The Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade warned Monday that farmers and local councils could be hard hit if a stand-off with the country’s energy regulator over support payments for 2016 continues. The ministry pointed out that around a third of the state support which threatens to be blocked is earmarked for bio-gas facilities which have been constructed by farmers and many local Czech councils. Since loans were taken out on many of the projects, the situation is even graver, the ministry added. The energy regulator is refusing to sign off on around 40 billion crowns of support for 2016 because it says the aid has not been cleared by the European Commission.
A new polar bear cub was born at Brno Zoo at the weekend to Cora. In the past the female raised the cubs Bill and Tom and later Nanuk and Kometa. The cubs became one of Brno Zoo’s main attractions; years that saw successful births saw significant increases in the number of visitors – a record 320,000 in 2008, for example, compared to the usual 250,000 or so. The successful breeding of polar bears in captivity is an extraordinarily complex process, say experts.
Montreal forward Tomáš Fleishmann picked up a loose puck and scored top-shelf against Greiss on a breakaway against the New York Islanders on Sunday. The goal was short-handed; Montreal are currently 1st in short-handed goals this season, with five. Fellow Czech Tomáš Plekanec picked up an assist later in the game. The Habs won 4:2. Montreal also beat the Islanders on Friday and have climbed back to second spot in the standings in the NHL.
Euro MP Petr Mach has been re-elected as leader of the Party of Free Citizens in online voting, receiving support from 65.7 percent of delegates. Three others, Roman Kříž, Petr Hampl, and Miloslav Bednář had challenged for the post; Mr Kříž was a distant second behind the winner with 15.6 percent. The result means that Petr Mach, barring unexpected changes, will lead the party for two years up until the 2017 national election. The Party of Free Citizens received 2.47 percent in the election, finishing well below the five-percent threshold needed to make it into the Chamber of Deputies.
Some 228 tonnes of foodstuffs was donated during the Czech Republic’s third national food collection on Saturday, organisers have said. Over 470 shops, including stores owned by major chains, took part in the drive in which members of the public donated non-perishable foodstuffs for redistribution to the needy. Around 2,000 volunteers and shop staff took part in the collection.
Police have arrested a man who made an anonymous bomb threat against Prague’s Main Train Station on Sunday. It was closed for over two hours with trains diverted to other stations, while the Metro station serving it was also shut down with trains only allowed to pass through. It was not the first such threat against the busy railway station this year but came amid heightened security over fears of further terror attacks on Europe.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has tasked the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, with conducting a security audit of the Czech Republic in the light of terrorist threats to Europe. Speaking to journalists on the first day of a week-long official visit to China, the PM said Mr. Chovanec should introduce a system establishing set reactions to particular levels of threat. He said the minister was working on measures that would be discussed at the ministries and by the State Security Council.
Thousands of students and other people gathered at Prague’s Albertov on Sunday to mark the historical events of November 17 1939 and 1989. On Tuesday, when the landmarks are usually commemorated, police refused to allow students to gather there due to the fact the group Bloc Against Islam had booked the spot for a rally addressed by President Miloš Zeman. Participants in Sunday’s gathering carried signs reading Education against fear and No to violence and collective guilt. The Nazis subjected Czech students to terror on November 17 1939; it later became International Students Day and in 1989 saw the beginning of the Velvet Revolution.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, began a week-long official visit to China on Sunday with an appearance at a Czech-Chinese business seminar in Shanghai. Mr. Sobotka told the assembled that the Czech Republic had welcomed several new Chinese investors in recent months and that he believed more contracts would be agreed during his visit. He is being accompanied by the Czech ministers of health, transport and local development, as well as a large delegation of business people.
The Czech Army could send up to 200 medics and chemicals specialists in the case of ground operations against Islamic State, the Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said on a television discussion show on Sunday. Such a deployment would need to be discussed by the government and would need to take in the Czech Republic’s domestic needs, he said. Mr. Stropnický said there were many potential snags connected to ground operations in the Middle East and large states were reluctant to undertake them. It is “clear to everybody” that Russia must take part in any coalition against Islamic State, he added.
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