In his interview for Czech Radio Plus on Monday, President Zeman criticized the government for failing to draw around 35 billion crowns in EU funds. He suggested the failure to draw the money was the result of laxness and incompetence. Originally, before corrective measures were taken, the country stood to lose up to one hundred billion. The president maintained that ‘even’ 35 billion crowns was an enormous amount. Over the period of 2007 to 2013, the Czech Republic had at its disposal the equivalent of 800 billion crowns from EU funds.
According to Czech President Miloš Zeman, the mass migration of refugees to Europe has been organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. In an interview for Czech Radio Plus on Monday, the head of state suggested that the Sunni Islamist organisation could not declare war, so it was trying to gain an upper hand through the migrant crisis. As in his recent Christmas address, the president referred to the influx of refugees as an “invasion”. Mr Zeman cited two sources as having apparently confirmed his view: Morocco’s foreign minister and the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. The former, he said, recently told him that the Muslim Brotherhood had ambitions of ruling not only the Muslim world but the entire globe.
The winners of this year’s Czech Film Critics’ Awards will be announced in a gala ceremony at Prague’s Archa Theatre on January 23. Three feature films will contend for Best Film. These are: Home Care, The Snake Brothers, and Lost in Munich. The titles have also been nominated for best screenplay and best director. In all, The Snake Brothers snagged the highest number of overall nominations, with six. All three of the films were co-produced by Czech Television.
Crude oil processing company Česká rafinérská, owned by petrochemical holding Unipetrol, has reached a deal on the shipping and storage of crude with state owned Mero CŘ. The move was confirmed by Mero spokesman Mikuláš Duda. The new contract is valid as of January 1, 2016. Mero is the owner and operator of the Czech section of the Družba crude oil pipeline and the IKL crude oil pipeline and is the only transporter of crude oil into the Czech Republic. Unipetrol CEO Marek Świtajewski said on Monday that the open-ended contract was the result of extensive negotiations which began in 2010.
Limited increases in pensions could be passed in the future by the government without the need for parliamentary approval. That is the idea of a proposed law which has already been discussed by government officials. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová told Czech Television on Sunday that the limit for increases without parliamentary approval could be around 1.7 percent. Opposition parties have accused the government of attempting to limit parliament’s power with the proposed move.
The funeral was held on Monday for former Czech and Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srníček. He died following a heart attack at the age of 47. The keeper played for his country in the European Championships in 1996 and 2000, but was best known at club level for his seven years as goalkeeper for Newcastle United between 1991 and 1998. Srníček was more recently been one of the goalkeeping coaches for Sparta Prague. Newcastle United players payed tribute to the Czech before Saturday’s game against Arsenal when they wore t-shirts showing Srníček along with the message ‘Pavel is a Geordie’.
Forecasters have warned of severe frosts in eastern Bohemia and north-east Moravia and Silesia overnight on Sunday. Temperatures in some areas of Moravia could fall to minus 16 degrees Celsius. The sharp frost is good news for some vineyards specialising in so-called ice wine, where grapes are left to freeze before collection. A second frost of at least minus seven degrees is required before harvesting and that is now guaranteed in southern Moravia. Such wine is reputed to have a higher sugar content.
Former Czech president and founder of the Civic Democrat party Václav Klaus has said the migration crisis is a means for the Brussels based elite to push for a united Europe. Klaus said on commercial broadcaster Prima that the Brussels elite wanted to use the crisis to diminish national powers and was acting in a coldly calculated fashion. The ambitions were not so different from the plans of Hitler and Stalin for re-shaping the continent, he added. Klaus has recently said he wants to be at the head of a cross party movement which would bolster opposition to immigration. Klaus added the Czech government had been too passive in its opposition.
Czech tennis player Jiří Veselý has got off to a winning start in the Hopman Cup. Veselý beat former world number one, Australian Lleyton Hewitt 6:3, 6:7, 6:4. The Czech took a 3:0 in the third set but failed to serve out at 5:2. Veselý is teamed up with Karolína Plíšková for the combination of internal team singles and doubles events being played at Perth, Australia.
Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament have called for an examination in the operation of the State Institute for Drug Control amid failures of its IT system and reports that it cannot perform its functions properly. The institute has been in a long-term dispute with the provider of its IT systems. This has led to the loss of some databases. The system was reported to have collapsed altogether before Christmas resulting in patients being unable to claim medicaments with electronic receipts. The institute, tasked with controlling the availability and price of drugs, says reports of the problems are exaggerated.
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