• 12/07/2022

    A Prague district court handed a former MP, Lubomír Volný, a two-year suspended sentence for spreading false alarm on Wednesday. The conviction comes after Mr. Volný stated on social media that people could die because of a campaign of discrimination against the drug ivermectin.

    He had promoted the anti-parasite drug, which is not registered in Czechia, as a treatment for Covid-19.

    Mr. Volný was elected as a member of Tomio Okamura’s anti-EU Freedom and Direct Democracy but later quit and formed his own grouping. Police also investigated statements he made online following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including expressions of admiration for Vladimir Putin and calling Volodymr Zelensky a mass murderer.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    Most Czechs would favour an easing of the current legalisation on the possession and cultivation of marijuana, suggests a study by the firm Behavio for the group Charta 420, who support calls from the national anti-drug coordinator, Jindřich Vobořil, for soft drug liberalisation.

    The survey indicates that two out of three Czechs agree with the decriminalisation of cannabis and the regulation of the sale of marijuana to adults.

    One-quarter of those questioned said they would leave current law in the area in place, while 3 percent want tougher regulations on drug use, the study suggests.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    President Miloš Zeman could appoint a new head of the Czech Constitutional Court in the three months before his term ends, Seznam Zprávy and Respekt reported on Wednesday. The head of state plans to install current Constitutional Court judge Josef Fiala to the post, the news outlets said.

    Experts say such a move may be legally uncertain, as the mandate of the current head of the court, Pavel Rychetský, does not end until August. Mr. Zeman himself will be replaced in March so he would need to appoint Mr. Fiala “in advance”.

    Mr. Rychetský told Seznam Zprávy that it was not possible to name somebody to an occupied position from the legal and formal perspective.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    The Czech government has extended checks on the country’s border with Slovakia for another 14 days on the proposal of the minister of the interior, Vít Rakušan, Czech Television reported on Wednesday. The controls were due to end on December 12.

    Czechia reintroduced checks on the Slovak border at the end of September, following a rise in the number of undocumented migrants passing through the region on what is called the West Balkans route.

    Under Schengen zone rules, the controls may remain in place for a maximum of six months.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    A system under which retailers, restaurants and other businesses in Czechia must record their takings in real time looks set to end by the end of the year. The Senate’s Economic Committee backed the move on Wednesday, with the upper house set to vote on the matter next week.

    MPs have already voted to remove the system, known in Czech by the acronym EET, which was introduced by the previous government of Andrej Babiš.

    The current cabinet say that the system was a pointless burden on both business people and the state.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    The Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, is likely to visit the United States in the first quarter of next year, the country’s ambassador to Washington, Miloslav Stašek, told the Czech News Agency. The diplomat said no specific date had yet been set.

    The news site Blesk.cz reported in April that Mr. Fiala would meet US President Joe Biden before the end of 2022. However, this is unlikely to happen during Czechia’s six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is now coming to a close.

    The last Czech leader to visit the White House was then PM Andrej Babiš, who was welcomed by Donald Trump in 2019.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    It should be mainly overcast in Czechia on Thursday, with an average high temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is expected on the following days.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 12/07/2022

    A pilot program inspired by the teachings of the former President Václav Havel will be introduced in a number of secondary schools within civic education classes. Presenting the DigiHavel project to the media, its author Alena Reslová, said its aim is to encourage young people to think about democracy, human rights or totalitarianism and not to fall prey to disinformation campaigns on social media. The experimental app will be launched in selected secondary schools in January of next year.

  • 12/07/2022

    The Visegrad Group, comprising Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland will continue to cooperate despite existing differences on key issues, the representatives of the V4 states said in a joint statement following their informal meeting in Bratislava on Tuesday. The statement says that despite differences of opinion the V4 have always managed to reach consensus at the European level on aid to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said Czechia’s stand on V4 cooperation was “sober and pragmatic”.

    The joint press conference after the V4 meeting was marred by a dispute between the Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Kačer and his Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó over the fact that while in Bratislava Szijjártó had met privately with the head of the opposition Social Democrats (Smer-SD), Slovak ex-premier Robert Fico. Káčer said the meeting undermined efforts to foster good neighbourly relations between Slovakia and Hungary, which have been complicated by disagreements over the status of the large Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Fico said after the meeting with the Hungarian foreign minister that if his party is in the next Slovak government, it will stop arms deliveries to Ukraine.

  • 12/06/2022

    At least two-fifths of Czechs believe that victims of rape may be partly to blame for the crime, for example because of flirtatious behaviour, drunkenness or the way they dress, according to the outcome of a survey presented in the Czech lower house on Tuesday by Amnesty International.  The number of Czechs who hold this view is declining; only seven years ago, more than three-fifths of Czechs said that in some cases the victims provoke the attack by unsuitable behaviour. Amnesty’s Irena Hůlová stressed that in all cases, the perpetrator is solely to blame for the rape. Shifting the blame from the perpetrator to the victim deepens their trauma, justifies the perpetrators' actions and diminishes the gravity of the crime, she said.

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