Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has warned that European disintegration is a greater threat to the country than Islamic State. He told a Czech Television debate that developments within Europe has more bearing on the future of the Czech Republic than developments even in China and the United States. Czechoslovakia was only created in 1918 because of the constellation of forces on the European continent that favoured it, Zaorálek added. He said that one Czech fault was a mistrust and lack of respect of institutions.
The smog situation worsened across the Czech Republic on Wednesday with the Plzeň region being added to those areas where limits have already been exceeded. Smog warnings already existed across Moravia, East Bohemia, and Prague. The daily levels for particulate matter, which can cause cancer and other health problems, has been three times the limit in the Moravia-Silesia region over the past days. The situation has improved slightly in South Moravia.
The minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, has reprimanded his deputy Lubomír Bokštefl over a comment he made on internet charges. In an online debate with readers of the news website Aktuálně.cz he told one person to “go to Poland” if they wanted Polish rates for mobile data. The Czech Republic has relatively high charges. The comment prompted a storm of condemnation from both opposition and government politicians. Mr. Mládek also dismissed the head of the minister’s communications team, Roman Prorok, over the matter.
Jaromír Jágr, the greatest Czech player in the history of ice hockey’s NHL, turned 45 on Wednesday. Jágr, who made his Czech league debut in 1988 at the age of 16, is the fifth oldest player ever to take to the ice in the NHL and has the league’s second highest points tally. The forward, who is hugely popular in the Czech Republic, has picked up two Stanley Cup rings and won gold at the Olympics with the Czech Republic in 1998.
Economic certainty is not the Czech Republic’s only national interest – so is maintaining a pluralist democracy and free society, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Tuesday. Mr. Zaorálek told the Czech National Interest conference in Prague that a number of economically developed countries were currently going through crises of democracy and that Czech history confirmed that the nation thrived when society was free. The country’s foreign policy chief said many people felt uncertainty and fear and that the best defences against this were investing in education and infrastructure and a well-chosen economic strategy.
A fresh smog alert was declared in Prague on Tuesday. The level of dust particles in the air in the capital is so high that forecasters say regulations may soon be introduced forcing some companies to limit production. At the start of this month smog levels led the Prague authorities to call on residents to keep car journeys to a minimum. However, a proposal to introduce free travel on public transport was rejected.
The 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Moser crystal company is being celebrated at an exhibition that has just opened at Prague’s Municipal House. The show features glass items produced throughout the existence of the Karlovy Vary-based luxury goods maker. Moser today has around 320 employees and is sold at high-end outlets throughout the world. Entitled The Story of Moser Crystal, the exhibition runs until March 22.
President Miloš Zeman has signed into law a ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants in the Czech Republic. The head of state had previously pledged not to veto the legislation as he had a “conflict of interest” on the matter as a chain smoker. The news means that the smoking ban will come into effect on May 31, which is World No Tobacco Day. Senate deputy chairman Jaroslav Kubera, a smokers’ rights advocate, says he is considering taking the matter to the Constitutional Court.
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