News Czech Foreign Ministry seeking to improve visa services in over a dozen states
The Czech Foreign Ministry is planning to improve visa services through outsourcing in over a dozen states where the process is hampered by limited consulate staff. The ministry is now selecting local firms who would pre-process applications and increase the number of visa-application points. The new service should see the opening of 25 visa centres in countries such as China, India, Turkey and South Africa.
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The women’s tennis team has gotten off to a good start in the Fed Cup semi-final against France winning both matches on the opening day. Lucie Šafařová survived five match points against Caroline Garcia to take the match to three sets: the final score was 4:6, 7:6, 6:1. Petra Kvitová won the second match, defeating Kristina Mladenovic 6:3, 6:4.
A 51-year-old cyclist was struck by a motorist on Friday evening in the Zlín area and succumbed on the spot to his injuries. The cyclist was hit head-on by the car driven by a 24-year-old who was passing another vehicle. The victim did not have any lights on his bike as required. The motorist, who tested negative for alcohol, is being investigated for possible negligence; if found guilty he could spend up to six years in jail.
City councillors in the spa town of Teplice have failed for a third time to pass a bylaw on the regulation of gambling terminals. The town, according to the Czech News Agency, has some 1,500 such machines, twice that of Ústí nad Labem or Most. Members of Town Hall have been tasked with coming up with a proposal which would satisfy a majority of 27 representatives. The bylaw should be passed by the end of the year.
Municipalities, in areas being considered as possible sites for nuclear waste repository, hold protest events
Municipalities in seven areas of the Czech Republic, being considered by the government as possible locations for a nuclear waste repository operational as of 2065, are holding protest events on Saturday saying "No" to government plans. Demonstrations and concerts are underway in places to express opposition to the siting of the waste site; in the past referenda were also held. Plans for a deep geological repository for the country's radioactive waste have existed since 1990. The facility, if a suitable site is found, would take 15 years to build.
The funeral for former prime minister Stanislav Gross, who died this week at the age of 45, will be held on Wednesday, April 22, his widow and family have confirmed. A private ceremony will take place at the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul at Vyšehrad for family and friends, but members of the public will be able to pay their last respects between 8:30 and 10 AM. Mr Gross served as interior minister before taking up the post of PM, which he held for less than a year. At 34, he was the Czech Republic's youngest-ever premier but was forced to step down after failing to explain how he had financed a 4.2 million crown apartment. He later worked as a lawyer; it was reported that Mr Gross had been suffering from ALS.
The renovation of a famous historic building in Prague's Stromovka Park - Šlechta's Restaurant, a summer chateau dating back to the late 17th century - will begin in a year's time and will cost roughly 150 million crowns, city councillor Jan Wolf has told the Czech News Agency. The site, after decades of decay, should reopen in a special ceremony in 2017. The original project was to have cost up to quarter of a billion crowns but costs were reduced by removing some planned items, including extra elevators, stairways and washrooms.
Forward Tomáš Plekanec contributed in the Montreal Canadiens' win
against the Ottawa Senators on Friday, assisting on the game-winning goal
in their second match-up of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The teams went into
overtime tied at two apiece; Alex Galchenyuk scored at 3:40 in the extra
period. The Habs lead the best-of-seven series 2:0. The next game takes
place in Ottawa.
In other action, Radim Vrbata scored once for the Vancouver Canucks against the Calgary Flames. Vancouver won the game 4:1, squaring their first-round series at one apiece.
Finance minister and leader of the ANO party, Andrej Babiš, demands an apology for libel from the US magazine Foreign Policy. Mr Babiš, who is currently on a visit to the United States, told the daily Hospodářské noviny that he is ready to sue the magazine in case it doesn’t apologize. In its article ‘Now the Czechs Have an Oligarch Problem, Too’, Foreign Policy calls Babiš one of the politically most powerful billionaires in the world and says his ambitions are “far grander” than finance minister. It also says his rise “threatens to undermine democratic institutions in the Czech Republic”. Andrej Babiš claims the article was commissioned from the Czech Republic.
The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek said on Friday that the Czech consulates in Russia have not received any visa applications connected to the planned ride of the pro-Kremlin biker club through the Czech Republic. The Night Wolves want to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory by riding their Harley-Davidsons through Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. Minister Zaorálek said on Thursday that he regarded the ride a provocation. The plan has already triggered protests in neighbouring Poland.
Police have charged three teenage girls with the murder of a pensioner in Prague. The man’s body was discovered on Monday in his flat in the Letňany district. The girls, who have known each other from a youth facility, have killed the 72-year-old man after getting into an argument with him. Afterwards they tried to set the flat on fire to cover their tracks. They are charged with murder and public safety threat.