News Czech ambassador to Indonesia questioned over Islamic raids: report
The Czech ambassador to Indonesia, Tomáš Smetánka, was summoned to the country’s foreign ministry to explain the circumstances surrounding Czech police raids on Islamic sites in Prague last week, the Jakarta Post newspaper has reported. It cited a text message from foreign minister Marty Natalegawa as its source of information. Indonesians, including the embassy’s social and culture secretary, were among those apprehended when police swooped during Friday prayers. One person was charged by police with propagating hate crime. Czech minister of interior Marcel Chovanec has called for a police investigation into the incident, saying the timing was insensitive and excessive force appeared to have been used.
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A verdict is expected on Friday in the closely watched case in which the former prime minister’s present wife Jana Nečasová is accused of abusing the country’s intelligence service. Jana Nečasová, formerly Nagyová, was romantically linked with the prime minister at the time of the scandal which brought down the centre-right government in 2013. She used the country’s intelligence service to spy on the prime minister’s then wife Radka for which she and several top-ranking intelligence officers face three to four years in jail. Tapes of wiretappings played played in court show the enormous influence Jana Nagyová, formerly chief-of-staff at the office of the government, had over the prime minister.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s government will face a no-confidence vote in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday. Opposition parties tabled the motion in protest against a bill approved last week which would extend state support for bio-fuel, in which Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has a financial interest. The centre-left administration has a majority in the lower house that should enable it to survive the no-confidence motion. It controls 111 seats in the 200-strong lower house.
Veteran members of the Czech national football team, who finished second in the European Championships at Wembley at Euro ’96, reunited in Prague on Monday to face fellow veterans from the German squad, who won the championship. The Czech team, featuring legends like Pavel Nedvěd, Patrik Berger, Karel Poborský, Pavel Kuka and others faced a squad led by Lothar Matthaus at Prague’s Eden Stadium. In ‘96 the Czechs lost 2:1 on a golden goal in extra time; on Monday the Czechs, under former national team coach Dušan Uhřín, dominated 6:3. Euro ’96 featured many unforgettable moments including Karel Poborský’s famous lob against Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía in the quarterfinal.
The Czech Republic is planning to send Gripen fighters to patrol airspace over Iceland for a month in August, a mission currently being conducted by Canadian pilots, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický told journalists on Monday. The mission is yet to be approved by the government, the minister added. NATO has requested the Czech Republic to deploy its Jas-39 Gripens in Iceland; Czech fighter pilots have done so before. Last October, five Gripen fighters left for Iceland. However, only four protected the Icelandic airspace and one plane was a reserve. Along with the pilots, more than 70 Czech soldiers took part in the mission. The Gripens returned to the Czech base on December 4. The Czech fighter pilots patrolled the skies over Iceland and its territorial waters within the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence. Iceland does not have its own military and the activities of Russian air forces allegedly intensified close to the Icelandic airspace.
Police have caught a man suspected of killing a 28-year-old woman, a librarian in Horní Bříza near Plzeň, on Monday. The victim was reportedly stabbed in the back and died at the scene; TV Nova reported that the victim had called the station terrified, at the man’s insistence, saying she was being held against her will. He had wanted a camera crew to b dispatched to the scene immediately. The reporter she spoke with notified the police. According to tn.cz, the suspect was a regular visitor at the library who made use of the internet.
Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek has said that the government should earmark 28.6 billion crowns for science in 2016 – almost two billion more than allotted this year. Bělobrádek, who is also the minister for science, research and innovation said the government had agreed on financial conditions for the field of science for the next three years. Minister Bělobrádek praised constructive – if tough – negotiations with the Finance Ministry which presents the annual state budget for approval each year.
A new poll suggests that 52 percent of Czechs exercise at least once a week; 30 percent exercise only occasionally or not at all, according to the survey released by Ipsos. Of the 52 percent, the smallest number, 3.9 percent of respondents, said they exercised five to seven times a week; in terms of sports, running matches cycling in popularity among people between the ages of 18 - 26.
The government has again rejected proposed quotas on refugees saying that the decision should be solely up to individual EU member states. The European Commission recommended earlier that quotas be introduced to try and tackle the problem of migrants fleeing troubled or conflict-hit countries in northern Africa and elsewhere. The government’s position on illegal migration and the problem of related human trafficking has not changed since the EC presented its proposal some two weeks ago. The Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek suggested recently the proposal was revolutionary but in a negative sense. He said the decision to accept refugees needed to be up to individual countries accepting “full responsibility”.
An unknown assailant shot at Czech police serving in Kosovo as part of the so-called Supplementary Police Force. According to the police presidium, four Czech officers together with a German colleague and a translator were travelling in two cars when the front windshield of each of the vehicles was hit. The gun used appears to have been a smaller caliber weapon. No one was struck by the bullets or injured in the incident. Such attacks are relatively uncommon in Kosovo but there were two similar shootings in 2013, one of them fatal.
The majority of restaurants in Prague’s Dejvice district opened to customers on Monday despite a shortage of drinkable tap water due to a widespread bacterial infection. Hundreds of people came down with intestinal problems and diarrhea after drinking the water at the weekend. Restaurant owners told the Czech News Agency they were sending out employees for drinking water from cisterns stationed in affected areas. Prague hygiene officer Zdeňka Jagrová confirmed that establishments could open providing they used the clean drinking water provided.