The Czech Republic’s worst road accident this year has claimed another victim, taking the death toll to six. Five Poles were died on Thursday after their van collided with a lorry on the motorway outside Brno. One of the three people hurt in the accident later died in hospital. The accident happened on a section of the motorway where the number of lanes had been limited for repairs to take place.
An analysis of mandatory quotas by the Czech Ministry of Interior suggests that they are illegal. The analysis also says that such quotas were already tried out and failed six years ago when they were adopted to deal with a wave of immigrants to Malta. The analysis in particular highlights the problems of how immigrants allocated to one country could be kept their against their will if they wanted to move on to another country. The analysis will be passed on to the current country chairing the EU’s Council of Ministers, Luxembourg.
Unions representing workers at the Czech Republic’s sole refinery company, Česká Rafinérská, have given warning that are preparing strike action in pursuit of their pay claims. The unions have asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to nominate a mediator who could intervene in the negotiations. Talks between the unions and management over a new collective agreement have been ongoing since May. Workers are reported to be seeking a 2000 crown increase in their monthly wages. Česká Rafinérská is controlled by Unipetrol which in turn is majority owned by Polish energy group PKN Orlen.
The latest draft of a European Commission plan to share refugees among EU states does not include set numbers of migrants that individual countries would be required to accept, the Financial Times reported. Member states’ interior ministers are due to discuss the issue on Tuesday. If confirmed, the news would likely be welcomed by the Czech government, which has long opposed quotas and says countries should accept refugees on a voluntary basis alone. The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, recently announced plans for the EU to take in 160,000 asylum seekers in the next two years.
Security at Prague Castle is to be improved after the art group Ztohoven on Saturday replaced the presidential flag over Prague Castle with a pair of giant red boxer shorts in protest at President Miloš Zeman. The Castle authorities have been investigating how the group managed to get onto the roof, the news website iDnes.cz reported. It quoted the head of the Castle Guard as saying the Ztohoven members had taken advantage of the fact there that scaffolding was in place. Three people have been arrested in connection with the matter. The spokesman for President Zeman said personnel changes would be made in the Castle security team.
Over 220,000 people attended the two-day NATO Days and Czech Army Air Force Days military show at the Mošnov airbase near Ostrava in North Moravia, a spokesperson for the organisers said. Over 155,000 turned out for the event on Saturday which is a one-day record. Visitors to the show, one of the biggest in the Central European region, could view such planes as a B-52 bomber and a multi-mission V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from the United States and veteran Swedish models.
There has been a mixed reaction from politicians to the art group Ztohoven’s replacement of the presidential flag over Prague Castle with a pair of giant red boxer shorts in protest at President Miloš Zeman. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he regarded Saturday’s move as a coarse practical joke and rejected the suggestion by the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, that it had been fascistic. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said the incident was not threatening and that it was far better than if shots had been fired, adding that a review of security at Prague Castle had already been underway. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka jokingly asked on Twitter who was missing a pair of red boxers. Petr Fiala of the opposition Civic Democrats said the protest had been tasteless and that state symbols must be respected. Another opposition figure, TOP 09’s Miroslav Kalousek, asked why Czechs were paying for security at Prague Castle if such incidents were possible; the artists could have been terrorists with a bomb, he said.
The Czech Army could send thousands of soldiers to refugee camps in states neighbouring Syria, the Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said on a Czech Television political discussion programme on Sunday. The troops, which could number up to 5,000, would be able to help with the registration of refugees and the supply of provisions in countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, said the minister, adding that such a deployment could not be to the detriment of security in the Czech Republic itself. Such a move should be coordinated by the European Union, Mr. Stropnický said. On Saturday the Czech Army chief of staff, Josef Bečvář, said it could deploy 900 soldiers within 48 hours if called on by the police to help deal with the refugee crisis.
A procession of three dozen trams has passed through Prague as part of celebrations of the 140th anniversary of public transport in the city. The trams, including vintage models and the modern Škoda 15T ForCity, travelled from Smetanovo nábřeží to Holešovice. The oldest vehicle was a horse-drawn tram of the same type as the first ever deployed in the city in September 1875. A documentary on the history of Prague public transport will be screened on Palachovo náměstí at around 8 PM.
The radical art group Ztohoven has protested against the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, by replacing his presidential flag on the roof of Prague Castle with a gigantic pair of red boxer shorts. The activists said that the standard of a man who was embarrassed by absolutely nothing was finally flying over his residence. In a statement issued on Saturday night with a video recording of their action Ztohoven listed 10 things Mr. Zeman should be ashamed of, including being drunk at the Czech crown jewels and relations with dubious dictators. Police have charged three people with theft and disorderly conduct in connection with the incident.
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