The Czech Republic will donate two million crowns to Australia to help with
the response to the devastating bushfires, which have swept large parts of
Australia since October, the Foreign Ministry’s press department said on
According to Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, the humanitarian help will be coordinated by the Czech Embassy in Canberra and will be used mainly to help people who lost their homes as a result of the fires. Meanwhile, Prague City Hall announced it will donate 160,000 crowns to the Australian Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund, which operates Melbourne Zoo.
At least 26 people have been killed in the unprecedented bushfires and more than 10.3 million hectares of land has burned. It is estimated that nearly half a billion animals have been lost to the fire.
Czech agricultural turnover exceeded CZK 19.4 billion last year,
discounting EU subsidies, according to preliminary data of the Institute of
Agricultural Economics and Information, released on Thursday.
Agricultural production in 2018 rose by 9.1 billion crowns to over CZK 151 billion, while expenditures increased by CZK six billion to 175 billion.
According to the head of the Agrarian Chamber, Zdeněk Jandejsek, EU subsidies account for up to 25 percent of the country’s overall agricultural production.
Former minister of justice and current government commissioner for human
rights, Helena Válková, defended laws against dissidents during the
Communist regime, the news site info.cz reported on Thursday.
At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, Mrs Válková published a series of articles in which she defended measures used by the Communist regime to restrict the rights of its opponents, the website writes.
It also says she collaborated on writing one of her articles with the state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.
Mrs Válková, whom President Miloš Zeman recently proposed for the post of the Czech Republic’s ombudswoman, denied any wrongdoing, saying the article was insulting and untruthful.
A meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday addressed the
conflict between Iran and the United States following the killing of
Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said after the meeting that Czech police
officers, soldiers and civilians in Iraq were safe, adding that the Czech
Republic had funds at hand for their possible evacuation from the country.
The Czech Army currently has around 40 soldiers and police officers in Iraq mainly working to train Iraqi security forces to fight against the ISIS militia.
According to the general chief of staff, they will remain stationed in Iraq but increased security measures will be taken to ensure their safety.
Five Czech police officers who are part of a military mission in Iraq will
temporarily return to the Czech Republic due to a restricted operation of
the training centre in Baghdad, Police President Jan Švejdar said on
According to the police president’s spokeswoman, Kateřina Rendlová, the move has nothing to do with the development of the safety situation in the country. The police officers are due to return to Iraq as soon as the training resumes its operation.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 2.9 percent in December, up from
2.6 percent in November, according to data released by the Czech Labour
Office on Thursday.
Despite the rise, it is the lowest figure for the period of December since 1996. According to the statistics, there are currently 215,500 people seeking employment.
The lowest unemployment rate was in Prague, with 1.9 percent, while the highest number of unemployed, 4.4 percent, was registered in the region of Moravia-Silesia.
Sales of hybrid cars in the Czech Republic increased by 73 percent last
year to over 8,300 vehicles, while the country’s automobile market
dropped by four percent. Sales of electric cars increased by three percent
to 636 vehicles.
The share of hybrid vehicles combining a petrol or diesel engine with a battery and electric motor on overall car sales currently amounts to over 3.3 percent, according to data released by the Car Importers Association on Thursday.
The highest number of hybrids, over 4,000, was sold by Toyota, followed by Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Czech car-maker Škoda sold 85 of its Superb iV plug-in hybrids last year.
Thursday is the 130th anniversary of the birth of Czech journalist, novelist and dramatist Karel Čapek. Čapek was best known for his science fiction, including the 1936 novel War with the Newts, the 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), which gave the world the word “robot”. His older brother Josef Čapek was a well-known painter and writer.
The European Commission is seeking the return of CZK 1.6 billion paid out
in agricultural subsidies to the Czech Republic, iRozhlas.cz reported on
Thursday. The penalty is based on an audit carried out three years ago
aimed at establishing whether the funding was actually being used by
farmers under the “active farmer” concept.
The European Commission says the Czech Ministry of Agriculture failed to keep sufficient tabs on how the subsidies were being allocated.
The Ministry of Agriculture disputes the findings of the EU audit and wishes to contest the amount set. It will therefore request a conciliation procedure, iRozhlas.cz said.
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