The Czech Interior Ministry has launched a new webpage focusing on migration in the country; the page is aimed at offering up-to-date information about the situation and capacity at migrant detention centres. According to information released, more than 1,100 migrants have been detained at centres with some 264 spots still free. The ministry has plans for additional facilities to be added across the country in case the number of refugees entering the country grows. The aim of the new webpage, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said, was to calm the situation; he expressed the view that the country was handling the migrant crisis well and was ready to tackle future challenges.
The Czech Republic should accept almost 3,000 refugees while neighbouring Slovakia would take around 1,500 under a plan by the European Commission, the Dutch daily de Volkskrant reports. The newspaper cited a source close to the commission who confirmed the news for the Reuters news agency. According to sources, the head of the commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will officially present a plan dealing with the migrant crisis on Wednesday. Until now, the Czech Republic and other members of the Visegrad 4 have rejected quotas outright, most recently at a meeting in Prague.
The Czech food manufacturer Hamé has offered to help up to 10 Syrian families who fled the civil war in their homeland and hoped to stay in the Czech Republic. The firm has offered to help find both lodgings as well as work at the company plants. At a press conference on Monday, the head of Hamé foods, Martin Štrupl, called the situation in Syria tragic and made clear that Syrian refugees deserved a chance in the Czech Republic. According to the Czech News Agency, there have been about 50 various offers to provide housing, jobs, material goods, and translation services for refugees on Czech soil.
Activists opposed to the current wave of migrants crossing into Europe as well as anti-Islam groups have called a demonstration on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Saturday at almost the same time as others who support helping migrants and providing them with aid and asylum. An initiative called Bikers Against Islam will see bikers ride through part of the city, in their words to honour victims of radical Islam. Not far away, supporters of an initiative against xenophobia are expected to gather in defense of migrants’ rights. Around 2,000 people have confirmed their participation on Facebook.
The city of Prague is readying its own operational programme called Prague the Growth Pole of the Czech Republic, in which some 403 million euros, the equivalent of around 11 billion crowns, will go into areas such as research and development, technological innovation, sustainable mobility, and savings in energy. The news was confirmed by the deputy mayor for transport and European funds Petr Dolínek. City Hall will open the window for first applications at the end of September and beginning of October. Prague is the only region out of 14 in the Czech Republic to have its own operational programme.
The police have announced planned checks of venues in the autumn to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage drinkers. The operation is to take place sometime between October and December, Deputy Police President Martin Vondrášek revealed. For tactical reasons, he would not say whether there would be one wave or several. An OECD report in July said the Czech Republic had the worst record in Europe with over 40 percent of 15-year-olds admitting that they drink on a regular basis. The police say they will publish the results of their findings at the end of the year.
Heat waves in summer took their toll on Czech motorists leading to an increase in accidents, the head of the country’s traffic police Tomáš Lerch has said. Unusually hot temperatures had a negative effect on drivers, he elaborated, causing tiredness and a lack of concentration. Some 150 people died in traffic accidents in the summer months, some of them in head-on collisions; there was an increase in the number of accidents with multiple fatalities. Meanwhile, 500 people suffered serious injuries. In all, the police registered some 150,000 road accidents over the summer period.
The Czech Republic ranks among five EU countries with the fastest-growing industry this year, recording industry growth by 5 percent year-on-year in January-July, the Czech Statistical Office said on Monday. In the first half of 2015, faster growth in industry was registered only in Ireland, Hungary, Malta and Poland. The Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency said, depended most on industrial production, with the share of industry in its economy at 47.3 percent.
Despite pressure from ANO party leader and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, deputy party leader Radmila Kleslová has made clear she will not immediately give up a lucrative contract as a consultant with Czech energy giant ČEZ. The head of ČEZ's supervisory board, Václav Pačes, said she had requested to end the contract by the end of 2015. Ms Kleslová is the mayor of Prague 10; she defended the contract saying she had been paid for her expertise and that there was "no conflict of interest"; according to aktualne.cz in the past she also provided consultancy services for Czech Railways and the fuel distributor Čepro.
The annual fund-raising drive known as Světlůška, organised by Czech Radio's Endowment Fund, began on Monday and will continue until Friday September 11. Funds raised go to help the blind and heavily visually-impaired. The charity has been organised by the Czech Radio fund for more than 10 years. Passers-by can purchase firefly 'antennae', whistles or armbands from volunteers to show their support.
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