Daily news summary


Visegrad Four Countries and Korea sign memorandum on cooperation

The Visegrad Four countries and South Korea adopted a joint memorandum supporting tighter economic, trade and cultural cooperation at a summit in Prague on Thursday. The memorandum, signed by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia supports the unification of North and South Korea as well as Ukraine’s pro-reform efforts. The V4 prime ministers have also rejected the proposal for creating a ‘mini-Schengen’, and called for a better protection of Schengen’s outer border.

South Korean president and Czech prime minister sign two-year cooperation plan

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka have signed a two-year action plan covering cooperation in industry, culture, politics and security, spokesman for the Czech government, Martin Ayrer, said on Thursday. The two countries agreed on a strategic partnership during the Prime Minister’s visit to Seoul in February 2015. It includes cooperation on cyber security, the defence industry, and nuclear energy. During their meeting ahead of the summit of South Korea and the Visegrad Four in Prague on Thursday, the Korean president and Czech Prime Minister also discussed mostly economic cooperation, Korean investments in the Czech Republic and security affairs, Ayrer said in a statement

Politicians to discuss Dukovany shutdown in coalition council

Government political parties are to discuss the ongoing shutdowns and past safety failures at the Dukovany nuclear power plant next week. Minister of Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, said a meeting of the coalition council will discuss the shutdown of three out of four of the reactor units since October. The closures have been caused by flawed past X-ray safety checks on reactor pipes by a sub-contracting firm.

Czech president’s chief of the military office loses security clearance

The Czech Supreme Audit Office has taken away the top-level security clearance from the Chief of the Military Office of the Czech President, General Rostislav Pilc, which he needs to perform some of his functions, the daily Lidové Noviny wrote on Thursday. According to the daily, the decision is connected to the affair of the former chief-of-staff of the prime minister’s office Jana Nagyová. Mr Pilc’s attorney told the daily that he would appeal the decision. Another person who failed to receive the security clearance earlier this year is President Miloš Zeman's Chancellor Vratislav Mynář.

Council of Europe urges greater action over minority languages

The Council of Europe has recommended that the Czech Republic do more to safeguard and promote minority languages such as German and the Roma language. The Strasbourg based human rights body said Prague should step up its efforts because minority languages are part of the country overall cultural heritage. It suggested more use of the two languages in education, media, and public life. German was mostly perceived as a foreign language, it added. On the other hand, it found that Polish, a minority language in the far east of the country, has fared much better and is in education and other areas in a much better position.

Swiss based developer launches US arbitration over construction project

Pawlowski AG, a company belonging to real estate developed Sebastian Pawlowski, has said it will launch international arbitration proceedings against the Czech Republic in the United States. The proceedings focus on land on the outskirts of Prague at Benice which was bought with a view to a giant housing project. Land zoning rules were first changed to allow the construction but later changed back resulting in a massive loss for the developer. The Ministry of Finance has refused an out of court settlement demanding 2.6 billion crowns in compensation.

Police investigate solar power corruption case

The Czech anti-corruption police squad is investigating several people connected to the country’s third largest solar power plant, Ševětín, in south Bohemia, the website lidovky.cz reported on Thursday. Two top-managers from Czech energy group ČEZ are reported to have been questioned following a raid on their offices. A spokesman for the anti-corruption unit said no-one was arrested or charged, but refused to provide any further information. The ČEZ-owned power plant, which was put into operation in 2010 under a generous government renewable energy support, has aroused suspicions of corruption in the past.

Nurse charged with killing patient does not suffer from mental illness

Věra Marešová, a former nurse charged with killing six patients in her care at a hospital in Rumburk, does not suffer from any mental disorder that might have affected her behaviour, a court psychiatrist giving testimony in the case said on Thursday. According to the prosecution, the nurse injected six patients with potassium in the years 2010 to 2014, leading to their deaths. Her alleged victims were five women and one man, between the ages of 35 to 85. The suspect has maintained she is innocent; if found guilty, she could be given a life sentence.

Five thousand patients received kidney transplant at IKEM since 1966

Five thousand patients have received a kidney transplant at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague over the past 49 years, the head of the centre, Aleš Heřman, said on Thursday. The country’s oldest systematic transplant program was established in 1966 and today it helps on average five patients a week. The institute performs between 50 to 60 kidney transplants a year from living donors.

Five people injured and one missing in fire in Trutnov company

Five firefighter units and two helicopters are working to extinguish a blaze at a company manufacturing spare car parts in Trutnov, north Bohemia. The fire reportedly broke out at a gas filling facility at seven a.m. on Thursday. Five people suffered injuries and one person is reported missing. The fire produced a thick dark smoke and explosions are still being heard from the premises, preventing rescue workers from entering the place. The whole area remains closed to traffic for safety reasons.