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Czech foreign minister: Russia responsible for collapse of INF treaty

Russia bears full responsibility for the collapse of the INF treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), which contributed to peace and security on the European Continent for 30 years, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told journalists on Friday in response to the US withdrawal.

The United States formally withdrew from the Cold War-era nuclear missile pact with Russia after giving Moscow six months to come into compliance with it. Petříček said the Czech Republic supported negotiations on a new, ideally broader treaty that would replace it.

The INF, or The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. The treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometres) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometres).

Diplomats in support of Prague Pride LGBT festival

Diplomats from 11 countries will take part in the Gay Pride parade traditionally held within the Prague Pride festival due to begin on Monday, Michael Vlček from the Canadian Embassy told journalists.

The diplomats will march under the banner Diplomats for Equality. The heads of 16 diplomatic missions also signed a joint proclamation in support of equal rights for the LGBT community.

The ninth edition of Prague Pride will be held from August 5 -11 and will offer over 140 different events including concerts, debates and street happenings.

For the first time this year the LGBT rainbow flag will be flown at the city’s Town Hall in support of the festival.

Czech Foreign Ministry introduces Consular Ombudsman

The Czech Foreign Ministry has announced that in order to improve its services to the public it has introduced the post of “Ombudsman for Consular Services“ as of August 1.

The ombudsman will monitor the quality of consular services provided, deal with complaints and help find solutions to existing problems. The office will also be open to suggestions as to how to improve consular services for the public.

The post has been set up on a temporary basis for the course of the summer and will be made permanent if it proves useful.

Justice Ministry apologizes to Czech Radio journalist for illegal wiretapping

The Ministry of Justice has apologized to Czech Radio’s investigative journalist Janek Kroupa for having illegally wiretapped his phone for a period of over five months in 2011 and 2012 in connection with an investigation into suspected corruption involving the purchase of Pandur armoured vehicles for the military.

The police wiretapped Kroupa and several other top officials in order to ascertain who had leaked information from police files on the case.

The ministry was ordered to apologize by the Supreme Court which ruled that it had overstepped its powers and that journalists could only be wiretapped in exceptional cases.

Greenpeace says extension of coal mining at Bílina goes against Paris Climate Agreement

Greenpeace is protesting against the Environment Ministry’s decision to grant approval for extended mining at the Bílina coal mine until 2035.

Greenpeace claims the decision goes against the Czech Republic’s international commitments stemming from the Paris Climate Agreement and would like to see it overturned.

The Environment Ministry counters that it did not grant approval as such, merely issued a recommendation in favour of an extension on condition that the Bílina Coal Mine fulfils 31 environmental requirements. A final decision will be made by the Czech Mining Authority.

Exhibition marks 100 years of Czech Egyptology

An exhibition marking 100 years of Czech Egyptology opened at Prague’s Carolinum on Thursday. The exhibition titled Between Prague and Cairo highlights the beginnings of Czech Egyptology in the first decides of the 20th century, the work of the Czech Egyptology Institute(CIE) and excavation work in Egypt and Sudan.

The CIE focuses in particular on two specific historical eras of ancient Egypt: the Old Kingdom and the Late Period.

Czech Egyptologists have made a number of significant discoveries in Egypt, unearthing the tomb of an Egyptian dignitary dating back to the end of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom and most recently revealed the identity of an ancient Egyptian queen at a pyramid complex in south Saqqara near Cairo.

Czechs increasingly acquiring exotic animals

Czechs are increasingly acquiring exotic animals as pets or status symbols, the news site novinky.cz reports, citing data from the Czech Environmental Inspectorate.

There are presently 173 tigers registered in the country, of which only forty are located in licensed zoos, the remaining 133 tigers are in private ownership. Of the 236 lions registered, 26 are in zoos, the rest in private ownership,78 leopards of which 43 are in private hands and 135 pumas of which only three are held in zoos.

Snakes and exotic birds are also increasingly popular, with 236 rattlesnakes and 200 cobras registered with the Czech Environmental Inspectorate.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be overcast with rain around the country and day temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.