Foreign nationals sentenced to more than three years in prison for a premeditated crime or serial offenders will lose their right to residence in the Czech Republic, according to an amendment to the asylum law signed into force by the president. The new law will make it easier for qualified workers to get a residence permit and will enable asylum seekers to find employment six months after filing their request.
Czech officials have expressed concern over the downing of a Russian fighter jet somewhere on the Turkish-Syrian border by Turkish forces early on Tuesday. Speaking on an official visit to China, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the incident showed the need for better communication and coordination among states fighting ISIL in the region. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said the incident should serve as an urgent warning for the international community to get together and agree on a common strategy. Since there is no agreement and no clearly defined enemy individual parties are fighting their own war in their own interests, and the lack of coordination only serves the terrorists, the Czech foreign minister said in a statement published on the ministry’s web page. President Zeman said the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet was a radical measure which would only increase tensions in the region. Turkey claims the jet violated its airspace, while Russia claims to have proof that it never left Syrian territory.
The state attorney in the trail against the former governor of Central Bohemia David Rath has revealed that he appealed the verdict according to which Rath was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for corruption. State attorney Petr Jirát says he wants tougher punishment for the former governor. A regional court in Central Bohemia found Rath guilty of accepting bribes and manipulating public tenders linked to funding from the European Union. Rath, who pleaded not guilty, appealed the verdict on the spot.
The Chinese company CEFC is to invest ten million euros into a center of traditional Chinese medicine in the Czech Republic, the head of the Hradec Králové Hospital Roman Prymula told the ctk news agency on Tuesday. Mr. Prymula is part of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s entourage on his six-day business mission to China. The centre should be completed within a year and a half and operate on a 30-strong medical staff, including eight doctors from Shanghai. A small clinic of traditional Chinese medicine is already in operation within the Hradec Králové hospital but due to considerable interest it is unable to meet demand.
President Miloš Zeman has said it would be naive to think that that there is no possible link between the wave of Islamic migrants and the threat of terrorism. Speaking at a meeting of the army command on Tuesday, the president said that the danger of terrorism had come closer to the country’s borders and argued that it was impossible to rule out the presence of jihadists in the uncontrolled wave of migrants flowing through Europe. Mr. Zeman praised the army’s participation in foreign missions saying that by fighting terrorists far from home Czech soldiers were helping to keep them away from Czech and European borders.
The European beaver has been spotted for the first time in Prague in 185 years, a “camera trap” run by the Czech University of Life Sciences has revealed. The head of the research team Aleš Vorel confirmed that a lodge built by the animals housed at least one beaver couple. The team will monitor the animals' activities and movement within the city, he said.
Lights on the traditional Christmas tree on Prague’s Old Town Square will be turned on Saturday, City Hall has revealed, but said the exact time would not be given to avoid large crowds. The decision was taken on Monday after a meeting with the emergency services. Last week, the media reported there would be no traditional ceremony at all following the recent attacks in Paris – something which organisers immediately denied.
Cardinal Dominik Duka has rejected criticism for celebrating a mass last week for the country’s president at Lány church - the first time such a mass was held there since the state acquired it in 1921. The news was released by Cardinal Duka’s personal secretary Milan Badal. The representative said the mass was in no way connected to the president’s appearance days earlier at Albertov, where he appeared with members of Bloc Against Islam. Around 50 people signed an open letter to Cardinal Duka to complain; his secretary outlined that the mass had been agreed long in advance.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he does not expect recent criticism of the president to complicate communication between the government and Prague Castle. The prime minister recently criticised the head of state for – in his view – joining the ranks of populists when he addressed an anti-migrant rally at Albertov in Prague on the public holiday of November 17. In an interview for Hospodářské noviny last week, Mr Sobotka suggested President Miloš Zeman had legitimized xenophobia. On Monday, ahead of a trip to China, the prime minister said he and the head of state were due to meet soon to discuss foreign policy.
The executive council of the country’s largest insurance company VZP agreed on its health insurance plan for 2016, the board’s chairman Jiři Běhounek announced on Monday. The insurer, he said, would provide 152.8 billion crowns for health care in 2016, a rise of four percent year-on-year, for almost six million clients. For the second straight year the company fill reserve funds; the insurer is also counting on rising costs in treatment. The firm will now send the proposal to the Health Ministry. It will have to be approved by the government and later in Parliament.
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