The Czech Republic saw a 42 percent rise in the number of illegal migrants, some 2,500, since the beginning of the year, according to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. He made the statement on a Sunday TV debate show, adding that the Czech Republic has recently increased controls. He also said the country would increase the capacity of existing asylum seeker centres, saying that the opening of a facility in Vyšná Lhota was "very likely".
The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a warning urging Czech citizens traveling or vacationing in Tunisia to avoid areas outside of their hotels such as public markets, bars, restaurants and other sites where large numbers of people congregate. The ministry is also offering travelers the opportunity to register at its website. The warning comes after Friday's terrorist attack in Sousse where a lone gunman opened fire on vacationers with an assault rifle. Thirty-eight people, mostly tourists but also locals, died in the massacre. The Czech Foreign Ministry said that travelers needed to avoid border areas near Libya or Algeria, where the risk of kidnapping is high. According to the ministry, areas west of the line of Jendouba, Le Kef, Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Tozeur, and south of Tozeur, Kebili, Medenine and Zarzine are high-risk. There are fears not only of possible abductions but of additional attacks against Western targets.
According to the daily The Telegraph, football club Arsenal will announce the signing of goalkeeper Petr Čech on Monday. The legendary Czech keeper, the news site reports, passed his medical on Friday after he and the club agreed financial terms. Čech played 11 years for Chelsea, helping the club to countless trophies, including the Champions League in 2012. The deal with London rivals Arsenal is being seen as highly unorthodox and is being rued by some Chelsea fans and commentators. Čech lost his spot as No. 1 goalkeeper at Chelsea last season to Thibaut Courtois.
Former political prisoners as well as Justice Minister Robert Pelikán honoured the memory of Milada Horáková in Prague on Saturday, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of her death. The democratic politician was the victim of an infamous Stalinist-era show trial in Communist Czechoslovakia, where she was found guilty - on trumped up charges - of conspiracy and treason. She was executed on June 27, 1950. The justice minister characterised Mrs Horáková's heroism as "quiet and uncompromising". The ceremony took place at the memorial site at Pankrác Prison.
Some 40 Czech nationals who were vacationing in Sousse, Tunisia, just 150
metres from where a gunman opened fire on vacationers with a kalashnikov on
Friday, have made clear they want to return home to the Czech Republic as
soon as possible. One of the Czechs told the Czech News Agency that most
did not want to be in the country a single day after a cold-blooded killer
gunned down dozens of westerners and locals at the seaside. Thirty-eight
people were killed; there were no Czech victims. Czech diplomacy has
recommended a government plane be sent to facilitate the Czechs'
return but that is being reported as unlikely. The Foreign Ministry is
instead cooperating with travel agencies to try and secure places on
earlier return flights which are now largely booked up.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told Czech TV he understood why Czech tourists in the vicinity of the tragedy could hardly continue with their vacations, saying diplomatic staff had been boosted in Tunisia to provide assistance. The Association of Czech Travel Agents said on Saturday that some 30 Czechs wanted to return out of 3,000 or so vacationing in Tunisia. Czech travel agencies have been offering clients at home the chance to still change pre-paid destinations. In some cases, they have offered refunds.
The prime minister has called a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday evening to assess the latest developments and potential threats to the security of the Czech Republic. The illegal migrants crisis as well as terrorist attacks in three countries on Friday are the two main issues to be addressed. The Czech Republic has already increased checks of travelers along railway and other major routes and could reinstate full border controls with the help of the Czech Army should the country see a dramatic rise in the number of illegal migrants. Currently, countries such as Greece and Italy are bearing the brunt as entry points for illegal migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Security at key sites, including airports in the Czech Republic, have meanwhile been boosted in response to terrorist attacks in three countries including Tunisia on Friday which killed dozens of people including both vacationers and locals.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has confirmed that security in the Czech Republic has been increased at embassies, airports as well as Czech branches of Air Products, the American firm which was targeted in a terrorist attack in France on Friday. The firm has branches not only in the capital but in Brno and Děčín. Attacks on Friday took place in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait, leaving scores of dead. In response, Czech travel agencies are allowing customers bought package holidays to Tunisia to change destinations: CK Fischer said 80 percent who had prepaid holidays had already done so. The Czech Foreign Ministry is reportedly treating the attack in Sousse, Tunisia, as an isolated incident but some analysts suggest the attacks, which bear the hallmarks of IS or Isil as it is also known, were possibly coordinated. The Guardian notes the attacks come close to the first anniversary of the terrorist organisation's declaration of a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
Police have charged a 21-year-old woman with the murder of her newborn in Mníšek pod Brdy near Prague. The suspect was arrested on Friday, a day after the baby's body was found in a plastic bag in a garbage container. The police were reportedly tipped off. If found guilty, the woman faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison or an exemplary sentence.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on an official one-day visit to France, marked the 97th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak armed forces on Saturday at a memorial site in Darney, where some 6,000 Czechoslovak legionaries swore allegiance to the emerging Czechoslovakia on June 30, 1918. In a short speech, Mr Sobotka said that Darney was of key importance for Czech statehood. Dozens of Czech and French soldiers as well as WW II veterans attended the ceremony.