Daily news summary

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German, Czech and Slovak officials meet in Berlin

A key task ahead of the EU will be to minimize the damage caused by Brexit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said following talks in Berlin with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico stressed the need for the EU to hold a common line in the Brexit talks. The meeting, held on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the German-Czechoslovak Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, focussed on Brexit, the migrant crisis and the upcoming German road toll, which other EU members consider problematic and discriminatory. Commenting on the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Sobotka said EU nations should have more ways of showing their solidarity in dealing with the migrant crisis, not only the reception of migrants, but also providing aid in the countries of their origin or protection of the EU’s outer borders. Both the Czech and Slovak prime ministers stressed the value of the Visegrad Four group in presenting different views to EU problems and their ability to focus on what unites rather than divides them.

Conference on IT in state administration

The Czech Republic should introduce IDs with electronic chips as of 2018, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at a conference dealing with IT in state administration on Monday. The government is also trying to push ahead with the introduction of electronic prescriptions and sick leave certificates which should lower the administrative burden on doctors and patients and improve control of paid sick leave. Many older GPs in the country oppose the move arguing that they do not have an internet connection and such conditions would put them out of business. The two-day conference should also announce the winner of the best municipal web page.

Supreme Court upholds six year sentence for racially-motivated crime

The Supreme Court has upheld a six-year sentence for an arson attack against a lodging house which was home to 18 Romany inhabitants, including 8 children. Two young men, who sympathised with the neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour, splashed the building with petrol and threw Molotov cocktails into the house. Luckily the inhabitants of the lodging house managed to put out the fire in time and no one was hurt in the incident. One of the youths convicted appealed the decision on the grounds that there were no injuries. The judge rejected the argument, stressing the gravity of what he said was a premeditated, racially-motivated attack.

Two Czechs charged with human trafficking in UK

Two Czech citizens have been charged with human trafficking in the UK, the Czech national centre for fighting organized crime reported on Monday. The two men were active in Cardiff, Wales since 2012 where they offered young Czechs lucrative work but later confiscated their papers and forced them into manual labour for food and accommodation. They were beaten and forced to work long hours in several jobs. If convicted they would face a prison sentence of five to twelve years.

Czech national suspected of serving in foreign army

The police are investigating a man from Brno on suspicion that he served in the armed forces of a foreign state. The man is believed to have fought in the Iraqi army. He has rejected the accusations saying he had only sough employment with a private security agency. Under Czech law serving in the armed forces of a foreign state is illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison. Such incidents are extremely rare. Since the country joined NATO in 1999, no Czech citizen has been tried or convicted of such a crime.

Slavia draw with Sparta in Prague football derby

In football, Slavia Prague drew with their traditional rivals Sparta 1-1 in a Czech league game at the Eden stadium on Sunday. Sparta’s Václav Kadlec opened the scoring in the 81st minute with Milan Škoda equalizing from a penalty in the first minute of extra time.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in the western parts of the country and day temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius. Moravia and Silesia should see more sunshine and higher day temperatures, reaching 20 degrees in places.