News Czech Muslims stage prayers outside Interior Ministry
Some 300 Muslims staged a prayer in Prague’s Letná Park outside the Czech Interior Ministry on Friday, in protest against last week’s police raid of two Islamic centres in the capital. The police raided a mosque and a prayer room during last week’s Friday prayers over the publication of a book which allegedly incited religious hatred; one man has been charged with hate speech crimes and faces up to 10 years in prison. On Friday, the head of the Czech Muslim community, Muneeb Hassan Alrawi warned against a surge of islamophobia which could have been triggered by the raid. The police operation has also come been criticized as inadequate by some politicians and public figures.
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Police in Liberec pursued a speeding driver going at nearly 200km/h on Monday and were forced to fire several warning shots into the air before making the car draw to a halt. The young woman behind the wheel was on drugs, did not have a driver’s licence and was driving a borrowed car. She also had drugs in her possession. The incident is being investigated.
The head of Czech expat associations in Ukraine Ludmila Muchinova has said she knows of only four families who are interested in repatriation to their old homeland. Mrs. Muchinova met with Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Rudolf Jindrák on Monday to discuss the situation after President Miloš Zeman last week asked Interior Minister Milan Chovanec to meet the request of 40 families for repatriation. Ms. Muchinova said that while Czech expats in Ukraine were afraid of how the conflict might develop only those in the Donbas area were directly affected by it. The Czech Foreign Ministry has said it is ready to give Czech expats assistance locally where needed.
Romany women in the Czech Republic generally have a low level of education, make on average 10,000 crowns a month and live in a rented flat with their family, according to the outcome of a Charles University survey on the life of Romany women. The vast majority marry young –between the age of 18 and 21, close to 40 percent of them have three or more children and singlehandedly shoulder the burden of looking after the household. The vast majority said they had faced discrimination when looking for a job or flat.
Five-year old British cancer patient Ashya King underwent his first treatment at Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre on Monday. The therapy that he is undergoing uses beams of protons rather than high energy X-rays as in conventional radiotherapy. The former can be directed at a tumour with immense precision and unlike conventional treatments cause less damage to surrounding bodily tissue reducing the chance that the patient might develop secondary cancer later in life. Ashya will undergo a series of thirty sessions over the next six weeks.
The Czech Republic will offer Iraq help in training the country’s security forces, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek said at a conference in Paris aimed at coordinating international action in tackling the threat from Islamic State militants. Earlier this year the Czech government approved the sale of 15 L-159 training fighter jets to Iraq and the Czech military will send the Kurdish forces munitions including bullets, grenades, and anti-tank shells no longer needed by the Czech Army. The government is also providing humanitarian aid.
Police are reported to have detained a young man with a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine at the main railway station in Olomouc. The twenty-one-year old had the drugs stuffed in a backpack and claimed he had no idea what he was carrying. He told the police he had been offered five thousand crowns to take the backpack from Prague to Olomouc where someone would pick it up. According to detectives the drugs have a street value of approximately one million crowns. The man has been charged with drug-trafficking for which he could get a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Czech Railways has announced that the rail connection from Chlumec nad Cidlinou to Velky Osek in north-Eastern Bohemia has had to be closed for repairs after a freight train derailed on that route on Sunday night. All fifteen carriages derailed causing damages to the tune of millions of crowns. The damage to the rail tracks has been put at 3.5 million and it should take at least a week to fix. Czech Railways has arranged for a replacement bus service for passengers along the given stretch.
The strike by Air France pilots will affect a number of Paris-Prague flights, according to the press department of Vaclav Havel International Airport. Monday’s evening flights Prague- Paris, Paris –Prague have both been cancelled as well as an early morning flight on Tuesday. The airport is advising passengers to follow updates on its web page. The strike could last until Thursday.
The centre-left government has approved an increase in the minimal monthly wage to 9,200 crowns starting next year. The minimal wage was upped by 700 crowns. The move was strongly advocated by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who argued that it was essential to motivate people to work rather than staying on the dole. The cabinet’s decision was unanimous despite opposition from employers. The minimal wage was last raised in August of 2013 by 500 crowns.
The US online retailer Amazon is planning to build its third centre in the Czech Republic, the E15 daily reports on Monday. The new Returns Centre should be located in Pavlov, an industrial zone near the capital. The company has not confirmed the information. The US Internet giant already has a Returns Centre in Dobrovíz and is currently building a distribution centre there. It should be completed by the end of June 2015 and will create some 2,000 jobs.