News ANO leader: Election result confirms we are politically stable force
The leader of the ANO party which came first in elections to the European Parliament says the election result confirms that his party is a politically stable force on the domestic scene. Psychologically, this is an important indicator and driving force for us, Mr. Babiš said, adding that he attributed his party’s victory to the fact that ANO had put experts on its election ticket while others had sought to find plum jobs for side-lined politicians. Mr. Babiš said the country’s 21 MEPs should cooperate closely to further Czech interests.
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The Czech Police Presidium will set rules on how to identify migrants arriving in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday. The announcement came in reaction to foreign media and Jewish organisations criticising Czech police officers for writing numbers on the hands of 214 migrants at Břeclav railway station on Monday night. In its report on Wednesday, the BBC noted that the ink marks carried an unfortunate visual resemblance to the Holocaust. The Interior Ministry said that it was not a standard procedure, adding that the officers were under pressure of time and tried to keep family members together.
The newly-built Blanka tunnel in Prague is set to open on September 20, deputy mayor Petr Dolínek said on Thursday, adding that no special ceremony was planned for the event. The tunnel, which has been under construction since 2007, was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but has been dogged by problems. The latest deadline in April had to be postponed after it turned out that hundreds of kilometres of electric cables had to be replaced after being damaged by rainfall. The tunnel, which has come under criticism for massive cost overruns, has cost Prague nearly 37 billion crowns. It is currently undergoing final testing of technologies and security systems.
The Czech Post office has issued a special edition of stamps in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669, mostly Jewish children, by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. Sir Nicholas died on July 1 this year at the age of 106. The 13-crown stamp, entitled Tribute to Sir Nicholas, was designed by graphic artist Zdeněk Netopil. It was issued in 750,000 pieces and went on sale on Wednesday.
Czech President Miloš Zeman held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Thursday. The two heads of state are in China attending the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The two officials discussed security issues and the Czech president called on Russia to join the international effort to stop Islamic State terrorism. On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr Putin said he hoped that the trade exchange between Russia and the Czech Republic, now affected by sanctions, would improve. Miloš Zeman met with Vladimir Putin for the second time this year. In May, they conducted talks in Moscow on the occasion of the end of war celebrations.
Czech police officers will no longer detain Syrian migrants, claiming asylum in Hungary but trying to reach Germany, the foreigners’ police department has revealed. The Czech Republic has seen a growing number of refugees travelling from Hungary to the Czech Republic to try and reach their German neighbours. As of now, the Czechs will offer Syrians already registered in Hungary asylum in the Czech Republic as well; Syrian migrants who decline are to be escorted to railway stations from where will be allowed to continue their journey.
Prague City Hall is preparing plans to help up to 200 refugee families, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek has said. The idea was presented at a council meeting on Wednesday but the city will still have to draw up details for debate. The deputy mayor indicated that security was not the only factor in the current migrant crisis but also human decency. The aim is to especially help those with the very youngest children; families would not all be located in one area but across a number of city districts.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek approves three million crowns in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip to be used in reconstruction and renewal. The funds are to proceed through UNWRA, the UN’s relief and human development agency. The Czech Republic is continuing in its policy to provide aid for the Palestine autonomous territories.
Some 90 firefighters have completed putting up a refugee camp, comprising of 25 tents, in Břeclav-Poštorná to house an eventual 300 inhabitants. The camp is located at a monitored site; locals have also asked for increased security on town streets by the local police. Mayor Pavel Dominik and South Moravian governor Michal Hašek spoke to journalists, with the mayor saying that while locals were not happy about the centre it was better than migrants moving freely through the town and causing a fuss. He added the situation was “complicated but not tragic”. The town on Tuesday filed charges against an individual who tried to cause a stir by posting falsely on the internet that the camp was full with 4,000 people. The mayor stressed that it is empty at this time.
Czech model Žaneta Hučíková was detained in Colorado recently after a mid-air flap on a flight from Las Vegas to Frankfurt, Germany. Flight attendants were alerted to the fact Ms Hučíková has smuggled a cat on board; the model reportedly interfered when the animal was locked in the restroom. The flight was subsequently diverted to Denver, escorted by F-16 fighter jets from Buckley Air Force Base. Ms Hučíková was detained after the authorities learned her visitor’s visa had expired and was ordered to appear in court.
Firefighters were called to assist in more than 5,800 over the course of the driest summer in the Czech Republic since 2003. In fires in July and August, 27 people lost their lives while 253 were injured, Nicole Zaoralová, spokeswoman for the Czech fire corps general directorate, confirmed. Fires in fields and forests were fairly frequent due to the extreme drought. But the blaze which caused the greatest damage, estimated at 285 million crowns, broke out at a storage facility in Prague.