Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said he will not support a draft agreement on the re-distribution of 120,000 asylum seekers across the EU debated at a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels on Monday. The Czech Republic is one of the countries opposed to mandatory migrant quotas and Interior Minister Chovanec said that while the document did not contain the word “mandatory” the text in its entirety supported this interpretation. “Mandatory quotas are not a solution to the problem and they go against common sense” the minister said. Prague has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to take in migrants on a voluntary basis in order to be able to maintain control. Slovakia and Hungary are also strongly opposed to the idea. Minister Chovanec said the issue should be debated at an extraordinary EU summit where the Czech Republic could use its right of veto.
President Miloš Zeman leaves on Monday for a two-day visit to Azerbaijan. On Tuesday the Czech head of state is to meet Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and attend a gala dinner given in his honour. According to the President’s Office Mr. Zeman wants to pave the ground for a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which will upgrade the present level of business relations. Azerbaijan is the second biggest oil exporter to the Czech Republic. It imports primarily Czech cars, machines and crystal glass.
Customs officials in the Olomouc region last week detained a man who was smuggling 100 kilograms of medicines containing pseudoephedrine used to produce the drug pervitin or crystal methamphetamine in illegal home labs. Since medicines containing this substance were taken of the list of over-the-counter drugs, illegal drug producers have been acquiring them in neighbouring states. According to a regional police spokeswoman this is the biggest haul ever uncovered and would have served to make 28 kilograms of the drug with a street value of 14 million crowns. If convicted of involvement in the illegal production of drugs the man could face up to ten years in jail.
The US Department of Justice says the three men arrested on suspicion of terrorism in Prague in April 2014 were not incited to commit a crime by US agent provocateurs. Ali Fayad, Faouzi Jaber and Khaled Marabi were charged with terrorism after trying to sell weapons and cocaine to US agents who passed themselves off as members of a Colombian terrorist organization. A Czech court previously nodded to their extradition to the US, where they could face life imprisonment. In June of this year an appeals court overturned the ruling, saying the US has not provided sufficient guarantees the men would not be subjected to inhuman treatment. The issue of provocation would also be an obstacle to their extradition since Czech law does not allow the practice of using agent provocateurs. According to a report sent to the Prague Court by the US Justice Department the suspects took the initiative in the proposed deal.
Germany may introduce border controls along its border with the Czech Republic as well, should the need arise, the interior minister of Saxony, Markus Ulbig told the news site MOPO24.de. The minister said the Czech and German authorities had established hot lines for a more expedient exchange of information of the migrant situation. He said Saxony was ready to reintroduce border controls at very short notice. According to the news site there is already a heightened police presence at the Zinnwald-Cinovec border crossing.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the current measures taken by Germany and Austria to stem the flow of migrants are not a solution to the crisis. Speaking after Monday’s cabinet meeting in Brno, Mr. Sobotka said the only comprehensive solution was to secure the EU’s outer borders as quickly as possible and to set up reception offices on the alliance’s outer borders which would differentiate between refugees in need of help and economic migrants in search of a better life. He said the Czech Republic was ready to support all EU steps which would help regulate the flow of migrants in this way.
One in ten children active on social networks are asked to post a nude photo of themselves on their Facebook profile, according to the results of an anonymous survey conducted among 1250 school-goers aged between 8 and 17. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they had be asked to go on a meeting with someone they did not know. The survey also showed that younger children very often readily give people they do not know friend-status. A third of respondents said they spend more than three hours a day online.
The Czech Republic has tightened security at key crossings on its border with Austria in the wake of Germany’s decision to reintroduce border controls on the Austro- German border. The authorities fear this may lead more migrants to use the Czech Republic as a transit country to Germany. A spokeswoman for the Czech foreign police said on Monday that another 200 police officers had been deployed at three railway stations and 11 road points. She said further measures will be taken depending on how the situation develops.
The first block of the Temelin nuclear power-plant has been reconnected to the grid and is back in operation, a spokesman for the power utility ČEZ which operates the plant told the ctk news agency. The first and second blocks of the plant were both closed due to technical problems, resulting in the country having to import electricity for a short period on Friday. The second block is expected to remain out of operation for another fortnight. Both failures were in the non-nuclear part of the plant.
The ANO party of the ruling coalition is maintaining an edge over its rivals in public trust ratings. According to the outcome of a poll conducted by the TNS Aisa agency ANO would presently win general elections with 28 percent of the vote. Its coalition partner, the Social Democrats, would come second with 20.5 percent and the Communist Party would place third with 11 percent of the vote. The opposition Civic Democrats would get 9.5 percent and TOP 09 would get 7.5. The junior party of the coalition government, the Christian Democrats would only just cross the 5.0 percent threshold needed to get seats in the lower house.
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