News Supreme State Prosecutor not convinced by plan aimed at clamping down on reckless drivers and repeat offenders
The country’s supreme state prosecutor, Pavel Zeman, has made clear he does not think that the more broadly applied confiscation of vehicles from drivers caught behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs would offer long-term solutions. On Thursday, he voiced approval instead for stiffer penalties for repeat offenders, including jail sentences and mandatory rehab for substance abuse. The supreme state prosecutor was reacting to a plan floated earlier this week by the interior and justice ministers to try and clamp down on reckless drivers. Both would like see courts order the confiscation of vehicles more often than is currently the case, as punishment as well as a deterrent. Mr Zeman expressed skepticism over the idea, suggesting solutions needed to vary from case-to-case, and would not be effective across the board.
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Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met for talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his ongoing trip to China on Thursday. Mr Sobotka said that the Czech Republic, along with China and the EU, are currently facing serious threats, such as terrorism, which they have to fight together. He also said that Thursday’s meeting was a proof of the dynamic development of Czech-Chinese relations. Ahead of the meeting in the Chinese parliament, the Czech Prime Minister signed an agreement involving the Czech Republic in China’s News Silk Road Initiative, promoting trade between Europe and China.
Over 1,500 volunteers from the Czech Republic have been helping refugees abroad since early September, Zuzana Lenhartova from the group We Are Helping Fleeing People group told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Groups of Czech volunteers have organised help at the border crossings through which the refugees are coming, providing them with food and clothing, Lenhartova said. Volunteers have been paying most of their trips from their own means. The People in Need aid organisation has recently set aside 1.25 million crowns for material help, the purchase of water, food and sanitary needs. The Foreign Ministry has earmarked another 1.2 million for the purpose.
The price of electricity for end clients will stay roughly the same in 2016 as this year, while the price of gas will drop by one to two percent, the Energy Regulatory Office announced on Thursday. The office raised the regulated part of the electricity price, which is comprised mainly of the fee for transmission and distribution and a contribution to renewable energy sources, but said the growth would be compensated for by a drop in electricity prices on the market. The regulated part accounts for over 50 percent of the end price of electricity; the price of baseload electricity is set by the suppliers. The regulated part of gas price currently accounts for one quarter of the final price, but its size is expected to drop by some 3 to 5 percent next year.
The Czech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power plant is set to undergo the biggest safety review since it went into operation in the year 2000, the spokesman for the nuclear plant to the Czech News Agency on Thursday. An international team of 31 nuclear safety experts will be assessing the plant according to the new rules set up by the World Association of Nuclear Operators. The in-depth review will take place from November 27 to December 11. The 2,000 megawatt plant is the biggest source of electricity in the country and covers a fifth of overall consumption.
The Turkish national, convicted of a crime with possible links to terrorism, who was detained in Hradec Králové on Tuesday, has been taken into preliminary custody. The 30-year-old Nazmi Sahin, searched by Interpol, is believed to have been convicted in Turkey for being linked to the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK. His lawyer has dismissed the speculations about terrorism, and said she would file a complaint at the High Court.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are ready to contribute to better security of outer EU borders and support the establishment of a European border patrol or a joint European intelligence agency, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said on Thursday after meeting with his Slovak counterpart Peter Kažimír. Mr Babiš said that instead of financing border protection of individual states, the EU should centralize the system. He also repeated that he was against the quota on accepting refugees. Peter Kažimír, who arrived in Prague for a two day official visit, is also set to meet with Czech National Bank Board member Jiří Rusnok and with Czech president Miloš Zeman.
Veteran opera singer Soňa Červená, artist Stanislav Kolíbal and film-maker Fero Fenič will be awarded the title of honorary citizens of Prague, the city council ruled on Thursday. Prague Mayor Adriana Krnačová said that they have all contributed significantly to promoting the Czech capital in the world. Honorary citizenship of Prague has been awarded since 1920. Two people, the communist-era presidents Klement Gottwald and Gustav Husák, have been removed from the list in the past.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s stance on the migrant crisis puts at risk the security of the Czech Republic, President Miloš Zeman said on Thursday in an interview for the daily Mladá fronta Dnes, describing the migrant crisis as an organised invasion. The Czech head of state also reacted to the prime minister’s criticism of his speech during November 17 celebrations at Prague’s Albertov, where he shared the stage with members of the Bloc Against Islam. The president said it was not his choice to stand next to the group’s leader Martin Konvička.
Police are searching restaurants and shops in the Kladno region in an attempt to find the source of methanol, which caused another severe case of poisoning at the weekend. The 66-year-old man from Velká Dobrá was taken to the hospital after he collapsed on Saturday and is still in critical condition. The police have against warned against the consumption of alcohol from unknown sources. The so-called methanol affair which hit the Czech Republic in September 2012 has claimed the lives of 48 people.
A special meeting of the Czech government will be held on Saturday to discuss the security situation in the country and Europe. Prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who is currently on a visit to China, announced the move on Wednesday night. The session will also prepare the way for a meeting of EU leaders and Turkey in Brussels on Sunday which should chart ways of increased cooperation to tackle the immigration problem.