News Minister warns Czech tourists could face complications in unstable North African states
Czech holidaymakers may face more complications this summer than in previous years, the minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Thursday. Mr. Zaorálek said some destinations in North Africa popular with Czechs were not entirely safe at present, adding that would-be tourists should pay close attention to the situation in the states in question. As in previous years, temporary Czech consulates will be opened at resorts in Croatia, Bulgaria and Spain.
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Legendary Czech hockey forward Jaromír Jágr has been confirmed as one of the three finalists this year for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player best exemplifying the “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”. At 44, Jágr led his team the Florida Panthers on points this season – becoming the oldest player in NHL history to pass the 60 point plateau (he had 61). He helped his team win the Atlantic Division for the first time; hopes for a longer Stanley Cup playoff run were ended in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders. A recent New York Times prolife mapped the player’s training regimen which has helped him stay at the top of his game.
The movement Bloc Against Islam, which had had hopes of running on a joint-platform with the Dawn party in regional and Senate elections this autumn, will try to regroup under a new banner, news site iDnes and the Czech News Agency reported on Monday. The bloc, whose leader Martin Konvička faces charges of inciting hatred, is likely to morph into a political party, possibly named Alternative for the Czech Republic, iDnes wrote; bloc leader Martin Konvička made no secret the party would push an anti-migrant and anti-Islam agenda. Besides upcoming communal elections, the Czech Republic will hold parliamentary elections in 2017.
The minister of transport, Dan Ťok, is set to demand the cancellation of a Czech Railways competition to purchase over CZK 10 billion of new trains, the daily E15 reported. In the minister’s view the tender process has been designed to exclude foreign firms by setting criteria that can be met by only one company, Škoda Transportation. Mr. Ťok is considering making changes in the leadership at Czech Railways in connection with the competition and other matters, E15 said.
Two Czech citizens have been expelled from Macedonia after being accused of damaging property during violent anti-government demonstrations in the capital Skopje. The two, aged 24 and 25, have been barred from reentering the country, the Macedonian news agency Zhurnal reported on Sunday. The English-language website The Independent said that the two had been accused of vandalising monuments during the opposition-organised protests.
ANO, the second biggest party in the coalition government, would have received 27.5 percent of the vote if elections had been held in April, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the TNS Aisa. This would give Andrej Babiš’s party 72 mandates in the 200 seat Chamber of Deputies. Government leaders the Social Democrats would get 18.5 percent of the vote and 48 seats, the survey suggests. In a poll conducted by TNS Aisa in March ANO had one percent more backing and the Social Democrats enjoyed three percent more support.
A series of political gatherings took in Prague on Sunday to mark the International Workers’ Day state holiday. Block Against Islam was one of two groups that held protests against migration, while another demonstration was organised in support of refugees. Several political parties, including the Communists, held events in the capital, while a traditional gathering of anarchists also took place. Police said all of the events had passed off calmly.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says his Social Democrats will propose a 10-percent pay rise for doctors and nurses as a means to averting a crisis in the country’s health care services. Mr. Sobotka made the promise in a May Day policy statement that he presented in the Moravian town of Vyškov. A doctors’ union recently said that if the legal limit on overtime was adhered to there would not be enough doctors to serve patients in the Czech hospitals. The prime minister said his party they will also push for a 10-percent salary increase for teachers.
Veteran pop star Karel Gott is due to undergo stomach surgery in the next fortnight that will conclude his treatment for cancer, his spokesperson told the Czech News Agency. The singer, who is 67, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma towards the end of last year. Bild quoted the multi-million selling artist as saying his convalescence was going more slowly than he had expected; he told the German newspaper that he had trouble breathing and would need to think long and hard about returning to performing.
The second and third weeks of May should be the warmest period of the next month in the Czech Republic, with temperatures reaching around 20 degrees Celsius or more, according to a regular four-week forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Rainfall should be at average or slightly below average levels for May, the forecasters said.
A surveillance camera once likely used by the communist-era StB secret police is still in place on a street light in the Prague district of Vinohrady, the iDnes.cz reported. The news website said there was no doubt the camera was in place prior to 1989. It is the same type used by the StB to monitor the movement of dissidents and foreign diplomats on the streets of the capital. The camera, located at the junction of the streets Libická and Vinohradská, is non-functioning and is likely to be removed.