News Zaorálek calls on Moscow to aid crash investigation and cease sending weapons and gunmen to eastern Ukraine
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the Russian Federation should provide assistance to an independent investigation into the crash of a Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine and also cease sending weapons and gunmen to the region. He said if Moscow failed to do so in a matter of days an extraordinary EU summit should adopt strong sanctions targeted at sectors of the Russian economy. Mr. Zaorálek was speaking in Brussels, where EU foreign ministers have been meeting for the first time since Thursday’s incident, in which almost 300 people died when a Malaysian Airlines flight came down in territory held by pro-Russian rebels.
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One of Europe’s oldest theatre festivals, Jiráskův Hronov (Jirásek’s Hronov), got underway in the Northeast Bohemian town on Saturday. The event, which began in 1931 and has taken place every year since, is named after the locally born Alois Jirásek, who is regarded as among the greatest of Czech novelists. The programme of the week-long festival includes a broad range of theatrical productions, including experimental, student and puppet shows.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic will be above average in August, according to a regular four-week forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. The coming week will be the warmest of the month, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius, the forecasters said. There will also be relatively little rain in the next seven days, which will further exacerbate the worst drought felt in the country in over a decade.
Several rhesus macaque monkeys that escaped from their new enclosure at the zoo in the Moravian town of Olomouc have returned. Seven of the monkeys came back to the enclosure in the night but two more were reported to still be outside its fence on Saturday; a zoo official said, however, that they were sticking close to the enclosure. Evidently disturbed by the commotion, the monkeys surprised zookeepers by managing a six-metre jump into a group of trees during its official opening on Friday.
A Czech mountain climber died in the Austrian Alps on Friday after falling on an ascent near the village of Leoben in the Styria region, the APA news agency reported on Saturday. The man, who has not been named, was one of a group of three attempting an 860 metre climb; in the final part he fell around 300 metres and was already dead when a rescue helicopter arrived at the scene. The Austrian police are investigating the accident.
Around 30 migrants from an asylum facility in Bělá pod Bezdězem, East Bohemia have been transferred to another facility at Zastávka near Brno for safety reasons, the Czech News Agency reported. More than 50 migrants at the facility attempted to break out on Thursday and about 100 rioted in protest at being held there on Friday following a visit by the Czech interior minister, Milan Chovanec, and police president, Tomáš Tuhý. A bus carrying families with children and a pregnant woman left Bělá pod Bezdězem for Zastávka on Friday evening. A spokesperson for the police’s foreign department said the Bělá facility had been calm on Friday night.
Eighty people died on Czech roads in July, making it by far the worst month of the year in that respect. The highest number of deaths on one day in 2015, 10, occurred on July 23. The overall figure is five higher than for the same month last year. June has seen the second highest number of road casualties this year, with 52.
Close to two dozen ice hockey players from the NHL are due to attend informal meetings in Prague and Brno with the new Czech national team coach Vladimír Vůjtek and his assistants in the next two weeks. Vůjtek, who is 68, was appointed in June following the resignation of Vladimír Růžička, who has been accused of bribe taking. Among the NHL players set to meet his replacement in Prague on Monday is New Jersey’s Patrik Eliáš.
The Czech Transport Ministry is discussing measures which would make rail crossings in the Czech Republic safer. In the wake of last week’s tragic Pendolino crash into a lorry which left three dead and a dozen injured, Transport Minister Dan Ťok said the ministry would commission an expert analysis on improved safety measures, including how many level crossings can be turned into grade-separated junctions and the possible installation of electronic chips which would alert a train to a large obstacle on the track. The minister is also in favour of introducing steep fines for those who break the rules on rail crossings.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka has forbidden the parish of St. Salvatore to host two events within August’s Prague Pride LGBT festival. The parish, headed by priest and professor Tomáš Halík, had planned to host a discussion with a nun about harassment within the Church and screen a film about a gay priest. The involvement of the Czech Catholic Church in Prague Pride events caused controversy and Cardinal Duka used his right to ban them. The cardinal said that while he was not against an open debate on these matters he did not consider it appropriate for this to take place within the LGBT festival. Tomáš Halík said he fully respected the Cardinal’s decision. The events will be held elsewhere.
Half of Czech firms would not employ a Romany, according to the outcome of a poll conducted by the bank CSOB among several hundred companies. According to the outcome of the survey 48 percent of small and medium-sized businesses would not employ a Romany person. Fifteen percent of these companies said they would not employ a Romany under any circumstances, even if they were qualified for the job, while 33percent said they would “most likely” turn a Roma candidate away. Nine out of ten firms would turn away a former convict on principle. 68 percent of companies said they would be prepared to employ a foreigner from a former Eastern bloc state. The survey commissioned by Pravo was to test the measure of discrimination on the Czech labour market.