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22-03-2016

Czech police step up security at airports, Metro after Brussels attacks

Police in the Czech Republic have stepped up security at the country’s airports and the Prague Metro system following terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning. A spokesperson said that the police had no information to suggest a threat of danger in the Czech Republic. The minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, said the country was on the lowest level of security alert. The Czech Foreign Ministry said they had no news of any Czech citizens being among the dead in attacks on the airport and an underground station in Brussels that left dozens dead.

Zeman: Brussels attacks confirm relentless activity of terror groups

Czech President Miloš Zeman said he was deeply shaken by Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels. Via his spokesman, the head of state said the events confirmed the relentless activity of terrorist groups and warned of underestimating the danger of such attacks in other states, including the Czech Republic. The country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, expressed his deepest sympathies toward the victims of the attacks. In a tweet he also offered his support to the Belgian government.

Police to deploy 3,000 officers on roads over Easter weekend

Some 3,000 police officers will be deployed on roads around the Czech Republic over the forthcoming weekend. They will focus on a number of violations, particularly the use of alcohol and drugs, the head of the country’s traffic police, Tomáš Lerch, said on Tuesday. The Easter weekend is one of the most high-risk times of the year on the roads, he told reporters.

Ministry rejects Dawn party’s attempt to share name with anti-Islamic group

The Ministry of the Interior has refused to allow the opposition party Dawn to change its name to Dawn with Block Against Islam, according to the former’s leader, Miroslav Lidinský. Last month Dawn, who have eight seats in the lower house, said they were adding the name Block Against Islam to their own after the two groupings reached an agreement. Mr. Lidinský on Tuesday quoted a ministry resolution saying Dawn’s anti-immigrant policies and the new name could create the impression that the party was seeking to deny the equal rights of Muslims. Both Dawn and Block Against Islam say they will challenge the ministry’s decision in the courts.

Restoration of royal tomb begins ahead of Charles IV anniversary celebrations

Restorers have begun work on the royal tomb at St. Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague Castle that includes the sarcophagus of Czech king and Holy Roman emperor Charles IV. The experts are cleaning stone and concrete elements of the tomb as well as repairing its railings and air control system. The work should be completed by the end of April, prior to celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV the following month.

Six charged in connection with railways administration body tender process

Anti-corruption police have charged six people and three companies in connection with the awarding of contracts in a Railway Infrastructure Administration public procurement process last year. The charges relate to alleged tender manipulation and attempted harm of the financial interests of the European Union, a state attorney said on Tuesday. Police officers raided the Prague offices of the agency that administers the Czech Republic’s railway network on Tuesday morning.

Otto Pick - WW II veteran, political scientist and former diplomat - has died at the age of 91, foreign minister reveals

Acclaimed political scientist, former diplomat and head of the Czechoslovak section of Radio Free Europe in Munich in the 1980s Otto Pick died on Sunday at the age of 91. The news was revealed on Monday evening by the Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. The minister paid tribute to Mr Pick, calling him “the wise man of Czech Foreign affairs”. During WW II, Mr Pick, who was Jewish and had been one of the Winton children (saved by Nicholas Winton on transport trains to Great Britain), completed his high school education in Great Britain and studied at Oxford University before he joined the Czechoslovak Army. As a soldier he took part in the Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944. After the Velvet Revolution, Mr Pick headed Prague’s Institute of International Relations and served as first deputy foreign minister,with a focus on the Czech Republic joining NATO.

Čech may quit international football after Euro 2016

The Czech soccer goalkeeper Petr Čech says he may retire from international football after this summer’s European Championship in France to concentrate on his club career. Čech, who turns 34 in May, said he would sit down and weigh up his international future after the tournament. He currently shares the Czech caps record, 118, with the retired Karel Poborský and is likely to set a new record in the coming week. The Arsenal player was named Czech Player of the Year for the eighth time in Prague on Monday night.

Prague offers asylum experts and police to help Greece deal with migrants

The Czech Republic has offered to send 10 asylum experts, 30 police officers and humanitarian aid to Greece to help the country deal with the migration crisis, the Czech state secretary for European affairs, Tomáš Prouza, said on Tuesday. Prague is now waiting for a response from Athens to the offer, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The move is linked to a deal recently agreed between the EU and Turkey aimed at curtailing the flow of migrants reaching Europe; under it, refugees who enter Greece from Turkey will be sent back. The Frontex agency would decide on the exact role to be carried out by the Czech police officers.

Agriculture Ministry considering further support for pork producers

The Czech Agriculture Ministry is considering additional extraordinary support of more than 400,000 crowns from the state budget for pork and milk producers, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said on Monday. The minister was speaking at the Žofín Forum. But additional support would have to be approved by the European Commission. Pork output in the Czech Republic last year fell by 3.5 percent, mainly as a result of cheap imports. According to Minister Jurečka, the current situation at pig farms in the country is critical. Owing to cheap imports, Czech producers often sell pork below their production costs. Czech cattle and pig farmers are already receiving extraordinary support at the amount of 600 million crowns, half of which comes from the state budget and half from EU funds. Cattle breeders were grappling with low purchasing prices of milk last year. Prices dropped owing to overproduction in Europe, which was caused by the abolition of milk production quotas and also as a result of the continuing Russian embargo on food imports.

22-03-2016