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27-12-2015

Czech police say they have no information Czech cities are in any danger from terror attack

Czech police say they have no information that Czech towns are in danger from an possible terror attack over the holidays. Police spokeswoman Ivana Nguyenová made the statement on Saturday in reaction to a warning issued by Vienna; Austrian police stated they had received a warning from a "friendly" intelligence service saying that several European cities might be threatened by terror attacks involving the use of firearms or explosives between Christmas and New Year's Eve. No concrete cities were named. Vienna and other European police services have heightened security accordingly but Vienna has reportedly not cancelled any public events. Czech police say they have known about the warning for several days; it comes some six weeks after Islamist terrorists murdered 130 people in Paris and injured at least 350.

President's address draws mixed reactions

President Miloš Zeman's Christmas address broadcast on Saturday was met with mixed reactions across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, while welcoming praise of his government on economic policy, said in his speech the president had held onto prejudices regarding the migration crisis and presented an oversimplified view. In his address, Mr Zeman maintained that the migrant crisis was an "organised invasion" and said the Czech Republic "did not and could not belong to all". Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who received a nod in the speech, said he agreed with Mr Zeman's approach.

Politicians on the right side of the political spectrum were critical: the new head of TOP 09,Miroslav Kalousek, said the speech covered areas where the government and parliament and not the president had jurisdiction. Former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg recommended that Mr Zeman visit actual refugees fleeing war-torn areas to see that migrants were not just "lone men" but also the elderly and children.

The Communist Party's Vojtěch Filip said the president had repeated long-held views.

Pro-migrant group says it will sue president over comments

Jan Cemper, an organiser behind a Facebook initiative called "Against Displays of Hatred," has told the Czech News Agency that he will file a lawsuit against the head of state over allegedly disparaging comments the president made in his Christmas address. According to Mr Cemper, President Zeman slandered the organisers of a pro-migrant demonstration that took place in Prague on November 17, a national holiday. He said he will demand an apology. In his address, the president said the demonstrators planned to carry a banner reading "This country is not ours - Refugees welcome," but finally changed the slogan to "This country belongs to all - Refugees welcome." "From the very beginning, we neither planned having such slogans on our banners, nor did we have them at the demonstration," the group´s spokesman Jakub Hein said.

Defence Ministry signs contract with arms producer Česká zbrojovka

The Czech Defence Ministry has signed a contract with arms producer Česká zbrojovka for thousands of pistols and assault rifles. The government agreed to the fast-track purchase in October. The deal is worth an estimated 476 million crowns, the Czech News Agency reported.

Retailers claim 20 percent rise in post-Christmas sales

Retailers addressed by the Czech News Agency say they have seen an increase in post-Christmas sales of up to 20 percent year-on-year. Consumer interest is traditionally boosted by slashes in prices of as much as 70 or even 75 percent on some items. Retailers traditionally offer major discounts between December 26 and January 6, although some continue sales even longer in January. According to the Czech News Agency, customers express the greatest interest in discounted winter apparel, electronic items, foodstuffs as well as firecrackers and fireworks for New Year's Eve.

Saturday saw 16.8 degrees Celsius in Děčín

The Czech Republic saw unusually warm temperatures throughout December: records at 100 recording stations (in operation for at least 30 years) were broken on Saturday. Eight places saw the previous maximum temperature for all of December surpassed. Děčín registered the warmest result: 16.8 degrees Celsius.

Football: Arsenal trounced by Southampton

Arsenal, with goalkeeper Petr Čech, were shocked by Southampton on Saturday, missing a chance to go top in the standings in the Premier League after Leicester lost 1:0. The Gunners were soundly defeated: the final score was 4:0.

27-12-2015