News Czech minister in talks over children removed from family by Norway social services
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has met for talks with Norway’s State Secretary Bard Glad Pedersen over the situation of two Czech children removed from the family by Norwegian social services, the news agency ČTK reported. The children were taken away in 2011 over suspicions of sexual abuse; a year later, the children were place in foster families despite the fact that a police investigation found no evidence of abuse. Mr Zaorálek said he discussed the case with Secretary Pedersen, and recommended the family raise a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights, and file a petition for a revision of the case with Norwegian courts.
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The Prague association of environmentalists Vlasta is suing the Ministry of the Environment for allegedly failing to address the problem of air-pollution. The ministry already faces a number of similar lawsuits from associations in Ostrava and Brno, cities in the eastern part of the country where air pollution is a chronic problem in the winter months. The Prague association Vlasta points out that dust particles in the air frequently exceed permitted levels and argues that the ministry’s policy in combatting air pollution is woefully ineffective. The court has 90 days in which to address the complaint.
SkyToll has filed a complaint with the the Czech competition watchdog, the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition, over the Transport Ministry’s decision to prolong the motorway toll collection contract with the Austrian company Kapsch without holding a competitive tender. Although the contract with Kapsch was deemed disadvantageous, the ministry failed to prepare the ground to end the country’s dependency on the firm and, earlier this year, extended the contract for fear that a fall-out in the tolling system would mean the country would be overrun by trucks. The decision came under fire both from coalition and opposition deputies who warned that the government was laying itself open to arbitration procedures from rival companies.
Václav Klaus Jr., the elder son of the former president, has announced his intention to run for office in the 2017 parliamentary elections. Mr. Klaus, formerly director of an elite secondary school in Prague, said it was premature to speak about ambitions within the centre-right Civic Democratic Party established by his father, who parted ways with the party and is no longer a member. We shall see after the elections, Klaus Jr. told the news site idnes.cz. Like his father, Klaus junior is a fierce critic of the EU, saying o Facebook recently that the Czech Republic should leave the alliance. The leader of the Civic Democratic Party Petr Fiala distanced himself from the statement.
The Czech and Slovak governments are holding a joint working session in Bratislava on Monday with security issues, cooperation in defence and transport high on the agenda. The neighbour states are working to improve road and rail links and last year they signed an agreement on cooperation in defending their airspace. Ministers are also expected to debate plans for a joint celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The two nations spent 73 years in a common state, parting ways in 1993, but have maintained exceptionally close ties.
The production of L-410 airplanes manufactured by the Russian-owned company Aircraft Industries will remain in Kunovice, South Moravia, representatives of the Russian company confirmed in talks with Czech Trade and Industry Minister Jan Mladek on Monday. The company’s employees had been holding a strike alert over fears that production would be reduced or shifted to Russia. The situation in the company has been deteriorating, with sales of the LET aircraft in one of the main markets, Russia, dropping sharply. Many of the 900-strong employees have been forced to take leave with reduced wages. According to the company’s management the firm has acquired new orders from China and full operation should be renewed by November.
A public fund has been set up to raise money for a memorial to the parents of the so-called Winton children, whose lives were saved when they were sent abroad from Czechoslovakia to escape almost certain death under the Nazis. The charity fund has been set up by a group of “Winton children” who are hoping to reach a target amount of 2.3 million crowns. The memorial, a bronze copy of a train door with glass casts of parents’ hands on one side and children’s hands on the other, is to be erected at Prague’s main railway station. A statue to Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised the transports of 669, mostly Jewish children, ahead of WWII, already stands at the station.
Detectives investigating the murder of a Czech businessman, which happened in east London last Friday, have charged a 29-year-old man. Raymond Sculley will appear in court on Monday. Two others arrested on Friday, a 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, have been released on bail pending further inquiries. The 31-year old Zdeněk Makar was attacked on Friday following a row inside a fast food outlet. The gang chased and beat him to death with a metal chain, leaving him in a pool of blood. Friends of Mr Makar have raised money via the internet to help finance the repatriation of his body to the Czech Republic.
In football, Slavia Prague defeated their traditional rivals Sparta 2:0 in a Czech league game at the Letná stadium on Sunday. Maris Mešanovic opened the scoring in the 62nd minute, and Jaromír Zmrhal added another goal in 79th. The victory in the 286th Prague derby moves Slavia to the fifth place in the table.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Sunday advocated keeping production of the L-410 airplanes manufactured by the Russian-owned company Aircraft Industries in Kunovice, South Moravia. The employees went on strike alert on Wednesday over fears that production will be reduced or shifted to Russia. The future of the company is scheduled to be discussed by all parties concerned in Prague on Monday. The situation in the company has been deteriorating, with sales of the LET aircraft in one of the main markets, Russia, dropping sharply. Many of the 900-strong workforce have been forced to take leave with reduced wages.
After a three-day journey on road from Prague, a former government airplane Tupolev Tu-154 arrived in the Kunovice Air Museum in South Moravia on Sunday. The 45-meter long plane, which carried former presidents Václav Klaus and Václav Havel or the the gold-winning Czech hockey team from Nagano, was saved from demolition by a group of enthusiasts. After covering the distance on 383 kilometers on a semitrailer, its transport now aspires for an entry into the Czech book of records.