News Human rights activists protests against Chinese Investment Forum
Two dozen human rights activists gathered outside Prague Castle on Thursday morning to protest against the Chinese Investment Forum taking place there. Among the protesters, who held banners reading "China stop shooting Tibetans", was former environment minister Martin Bursík. Mr. Bursík slammed the government for allegedly putting economic interests above human rights. Chinese businessmen arriving at the conference ostensibly ignored their presence.
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Petr Čech remains one shy of tying clean sheet record set by David James in the Premier League. On Sunday, his club Arsenal appeared to be on its way against Norwich City, going up 1:0 on a chip from Mesut Ozil. But the Canaries tied the match before half-time. The game ended 1:1. Čech thanked fans for traveling to the away game and tried to take positives from the result in the social media. Arsenal are fourth in the standings.
The Czech Republic is ready to contribute to planned EU support for Turkey to help the country deal with more than two million refugees, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed on Sunday ahead of the EU-Turkey summit. The Czechs are to provide the funds over two years. In total, the European Union is pledging to provide some three billion euros in funds to help Turkey tackle the migrant crisis but members require the country to boost security of its borders and to intervene effectively against people smugglers. The Czechs are to contribute between 300-400 million crowns in 2016 and a similar sum a year later. The largest contribution is to be made by Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, criticised by the newly-elected head of TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek, struck back in a statement for the Czech News Agency on Sunday that Mr Kalousek was a very able "political chameleon". He warned TOP 09 to be on its guard, suggesting that Mr Kalousek would be the first person to jump ship if the situation called for it. The comment is an apparent reference to TOP 09's founding by Messrs Kalousek and Karel Schwarzenberg in 2009, when the former was still a Christian Democrat. Mr Babiš also maintained that in the departure of Karel Schwarzenberg, the party had lost a "true leader".
The Czech Republic is in favour of greater cooperation between the EU and Turkey with regards the migrant crisis, and is ready to supply 25 million euros in support. The Czech Republic is seeking Turkey to regulate migrants, protect its borders and stop human traffickers or people smugglers from operating freely. The prime minister was given the mandate to purse the goals ahead of Sunday's EU summit with Turkey. EU states already agreed to provide three billion euros to Turkey over two years to help tackle the migrant crisis.
In a speech prior to his election as new chairman of TOP 09, Miroslav Kalousek outlined political priorities - foremost among them the need stand against what he described as an "unprecedented attack on free society". Mr Kalousek warned of growing oligarchization in the Czech Republic and against a government led by "one enlightened general", a clear barb at Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, the billionaire businessman with whom Mr Kalousek has routinely clashed in Parliament. In his speech, Mr Kalousek also warned of the growing influence of Moscow and suggested the Czech Republic needed to strengthen its position within the EU in response.
Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek was voted in as the new chairman
of TOP 09 on Sunday, receiving a strong mandate from delegates. Of the 171
who voted, Mr Kalousek received votes from 148 (86.5 percent). No one else
at the party's congress ran for the top post. Likewise, Marek
Ženísek, endorsed by Mr Kalousek, ran unopposed for the post of first
deputy and received 71 percent.
A day earlier, Karel Schwarzenberg stepped down for age and health reasons but was elected honorary chairman and intends to still work closely with the party in the campaign in senate and communal elections. Mr Kalousek thanked him for his work as party leader and made clear Mr Schwarzenberg would continue to be a moral authority for TOP 09.
The Český slavík (Czech Nightingale) poll for musician of the year has been won for the 40th time by legendary pop star Karel Gott. The singer received the Absolute slavík award for 2015 as well as best male vocalist. Mr Gott was initially not expected to attend after recently being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and undergoing cancer treatment. His appearance was brief but was greeted with a standing ovation. The performer told the audience that support from his fans was the best infusion. On the night, best female singer was won by Lucie Bílá, who took the award for the 19th time and the best band were hard rock group Kabát, who clinched their 10th award. Some 140,000 members of the public voted this year.
The heads of the country's intelligence services met with members of the cabinet and the prime minister on Saturday, reviewing security and assessing that the country was not in danger of a terrorist attack. Tougher security measures were implemented following the recent attacks in Paris, and further developments in neighbouring Belgium, and are to stay in place until the new year. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that there was no need for hysteria or fear and no reason to cancel traditional events. He also said Czechs should make the most of the upcoming holidays.
The Czech Republic will not join a plan by neighboring Slovakia to challenge Brussels in court over EU mandatory migrant quotas, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a special cabinet meeting. Bratislava is planning on filing a case on the quotas at the European Court of Justice. On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the country should consider taking part in the complaint, charging that the plans on redistributing migrants across EU countries were "nonsensical" and "would not work in practice". The prime minister and Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek came out against; most of the cabinet on Saturday also opposed the idea, the prime minister said.
Lights at the Christmas tree on Prague's Old Town Square were turned on on Saturday but not in a traditional ceremony for security reasons, news website iDnes reports. The lights will also be turned off on the hour for a few minutes for an undetermined period of time before they stay on for the greater part of the Christmas period. Key sites in Prague saw security increased until the end of the year at the earliest, following the recent attacks in Paris.