News Fresh group of Czech soldiers fly to Sinai Peninsula to take part in observer mission
The first unit of Czech soldiers taking part in an observer mission in the Sinai Peninsula is to be replaced by the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the general staff of the Czech army. Eleven soldiers who left from Prague’s Kbely military airport on an army plane on Wednesday morning are to serve for six months with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which oversees the terms of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The troops will use the CASA plane they flew out to carry out their mission.
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The Czech trauma team which has been helping to deal with the consequences of the devastating earthquake in Nepal returned home on Friday. The 30-member team, made up of twenty doctors and nurses and ten firefighters, was helping to bring the injured down from hard-to-reach villages in the mountains. The rescuers operated in Melamchi, around 40 kilometres to the north-east of the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. They concluded their mission there on Monday. Since it started work on May 1, the trauma team provided medical assistance to over 1,100 people. It is leaving much of its equipment and medical supplies in Nepal for the use of the local health authorities.
Moscow has released a blacklist of EU politicans and diplomats, including four Czechs, who are banned from entering Russia in response to EU sanctions over Ukraine, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. The list contains 89 names. The Czechs who are no logner allowed to travel to Russia are the head of TOP 09 and former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, TOP 09 deputy Marek Ženíšek, EU deputy Jaromír Štětina and former EU commissioner Štefan Füle.
Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán came under fire from an angry pensioner in the centre of Prague on Friday morning. The man shot his starter pistol three times at the ground a few meters from the minister before being apprehended by his bodyguards. The man was quickly freed and the minister told the ČTK news agency that no charges would be pressed. The man was reportedly angry about how a case in which he had been accused of stealing from an automatic machine dispensing chocolates and other confectionary had been dealt with. Former president Václav Klaus was the victim of a similar attack in 2012. The head of his personal bodyguard resigned in the aftermath of the incident for alleged failings of the service.
A second wave of workers have given notice they will quit the government Agency for Social Inclusion, the institution tasked with dealing with some of the country’s worst social problems, over ongoing differences over its management. In the latest wave, 14 workers have given notice which means that 24 out 68 staff have now resigned. Staff leaving said the most recent moves by minister in charge of human rights Jiří Dienstbier, deputy ministers, and the newly appointed head of the agency, Radek Jiránek, only exacerbated their grievances. Jiránek was appointed on Wednesday. Matters have come to a head since the sacking of the previous long-term head of the agency, Martin Šimáček.
A 24 year old Italian of Slovenian origin who is suspected of having sent poison filled letters to Czech personalities has been charged with terrorism and two other criminal offences the agency ČTK reported Friday citing Slovenian sources. Ivan Cernice is believed to have sent a letter containing cyanide to Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš last year. A similar letter with poison was dispatched to the Ministry of Interior and letters without poison arrived at Ministry of Justice. Cernice was detained by police near the border town of Nova Gorica, Slovenia, in November and has been in custody ever since. He has also been charged with illegal production and sale of drugs and falsifying official documents.
More than 1,500 churches, chapels, and other places of worship across the Czech Republic will open their doors on Friday night for the seventh annual version of the event. This year sites will be exceptionally opened after dusk. Concerts, organ recitals, cultural events, and films are some of the accompaniments on offer this year. The open doors event was last year attended by around 500,000 people. In Prague, various works of contemporary art will be on show at some of the churches taking part.
In tennis, Lucie Šafářová beat German Sabine Lisicki 6:3, 7:7 to reach the fourth round of the Paris Open at Roland Garros. The Czech 13th seed will now face the winner of the match between Australian Samantha Stosur and Russia’s Maria Sharapova. In the men’s singles, Lukáš Rosol lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets: 4:6, 4:6, 4:6 in the third round.
The Medical Faculty at Brno’s Masaryk University has played a part in research which has discovered a new type of hereditary blood disease. The disease manifests itself through a shortage of blood platelets and has been found to increase the likelihood of the onset of leukaemia. Long term research by laboratories in the United States and Italy helped in the breakthrough discovery. Scientists’ suspicions were aroused by the high number of patients with blood disorders whose children also had low platelet counts. Platelets help blood to clot.
Outgoing minister of education Marcel Chládek described in a press conference that his dismissal was an unprecedented step. He said that he was a victim of a campaign by the fellow coalition party, ANO, led by billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš, which was connected with his moves to win a bigger budget for the education ministry. Chládek warned that his example could be a dangerous precedent for fellow ministers or officials whose policies clashed with the interests of Andrej Babiš or his agro-chemical group Agrofert. He added that the comments about his alleged bullying of ministry officials were lies put together by a Babiš owned newspaper and drawn from comments of workers who had already quit a year ago. He said it was important for his successor to continue the fight for more funds for education, adding that without these the Czech Republic could not hope to compete on a global stage.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto has been fined just over 49 million crowns by the country’s competition office for an illegal cartel. The company set a minimum price for the margins of car distributors, meaning that they could not go lower than them and give a better deal to car buyers. The case was only made public by the daily Mláda Fronta Dnes after it pressed the competition office for details under public access of information legislation.