Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický is preparing to exit high politics and
become the next Czech ambassador to Israel, news site aktualne.cz reported
Friday, citing sources in ANO and the current government. Mr Stropnický,
who was defence minister prior and has served in diplomacy before (in the
Vatican, Italy, and Portugal) is an actor by profession.
He was named foreign minister in the current government in resignation in December of last year.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Michaela Lagronová said the ministry would issue a statement only when the supposed candidate received his credentials.
Nerve agents such as the poison Novichok are synthesized in the Czech
Republic as part of anti-chemical defence program, the Czech Defence
Ministry said in a statement issued on Friday. The maximum amount produced
is several micrograms and the substance is destroyed immediately after
testing, the ministry added.
The ministry also said that while substances such as Novichok were potentially poisonous chemicals, they were used for testing detection and defence capabilities and the training of the country’s anti-chemical unit. Such substances, it stressed, were synthesized under the strictest controls and security. It called the chance of extraction from special labs “zero”.
It is thought that between 50 to 100 grams of Novichok was used against the Skripals in the attack in Salisbury.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has come under fire from political opponents
following an interview on TV Barrandov on Thursday in which he maintained,
according to a military intelligence report, that a small amount of the
deadly nerve agent Novichok was produced in the Czech Republic.
Novichok was used in a brazen attack on British soil against a former Russian double agent and his daughter earlier this year. Great Britain says the evidence points to Russia.
A second Czech civil intelligence report contradicted the findings and the president’s words but Zeman said he preferred the military version. Petr Gazdík, the head of the smallest party in the lower house, STAN, tweeted a tough response, suggesting that Mr Zeman could easily be considered an agent of Moscow. He said the president not only contradicted the country’s foreign ministry but also provided fuel for Russian media.
The president has been accused of being a vocal supporter of Russia and apologist for Mr Putin on numerous occasions in the past, including the recent election where a FEMEN woman activist stripped to the waist and declared the president was Mr Putin’s “slut”.
The head of the Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala echoed Mr Gazdík’s words, saying the president had hurt the country’s position and only fueled Russian propaganda.
Czech police have detained and charged three Czechs with human trafficking
and other criminal offences. The trio, two males and one female, are
suspected of having preyed on poor people in Most, North Bohemia, promising
legal and well-paid employment in Great Britain, but allegedly brutalizing
them upon their arrival in Manchester and taking away their passports.
The spokesman for the National Centre Against Organised Crime Jaroslav Ibehej said they were made to do numerous tasks. At least some of them were forced into prostitution and sex online.
All three of the suspects have been remanded in custody. Detectives charge that the three were involved in criminal activity between the years 2012 and 2017, and possibly longer. The trio brought at least 15 people to Great Britain, four of them women.
Russian diplomacy has seized upon words by Czech President Miloš Zeman on
Thursday regarding the deadly nerve agent Novichok, taking issue with Great
Britain and the claim that the nerve agent was only ever produced in the
former Soviet Union. On Thursday, on TV Barrandov which regularly
interviews the head of state, President Zeman said Czechia had produced the
Novichok nerve agent in a small amount for testing but it was then
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were targeted in England and barely survived. Great Britain maintains that all of the evidence points to Moscow.
The spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova was quoted by the Russian media as saying “the fog was lifting”. She charged that "lies" by the May administration were "growing more apparent".
Cooperation between the Czech military and Prague’s ambulance service is
set to wrap up on Friday. Ten army personnel had been called up to replace
medics who were in quarantine after coming in close contact with measles
The soldiers were on stand-by as of April 25 but were not used in the field, the spokeswoman for the ambulance service confirmed.
There have been 103 cases of measles in the Czech Republic this year, 70 of them in Prague.
The administration of Šumava National Park has said that existing “photo
points” in the vicinity of the park will be dismantled by May 25.
The designated areas had featured tableaus and equipment allowing visitors to take pictures at special lookout points, which they could download later from the web.
The spokesman for Šumava National Park Jan Dvořák said the main reason for the decision was new directives on the protection of personal data.
The ice hockey world championships begin in Denmark Friday. The Czech
Republic will play in their first group game Saturday against Slovakia.
The Czechs are looking to end a five year medal drought. After winning the gold in 2010 and bronze medals in the following two years, the Czech have failed to make it into the last three.
Coach Josef Jandač arrived in Denmark with many injury problems and questions who will take to the ice.
Czech president Miloš Zeman has said the country produced the Novichok
nerve agent for testing but it was then destroyed.
Zeman, speaking on commercial broadcaster TV Barrandov, said he based his comments on the findings of the military intelligence. Their information suggested the type of nerve agent believed to have been used on a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter was produced at a Brno military research centre in November last year.
Zeman said a report from the civil intelligence agency disagreed with that finding but he favoured the military intelligence.
Russia in March suggested the Czech Republic was one of the countries where novichok could have been produced. The comments sparked denials from Czech ministers and the government. Zeman later ordered investigations into whether it could be true.