Daily news summary

Ambassador King: Russia and China present biggest threat for NATO

The main threats for NATO in the present day are Russia, China and cyberwarfare, the US ambassador to Prague, Stephen King, said at a seminar in the Czech lower house marking 20 years since the country joined NATO.

The US ambassador said Putin’s regime was one of creeping aggression, citing its conflict with Georgia, the annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. China, the ambassador said, used business to further the country’s strategic interests.

Ambassador King called on the Czech Republic to honor its commitments to NATO to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense. Foreign minister Tomáš Petříček said the country could realistically fulfill this commitment by 2024.

Russian Embassy reported to be leasing flats intended for its diplomats

The Russian Embassy in Prague has been profiting from the lease of hundreds of flats in Prague 6 which were intended for Russian diplomats, Czech Radio reported on Monday citing the news site Denik N.

The flats belong to the Czech state and were allotted to the Russian Embassy for its diplomats for an unspecified period of time before the fall of communism in 1989.

According to Denik N the flats are being leased to people without a contract and they are paying rent in cash directly to the Russian Embassy.

This activity is reportedly documented by a number of ads offering the flats for rent.

According to former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, it is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Internationally wanted criminal remanded in custody in Prague

An internationally wanted criminal, who is believed to have killed three people in different parts of Europe, has been remanded in custody in Prague.

The man was arrested by the Czech police on Friday night and the authorities have already received extradition requests from Serbia, Hungary and the Netherlands where he is believed to have committed the contract killings.

According to the police the man, who is a Serbian and Hungarian national, had a number of fake documents, weapons and was masked to avoid detection.

Supreme Audit Office says Industry Ministry to blame for poor drafting of EU funds

The Supreme Audit Office says procrastination at the Trade and Industry Ministry was partly to blame for problems with drafting EU funds for research and innovation in the past few years.

An in-depth audit revealed that individuals and institutions who filed for an EU grant in 2016 had to wait a year for the ministry’s decision. This significantly reduced interest in grants over the next two years.

Consequently,the Czech Republic has only managed to draft ten percent of the 34.8 billion crowns that the EU placed at its disposal between 2014 and 2020.

Number of children with speech problems increasing

An increasing number of Czech children suffer from speech impediments, according to data released by the Institute of Health Information and Statistics. Between the years 2010 and 2017 their number increased by over 26,000, reaching around 156,800 last year.

The number of school-children who require speech-therapy is increasing as well. Last year, the Ministry of Education registered over 7,200 children with speech problems, which is around three times more than ten years ago.

Martina Sáblíková wins fifth combined world championship title

Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková won her fifth combined world championship title in Calgary on Sunday. The long-distance specialist won the women’s final 5000-metre race in six minutes, 42 seconds, beating her own record set in 2011.

The 31-year-old Sáblíková beat her nearest rival Miho Tagaki, in second place, by around 20 seconds to secure the combined title.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be mostly overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.