Daily news summary
PM slams president for “legitimizing xenophobia”
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has openly criticized the president for addressing an anti-migrant rally on the country’s public holiday on November 17th. In an interview for Friday’s Hospodářské noviny Mr. Sobotka said President Miloš Zeman had joined the ranks of populists who are feeding off people’s fear of the Islamic State and the migrant crisis. The president of a country with a humanist and democratic tradition should not legitimize the promotion of xenophobia and racial hatred, Mr. Sobotka told the paper, saying the president’s action was deeply disappointing.
Czech interior minister says Czech intelligence was aware of the presence of a terrorist suspect on Czech soil
The Czech intelligence services were aware of the movements of a terrorist suspect through Czech territory several years ago, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told journalists in Brussels on Friday rejecting speculation that the Czech secret service was sleeping on the job. Reacting to information from French sources that one of the persons linked to the Paris attacks had crossed the Czech Republic twice, five and seven years ago, Mr.Chovanec said his movements had been closely monitored and reported to foreign intelligence services. According to the French judiciary, one of the French jihadists, questioned after his return from Syria to France, testified that the alleged organiser of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had ordered him to travel via the Czech Republic so as not to be detected.
Academics file complaint against President Zeman
Charles University, the Prague School of Economics and three university professors have jointly filed a complaint against President Miloš Zeman, petitioning a court to force him to do his duty in appointing university professors. Mr. Zeman has caused controversy in academic circles by refusing to appoint certain nominees and eventually giving up the prerogative altogether and leaving the appointments to the education minister. The professors filing the complaint claim that the head of state is acting in violation of the school law.
Cardinal to celebrate mass for President Zeman
Cardinal Dominik Duka is to celebrate a mass for the president and country at Lány church on Friday evening, the first time that a celebratory mass of this kind will be held there since the state acquired it in 1921.According to the head of Prague Castle Protocol Jindřich Forejt the initiative came from the Catholic Church and was positively received by the Office of the President. Following the mass, which will be attended by President Zeman, he and the Cardinal will dine together at the president’s residence at Lány.
Security concerns affecting Czechs travel and holiday plans
The terrorist attacks in Paris and the international situation in general are affecting Czechs travel and holiday plans. Airlines report a 70 percent drop in booked flights to Paris and a 50 percent drop in bookings to Brussels against the previous month. Czechs are also putting off holiday plans for the summer in expectation of how the situation develops. Interest in Egypt has plummeted and there is now renewed interest in Bulgarian and Spanish seaside resorts.
Environment ministry: Czech environment not improving fast enough
Improvement of the Czech environment slowed last year, according to the annual eco report. The report will be presented to the government on Friday by Environment Minister Richard Brabec. Emission limits were exceeded on nearly one-fifth of the country’s territory and the national forests are unhealthy, suggests the report. Environmental groups are also warning that space for wilderness has diminished and warned against the further building up of landscape and agricultural land.
Czech Post’s management offers wage increase
The management of Czech Post which is negotiating with trade unions about higher wages has offered to raise employees’ wages by 6.5 percent on average as of April 2016. Employees in certain professions would receive an almost 7 percent increase. In recent months there has been a growing controversy over wages at the state-owned company with employees outside the big cities complaining that they make less in the same professions.
Brno councilor Tomas Kratochvil resigns
Brno city councilor Tomas Kratochvil who was recently expelled from his ANO party resigned from the council on Friday, the ctk news agency reports. Kratocvil had come under strong pressure from his former party to leave and the ongoing controversy over his continued presence was interfering with the work of the Brno administration. ANO’s leadership expelled him from the party citing incompetence and claiming that he was damaging the party’s good name. The other seven parties and groupings represented in Brno’s administration refused to get involved in the conflict.
Car production up by five percent
Car production in the Czech Republic increased by five percent to 1.1 million vehicles in the first ten months of this year, according to the Association of Car Makers. Skoda Auto saw a one percent increase, producing 629,000 passenger cars. Automobiles are one of the country’s leading export articles.
Court frees former officer charged with manslaughter
A court in Hradec Králové has freed a former police officer charged with manslaughter on the grounds that he acted in self-defence. The brawl in which the former officer shot dead a man and seriously injured another with a legally held weapon happened outside a disco in Vysoké Mýto last December. He was off duty at the time and had had several beers. The defence claimed that he only used his gun when one of the men started strangling him.