Daily news summary

Army lagging behind and needs investment, says chief of General Staff

The head of the Czech Army says that years of neglect and cost-cutting have reduced it to a skeleton that needs to be built up again, Novinky.cz reported. Speaking at an army command assembly on Tuesday, the chief of the General Staff, Aleš Opata, called for acceleration in the modernisation of the force’s heavy equipment.

General Opata said using Russian technology was not the way to go for the Czech Army, which was being left behind by its allies. Potential adversaries are a generation ahead of the Czechs, he added.

The chief of the General Staff said soldiers were expecting political leaders to make good on their promise to reach NATO military spending targets by 2024. Government leaders recently raised doubts over whether this would be achieved.

Maláčová: Arrests at ministry no reason for resignation

The minister of labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová, says she has no intention of resigning over a police raid at her government department on Monday. Two people were charged following the intervention, reportedly including Minister Maláčová’s deputy for the economics and IT. The pair have been suspended in connection with the arrests, which are linked to an IT contract.

President Miloš Zeman described the situation as a mess while the prime minister, Andrej Babiš, said it was a major problem and that he would demand an explanation from the Social Democrat minister.

Czechs in quarantine after Covid-19 case found in Tenerife hotel

Five Czechs are being held in quarantine on the Spanish island of Tenerife in connection with the Covid-19 virus. The Spanish authorities ordered all of the guests at their hotel to be placed in quarantine after one person staying there was discovered to have the coronavirus, the Czech News Agency reported, citing the Prague-based tour agency Invia.

The Czech group only arrived in Tenerife on Monday. They were due to return on March 6 but it is not clear if they will be allowed to fly back on that date.

Czechs flying from Iran taken to hospital for preventative tests

Six Czechs who arrived from Iran at Prague Airport on Tuesday were taken for preventative tests to the city’s Na Bulovce hospital. The measure was taken in view of the fact that there has been a Covid-19 outbreak in the country. None of the Czechs had any signs of the disease, officials said.

Airport staff in Prague expected the six and immediately accompanied them from their plane to a medical centre on the premises.

Police recommend two more face trial for supporting Christchurch attack

The Czech police have recommended that two more people face trial for expressing approval on the internet of last year’s terrorist attack in New Zealand. The police have now called for a total of five people to be tried for the support of terrorism in this connection, a representative of the Supreme State Attorney’s Office in Prague said on Tuesday. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

According to previous information, 12 people in the Czech Republic are being investigated on suspicion of publicly approving of a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch that left 51 people dead.

Poll: Percentage of Czechs “satisfied with lives” growing

The percentage of Czechs who are “satisfied with their lives” has grown in recent years, suggests an opinion poll released by the STEM agency. Some 85 percent of respondents in the survey conducted in January answered in the affirmative, with the remainder saying they were dissatisfied.

STEM says it has traced a gradual increase in satisfaction levels since 2015. Last month’s rate was the highest recorded since the regular poll was introduced in 1994, it said.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 5 degrees Celsius. The following days should see similar weather but there is the chance of snow toward the end of the week.