News Coalition spat breaks out over Sobotka’s rejection of more NATO troops in Europe
The head of the smallest party in the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats, has hit out at Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s statement that the Czech Republic would not be calling for more NATO troops in Europe. The Christian Democrat’s Pavel Bělobrádek said Mr. Sobotka’s comments were completely unacceptable and irresponsible. In response to President Barack Obama’s pledge to put an extra USD 1 billion into defence in Eastern Europe, the Czech prime minister said on Tuesday that there was at present no need to increase the number of NATO soldiers on the ground in Europe.
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Fourteen firefighter units had to attend to a fire in an industrial zone near Havraň in the Most region on Sunday. The fire broke out in a factory producing plastic car interior components. Dozens of people had to be evacuated from the premises, but no chemicals were released outside the affected area, police spokeswoman Veronika Hypšlerová told the Czech News Agency. The cause of the fire is being investigated. Damage has been estimated at several million crowns.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has won the support of twelve regional branches of the Social Democratic Party for defending his post at the party`s national election congress in spring. On Saturday, he was nominated by the delegates at regional conferences in Olomouc and South Moravia. Most of the regional branches, with the exception of South Moravia, have nominated Interior Minister Milan Chovanec to defend the post of first deputy chairman. Mr Chovanec is also supported by the Prime Minister. The Social Democrats' biggest rival in the upcoming general elections in late 2017 will be the ANO Party of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, which has been consistently ahead in opinion polls.
The net profits of the state-run forestry company Lesy ČR between January and November 2016 dropped by 21 percent year on year to 4.75 billion crowns, the company has informed on its website. During that period, Lesy ČR felled 7.42 million cubic meters of timber, which is an increase by 1.8 percent. The company blames the steep drop on lower timber prices. They also say they have been forced to fell poor quality trees because of the ever present danger of bark beetle infestation. The state company owns around half the forests in the country. In 2015 it announced net profit of 5.4 billion crowns.
Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open, after beating Caroline Garcia of France 6:2 and 7:5. Strýcová will next face the six-time Australian Open Champion and world number two Serena Williams, who knocked out her fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6:1, 6:3. Another Czech, Karolina Plíšková, has also reached the fourth round after beating Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 4:6, 6:0 and 10:8.
The Czech-German declaration, which was signed 20 years ago to the day, enabled the countries to cooperate and to look into the future, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told the Czech News Agency on Saturday. The significance of the declaration, in which the leaders of both countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations by controversial issues from the past, is still relevant today. Thanks to the agreement, Czech and Germans are not just neighbors, but also significant partners, Mr Zaorálek has said.
The current spell of cold weather is set to continue until the end of January, according to a regular monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. During the next week, temperatures are expected to remain below zero, while the following three-week period is expected to get a little bit warmer. Snow-fall levels will remain below average for the time of year.
Biathlete Gabriela Koukalová came third in the women’s mass start event in Italy`s Anterselva on Saturday. Koukalová is now second in the overall rankings, 105 points behind Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, who finished in the second place. The race was won by Nadine Horchler of Germany.
Around two hundred people gathered on Prague`s Wenceslas Square on Sunday to attend the Love Trumps Hate rally, a sister event to the Women`s March in Washington. Dozens of demonstrations are being held across the US and the rest of the world, including Tokyo, Sydney and Paris, in support of women, minority groups and immigrants in the wake of Donald Trump's inauguration as 45th President of the United States. ”The rally affirms our commitment to protecting the rights, safety, and health of our children, families, and communities, including those individuals from politically and socially marginalized demographics,” the organizers of the Prague event said in a press release.
A smog alert alert remains in place in ten regions of the Czech Republic, where more than double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles have been recorded. People with chronic lung-related problems and heart condition as well as elderly people and children have been recommended to stay indoors and authorities have also appealed to drivers to curb their travels. Situation has worsened in Prague, Central Bohemia and Olomouc region, where the biggest polluters were asked to scale down production.
The head of the Confederation of Political Prisoners, Naděžda Kavalírová, has died at the age of 93. Mrs Kavalírová was actively involved in the resistance against the Communist regime. After the Communist takeover in 1948 she was expelled from the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague because of her membership in the National Socialist Party. In 1956 she was convicted of treason, and espionage and spent three years in prison. Since 2003, Mrs. Kavlírová was the chairwoman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners and between the years 2007 and 2013 she also headed the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.