The Czech Foreign Ministry is not upgrading its travel advice for Egypt at this point in connection with US intelligence reports that the crash of a Russian passenger plane may have been a terrorist act. It has however advised heightened caution. A recommendation against all trips to northern Sinai including the Taba tourist resort remains valid. Egypt is the 6th most popular tourist destination for Czechs traveling abroad with on average 185,000 holiday makers heading there every year.
The detention facility for refugees at Běla-Jezová is not a torture chamber, interior minister Milan Chovanec said on Thursday before visiting the centre, which has been criticised over the way it treated migrants. The minister was accompanied by EU ambassadors and the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová, whose portfolio includes child protection. Ms Marksová said after the tour of the facility that the children are well taken care of. Serious doubts about conditions at Běla-Jezová were raised by the country’s ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová, in September. The interior minister admitted shortcomings but said that proper standards had been met.
Supreme State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová is the most influential woman in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech edition of Forbes magazine. Ms Bradáčová, who placed top of the list for the third time in a row, is followed by PPF chief financial officer Kateřina Jirásková and Agrofert director of finance Petra Procházková. The only politicians who made it into the top-ten list of the most influential Czech women are EU commissioner Věra Jourová, who finished in fourth place, followed by Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová.
The tabloid Blesk with over a million readers a day was the most-read Czech daily newspaper this year, according to a survey by the STEM/MARK and Median agencies, conducted for the Czech Publisher’s Association. Deník, whose regional editions were on average read by 664,000 people a day, came second, followed by Mladá fronta Dnes with 639,000 daily readers. The survey also found that 64 percent of people aged between 12 and 79 read at least one daily newspaper over a two-week period.
The first delivery of Czech L-159 combat planes have arrived in Iraq, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday, adding that the country "succeeded in realising this deal after years of failures." Under the deal approved by the Czech government earlier this year, twelve of the Czech army’s surplus combat planes, made by the company Aero Vodochody, are to be sold to the Iraq military. The company, which conducted the deal, confirmed that the first planes had been handed over but refused to elaborate further.
The Czech Republic’s economy should grow by 4.3 percent in 2015, compared to last year’ two percent, according to a newly released macro-economic forecast by the European Commission. The solid growth is expected to drop sharply to 2.2 percent in the following year. The European Commission attributes the uneven growth to a slowdown in drawing of EU funds in 2016. According to the prognosis, economic growth should increase again to 2.7 percent in 2017.
ANO leader and minister of finance Andrej Babiš has asked for police protection, the daily Právo reported on Thursday. The minister told the paper that the request had been prompted by recent security incidents but did not give further details. The demand has been lodged with the Ministry of Interior. Babiš told the paper he believed he had the right to automatic protection because he was at higher risk than the prime minister, minister of justice, and minister of foreign affairs, and heads of parliament, who qualify for bodyguards. Last year Babiš, along with other ministers, were the targets of letters containing poison.
Writer Vladimír Poštulka has been presented the Josef Škovercký Award for his novel Hřbitovní kvítí (Graveyard flowers with cream), a coming of age story of a former cook who leaves Communist Czechoslovakia to become a famous song lyrics writer. The 73-year-old writer and food critic received a cheque for 250,000 crowns (over 8,000 euro) from the organisers, the Josef Škvorecký Society.
Police say they have detained four people suspected of being behind a massive ring which counterfeited crown and euro notes. Another suspect is being sought in the Czech Republic. Other suspects are being sought in neighbouring Slovakia. The special police squad for combatting organised crime is behind the action with arrests made across the country at the end of last week. If convicted, the suspects could face up to 16 years in prison.
A missing Czech woman has been found dead in Nuksio National Park in southern Finland, the website finlandtimes.si reported on Thursday, citing local police sources. The body of the 27-year-old woman, reported missing since September 27, was discovered by a passer-by on Wednesday. Police did not provide any further details but said they didn’t suspect foul play.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Čech conceded five goals in the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. It was the first time the Czech goalkeeper has let in five goals since the Gunners’ 5-3 win over his former club Chelsea in 2011. Following the heavy defeat, Arsenal are currently on the verge of exiting the Champions League. They need at least two wins from the last two group games and hope that the other results go the right way.
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