News Prime minister rejects former foreign minister’s stance on arms for Ukraine
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has rejected a stance being taken by Karel Schwarzenberg, the country’s former foreign minister and head of the opposition party TOP 09, that the Czech Republic should provide arms supplies to Ukraine. The former minister told the German daily Rheinische Post, in an interview published on Wednesday, that Ukraine needed weapons or that it “had no chance in the fight against well-equipped and trained Russian units”. Prime Minister Sobotka stated that the government had no intention of supplying weapons to Ukraine, saying such a move would be perceived as escalating the situation. He also said that the truce between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels had largely held. Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek, the head of the Christian Democrats, has taken a similar view.
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Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open, after beating Caroline Garcia of France 6:2 and 7:5. Strýcová will next face the six-time Australian Open Champion and world number two Serena Williams, who knocked out her fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6:1, 6:3. Another Czech, Karolina Plíšková, has also reached the fourth round after beating Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 4:6, 6:0 and 10:8.
The Czech-German declaration, which was signed 20 years ago to the day, enabled the countries to cooperate and to look into the future, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told the Czech News Agency on Saturday. The significance of the declaration, in which the leaders of both countries pledged not to burden bilateral relations by controversial issues from the past, is still relevant today. Thanks to the agreement, Czech and Germans are not just neighbors, but also significant partners, Mr Zaorálek has said.
The current spell of cold weather is set to continue until the end of January, according to a regular monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. During the next week, temperatures are expected to remain below zero, while the following three-week period is expected to get a little bit warmer. Snow-fall levels will remain below average for the time of year.
Biathlete Gabriela Koukalová came third in the women’s mass start event in Italy`s Anterselva on Saturday. Koukalová is now second in the overall rankings, 105 points behind Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier, who finished in the second place. The race was won by Nadine Horchler of Germany.
Around two hundred people gathered on Prague`s Wenceslas Square on Sunday to attend the Love Trumps Hate rally, a sister event to the Women`s March in Washington. Dozens of demonstrations are being held across the US and the rest of the world, including Tokyo, Sydney and Paris, in support of women, minority groups and immigrants in the wake of Donald Trump's inauguration as 45th President of the United States. ”The rally affirms our commitment to protecting the rights, safety, and health of our children, families, and communities, including those individuals from politically and socially marginalized demographics,” the organizers of the Prague event said in a press release.
A smog alert alert remains in place in ten regions of the Czech Republic, where more than double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles have been recorded. People with chronic lung-related problems and heart condition as well as elderly people and children have been recommended to stay indoors and authorities have also appealed to drivers to curb their travels. Situation has worsened in Prague, Central Bohemia and Olomouc region, where the biggest polluters were asked to scale down production.
The head of the Confederation of Political Prisoners, Naděžda Kavalírová, has died at the age of 93. Mrs Kavalírová was actively involved in the resistance against the Communist regime. After the Communist takeover in 1948 she was expelled from the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague because of her membership in the National Socialist Party. In 1956 she was convicted of treason, and espionage and spent three years in prison. Since 2003, Mrs. Kavlírová was the chairwoman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners and between the years 2007 and 2013 she also headed the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.
MPS from the center-right Civic Democrat and TOP09 parties have filed a joint complaint with the Constitutional Court against an amendment to the air pollution law which enables local authorities to check what households are burning in their stoves. The law is to put off people burning waste, such as PET bottles, which significantly contributes to air pollution in many Czech towns and villages. While environment activists have welcomed the move, right-wing parties claim it violates individual freedom and is an invasion into people’s privacy. They particularly oppose the fact that the authorities can enter people’s homes without a legal warrant from a court.
The signatories of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto have asked the Czech government to speak out in support of human rights in China. The appeal was made in an open letter to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka shortly after he proclaimed that he and his government stood up for the values that Charter 77 defended. The road to democracy would have been much more difficult without the courageous stances, persistent effort as well as the suffering of Charter 77 signatories, Mr. Sobotka said on the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Charter 77 manifesto earlier this month. Over 160 of the original signatories have now asked the prime minister to follow up his words with actions, and come out in defence of human right in China.
The weekend should bring extremely cold weather with clear to partly cloudy skies and day temperatures at around – 6 degrees Celsius. Night time lows could drop to – 18 degrees in places.