The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has questioned the effectiveness of
international sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s
Crimea region. In an address to the Council of Europe Parliamentary
Assembly in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Mr. Zeman compared the sanctions to
Washington’s long-running embargo against Cuba, which failed to end the
The Czech head of state said that granting Kosovo independence was not a reasonable decision and that one standard applied to Kosovo and another to Crimea.
Mr. Zeman also told the European officials that his wife was in possession of a pistol and gun license, meaning he was not protected by his security detail alone but also by her.
None of a trio of communist-era secret policemen suspected of involvement
in a campaign to force dissidents to leave Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and
1980s will face trial, Czech Television reported on Tuesday.
The state attorney recently halted the investigation into one of the three as he was judged not well enough to stand trial. The other two had already been released.
The three had stood accused of threatening to kill a dissident in North Bohemia. The man, who was a doctor, subsequently left the country with his family.
The communist operation to force dissidents to leave Czechoslovakia was known as asanace (clearance).
The outgoing Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says the country
should adopt the euro as soon as possible in order to remain at the core of
the European Union, Novinky.cz reported. Speaking at a congress of the
Confederation of Industry, the Social Democrat PM said there was no other
path open to the Czech Republic.
Mr. Sobotka said all modernisation measures would function only if the country were members of the EU’s free internal market and part of a core of economically strong member states.
He also said that Czech politicians who had spoken about the country leaving the bloc were “crazies and semi-crazies”.
A campaign has been launched aimed at encouraging first-time voters to go
to the polls in general elections in a week and a half’s time.
Named Tvoje poprvé (Your First Time), it takes the form of a video featuring a number of figures popular with young people, including singer Tomáš Klus and activist documentary maker Janek Rubeš.
Alongside the video, the campaign’s website features an election “calculator” allowing young potential voters to work out which parties best represent their views.
The association of Czech GPs wants its members to close their surgeries on
Wednesday next week in protest at what it regards as insufficient funding
and excessive bureaucracy. The call was made by the head of the doctors’
organisation, Petr Šonka, at one of a number of demonstrations held around
the country on Tuesday.
Mr. Šonka said his association’s members were prepared to close their doors to the public repeatedly if their demands were not met.
However, the Ministry of Health says there is no money available to boost funding for GPs next year. A representative said its priority was to support Czech hospitals in a bid to stop them losing staff.
A two-year-old girl who police believe was mistreated by her foster mother
died in hospital in Plzeň on Monday, the Czech News Agency reported. The
woman, who is 25, has been in custody since Saturday and could face up to
12 years in prison if found guilty of grievous bodily harm.
The dead girl and another child were placed in the care of the woman and her husband in July this year. On Thursday the girl was taken into medical care. The second child is now being looked after by another family.
The Forum 2000 conference held under the motto Strengthening Democracy in
Uncertain Times is due to end in Prague on Tuesday with a closing debate on
what can be done in defence of democracy.
The three-day conference focussed on threats to democracy in the present day such as corruption, organized crime and a rise in populism and extremism. Attention was also devoted to the impact of social networks and the so called post-truth era on democracy.
Former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez warned that functioning democratic political systems had only been maintained in Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand which is roughly 27 percent of the whole world. He said these states had a duty to defend and support democracy around the world.
Murat Arslan, the last chairman of Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors
Association is the winner of the 2017 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.
Arslan chaired Turkey’s Judges and Prosecutors Association until it was shut down as part of the post-coup crackdown unleashed by President Erdogan.
Arslan himself has been jailed since October of last year over his alleged links to the Gulen movement which the government suspects of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt.
The prize, which comes with a 60,000 euro financial bonus, is awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.
Police have filed charges against ANO leader Andrej Babiš and his deputy
chair Jaroslav Faltýnek in connection with a case of suspected subsidy
fraud linked to the Stork’s Nest Farm and hotel compound.
Andrej Babiš is suspected of having orchestrated a plan for his Stork’s Nest farm to acquire a 50 million crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach. He has been charged with subsidy fraud and harming the EU’s financial interests.
A few weeks ago the lower house stripped both Andrej Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for prosecution.