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Norwegian court rejects Czech mother’s appeal

A Norwegian court has refused to reopen the case of Czech mother Eva Michaláková who is fighting for her two sons, after being stripped of her parental rights following suspicions of abuse. Although charges were never pressed the boys have been placed in foster care and a judge barred Ms Michaláková from having any contact with her sons in June of this year on the grounds that she had medialized the case in her own interest. The appellate court ruled that the verdict of the regional court was fully justified and there were no grounds on which to review the case. The verdict is now legally binding. Michaláková’s battle for her sons, which has now dragged for five years, has received a great deal of publicity in the Czech Republic. Last year the Czech prime minister intervened on her behalf and he told journalists on Friday the Czech Republic would continue to support her should she choose to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Lower house approves bill on national parks

The lower house has approved fundamental changes to the law governing the country’s four national parks. The proposed changes include relaxing the ban on tourist access to the most sensitive and valuable areas of the parks and at the same time significantly increasing the number of non-intervention areas which are off limits to loggers, development and enterprise. The proposed law has caused heated controversy especially as regards the Šumava National Park where critics say it will severely restrict the development of villages inside the park. Environment Minister Richard Brabec has welcomed the bill’s approval. It will now go to the Senate for debate.

Czech pupetteering added to UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list

Czech and Slovak puppeteering have been added to the UNESCO world intangible cultural heritage list. The move was made at a UNESCO meeting currently taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Czech Republic was already represented on the list by the slovácký verbuňk dance, Hlinecko region masopust (carnival) processions and masks and the south Bohemian ride of the kings tradition.

UK’s Corbyn among socialist leaders meeting in Prague

Socialist leaders from around Europe are meeting in Prague on Friday. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, PM Robert Fico of Slovakia’s Smer and German SDP vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel are among those due to speak at the Party of European Socialists gathering at the city’s Congress Centre. The three-day event has been organised by the Czech Social Democrats, whose leader PM Bohuslav Sobotka will also address the over 500 delegates.

Arson not ruled out in fire at Amazon

Thursday’s fire at the Amazon distribution centre in Dobroviz near Prague caused damage to the tune of three million crowns, the ctk news agency reported. The cause of the fire is being investigated and the police have reportedly not ruled out arson. 2,800 people were evacuated and three people received medical attention after inhaling toxic fumes. Most of the distribution centre remains in operation. The fire is reported to have damaged goods to the tune of 100,000 crowns. Amazon opened the distribution centre in Dobroviz in 2013.

Strong winds disrupt rail transport, damage power lines

Strong winds have disrupted rail transport between the Czech Republic and Slovakia and caused damage to power lines in many parts of the Czech Republic. The worst damage is reported from northern Bohemia where emergency crews were out all night clearing roads, rail tracks and fixing damages power lines. Gale-force winds toppled a twenty metre tall Christmas tree on the main square of Česká Lípa, north of Prague. Fortunately no one was injured in the accident. Rail transport between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was disrupted after a train going from eastern Slovakia to Prague crashed into a fallen tree trunk. The accident caused delays and in some cases travellers were asked to use replacement busses.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be clear to partly cloudy with snow in places and day temps between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.