Lower house of parliament speaker Jan Hamáček highlighted the Czech commitment to boost defense spending to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020 and further increase it afterwards in response to US President Donald Trump’s Warsaw speech. Trump, while underlining Washington’s support for the NATO principle of common defense, also stressed that many NATO members are way below the 2.0 percent of GDP NATO target. The Czech Republic currently spends slightly over 1.0 of GDP on defense. Hamáček, who was representing the Czech Republic at the Three Seas Initiative, said on his Twitter account that he talked with Trump about energy security and also raised the future of the EU-US trade deal, TTIP, with him.
Czech Interior Ministry offers EU, Italy money, experts and police to help solve migrant crisis The Czech Interior Ministry has said the Czech Republic is ready to provide 800,000 euros in support of EU activities in Libya aimed at curbing the flow of migrants to the EU as well as send experts and police officers to help deal with the problem of illegal migrants in Italy. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec outlined the proposal in a letter to his Italian counterpart Marc Minniti saying that the practice of detentions had worked well in the Czech Republic and could be successfully applied in Italy as well. Minniti earlier called on EU member states to help ease Italy's situation. The Czech Republic has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to help out with money, experts and police officers but remains strongly opposed to the redistribution of refugees based on mandatory quotas.
A Prague court has rejected a request for compensation from former dissident and Charter 77 signatory Petr Hanzlík who was persecuted by the communist secret police and one of the victims of Asanace, an infamous clearance campaign aimed at getting opponents of the regime to emigrate. Hanzlík sued the Interior Ministry asking for 12 million in compensation for the property he was forced to leave behind and 700,000 for loss of pension. The court ruled that the statute of limitations on communist crimes had expired. Hanzlík’s lawyer has said his client would appeal the case.
Czech Railways is hosting an international conference of rail operators in Prague. Among the company representatives present are CEOs from Deutsche Bahn, France’s SNCF or the Russian RZD. The aim is to debate improvements in international rail transport and work on creating faster rail links between East and West. The Czech Republic’s present priorities are to improve rail links with Austria and Germany. Security in rail transport is also high on the agenda.
The Czech state veterinary authorities have now confirmed twenty-two cases of African swine fever in wild boar. The first incidence of the disease, which does not affect humans, appeared at the end of last month. Special monitoring of the wild boar population has been introduced and farmers have been asked to take heightened precautions. If domesticated pigs catch the disease they have to be put down and cordons placed around the farms in question.
Socially-challenged parents who have a problem paying for their children’s school lunches can file a request for subsidies as of July at labour offices around the country, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Friday. The project, now in its fifth year, is supported by European funds and will cover ten thousand schools around the country. Past years have shown that the social behaviour and grades of socially-challenged children improve rapidly once they start eating lunch with their classmates.
Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech Republic bracing for wind storm Sabine
Ron Perlman: Cinema is a much bigger art-form than superhero movies represent
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery