Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the Minister-President of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich agreed in talks in Prague on Wednesday on the need for the EU to lower and regulate the continuing wave of migrants and to quickly adopt measures bolstering Schengen area borders. In the case steps lowering the number of migrants flowing from Turkey to Greece proved ineffective, the leaders also discussed a backup plan which would seal the Balkan migration route. Both Mr Sobotka and Mr Tillich agreed that the EU needed to cooperate as a whole in tackling the migration crisis.
The human rights organisation Amnesty International has highlighted the poor treatment of refugees in the Czech Republic and the high number of Romany children in "practical" schools (former special schools) in its annual report on the state of human rights around the world. The document refers to anti-migration rallies held in the country last year and the Czech Republic’s rejection of compulsory quotas of refugees imposed by the European Union. On the positive side, the report praises legal changes aimed at the integration of Romany children into mainstream schools and a court decision to recognise adoption by a male couple.
The Czech Republic is to create a 300 or so member strong police unit to be used specifically on international missions, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec confirmed on Wednesday. The unit was initiated by the prime minister and police president, Mr Chovanec said. Members of the team will be officers with international experience and knowledge of several languages. Czech police have already been helping in Hungary and Slovenia.
The regional court in Nový Jičín on Wednesday sentenced Polish driver Slawomir Sondaj to 8.5 years in prison for his role in a fatal train crash in the Moravian town of Studénka last year. He also recieved a 10-year driving ban. Three people died in the high-speed collision and dozens were injured. The train smashed into the trailer of driver’s lorry, after the man ignored warning lights and drove onto the crossing.
President Miloš Zeman on Wednesday weighed in on the upcoming British referendum, calling a result by voters to leave the EU “highly unlikely”. At the same time, the president made clear he regarded the British government’s reform demands as justified. The president suggested that citizens would not risk the break-up of Great Britain by voting to leave, as Scotland would opt for independence to remain within the union. The referendum called by Prime Minister David Cameron will be held on June 23.
Liberec regional governor Martin Půta has presented President Miloš Zeman with a gift of a deactivated WW II-era Soviet-made submachine gun, the head of state’s spokesman revealed on the social networks. The spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, called the gift an “original idea”. The present is an apparent reference to a recent controversial joke by Mr Zeman who suggested the Kalashnikov as a non-democratic means of removing politicians from their post. The submachine gun he received is a PPS model. The spokeswoman for the region of Liberec stressed the item was a personal gift from the governor and not from the region itself.
One-third of Czechs consider Czech science to be world-class while some 47 percent hold the view that it was comparable to top players at least in some fields, according to a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency. More than 70 percent of those queried, expressed the opinion that basic scientific research should be funded from the annual state budget. CVVM conducted the poll in January.
Ivan Jonák, a Czech businessman who served 18 years in prison for ordering the killing of his wife in the 1990s and the attempted murder of her lover, has died at the age of 59. The news was confirmed by his lawyer Jan Červenka and first reported by the tabloid Blesk. Jonák, released two years ago, never admitted to his crimes and had said upon his release he would try to clear his name. Jonák’s trial was among the most closely-watched in the Czech Republic in the 1990s.
The Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech has conceded goals scored by four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi for the first time. Čech had kept out shots by Barcelona’s Argentinean star on six occasions while at his previous club Chelsea. However, in his first encounter with Messi between the posts for Arsenal, the Czech was beaten twice by him, once from the penalty spot, in a 2:0 defeat for the London club in the first leg of a Champions League round-of-16 tie on Tuesday night.
Three Czech goalies saw action in the National Hockey League on Tuesday but only one, Petr Mrázek, had a winning night. He let in just one goal in 29 shots to see the Red Wings defeat Columbus. Philadelphia’s Michal Neuwirth allowed three goals against Carolina; the final score was 3:1, while the Winnipeg Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec allowed five in his team’s loss 5:3 to Dallas.