News Government to discuss bid to host UN housing conference in 2016
The Czech government will next week discuss whether the country should bid to host a United Nations Habitat III conference on housing and sustainable development planned for 2016. The Czech Ministry of Regional Development has put forward a proposal to host the conference, which is held once every two decades. Around 20,000 delegates are expected to attend the conference, including the secretary general of the UN. Prague’s Congress Centrum would be the main venue in any Czech bid. A decision on what city will host the event will be made by the end of this year.
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The actress Vlasta Chramostová has been inducted into a new Hall of Fame at the National Theatre in Prague. Chramostová, who is 88 years old, was the first person honoured in this way. A signatory of the Charter 77 protest document, she was active in the Velvet Revolution. Speaking at Tuesday’s induction ceremony, Culture Minister Daniel Herman described her as a great moral paragon.
The Czech Republic is among the three European Union countries with the lowest unemployment, according to figures released by Eurostat on Tuesday. The Czech Republic, like Malta, had a jobless rate of 5.1 percent in July, with both behind Germany, which had an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. The EU average was 9.5 percent.
Almost 120,000 first graders started school on Tuesday morning as the 2015–2016 academic year got underway at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools around the Czech Republic. The overall number of pupils has increased by 30,000 since September last year, though demographic trends have resulted in a decline in numbers at secondary schools. The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, said on Tuesday that she planned to secure higher pay for teachers and to increase the number of psychologists and social workers working with schools.
Police in Austria have charged a Czech man with people smuggling after catching him with 37 migrants in his truck near Vienna in July, a Czech Embassy official in the city told the website Echo24.cz. The man, who is said to be between 20 and 25 years old, is being held on remand and could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty. His lawyer said he had made a confession.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, told children at a primary school on Tuesday that if he were to choose his successor it would be Pavel Rychetský, the chairman of the Constitutional Court. He made the comment in a discussion with older pupils during a visit to their school in Prague as it reopened after the summer. Justice Rychetský served as deputy prime minister in a government headed by Mr. Zeman in the late 1990s. In an opinion poll in June he was named the third most trustworthy senior state official.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the Czech military is on standby to help cope with the migrant crisis if the situation should dramatically worsen. Following talks with President Milos Zeman on Monday, Mr. Sobotka said that the police still had the situation under control and had so far not requested assistance. However he said the migrant situation in neigbouring states was being closely monitored and in the event of need the army was prepared to deploy between 900 and 2,600 soldiers in the border areas at short notice. President Miloš Zeman said on Monday that unless the EU takes effective measures to secure its outer borders the Czech Republic should move on its own to step up border security.
Police in the Moravian border town of Břeclav detained over 200 migrants on international trains from Austria and Hungary in the course of Monday night. The vast majority of them were from Syria and the group included 61 children. They were accommodated at local sports facilities and will gradually be moved to asylum centres in Moravia. According to the ctk news agency the police were prepared for the influx and had busses on standby. The Moravian authorities have been gearing up for a steep rise in the number of migrants after Hungary enabled them to board Western-bound trains en masse in order to alleviate the situation on overcrowded railway stations.
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.
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 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.