeting with Czech security officials. Current stepped up security will be maintained at the same level in the country, the prime minister added.
European Commission takes action on immigration ANO leader Andrej Babiš has warned that Europe’s Schengen area faces collapse and the prospect of people taking power into their own hands unless the European Commission acts to close its outer borders. Babiš said in a video posted on his Twitter account that Europe must focus on helping its own and not humanitarian help which is abused. He said the Paris attacks meant that Europe was at war and that a rapid reaction is called for. His comments provoked some reactions pointing out that a terrorist attack by a handful of people does not amount to war. Babiš added that the budgets of the police and army should be increased.
A one minute silence was held outside the French Embassy in Prague at noon on Monday A similar gesture of solidarity was marked across France in solidarity with the victims of Friday’s attacks in Paris. The ambassadors of Germany, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey, and Cuba were also present, according to the ČTK news agency. Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and staff observed the silence at the government buildings. A book of condolences at the French embassy continues to be open on Monday and Tuesday, a state holiday in the Czech Republic.
The head of the State Authority for Nuclear Safety has raised the possibility that flaws in X-ray checks on pipes at the Dukovany nuclear power might have been deliberate. According to an article in the Respekt magazine, Dana Drábová said it was not clear whether the flaws were just the fault of the company that was sourced to do the work for power company ČEZ or whether they acted under instructions because closing reactors cost a lot of money. Respekt reported that the same X-ray image of welds was sometimes submitted three times instead of different images of the weld and that some pipes cleared to be watertight when there was a possibility they would crack. ČEZ has said it will change procedures so that such an incident can never happen again.
The state spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, has highlighted spending irregularities at parts of the Ministry of Defence. Altogether it found irregularities of around 2.2 billion crowns in the period from 2009 to 2014. The worst were in the ministry’s arrangements for security at its munitions stores where contracts were awarded to one company without a tender and irregularities amount to 2 billion crowns. Other problems were found in purchasing of food, without regard to the number needing to be fed, and provision of accommodation.
A group of architects is seeking damages of around 3 million crowns over the controversial competition for a new national library in Prague. The competition was eventually won by world renowned architect Jan Kaplický with a design dubbed ‘the Octopus’. Rival studio HŠH still maintain that Kaplický’s bid should have been disallowed. Their right to complain has already been upheld by a Prague court.
The value of bank notes and coins in circulation in the Czech Republic has for the first time exceeded the 500 billion crown mark, the Czech National Bank announced on Monday. The total is made up of of more than 2 billion individual notes and coins in circulation, the most popular being the 1,000 crown note and, at the other end of the value chain, the one crown piece.
The Czech Republic’s chief hygiene officer has warned that Czechs are too reliant on antibiotics. Use of antibiotics has risen by a quarter since 1989 although resistance of diseases is increasing as is the bill for health insurers. He pointed out that the Czech Republic is above the European average for antibiotics use. It is estimated that around 25,000 Europeans die every year because antibiotics are no longer effective against the diseases they are prescribed for.
Immigrants conducting a hunger strike at the Czech detention centre of Drahonice have called off their action in what they described as an act of solidarity the victims of the Paris attacks. Around 40 detainees, mostly from Iraq, began their hunger strike last Tuesday in protest at their likely deportation. They condemned the Paris attacks, for which Islamic State has claimed responsibility, and said that IS was also responsible the violence in their homeland which they were fleeing.
Top mens Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych lost his first match in the season concluding ATP Finals in London on Sunday night. The sixth ranked world player was defeated by world number three Roger Federer in straight sets, 6:4, 6:2 in an hour and 11 minutes. Federer was a finalist in the same competition in 2014 and winner of the most ATP Final tournament titles. Berdych has qualified this time round for his sixth consecutive ATP finals but is in what is regarded as a very tough qualifying group.
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