The Czech Republic has put forward a proposal to temporarily exclude EU member states which are not sufficiently protecting their borders from the free-travel Schengen zone. The deputy of the interior minister, Viktor Čech, told journalists on Thursday that the Czech Republic’s position on the issue of border controls within the Schengen zone was that the possibility should exist to impose temporary border controls on countries which do not adhere to Schengen regulations. A majority of EU member states supported expanded border controls in the bloc’s free-travel zone, as some southern member states struggle with an influx of migrants from North Africa.
The Public Affairs party, a junior member of the government coalition, on Thursday presented a list of demands that they expect to be met by Prime Minister Petr Nečas’s government. Among the changes the party is seeking to push through are a new anti-corruption legislation and personnel changes. Should their demands not be met, the party has threatened to leave the government coalition.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas underwent an eye surgery in Prague on Thursday, and has therefore cancelled the majority of his appointments both on Thursday and Friday. The prime minister will be indisposed at a time when the government is facing another potential crisis following the resignation of Public Affairs leader Radek John from the post of anti-corruption tsar. Mr. John had only recently been offered the post as part of a resolution to the cabinet crisis that shook the government a few weeks ago.
Deputy prime minister and leader of the Public Affairs party Radek John signed his resignation on Wednesday and is prepared to hand it to Prime Minister Petr Nečas. A source close to Mr. John told journalists on Thursday that Mr. John had not yet been able to officially hand in his resignation due to the fact that the prime minister was undergoing an eye surgery. He added that as soon as Mr. Nečas recovered from his surgery, Mr. John was going to meet with the prime minister and hand over his resignation.
Head of the Public Affairs group of deputies Karolína Peake and MP Michal Babák are not going to withdraw from the race for party chairmanship. The two Public Affairs members are not going to follow the party’s de-facto leader Vít Bárta, who on Wednesday had called upon its members to rally behind its current leader, Radek John, and dropped out from the race to become party chairman. Public Affairs’ elections of a new chairman are set to start next Thursday.
Activists protested against the 11th International Exhibition of Defence and Security Technologies currently under way in Brno. Dressed at clowns, the protesters, who are members of the initiatives Protestfest and Food Not Bombs, tried to get into the Brno Exhibition Centre. They said they wanted to draw attention to the fact that producers of cluster bombs are displaying their products at the exhibition. In 2010, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the stockpiling and use of nearly all existing cluster bombs, took effect. Since then, 108 countries have adopted it.
American film-makers are considering shooting films and documentaries in the Czech wine-growing region of Velké Pavlovice in southern Moravia. The director of the Vinium company, Karel Lyčka, said that he had been contacted by Hollywood producers who were interested in the location for its local wine-growing tradition and the attractive conditions granted to film productions by the Czech Republic. He added that a number of American producers had expressed interest in the region and that he is currently in negotiations with some of them. The Czech Republic is one of 12 EU states that grant tax-incentives to American film-makers.
A young Vietnamese man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for growing marijuana. Police found some 400 cannabis plants in a house near the eastern town of Opava. The 24-year-old has pled not guilty, saying he was paid 20,000 crowns a month to mind the house and the plants for a fellow Vietnamese. He said he was caring for the plants because he believed they were to be used as animal feed.
The biggest attraction of the Ostrava zoo, an Indian Elephant baby, is celebrating its one-month anniversary today. According to employees of the zoo, the baby has not yet been given a name by its sponsor, but is in good health and well cared for by its mother. It is only the second elephant baby to be born in a Czech zoo; the first was born in Ostrava zoo in March but died a week ago. Indian Elephants are an endangered species threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
A memorial ceremony was held at the composer Bedřich Smetana’s grave on Thursday, marking the 127th anniversary of his death. The ceremony was put together by the organizers of the 66th annual Prague Spring festival and is held each year ahead of the classical music event. His famous cycle of symphonic pieces Má Vlast, or My Country, kicks off the Prague Spring each year. The festival was established in 1946, has survived the communist era and continues to be considered the country’s most important classical music event.
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