• Czechs will not meet pledge to NATO to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence

    09/23/2020

    Czechs will not meet pledge to NATO to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence

    The Czech Republic will not fulfil its pledge to NATO to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defence by the year 2024. The minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, made a statement to that effect after discussions of the Ministry of Defence’s budget on Wednesday. The minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, said the main thing was that the trajectory of spending on defence was headed toward 2 percent.

    The Czech Republic has repeatedly committed itself to reaching that level of military spending by 2024, with both Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and President Miloš Zeman promising that it would happen.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Pubs must close at 10 pm, says health minister

    09/23/2020

    The minister of health, Roman Prymula, has announced new measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. From Thursday restaurants and pubs in the Czech Republic will have to close at 10 pm for the following two weeks, he said a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

    Mr. Prymula said that a maximum of 2,000 spectators would be permitted at outdoor sporting events. Indoors the figure is 1,000.

    Only 50 people will be allowed to stand at outdoor events. A rule that no more than 10 may stand at indoor events remains in place.

    The minister, who was sworn in earlier this week, said no changes regarding the country’s schools were being introduced. However, he did recommend that head teachers exercise their right to close schools this coming Friday.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Task force chief: Mobile electoral commissions for isolating voters will be beefed up

    09/23/2020

    The country’s coronavirus task force has decided to beef up mobile electoral commissions so that they can serve up to 16,000 voters in quarantine in Senate and regional elections early next month. The head of the Central Crisis Staff, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, made the announcement after it met on Wednesday.

    Mr. Hamáček said the situation surrounding the Covid-19 epidemic remained serious but that the spread of the virus at present corresponded to the government’s “medium” scenario. If things remain that way, there is no danger of the Czech healthcare system being overwhelmed, he said. At present 581 people are in hospital with Covid-19 and there are over 26,000 active cases.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Prosecution of top Communists over border deaths halted

    09/23/2020

    The state attorney has halted the prosecution of three top representatives of the Communist regime over the use of firearms on Czechoslovakia’s borders in the pre-1989 period. One-time Communist Party general secretary Miloš Jakeš died in July. The other officials concerned, former prime minister Lubomír Štrougal and ex-interior minister Vratislav Vajnar, are both now mentally incapacitated and incapable of understanding charges against them, the district state attorney for Prague 1, Jan Lelek, said on Wednesday.

    The Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism said the three’s inactivity had led to nine people who tried to escape to the West being shot dead or torn apart by dogs between March 1976 and the end of 1989. At least seven others were injured.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Weather forecast

    09/23/2020

    It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Thursday, with an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs will tumble to around 10 degrees Celsius at the weekend.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Slavia draw with Midtjylland to keep Champions League hopes alive

    09/23/2020

    Slavia Prague drew 0:0 at home in a Champions League play-off round game against Denmark’s Midtjylland on Tuesday evening. The visitors created more chances than the hosts and Slavia had goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář to thank for keeping them in the tie. The second leg takes place in Denmark next Wednesday. The winners of the tie will go through to the group stage of European football’s most prestigious competition.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Czech Philharmonic begins 125th season with Prague concert

    09/23/2020

    The Czech Philharmonic will launch its 125th season with a concert at Prague’s Rudolfinum on Wednesday evening. The orchestra will perform Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto under the baton of its principal conductor, Semyon Bychkov.

    A plan to also play Mahler’s Fifth Symphony was abandoned as the management of the Czech Philharmonic said it would require too many musicians given the Covid-19 situation.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • PM: Crisis shows our dependence on IT, vulnerability to threats

    09/23/2020

    The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, says the coronavirus situation has shown how dependent people are on information and communication technology, as well as the how vulnerable such systems are.

    Speaking on Wednesday at the start of a conference on the security of 5G networks, Mr. Babiš said our perception of new technologies needed to be changed completed. We need to be far more vigilant toward the threats associated with it, he said.

    A frequency auction for a 5G mobile network in the Czech Republic is now ongoing, with the deadline for bids being the end of this month.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • Netherlands places Czech Republic on list of high-risk countries

    09/23/2020

    The Netherlands has placed the Czech Republic on the list of states which pose a high risk of COVID-19 infection, the Czech Foreign Ministry informed on Tuesday evening. As of Wednesday, Czechs travelling to the country will be required to go into quarantine, even if they have a negative Covid-19 test.

    Another country which is considering placing the Czech Republic on its red list of risky travel destinations is Germany, which has already imposed restrictions on travel from Prague and the Central Bohemian region.

    Author: Ruth Fraňková
  • Tuesday sees second highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases

    09/23/2020

    Some 2,349 new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were detected on Tuesday, according to official Ministry of Health data. That is the second highest single-day jump since the pandemic first hit the country.

    The total number of known cases of the virus since the start of March stood at 53,158 on Wednesday morning. To date 531 people have died with Covid-19 and 26,151 have recovered from the disease.

    Some 581 are currently hospitalised with Covid-19, with 115 of them in a serious condition, the highest number since the outbreak of the pandemic.

    Author: Ruth Fraňková

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