The Czech Cabinet gave prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka a mandate to press Greece to move faster in returning immigrants to Turkey. The mandate applies to the European Summit taking place Thursday and Friday dealing with unfinished business with Turkey over the immigration crisis and possible solutions. Under a proposed new framework, for every illegal Syrian immigrant returned to Turkey, Ankara would have the right to send a Syrian with a valid asylum claim to the EU. Turkey is asking for 3 billion euros more as part of the new package that it was granted back in November.
The Czech Cabinet on Wednesday approved a doubling in the charges that mining companies must pay for open cast mining of brown coal. The increased charges could result in around 400 million crowns in extra annual revenues for the state. Some of those revenues could be used to restore some of the damage caused by open cast mining according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The increased charges will not affect deep mining charges which will remain unchanged.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker, Škoda Auto, has announced a record profit for 2015 of around 19.1 billion crowns. That is an advance of around 6.5 percent on the profit for 2014. Overall turnover for the company rose to around 338 billion crowns, an increase of 6.2 percent on the previous year. Škoda Auto said it will be hiring around 2,000 more employees in the country this year.
The British Royal Mail has issued a postage stamp in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669, mostly Jewish children, by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. Sir Nicholas died last year at the age of 106. The British first class stamp, which is part of a set issued in honour of British humanitarians, features a black-and-white photograph of Mr Winton by Matej Divizna. Last year, a stamp in honour of Mr Winton was issued by the Czech Post Office.
In tennis, Karolína Plíšková has advanced to the quarter-finals at the Indian Wells Masters Series for the first time in her career, after beating Britain’s Johanna Kontao 7:6, 3:6, 6:3. The Czech world number 19 will face Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in the next round. Another Czech, Barbora Strýcová, was forced to retire from the match with Romania’s Simona Halep due to illness, when she was losing 3:6, 0:1.
Another group of Christian refugees from Iraq are set to arrive in the Czech Republic on Sunday. The 23 member group will be taken to facilities in Prague and Smilovice, where they will spend two months getting their bearings and learning Czech before moving to a place of their own. The relocation of altogether 153 Iraqi refugees from Mosul is being financed by the Generation 21 foundation.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has issued a black ice alert for most of the Czech Republic, particularly the region of Plzeň, South Bohemia and Moravia. It will remain in place until Wednesday morning. Up to 15 centimetres of fresh snow fell on Tuesday night in the mountain regions of the Czech Republic.
The number of hate crimes registered in the Czech Republic increased to 86 in 2014, the legal organisation In Iustitia, which is helping the crime victims, has reported. In 2011 the organisation registered 57 incidents. Most of the attacks happened in relation to nationality, ethnic origin or religion. Among the most frequent victims of hate attacks were Roma and Muslim men. In its report, In Iustitia also warned against growing Islamophobia in the Czech society.
Czech President Miloš Zeman and Polish President Andrzej Duda presented each other with their countries’ highest state distinctions on Tuesday at Prague Castle for their contribution to the development of Czech-Polish relations. Mr Zeman presented his counterpart with the Order of the White Lion first class, and received the Polish Order of the White Eagle. Mr Duda arrived in Prague on Monday for a two-day official visit. Among the topics he discussed with President Zeman were cooperation between the countries of the Visegrad Four, transport, and the migration crisis. Mr Duda is also scheduled to meet the country’s Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and lay a wreath at the grave of former Czech president Václav Havel.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events