The Czech Republic is an active and stable member of NATO, the recently appointed secretary general of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg told Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický. The officials met in Brussels on Friday. Mr Stropnický said his country’s positive image within NATO was the result of Czech soldiers’ participation in foreign missions. The Czech Republic has been criticized for failing to meet its commitment to spend two percent of its GDP on defence. But Mr Stropnický said the Czech government’s plans to gradually increase defence spending to 1.4 percent of GDP by the year 2020 have been well received.
Family, friends and members of the public bid final farewell to actor and former dissident Pavel Landovský at Prague’s St Ignatius church on Friday. He died last Friday at the age of 78. A popular stage and film actor, Landovský opposed the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and signed the human rights manifesto Charter 77. In 1980, he left for Austria and only returned to Prague after the fall of communism. He last appeared in the 2012 film Bastards 3.
The Czech Judges’ Union has criticized Justice Minister Helena Válková for her remarks about the deadly attack in a secondary school in Žďár nad Sázavou. Ms Válková said that a court in Opava failed when it released a mentally ill woman from hospital care in 2013, a year after she held a girl hostage in a school in Havířov. On Tuesday, the woman, who allegedly suffers from schizophrenia, attacked students in Ždár, killing a 16-year-old boy. However, the Judges’ Union said the minister breached the law and the Constitution when she publicly criticized decisions made by an independent court.
Polling stations in 27 electoral districts across the Czech Republic opened at 2 PM on Friday for the second round of voting for the Senate. Voters are selecting one third of the 81-seat Senate, the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament. The centre-left government coalition is looking to preserve a majority in the Senate as in 15 out of the 27 districts, coalition candidates are likely to win, according to media reports. The election concludes at 2 PM on Saturday.
Seven Czech hikers have been stranded in the Nepalese Himalayas following an unexpected snowstorm and avalanche earlier this week, a Czech travel insurance company said. The tourists are to be airlifted to hospital in Kathmandu but the operation has been delayed due to poor weather conditions. There are currently around 120 Czech tourists in Nepal, the Czech Foreign Ministry said, adding that contact has only been established with 27 of them. It is however not clear whether the tourists were staying in the area affected by the avalanche.
President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday paid tribute to a student killed in Tuesday’s knife attack at a secondary school in Žďár nad Sázavou. Mr Zeman and Mr Sobotka, who arrived independently, lit candles outside the school and briefly met with the school’s director. The prime minister later praised the work of emergency response workers, and said he would propose the student for a state decoration. The 16-year-old boy was killed by the attacker, a mentally ill woman, while trying to protect a fellow student.
Firefighters are still working to extinguish a fire at a munitions depot in the village of Vrbětice in South Moravia. The fire broke out on Thursday morning, following a strong explosion. Two men are reported missing and are feared dead. Hundreds of people were evacuated from companies and a school situated in the vicinity of the depot and the whole area remains enclosed, due to risks of further explosions.
The Association of Forest Kindergartens has organized a petition calling on lawmakers to amend a bill on child care. The Children Groups Act, which would discontinue the existence of outdoor nurseries known as forest kindergartens, was vetoed by President Miloš Zeman last week. The bill requires child care groups to register and meet strict hygiene rules, which would lead to the closure of 120 forest kindergartens across the country. The lower house can either outvote the presidents’ veto or amend the bill.
Some 80,000 elderly Czechs are being cared for by their families, mainly women, according to the results of a study presented by the Institute of Sociological Studies at Charles University on Thursday. The average Czech family dedicates 41 hours a week to care for an aging relative. The result were presented at a launch of a campaign Generace uprostřed, Generation in the Middle, organised by the charity Život 90, which focuses on the generation which is both raising children and caring for a parent. Statistics indicate that by the year 2030, the number of older Czechs requiring full-time care will rise up to 145,000.
The European Commission has urged the Czech Republic, along with Estonia, Slovakia and Poland, to provide effective judicial remedy against a visa refusal, annulment or revocation for third-country nationals. The EC argued that according to the Visa Code Regulation, the EU member states are required to provide for a right to appeal against a visa refusal, while the laws in the Czech Republic only enable an appeal before non-judicial administrative authorities. Czech authorities now have two months to take the necessary measures to comply with the Commission’s request.
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Divided by Freedom – Large-scale Czech Radio survey finds six social classes in Czech society
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur