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26-01-2016 18:27 | Ian Willoughby

Prague calls special Visegrad Four summit over migration crisis

The Czech Republic has called a special summit of the Visegrad Four in connection with the migration crisis, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced on Twitter on Tuesday. He and his counterparts from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary are likely to discuss efforts to boost the protection of the Schengen Zone when they meet on February 15. Mr. Sobotka has said that if deals on safeguarding Turkish and Greek borders do not start working by the time a European Council meeting takes place in mid-February the Visegrad states had prepared a variant under which Schengen’s borders could be moved to the southern frontiers of Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Politicians react angrily to Zeman’s “Kalashnikov” statement on Sobotka

Politicians have reacted angrily to a statement by President Miloš Zeman regarding Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Asked at a public meeting on Monday how his rival could be got rid of, Mr. Zeman said: “There is just one democratic option, free elections; the undemocratic option is a Kalashnikov.” Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, a member of Mr. Sobotka’s Social Democrats, tweeted that tasteless jokes about using weapons against state representatives merely poured oil on the fire. Another Social Democrat, Jiří Dienstbier, asked whether there were any limits to what the president would do. For his part, TOP 09 chief Miroslav Kalousek stated ironically that it had been statesman-like advice, particularly in a period of hysterical commando groups playing at being “patriotic militias”.

Sobotka: CR only civilised state where president can call for killing of PM

The Czech Republic is the only country in the civilised world where the president can publicly call for the killing of the prime minister, the Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. He was reacting to reports that President Miloš Zeman had said there were two options as regards getting rid of the head of government: a democratic one in the form of free elections, and an undemocratic one in the form of a Kalashnikov. Mr. Sobotka said he could handle the president’s “stupid” comments but that they had frightened his children, entire family and friends.

Czech government sends signal over nuclear power

The Czech government has cleared the creation of a new committee to coordinate the development of nuclear power in the country as well as the position of a nuclear “envoy” appointed as the main point person for developments in the sector on Monday. Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said in a press conference after the government meeting that the moves sent the “right signal” that the Czech Republic is committed to nuclear power and in particular to fulfill the Development Plan for Nuclear Energy adopted by the government in June last year. As well as piloting the construction of new nuclear reactors, the envoy and committee should also oversee national plans for a long-term storage site for nuclear waste; the national nuclear supply chain for the industry; international nuclear cooperation; and safeguarding Czech nuclear power know-how.

EU rules could delay 64 road construction projects, says PM

Dozens of road construction projects in the Czech Republic could be held up due to European Union regulations, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a meeting of economic ministers on Tuesday. Sixty-four construction projects are concerned; they have been in the process of acquiring authorization for so long – up to 15 years – that they are required by EU law to get fresh environmental impact assessments. Mr. Sobotka said this process could take years and could impact efforts to draw CZK 90 billion from EU funds.

Policemen found guilty of killing homeless man

Two policemen have received eight-year jail terms for the killing of a homeless man in 2013. Jan Pergl and Lukáš Zahradník were found guilty by the Regional Court in Plzeň of beating and kicking the 57-year-old man, causing injuries of which he died a few days later. The two had been freed for lack of evidence by the same court in December 2014 before the Supreme Court ordered that the case be reheard.

Press: Complaints filed against men with HIV knowingly having unprotected sex

Public health officials in Prague have filed criminal complaints against 30 men who knew they had the HIV virus but continued to have unprotected sex, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The men could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of grievous bodily harm and spreading an infectious disease. The head of the AIDS Centre at the capital’s Na Bulovce hospital said those concerned were homosexual men. The public health officials have filed the complaints on the basis of epidemiologists’ reports. Police are investigating the matter.

Miner dies after tremor hits Karviná mine

One miner died and another was seriously injured when the Darkov mine in Karviná was hit by a tremor on Tuesday morning. The mine tremor occurred at a depth of 1,150 metres at about 6:30, a spokesman for operators OKD said. A special commission will look into the causes of the accident. Last year four people died in mines owned by OKD, which is the country’s only coal producer.

Tomáš Berdych out of Australian Open after defeat against Federer

Leading Czech men’s tennis player Tomáš Berdych has lost in the quarter finals of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the year. The number six seed lost in straight sets to Swiss former world number one Roger Federer 7:6, 6:2, 6:4. Berdych was the last Czech in the singles competition. Although having a 15:6 advantage in head to head games, Federer had lost the last two matches against Berdych that went all the way to five sets.