News President: Czech Republic should drop visa requirement for Russians
Czech President Miloš Zeman has told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS the Czech Republic should lift visas as quickly as possible for citizens of the Russian federation. He expressed the opinion in connection with sanctions faced by Russia over the Ukraine crisis, saying he saw no reason for the EU to isolate Russia. Nor did he see the need for sanctions, blockades or embargoes. Mr Zeman expressed the view that isolation had never led to success but only deepened misunderstanding and mistrust. The president’s spokesman pointed out that Mr Zeman’s view that economic sanctions were “counterproductive” is one that he has long held. The head of the Czech Association of Travel Agencies confirmed, meanwhile, that the Czech Republic has seen 40 percent fewer Russian tourists this year, due in part to developments in Ukraine, but also, due to the lengthy protocol and cost of obtaining a visa.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Hundreds of taxi-drivers protested in Prague against a plan proposed by Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová to tighten up the rules for giving licences to taxi drivers and to re-assess those who already have licenses. The drivers will be required to undergo topographic and psychological tests. Hundreds of taxi drivers met at Prague’s Strahov stadium and drove to Prague Town Hall, where they handed a petition to the mayor. There are currently around 4,000 taxi drivers registered in the Czech capital.
The trial of four people charged with production and distribution of child pornography began at a court in Hradec Králové on Tuesday morning. The group allegedly abused over a hundred children, taking their photos and making video recordings in a studio in Červený Kostelec, in east Bohemia, and then selling them abroad. They earned up to five million crowns. One of the accused is a mother of two of the abused children. Police had been monitoring the group since 2013 and detained them in March last year. If convicted, they would face up to fifteen years in prison.
Price regulation of medical devices, drafted by the Czech Health Ministry, should bring the health sector savings of up to six billion crowns, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said on Tuesday. The ministry is also planning to adopt measures against re-exporting cheaper medicines abroad. Mr Němeček said the ministry was forced to impose a temporary ban on the export of certain drugs in recent months due to their sudden absence on the market. The Health Ministry along with the State Institute for Drug Control is currently drafting a list of drugs that could not be reexported in the future. The prices of drugs in the Czech Republic are lower than in many other European countries. As a result, some drugs imported to the country are sometimes re-exported for higher prices.
Forecasters are warning of heavy storms across the Czech Republic on Tuesday, predicting torrential rain, strong wind and hail in places. The heat storms are expected to hit western parts of the country on Tuesday afternoon, when temperatures should reach up to 37 degrees Celsius. The belt of rain will move eastward overnight, reaching Moravia and Silesia on Wednesday morning. The heatwave should break with the coming rain but above average temperatures are predicted to last for the entire month of July.
Over 82,000 tickets have been sold so far at the 50th Karlovy Vary International Film festival which is underway in the West Bohemian spa town. According to the film festival’s press department, nearly 11,000 people accredited for the event and more than 200 screenings have already taken place. The audience poll is headed by Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, followed by Czech film Domácí péče or Home Care by debuting screenwriter and director Slávek Horák. The festival runs until Saturday.
All Czech tennis players were knocked out of the Wimbledon singles competitions after the last two Czech hopes, Lucie Šafářová and Tomáš Berdych, lost their fourth-round matches on Sunday. The French Open runner up Lucie Šafářová was beaten by unseeded American Coco Wandeweghe 6:7, 6:7 and Tomáš Berdych lost to Gilles Simon of France 3:6, 3:6, 2:6. Šafářová remains at Wimbledon competing in doubles with US partner Bethanie Mattek-Sand, after easing past the British duo of Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith 6:3, 6:0.
Medical expert in Kramný case says daughter died as a result of heart failure brought on by an electric shock
A medical expert called to give testimony in the case Petr Kramný, who is accused of killing his wife and ten-year-old daughter while their were holidaying in Egypt in 2013, told the court on Tuesday that he was convinced that Kramný’s daughter died as a result of sudden heart failure brought on by an electric shock. Marek Dokoupil who performed an autopsy on the child’s body after it was brought back to the Czech Republic said all his findings supported the theory that ten-year-old Klára died after getting a strong electric charge. The state attorney has accused Kramný of killing his wife and daughter by means of an electric shock. Klára is thought to have died after grabbing hold of her mother. Kramný denies the accusations and is sticking to his original story that all three of them suffered food poisoning and he alone recovered.
Supreme Audit Office finds serious irregularities in work of State Fund for Transport Infrastructure
An inspection by the Supreme Audit Office has revealed serious irregularities in the work of the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure, the ctk news agency reported. According to inspectors the fund spent 3.5 million crowns on outsourcing for work which was meant to have been done by its own staff. Moreover the work was commissioned without tenders. The fund has not yet responded to the accusations.
Six people drowned in the course of the three-day weekend, a police spokeswoman told the ctk news agency. The tragic statistics are believed to be the result of a combination of alcohol and the tropical heatwave that hit the Czech Republic several days ago. The health authorities also reported an increased number of emergency calls to people who collapsed in the heat. People have been advised to increase their intake of liquids and restrict physical activities until the heat abates. Temperatures are expected to drop by about ten degrees on Wednesday.
Meeting with Czech filmmakers at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka reaffirmed his government’s commitment to securing stable financial support for Czech cinematography as of next year. A proposed amendment to the audiovisual law approved by the government last week should bring the State Cinematography Fund annual state subsidies of up to 390 million crowns as of 2016. The money should enable Czech filmmakers to launch more ambitious projects and co-productions and make better use of the potential of the Czech film industry. Another fundamental change concerns the provision of film incentives for foreign crews, part of a long-term effort to bring Prague back on the list of Europe’s most attractive film destinations alongside London, Berlin and Budapest. The bill has yet to be debated in Parliament but the coalition’s comfortable majority in the lower house should ensure its smooth passage.