News Mining group says Czech coal mining company readied for sale
The owner of the Czech Republic’s last large remaining miner of hard or black coal, used for making coke for steel plants, has announced that it is preparing the sale of the OKD company. New World Resources said that the sale scenario for OKD is part of contingency planning if a settlement if an ongoing capital restructuring involving major shareholders does not go through. Even so, offers for OKD and its Polish coal mining units have been invited and they will be evaluated against other options. OKD has four Czech mines producing around 10 million tonnes of coal a year. A deal with the Czech government to prolong the life of the Paskov mine and save around 2500 jobs was reached with the government earlier this year.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Czech President Miloš Zeman held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Thursday. The two heads of state are in China attending the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The two officials discussed security issues and the Czech president called on Russia to join the international effort to stop Islamic State terrorism. On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr Putin said he hoped that the trade exchange between Russia and the Czech Republic, now affected by sanctions, would improve. Miloš Zeman met with Vladimir Putin for the second time this year. In May, they conducted talks in Moscow on the occasion of the end of war celebrations.
The Czech Post office has issued a special edition of stamps in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669, mostly Jewish children, by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. Sir Nicholas died on July 1 this year at the age of 106. The 13-crown stamp, entitled Tribute to Sir Nicholas, was designed by graphic artist Zdeněk Netopil. It was issued in 750,000 pieces and went on sale on Wednesday.
Czech police officers will no longer detain Syrian migrants, claiming asylum in Hungary but trying to reach Germany, the foreigners’ police department has revealed. The Czech Republic has seen a growing number of refugees travelling from Hungary to the Czech Republic to try and reach their German neighbours. As of now, the Czechs will offer Syrians already registered in Hungary asylum in the Czech Republic as well; Syrian migrants who decline are to be escorted to railway stations from where will be allowed to continue their journey.
Prague City Hall is preparing plans to help up to 200 refugee families, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek has said. The idea was presented at a council meeting on Wednesday but the city will still have to draw up details for debate. The deputy mayor indicated that security was not the only factor in the current migrant crisis but also human decency. The aim is to especially help those with the very youngest children; families would not all be located in one area but across a number of city districts.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek approves three million crowns in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip to be used in reconstruction and renewal. The funds are to proceed through UNWRA, the UN’s relief and human development agency. The Czech Republic is continuing in its policy to provide aid for the Palestine autonomous territories.
Some 90 firefighters have completed putting up a refugee camp, comprising of 25 tents, in Břeclav-Poštorná to house an eventual 300 inhabitants. The camp is located at a monitored site; locals have also asked for increased security on town streets by the local police. Mayor Pavel Dominik and South Moravian governor Michal Hašek spoke to journalists, with the mayor saying that while locals were not happy about the centre it was better than migrants moving freely through the town and causing a fuss. He added the situation was “complicated but not tragic”. The town on Tuesday filed charges against an individual who tried to cause a stir by posting falsely on the internet that the camp was full with 4,000 people. The mayor stressed that it is empty at this time.
Czech model Žaneta Hučíková was detained in Colorado recently after a mid-air flap on a flight from Las Vegas to Frankfurt, Germany. Flight attendants were alerted to the fact Ms Hučíková has smuggled a cat on board; the model reportedly interfered when the animal was locked in the restroom. The flight was subsequently diverted to Denver, escorted by F-16 fighter jets from Buckley Air Force Base. Ms Hučíková was detained after the authorities learned her visitor’s visa had expired and was ordered to appear in court.
Firefighters were called to assist in more than 5,800 over the course of the driest summer in the Czech Republic since 2003. In fires in July and August, 27 people lost their lives while 253 were injured, Nicole Zaoralová, spokeswoman for the Czech fire corps general directorate, confirmed. Fires in fields and forests were fairly frequent due to the extreme drought. But the blaze which caused the greatest damage, estimated at 285 million crowns, broke out at a storage facility in Prague.
Jiří Louda, WWII veteran and one of the country’s top heraldists, has died at the age of 94. Mr Louda designed around 200 town and municipality coat-of-arms as well as the Large State Emblem of the Czech Republic, based on heraldic symbols going back centuries. In WWII, Mr Louda made his way to Great Britain where he signed up as a paratrooper; he was later imprisoned by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and released in 1950.
Former footballer Pavel Nedvěd, a runner-up at Euro 96 and player who made his name with Italian clubs Lazio and Juventus Turin appears likely to be honoured by the Czech state. Nedvěd, nicknamed Furia Ceca by Italian fans, flew to China with Czech President Zeman on Tuesday; the Czech News Agency reported that Mr Zeman told the former player to leave October 28th open – the day the nation’s highest honours are awarded. Nedvěd, who was European footballer of the year in 2003, has been routinely nominated for state honours by the Czech Senate.