The Czech Republic is to send 4.5 tonnes of medical equipment worth over
three million crowns to China to help tackle the coronavirus epidemic
currently afflicting the country, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček
announced at a press conference on Thursday.
The humanitarian aid, including facemasks, respirators, latex gloves, disinfectants and protective medical uniforms, will be sent to China on Monday on a plane from Vienna, paid for by the European Union.
The Czech Republic will also provide financial aid amounting to six million crowns, which will be distributed through the World Health Organisation.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is no longer counting on building a centre for
orphans in Syria and has announced his intention to send money instead.
The prime minister said he would respond to an appeal for financial aid from the local authorities by sending half a million crowns from his personal account and said he hoped others would follow his example.
The prime minister has long defended his government’s decision not to admit orphan migrants to the Czech Republic by arguing that the country is doing a great deal to help migrants in their home countries.
He earlier stated his intention to build a centre for orphans in Syria, but now said that according to more recent findings finances to organizations helping migrants were needed much more.
The Czech Republic will not accept 40 child refugees from camps in Greece,
says the country’s minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček. Speaking the
Prima TV station on Sunday, Mr. Hamáček said the Greek government had
refused to hand over a list of names of children, adding that he would not
bring 18-year-old Afghans into the country as they would represent a
security risk. The minister said that as far as he was concerned the matter
In September the Athens government called on all EU interior ministers to take in unaccompanied child refugees. Mr. Hamáček said that this had been an effort to revive a debate on sharing out refugees but that in his view it made no sense to move around 17-year-olds with no right to asylum.
The government‘s Council for Human Rights has supported Helena Válková
in the post of government commissioner for human rights in the wake of a
scandal concerning her activities under the communist regime.
Two council members - attorney Tomáš Němeček and Hubert Smekal from the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University – resigned in protest of the outcome of the vote.
Válková, who is accused of having defended laws which the communist authorities used to harass dissidents and co-authored an article with the notorious communist prosecutor who sent Milada Horáková to the gallows, told reporters that she had apparently managed to better explain all the circumstances of her case and had gained support in the council.
The Government Council for Human Rights has 25 members. Fifteen of them are representatives of the Office of the Government, ministries and other institutions. Ten members represent the public, among them the two who resigned. Another member of the council, philosopher Daniel Kroupa, resigned last year when Válková took up her post.
As bushfires continue to ravage large swathes of Australia, people across the world are donating money to help in the relief efforts. This is also the case in the Czech Republic, where millions of crowns have been raised through various institutional and individual pledges. The Prague Zoo alone has raised more than CZK 4,7 million to help local fauna.
The Czech government’s Commissioner for Human Rights Helena Válková (ANO) is under pressure after the news site Info.cz accused her of defending laws used against dissidents during the normalisation era, providing an article on “protective surveillance” that she penned with a famous show trial procurator in 1979 as evidence. Mrs Válková told Czech Radio that the accusation was a “horrendous lie”. However, the opposition has called for her resignation and even the prime minister says that the allegations need to be explained.
Former minister of justice and current government commissioner for human
rights, Helena Válková, defended laws against dissidents during the
Communist regime, the news site info.cz reported on Thursday.
At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, Mrs Válková published a series of articles in which she defended measures used by the Communist regime to restrict the rights of its opponents, the website writes.
It also says she collaborated on writing one of her articles with the state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.
Mrs Válková, whom President Miloš Zeman recently proposed for the post of the Czech Republic’s ombudswoman, denied any wrongdoing, saying the article was insulting and untruthful.
The start of the New Year has kicked off the largest and most successful fund-raiser in the country – the now traditional Three Kings Collection, organised by the Catholic charity Caritas. Now in its twentieth year, the collection has in total raised more than 1.2 billion crowns in aid of the needy.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s