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27-06-2015

PM says security has been increased in areas in response to Friday's terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said the Czech Republic has increased security measures in areas in response to terrorist attacks on Friday in France, Tunisia and Kuwait which claimed dozens of lives. The prime minister made the statement on Saturday during an official one-day visit to France. He said the steps taken were standard procedure following similar incidents and that he would meet with the interior minister soon to assess the situation. He did not otherwise elaborate on the steps taken.

Interior minister confirms security heightened at airports and other sites

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has confirmed that security in the Czech Republic has been increased at embassies, airports as well as Czech branches of Air Products, the American firm which was targeted in a terrorist attack in France on Friday. The firm has branches not only in the capital but in Brno and Děčín. Attacks on Friday took place in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait, leaving scores of dead. In response, Czech travel agencies are allowing customers bought package holidays to Tunisia to change destinations: CK Fischer said 80 percent who had prepaid holidays had already done so. The Czech Foreign Ministry is reportedly treating the attack in Sousse, Tunisia, as an isolated incident but some analysts suggest the attacks, which bear the hallmarks of IS or Isil as it is also known, were possibly coordinated. The Guardian notes the attacks come close to the first anniversary of the terrorist organisation's declaration of a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Number of Czech tourists planning immediate return from Tunisia minimal, says association spokesman

The number of Czech tourists planning an immediate return from Tunisia following Friday's attack in Sousse is minimal, Jan Papež, the spokesman for the Association of Czech Travel Agents has said. He stressed that only around 30 out of 3,000 Czechs vacationing in the North African country had expressed the desire to return home early. Neither is the country's Foreign Ministry considering sending a special government jet. The Czech Republic's ambassador to Tunisia, Jan Vyčítal, is due to visit the site of the deadly attack and to also inform Czech vacationers about the security situation in local areas and resorts.

President Zeman calls terrorist organisation a "cancer"

Czech President Miloš Zeman has called terrorist organisation Islamic State "a cancer which had spread", following Friday's attack on a seaside holiday resort in Tunisia, in which a gunman killed 38 people including Tunisian, British, French, and German nationals. The group later claimed responsibility. The president stressed that the organisation had already spread to Libya and now Tunisia and that it was not "a tumour which could easily be cut out". Speaking during a regional visit in the Czech Republic, Mr Zeman said the organisation needed to be hit at its centre. The Czech president voiced the opinion that IS could not be defeated by Arab countries and US and allies' air strikes alone. Islamic State, or Isil, has held large swathes of Syria and Iraq since last year.

PM marks upcoming 97th anniversary of founding of Czechoslovak armed forces

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on an official one-day visit to France, marked the 97th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak armed forces on Saturday at a memorial site in Darney, where some 6,000 Czechoslovak legionaries swore allegiance to the emerging Czechoslovakia on June 30, 1918. In a short speech, Mr Sobotka said that Darney was of key importance for Czech statehood. Dozens of Czech and French soldiers as well as WW II veterans attended the ceremony.

Renovation of Libeň bridge to begin next April

The renovation of Prague's Libeň bridge - years in the planning - will begin next April and will cost roughly two billion crowns, the Czech News Agency reports. The bridge is in poor condition and traffic is restricted. Prague's Technical Road Administration,overseeing the project, is to sign a contract with the winner of the tender in October or November. The renovation project should take about two years to complete.

Young mother charged with murder of newborn

Police have charged a 21-year-old woman with the murder of her newborn in Mníšek pod Brdy near Prague. The suspect was arrested on Friday, a day after the baby's body was found in a plastic bag in a garbage container. The police were reportedly tipped off. If found guilty, the woman faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison or an exemplary sentence.

27-06-2015