Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has told the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the Czech Republic is showing solidarity in the migrant crisis without any need to be forced by Brussels. In the interview, quoted by dpa, he underlined the fact that Czechs had sent police officers to help in Slovenia, Hungary and Macedonia “without being told”. The Czech prime minister also criticised Germany for, in his view, escalating the current crisis. He also strongly rejected a suggestion by his Austrian counterpart, Chancellor Werner Faymann, that EU funds be restricted for EU states that did not do enough to help in the crisis, charging that such arguments only “divided Europe”.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has tweeted he spoke with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on Wednesday to smooth over a row between Athens and Prague over recent comments made by the country’s president, Miloš Zeman. Greece recalled its ambassador earlier this week after Mr Zeman said that the Czech Republic should only adopt the euro once Greece’s involvement in the single European currency was clarified. The president also indicated that he had been disappointed that Greece had not exited the Eurozone and expressed fears that Czech taxpayers could end up paying Greece’s debts. In his statement, Foreign Minister Zaorálek said the conversation with his counterpart was amicable and said he and Mr Kotzias agreed to intensify contact as Europe dealt with key issues. He also extended an invitation to the Greek foreign minister to come to Prague. Greek’s ambassador will reportedly return after the holidays.
A final truck transporting munitions departed on Wednesday from a damaged storage complex in Vrbětice in the Zlín area. Two buildings were destroyed and safety at the entire depot compromised by two explosions just over a year ago. Two people died in the first explosion and it took weeks for pyrotechnics experts to secure the site. The removal of tonnes of remaining explosives began in January. Some munitions were found strewn about some 1,600 metres from the epicenter of the blast. The final truck to depart was the 547th.
The Czech Army will require around CZK 460 billion over the next 10 years under a plan to develop the country’s military capabilities agreed by the government. Around a third of the money will go on the purchase of technology, ammunition and equipment, the Czech News Agency reported. The rest will go on regular expenditures and soldiers’ pay. The figures stem from a document outlining plans for the Czech Army rubberstamped by the cabinet earlier this week.
Deputy Green Party leader and mayor of Prague 4 Petr Štepańek has confirmed he will run for the post of party leader at the Greens’ leadership congress to be held at the end of January. He said his main aim as potential chairman would be to lead to the Greens to a successful result in the communal elections next autumn and in the national election in 2017. The current chairwoman of the party, Jana Drápalová, has not made an announcement confirming whether she intends to run again.
Far-right hackers on Wednesday targeted the Czech prime minister’s Twitter account, posting anti-migrant tweets, spokesman Martin Ayrer confirmed for the Czech News Agency. The hackers tweeted racist and neo-Nazi statements calling for “white revolution” and labelling migrants an “invasion army”. The prime minister responded to the fake tweets, saying actions by the hackers were only proof he was doing his job well. The government will file charges against the unknown perpetrators.
City councillors at a special meeting of the assembly on Wednesday failed to green-light a major tender on garbage removal for the next 10 years, worth 13 billion crowns. The city needs to approve a supplier before the end of June 2016 when its contract with Pražské sluźby (a city-run firm providing municipal services in the capital). The firm could not be re-hired directly as the city is not the 100 percent owner. Minority stake holder AVE CZ has refused to sell its share to the city. According to the Czech News Agency, councillors will meet again to discuss the matter on January 12.
The police financial crime unit, Kobra, has recommended three suspects be charged with tax fraud allegedly causing damages of at least 100 million crowns. The three were involved in the sale of mineral fuels transported in 2009 and 2010 from Germany to Austria. Two of the suspects are fugitives; an international warrant has been issued for their arrest. If found guilty, the suspects could face up to 10 years in jail.
Record highs for this date were registered at seven measuring stations (operating for more than 100 years) in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The highest daily temperature was 15.1 degrees Celsius in the area of Bruntál, the Hydrometeorological Institute reported. Prague’s Clementinum said that a record lasting 220 years in Prague had been broken.
The Florida Panthers continued their winning streak on Tuesday night edging Ottawa by a score of 2:1 in a game that came down to penalty shots. Star Czech player Jaromír Jágr, who recently moved into fourth place on the NHL all-time scoring list, had a breakaway in the final minute of OT but could not capitalize. Earlier in the game, he picked up an assist but also had four of his front teeth knocked out by a high stick by Ottawa forward Alex Chiasson. There was no penalty on the play. News websites noted that the Czech hockey legend handled the situation with grace and humour, patting Chiasson on the head and later tweeting that he needed new teeth for Christmas to make it easier to eat.
Czech Fed Cup team pick up Golden Canary award
The Czech Fed Cup team have for the first time won the Golden Canary award, which normally goes to the tennis player of the year. The Czechs recently won the trophy for the fourth time in five years and the team helmed by non-playing captain Petr Pála received the most points in a poll organised by the magazine Tenis and the national tennis union. Petra Kvitová, a member of the Fed Cup winning team, was named best female player of the year for the sixth time in succession, a feat matched by Tomáš Berdych as best male player.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
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Czech Republic goes into quarantine to slow down coronavirus spread
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Czechs resort to making DIY facemasks in face of their shortage