News Czech town calls for recognition of WWII parachutists

03-05-2014 18:05 updated | Chris Johnstone

Council leaders from the south-east Moravian town of Bystřice pod Hostýnem have called on Czech president Miloš Zeman to give recognition to a group of WWII Czech parachutists on the 70th anniversary of their mission. The three, Antonín Bartoš, Čestmír Šikola and Jiří Štokman, returned to their occupied homeland near Bystřice in the Spring of 1944 to help create an intelligence network. The three survived until Soviet forces reached the region towards the end of the war. The parachutists, none of whom is still living, were later given the freedom of Bystřice in honour of their action but have not been awarded with any national recognition.

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Bank of China Czech branch to start operating by end of year

31-08-2015 18:45 | Daniela Lazarová

Bank of China, one of the biggest state-owned banks in China, will start operating a branch in the Czech Republic by the end of this year, Wenbo Hou, the head of the bank´s preparatory committee, told journalists at the branch´s ceremonial opening at the Prague Castle on Monday. The bank’s Czech branch will focus on the financing of large, medium-sized and small companies, provide cross-border services to these companies, including business recommendations, financial support, prevention of risks and consulting. 

NGOs urge Czech politicians not to ignore human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes

31-08-2015 17:05 | Daniela Lazarová

A group of NGOs have urged Czech politicians not to ignore human rights abuses by authoritarian regimes when travelling to countries where people are threatened with torture, imprisonment or even death over their beliefs. An appeal signed by 30 NGOs sums up the basic principles Czech officials should take into account while on foreign trips to dictatorial countries, including meetings with dissidents and independent journalists as well as caution in making public statements that can be abused by the local propaganda machine. The appeal was signed by People in Need, Forum 2000, the Czech Helsinki Committee, Prague Pride and the Organization for Aid to Refugees. 

Czech president to meet with Russian president on visit to China

31-08-2015 16:52 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech President Miloš Zeman will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his forthcoming visit to China, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Monday. The talks are to be held following a military parade and a reception that Chinese President Xi Jinping will host for foreign participants attending the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. He said meetings with Zeman´s Chinese counterpart and other politicians are also planned. 

Finance minister calling for special EU summit on migrant crisis

31-08-2015 16:38 | Daniela Lazarová

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has criticized the European Commission for what he called its slow response to the migrant crisis and expressed the view that the situation now merits an emergency meeting of EU leaders. Mr. Babiš said it was vital to protect the Schengen border free zone effectively and to start differentiating between refugees and economic migrants in search of a better life. He stressed that it was high time to agree on a systemic solution across the EU and to start implementing it. The Czech Republic is one of the EU states which rejected the idea of migrant quotas, although the government has promised to take in 1500 refugees in the course of the next two years. 

President Zeman warns migrant influx will escalate

31-08-2015 14:37 | Daniela Lazarová

President Milos Zeman has said that unless the EU takes more effective steps to secure its borders against the growing influx of migrants, the Czech Republic should take unilateral action in this respect. At a press briefing in Prague the president said that he expected the migrant wave to escalate due to the continuing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East and predicted a tsunami effect since families and relatives would join those who had already been granted asylum in Europe. Mr. Zeman has previously stressed that Europe should not accommodate economic migrants. Mr. Zeman also took a swipe at the academics who signed a petition against xenophobia, saying they should take a migrant family into their own home before preaching to the public. 

Višegrad Group to debate migrant crisis in Prague

31-08-2015 14:22 | Daniela Lazarová

The prime ministers of the Višegrad Group countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet in the coming days to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, the ctk news agency reports. The Višegrad Four are increasingly concerned about the flow of migrants via the so-called west Balkans route. The Czech Republic has repeatedly called for joint EU action in protecting its outer borders and has offered countries along the Balkans route technical and material assistance to better secure their borders. Slovakia now fears that due to tightened checks along the Austrian border people smugglers will attempt to transport more refugees across Slovak territory. 

Christian Democrats to decide on Kalenda’s expulsion

31-08-2015 13:28 | Daniela Lazarová

The Liberec branch of the ruling Christian Democrats will meet later this week to decide on the possible expulsion from the party of one of its members, Daniela Kalenda, who welcomed the deaths of the 71 refugees found in a van in Austria. In an entry on Facebook Kalenda spoke about the refugees as “dirt” that does not belong in Europe saying that they should have known better than to get into an enclosed van in the first place. Hours later he deleted the entry saying he had been heavily drunk when he posted it. 

Murder suspect Dahlgren extradited to the Czech Republic

31-08-2015 13:02 updated | Ruth Fraňková

Kevin Dahlgren a 21-year-old U.S. citizen wanted for the murder of four of his Czech relatives in Brno has been extradited to the Czech Republic to face murder charges. According to the Czech Justice Ministry Dahlgren arrived at Prague’s international Airport on Monday and a court will now rule on whether he will be placed in custody. Dahlgren is suspected of stabbing to death four Czech relatives with whom he was staying at the time. He fled the country just hours before the crime was uncovered. The United States is known to only extradite its citizens for prosecution abroad in exceptional cases. This is the first case ever in which a U.S. citizen has been extradited to the Czech Republic. If he is convicted he could face a life sentence. 

Man gets suspended sentence for praising bomb attack that killed five Czech soldiers in Afghanistan

31-08-2015 11:34 | Daniela Lazarová

A Prague court has passed a guilty verdict on a man who expressed approval of the suicide bomb attack that killed five Czech soldiers serving in NATO’s ISAF mission in eastern in Afghanistan in July of last year. The man, who praised the terrorist for “doing away with at least a few Czech mercenaries” on Facebook received a year long suspended sentence for publicly supporting a crime, inciting violence towards a group and insulting the memory of Czech soldiers who died in action on a foreign mission. Neither side has appealed the verdict. 

Prague taxi drivers to protest against tough new tests

31-08-2015 11:16 | Daniela Lazarová

Prague taxi drivers have announced a planned blockade of streets in the city centre on Tuesday. The precise route of the protest has not been disclosed. They are protesting against Prague City Hall’s plans to tighten regulations governing the service in the wake of numerous complaints from the public and tourists. According to City Halls plans all taxi drivers in Prague should gradually undergo tough new street knowledge and language tests. Prague City Hall has announced that it will boost public transport on the day of the protest. 


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