Czech president Miloš Zeman has said comments by his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, show that Turkey does not belong in the European Union. The Czech head of state accused Erdogan of trying to blackmail Europe with the threat that more immigrants would be released to the continent. President Erdogan said on Tuesday that European citizens would not be safe in their streets unless they changed their stance. He earlier said that Europe was as fascistic and cruel as before WWII. Turkey has previously clashed with Germany and the Netherlands over whether Turkish ministers should address local Turks about a referendum that would increase the president’s powers. President Zeman was speaking at a press conference ending his recent trip to the Olomouc region.
Non-profit organisations People in Need and Transparency International have made what they describe as a last minute call for the Czech government to push through changes to the current system for debt collection through bailiffs. The changes would introduce a new system where regionally based bailiffs would deal with debtors. At the moment different bailiffs from all over the country can deal with cases, escalating costs and creating many more complications in the flawed debt collection system, the groups say. They argue that if the changes are put on the agenda for parliament in April then the bill could still be passed before lower house elections due in October.
The government on Wednesday agreed prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s mandate for the informal EU summit taking place in Rome at the weekend. The two main themes for the Czech premier will be unity and security, according to the government programme. The Rome meeting is meant to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding treaty of what was to develop into the EU. But the main focus will probably be on discussions over the future direction of the EU. Prague, along with its Visegrad regional block partners, is opposing the further development of what could be a multi-speed EU.
A proposed law which would triple the maximum fine for those who ignore bans on entering the forest or other areas because of hunting was given government support on Wednesday. The proposed new law has been drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and increases the fine to 30,000 crowns. A petition against the bill had been signed by around 46,000 people. Those in favour of the proposed changes argue that the fine would only be imposed for the most serious infringements.
Škoda Auto, the biggest car maker in the Czech Republic, said 2016 net profit climbed by 34 percent to 25.7 billion crowns. Company turnover for last year was around 10 percent higher at 370 billion crowns. The car maker delivered 1.127 million cars in 2016, more than a quarter of those were destined for China where deliveries totalled 317,000 cars.
Around two-thirds of the Czech Republic could be severely affected by drought especially if there were increased demands for water t because of a lack of groundwater reserves, the daily Právo reported on Wednesday. The report drew on the conclusions of a report by the Czech Geological Service which mapped the state of groundwater reserves across the country. In the case of the sort of droughts which have occurred over the last five years, serious shortages across large parts of the country are threatened, the report concluded. The government has started to make preparations for saving water and creating more local water reserves that can be drawn on in times of drought.
One of the greats of the Czech puppet scene, Helena Štáchová, has died at the age of 72. Štáchová was from an early age connected with the puppet scene becoming a puppet master, scenarist, and eventually the director of the well known puppet theatre Spejbl and Hurvinka. She also worked with radio and television and was for example the voice of Lisa Simpson in the Czech version of the cartoon series, The Simpsons.
Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek will take part Wednesday in international talks in the United States focusing on the fight against so-called Islamic State (ISIL) and plans for the reconstruction of Iraq and Syria once the conflict there has finished. Representatives from 68 states are expected to attend the two-day event hosted by the US State Department in Washington.
The Czech Republic’s footballers are preparing for their first game of the year, a friendly against Lithuania in Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday evening. The game precedes an away World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Sunday. The Czechs need to win all their remaining qualification games if they are to stand a realistic chance of coming second in their group – where Germany dominate – and reaching Russia next year.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott