Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, met with Vietnam’s president, Truong Tân Sang, at the presidential palace in Hanoi on Friday. According to Vietnamese media, the Czech foreign minister said the Czech government backed the early completion of negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union. Mr Zaorálek, who is accompanied by a business delegation, also appreciated the positive integration of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic. The Czech Foreign Minister will conclude his visit of Vietnam on Saturday, and continue with an official visit to Malaysia.
Prague councillors have removed four out of eleven members of the City Hall Assembly from office, including the Green Party deputy mayor Matěj Stropnický, citing poor performance. The head of the Green Party, Ondřej Mirovský, said the dismissal of Mr Stropnický was a blatant termination of the coalition agreement. The City Hall has been governed by a three-way coalition of the Greens, the Christian Democrats and Mayors and Independents. Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said on Friday that the functioning of the coalition has not been affected, adding that further steps will be debated next week.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Prague Siri Ellen Sletner has said that the Norwegian courts will act as speedily as possible in dealing with the case of the Michalák brothers and the family will be able to make use of all the legal services Norway offers in such circumstances. Ms Michaláková lost the right to have regular contact with her children on the suspicion of past sexual abuse but the allegations were never proven in court. Recently, the Norwegian authorities ruled the younger child could be adopted by his foster parents and that the mother would no longer be allowed even limited access to the older boy. The decision has triggered strong criticism from the Czech authorities. The children’s mother has said she would explore all avenues of appeal in Norway and if that fails to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. The Norwegian ambassador expressed the hope that the controversial case would not damage the two countries’ good relations.
The Social Democratic Party leadership has called on the Olomouc Regional Governor Jiří Rozbořil, who faces charges of corruption, to resign from office. The party leadership has also recommended the regional Social Democratic Party branch to start looking for a new leader for the upcoming regional elections. Mr. Rozbořil, however, told the Czech News Agency that he refused to step down. The regional governor was detained last week within an anti-corruption operation that also involved senior police officers. He has filed a complaint against the charges, which he says are the result of a misunderstanding. Last week, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka repeatedly called on the governor to resign.
Fifty Czech police officers will assist Hungary in patrolling its stretch of the Schengen border from November 1. They will help secure the border with Serbia in three different localities, a spokesman for the Police Presidium said on Friday. The officers, who will serve at the border for a period of one month, are due to depart at the end of October. Twenty Czech soldiers have been operating in the area since last week.
Humanitarian aid provided by NGOs to immigrants from war-stricken regions, who arrive in Europe, is lacking coordination and requires better cooperation with state institutions, representatives of European NGOs agreed upon at the International Humanitarian Congress in Prague on Friday. They have also agreed that the organizations providing help should improve mutual cooperation. The third edition of the International Humanitarian Congress is co-organised by major Czech NGOs such as People in Need, Adra and Caritas Czech Republic, and its main focus this year are the growing challenges in humanitarian aid.
The majority of Czechs, roughly two thirds, are against smoking in pubs and restaurants, suggests a new survey conducted by the CVVM agency. According to the survey, some 38 percent of respondents are against the government-proposed ban on smoking in public places. In 2011, only 51 percent of people supported the ban, while 44 disagreed with it. The bill was approved by the Czech government in June and is now waiting to be debated by the lower house.
Spanish novelist Eduardo Mendoza Garriga has been presented with this year’s Franz Kafka Prize, which the Franz Kafka Society annually awards for outstanding literary work and which carries a reward of $10,000. Mendoza Garriga, a contemporary historical Spanish novelist, is the 15th winner of the Franz Kafka Prize, the only international literary prize awarded in the Czech Republic. The international jury praised his narrative skills, human approach to the depicted events and a sharp sense of humour.
Former ANO deputy leader Radmila Kleslová has resigned from her posts in city companies, citing a media campaign against her person. According to information released by the Pirate party this week, Ms Kleslová, who is also the mayor of Prague 10, reportedly received 360,000 crowns a month for counselling from the capital’s main electricity distribution company, Pražská energetika, and from the heating company Pražská teplárenská. Three other firms, the ČEZ energy giant, Czech fuel distributor Čepro and the Czech state-owned train operator České dráhy have already suspended cooperation with the politician in the past.
The first foal of the wild Exmoor pony was born on the grounds of the former Milovice military base, northeast of Prague, on Wednesday. It is the first wild foal to be born on the territory of the Czech Republic after several centuries. The herd of 14 wild horses from Britain’s Exmoor National Park was brought to the Czech Republic in January this year. The project, initiated by the Czech Landscape organisation, along with the Academy of Sciences, aims to gradually introduce the horses into the Czech landscape and to improve biodiversity among local plants by letting the horses graze on the aggressive and evasive grasses.
A DNA analysis has proven that the dead animal found in a forest in the region of Česká Lípa two weeks ago was a wolf. Investigation has also shown that the female wolf didn’t die a natural death, the spokeswoman for the Czech Republic’s Nature Conservation Agency said on Friday, adding that the incident is being investigated by the police. Scientists are also trying to find out if the female wolf belonged to a pack of wolves which was spotted in the area about a year ago. Wolves are critically endangered species in the Czech Republic and are subject to special protection.
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