Czech politicians reacted to Thursday’s surprise cruise missile strike by the US on a Syrian airbase: Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Twitter expressed the hope that the strike, which used 59 cruise missiles, would prevent further chemical attacks by the Assad regime. The airbase struck is thought to have been used by Assad forces earlier this week in a gruesome chemical attack which killed at least 74 people, including children. Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said the US strike ordered by President Donald Trump was adequate given the nature of the Assad regime’s attack on civilians. The US airstrike was supported by Great Britain, France, and Israel and condemned by Russia. On the Czech political scene, the strike was condemned by the Communist Party.
The District Court for Prague 1 has ruled that the famous Slav Epic cycle of paintings by Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha belongs to the City of Prague, rejecting a claim by the painter’s grandson John Mucha. His legal representation had argued that the City of Prague had broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms had called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition. The city argued the cycle of paintings had no longer been owned by the painter but by American businessman Charles Crane. Friday’s ruling can be appealed.
Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has dismissed Jan Závěšický from the post of general director of the country's Czech Centres. According to the ministry’s press department, he made the move due to serious managerial errors. Závěšický came under fire recently when he refused to appoint Jean-Gaspard Páleníček the director of the Czech Centre in Paris, despite the fact that he won the tender for the job. Páleníček was later sacked. The step prompted a protest letter signed by over 200 French intellectuals and academics addressed to the Foreign Minister.
The elections to the lower house of parliament will take place on October 20-21, Czech President Miloš Zeman said in an interview on commercial broadcaster TV Barrandov on Thursday. The president chose the latest date possible according to the constitution, which says elections must be held at least 30 days before the end of a four-year parliamentary term with the president obliged to give at least 90-day notice of when they will happen. The deadline for political parties to submit the list of their candidates is August 15. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on his Twitter account that he was ready to sign the proposal.
Over the last six years, 428 Syrian refugees received asylum in the Czech Republic, according to numbers released by the Czech Interior Ministry. Temporary asylum was given 389 Syrian refugees by the end of last year, while 39 received permanent asylum residence permits. The Czech Republic is not regarded as a destination country when it comes to refugees: last year the country less than 1,500 people applied for asylum here.
The lower house of parliament on Friday passed an amendment aimed at tightening up on the conditions for foreigners to get residency permits in the Czech Republic. The amendment, however, does not fulfil the worst fears of non-profit and human rights organisations with the right of a court appeal after a refusal maintained. The government’s own human rights council and minister had highlighted the danger of this change and labelled it as unconstitutional. The new rules allow proceedings to be stopped if the claimant has been proved to have lied or submitted false documents. Past criminal convictions can also be taken into account. The amendment will now go to the upper house, the Senate.
Mostly cloudy conditions are expected on Saturday with a chance of rain. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of around 14 degrees Celsius.
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