News Poll: 60 percent of Czechs perceive foreigners as problem
Foreign nationals who moved to the Czech Republic in the past five years are perceived as problematic by 60 percent of Czechs, according to a survey by the CVVM agency released on Wednesday. Meanwhile, some 32 percent of people who took part in the poll said foreigners did not present a problem on the national level. Locally, however, foreign citizens are perceived as problematic by 25 percent of Czechs. The poll also founded that some 70 percent of Czechs believe foreigners permanently residing in the country increased unemployment; 65 percent said they contributed to rising crime levels and 57 percent suggested foreigners presented a health risk.
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The publishers of Adolf Hitler’s speeches who were prosecuted, but not convicted, of propagating Nazism are demanding over seven million crowns in compensation from the state. An editor and two co-owners of a Brno-based publishing house were cleared of charges in January, after the court issued a verdict that found no evidence that the collection of Hitler’s speeches promoted the Nazi ideology. The book, which was released in 2012, consists of 18 addresses delivered by the Nazi dictator between 1939 and 1942.
The woman, who stabbed to death a 16-year-old student at a secondary school in Žďár nad Sázavou in the Vysočina region last year, was released from custody on Monday on the grounds of temporary insanity. The attacker, who suffers from schizophrenia, was moved to a mental hospital, police spokeswoman Ludmila Čírtková told the Czech News Agency. The 26-year-old woman entered a local secondary school armed with a long knife and attacked students at random killing one person and injuring three others. The woman had attacked a child in the past and had been released from a mental hospital on the basis of a single expert opinion.
The opening of the controversial Blanka tunnel complex in Prague, which was scheduled for April, will be delayed till next year, Aktualne.cz reported on Monday. Hundreds of kilometres of electric cables, which were damaged by heavy rainfall last year and by dampness within the tunnel, will have to be replaced. The tunnel, which has been under construction since 2007, was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but has been hit by many delays, with the latest deadline set for April of this year. It has come under criticism for massive costs overruns which have cost Prague nearly 37 billion crowns.
Czech cross country skier Lukáš Bauer took the silver medal at the Nordic skiing world championships in Falun, Sweden on Sunday. First place went to Norway’s Petter Northug. Thirty-seven-year-old Bauer for whom this may be the last big race in his career said he was overjoyed by the victory. The only other Czech in the running Martin Jakš placed sixteenth.
Czech President Miloš Zeman is in Washington where he will give a speech on the danger of international terrorism at a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday.The Czech president is expected to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is also attending the gathering. During his stay in Washington President Zeman will pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon memorial and lay a wreath at the statue of first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. No talks with US top officials have been planned.
The Sudeten German Landsmannschaft, an organization representing the interests of Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II, on the grounds of the so-called Benes decrees, will no longer strive for the return of property to the expellees and their descendants, according to a statement the organization released to the press on Sunday. At a weekend conference the SL amended its statutes, dropping the passage stating it would fight for the return of confiscated Sudeten German property and replacing it with a commitment to strive for a European arrangement where basic human rights, including the right to a homeland and self-determination would be fully respected. The organization says it will strive for the Charter of Fundamental Rights to be valid across the EU. Former Czech president Vaclav Klaus demanded an exemption from the charter for his country on the grounds that it could open the door to a wave of Sudeten German property claims, but the present centre-left government said last year it no longer wanted the opt-out. The possibility of Sudeten German restitutions have been a major issue of contention between the two countries.
Several dozen people gathered on Prague’s Old Town Square on Sunday to
pay tribute to the slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The event
was organized by the association Prague Majdan. Those present signed a
petition in support of extending the EU sanctions against Russia and
likewise expressed support for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is
holding a hunger strike in a Russian prison.
Czech political leaders on Saturday condemned the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and urged the authorities to conduct an impartial and transparent investigation. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that in Nemtsov Russia had lost a leading authority and upstanding defender of democratic values and human rights.
Czech foreign minister says decision on whether to extend sanctions against Russia should not be rushed
The decision whether to extend EU sanctions against Russia should not be rushed, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told Czech Television on Sunday. Mr. Zaorálek noted that the present sanctions are due to expire on July 31 and a decision by the European Council could come as early as mid-March. While some EU members are pressing for a speedy decision, the Czech foreign minister is advising prudence, saying that it would be logical to wait and see how Russia adhered to the Minsk peace deal before deciding whether to extend sanctions. The ceasefire appears to be taking hold in Donbass with heavy weapons being withdrawn and prisoners exchanged and this positive development should be encouraged, Mr. Zaorálek told Czech Television.
Autopsies on the victims of the shooting in Uhersky Brod have revealed that they died almost immediately and could not have been saved even with prompt medical care, according to State Attorney Roma Kafka, who has been assigned to the case. The state attorney rejected speculation that the victims had lain there injured for tens of minutes and that had the police stormed the pub sooner some of them could have been saved. He said the attacker had aimed for lethal areas, mostly the head and neck, and inflicted fatal injuries.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has once again defended the police operation in the town of Uherský Brod where a deranged man shot eight people dead in a pub on Tuesday. The interior minister told commercial TV Prima that on the grounds of the information he had the police could not be faulted in its actions. He said, however, that should it emerge from the ongoing investigation that the police had failed in its duty then corrective measures would be taken. Some witnesses have criticized the police over their handling of the incident, saying that had they acted faster and more professionally they could have saved lives. Chovanec argued that when the police negotiated with the attacker they thought he was holding hostages and had no idea that the eight remaining people in the pub were already dead.