A memorial to Czech airmen who flew with the RAF during WWII was unveiled at Prague’s old Ruzyně airport on Monday. The ceremony took place on the 70th anniversary of the return of three Czech squadrons to their homeland. It was attended by the Czech army-chief-of-staff Josef Bečvář, war veterans and Dagmar Havel, the wife of the late president Vaclav Havel. Among those present was also the sole surviving Czech RAF pilot 92-year-old brigadier general Emil Boček. Nearly 2,500 Czechoslovaks joined the RAF in World War II; more than 500 were killed in action.
Over one hundred people in the town of Nový Bor in the north of the country have been treated for stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of a virus which experts say could have come from contaminated tap water. Hygiene officers say the problem could have been caused by wastewater seeping into the pipes carrying water for household consumption. The town’s mayor has ordered the local library and kindergartens to be closed until further notice. The matter is being investigated. A similar incident happened in Prague 6 in the summer when close to 200 people were taken ill after drinking tap water contaminated by coliform bacteria.
The high court in Johannesburg has found Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř guilty of kidnapping, attempted murder and attempted possession of drugs, in a case relating to a 2013 botched drugs deal. Four of his accomplices, who were tried with him were also found guilty. This is one of four cases against Krejčíř and it is the first time he has been convicted by a South African court. The Czech fugitive businessman has already spent 20 months behind bars. In the Czech Republic Krejčíř was sentenced to 10.5 years in jail for tax evasion.
Flight attendants at the Czech national carrier ČSA will go on a three-day strike over low pay, their union representatives announced on Monday. The strike is due to begin at 1 am on Wednesday. It is still not clear how many flight attendants will participate in the strike and how many flights will be affected. Cabin crews have been on strike alert since May of this year. The company’s management said the strike is illegal and that it would do its utmost to minimize its impact. As a member of the SkyTeam alliance, ČSA provides flights to 48 destinations in 24 countries.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called for the EU to take joint action in protecting the alliance’s outer borders. Speaking to journalists following talks with visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Mr. Sobotka said all EU member states should contribute to reinforcing the EU’s outer borders since the EU’s buffer states, such as Italy and Greece do not appear to have the situation fully under control. The Czech prime minister said the Czech Republic would bring up the matter at upcoming EU sessions. The Frontex European border agency which was established in 2004 and tasked with coordinating and developing border management operates on a limited budget. The EU has long debated increasing its funding. In the spring of this year the Czech Republic offered 60 experts and 10 million crowns for this purpose.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has stressed the importance of the western Balkans for European security and stability. Addressing an annual meeting of Czech ambassadors and consuls in Prague, the prime minister stressed the importance which the Czech Republic attached to helping Balkans states undergo a successful transformation and prepare for EU membership. He single out Serbia and Montenegro as having made significant progress in their set goals. The prime minister also devoted a lot of time to the migrant crisis, saying Europe must take joint action to bring the problem under control. Mr. Sobotka stressed that it was necessary to address the problem on a broader scale since the only way of curbing the stream of migrants was to pay more attention to its cause, not just its consequences.
Police are reported to have detained 235 illegal migrants over the weekend, a record number in so short a time. According to Kateřina Rendlová, a spokeswoman for the foreign police, police are now detaining much larger groups of migrants than in previous weeks and months and the number of women and children in the groups has also steeply increased, indicating that the country is now experiencing a second wave of migrants in which whole families are joining the men who preceded them to the chosen destination in Europe. The majority of those detained in the Czech Republic are bound for Germany. In the past few days the police have charged five people with people smuggling for which they could face between two and twelve years in prison.
Europe must take coordinated measures to address the migrant crisis, the Czech and French foreign ministers, Lubomír Zaorálek and Laurent Fabius, told reporters following their meeting in Prague on Monday. The foreign ministers discussed the current situation in Macedonia, where police ended their blockade of the border with Greece to prevent an uncontrolled flood of migrants entering the country, overcrowded asylum facilities, the problems of EU buffer states and the need to take tough measures against people smugglers. Foreign Minister Fabius said that it was crucial to distinguish refugees whose life was at risk and economic migrants. The Czech foreign minister stressed the need for joint action in order for Europe to be able to preserve the Schengen border-free zone. The two officials also discussed the situation in Ukraine and cooperation within the Višegrad Four group.
Milk yield has increased despite a fall in the number of dairy cows this year and the Czech Republic continues to produce nearly a third more milk than it consumes, the news site iDnes.cz reported. According to figures from the Czech Statistics Office in the first half of 2014 there were 372,900 dairy cows in the country; this year that figure fell to 368,600. IDnes.cz said the reasons for the decline included a Russian embargo on EU-produced foodstuffs and the end of milk quotas; Czech breeders are facing increased competition from abroad and many have started cutting their herds.
If a new tender process to extend the Czech Temelín nuclear power plant is launched, a French company will take part, the country’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told journalists in Prague on Sunday evening ahead of talks with his Czech counterpart, Lubomir Zaorálek. In April the energy company CEZ cancelled after five years a tender process to complete two blocks at Temelín. France’s Areva had entered the initial competition but was disqualified for not fulfilling all the criteria, an assertion the firm contested.
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