Weather forecasters have warned that flooding may occur in several regions of the country as heavy rain continues to swell smaller rivers. A third degree flood alert was called on Friday afternoon for the river Velička in South Moravia. Lower-level flood alerts have also been called for the Karlovy Vary, Plzeň and Ústí nad Labem regions and some regions of Moravia. Up to 50 mm of precipitations have been registered overnight in some parts of the Czech Republic. More rain is expected over the next 48 hours.
Czech environmental activists on Friday published a list of localities in the Šumava national park that would be endangered in the event of a controversial bill on the park’s management coming into law. The lower house of Parliament is set to discuss the bill tabled by a group of Senators and approved by the upper chamber next week. Environmental groups have warned that the planned change places developers first and could lead to damage to valuable wildlife. Some 42 thousand people have signed a petition against the bill.
The Czech National Gallery is returning some of its most valuable objects to the Catholic Church in line with the church restitution law. Among those is a set of unique panel paintings by Vyšebrod Altar Masters from the 14th century and two Baroque paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. The new head of the National Gallery Jiřá Fajt says visitors will still be able to see the pictures, since the gallery signed a contract on their free loan. According to Mr Fajt the Church has so far demanded 544 objects on the basis of the church property deal.
Petr Čech’s future with the London club Chelsea looks even more uncertain after the club revealed on Thursday it had signed a five-year contract with Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois. Courtois has taken over as the number 1 goalkeeper since the start of the new season. The deal has renewed speculation that Čech will head for a new club in January, when the next trade window opens. The 32-year old Čech has two years left on his existing contract. He was the club’s top goalie for 10 years, helping Chelsea win the 2012 Champions League.
President Miloš Zeman has asked Interior Minister Milan Chovanec to comply with the application of 40 families of Volhyn Czechs in Ukraine to be repatriated to the Czech Republic. The group of ethnic Czech families applied in the spring in the face of developments in Ukraine but was turned down by the Czech Foreign Ministry which contended that Ukraine would be able to ensure their security and rights. The group also wrote to the president asking for help. The Volhyn Czechs expressed the fear not of reprisals by the Ukrainian majority but of a war between Ukraine and Russia. The Czech interior minister said he would look into the matter and made clear he was not opposed if there were no legal barriers. He said, however, he wanted to know the position of the Foreign Ministry first.
Police have charged a 25-year old man with the murder and rape of a nine-year old girl in Klášterec nad Ohří. The child failed to return home from school earlier this week and her body was found a day later roughly a kilometre from her home. Police have confirmed that the accused is related to the girls’ family. If convicted he would face 20 years in prison, or even a life sentence. The murder has shocked the town and the country; local residents have been laying flowers and stuffed toys and candles at the child’s school. A meeting between school administrators, police and town representatives led to security at local schools being heightened by police patrols.
An autopsy has confirmed that a nine-year-old child found dead after she went missing in Klášterec nad Ohří in the Chomutov area was murdered. The little girl failed to return home from school on Tuesday afternoon; her body was found a day later within a kilometre of her home. Police have released no additional details as the investigation is ongoing. Residents of the town responded to the tragedy by laying flowers and stuffed toys and candles at the child’s school. Town representatives also called a meeting with state police and school administrators to decide on next steps. As a result, security in front of local schools will be heightened by police patrols. Principals are asking parents to accompany their children to school, whenever possible, while pupils are being told to remain in groups.
The Czech Republic will take an active part in the effort to combat the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček told journalists on Thursday. More details are to be revealed at the start of the week. The plan may involve the sending of both medicine and medical equipment. The health minister was reacting to an appeal launched by Doctors without Borders which earlier sent an open letter to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Six months after the beginning of the epidemic, new cases are on the rise, while riots have begun and entire health systems were collapsing, the organisation wrote. Isolation centres for the treatment of Ebola are overburdened and health personnel on the front lines themselves are catching the deadly virus. On Thursday, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said it was the country’s duty to help. In West Africa, the death toll from Ebola has reached almost 2,300.
The country’s Muslim community has not applied for enhanced rights almost ten years after it registered in the country. September 17 will mark the tenth anniversary, the Czech News Agency writes. Under Czech law, enhanced status would entitle the community to teach Islam in public schools, establish Islamic schools, provide religious services in the army and in prisons while Muslim marriages would also be officially recognized. However, the Muslim community has failed to meet several conditions for the rights to be granted, reportedly neglecting, for example, to publish annual reports over the 10-year-period. The Culture Ministry, its spokeswoman made clear on Thursday, would reject the application under such circumstances.
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