The number of migrants entering the Czech Republic is now falling, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, said on Sunday. Speaking on a television discussion show, Mr. Chovanec said he would next week meet ombudswoman Anna Šabatová, who recently condemned conditions at Czech asylum centres. The interior minister said the centres were up to 21st century standards. He also said the Czech Republic would need to take in migrants in future but that a mass wave was not desirable.
Hundreds of people gathered in Prague on Sunday to highlight the recent wave of attacks on Jews in Israel. The event was organised by a number of groups and was intended to draw attention to what they described as a wave of ethnic terror that European countries were ignoring. The rabbi of the Bnej Israel congregation, David Bohbot, said the Israeli government should admit a war was taking place in the country; as in war, Jews should protect themselves against those who attack them, he said.
It is very important that Czech diplomats also attend meetings between President Miloš Zeman and local leaders when he is on foreign trips, says the Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Záoralek. He made the comment on a television debate programme on Sunday. Mr. Záoralek said he would do his best to ensure no repeat of situations in which Mr. Zeman met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Beijing this year accompanied by an advisor but not the pertinent Czech ambassador. The country's foreign policy chief said his officials needed to be aware of the content of such meetings so they could analyse them.
The Czech cabinet is set make a long-awaited decision on the future of mining limits in North Bohemia at a session in regional centre Ústí nad Labem on Monday, the Czech News Agency reported. It said ministers would were likely between two options, both of which envisage doing away with limits at the Bílina mine. Opponents and supporters of the move are expected to demonstrate outside the cabinet meeting. Doctors, scientists and other concerned persons have written to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka warning that the change could harm the environment and the health of local communities; those in favour say it will be good for employment in the region. Restrictions on mining in the area have been in place since 1991.
Sunday is the 25th anniversary of the worst mining disaster in modern Czech history, when 30 miners met their deaths in the Důl Barbora mine in Karviná in the Moravian Silesian Region. An explosion occurred at 650 metres below ground on 18 November 1990, killing two thirds of the 41 men working there. A commission later established the cause as a methane explosion started by a spark. The most tragic mining disaster ever in the Czech lands, which left 319 dead, occurred in Příbram in 1892.
Prague’s Main Train Station is not going to be renamed after the late Sir Nicholas Winton, despite calls for such a move. The chairman of the city’s toponymic commission, historian Václav Ledvinka, told the Czech News Agency that neither the station nor a nearby park was in the running for such a tribute. He said other places in the capital were being considered for renaming after Sir Nicholas, who saved over 650 Czech Jewish children from the Nazis and died in July at the age of 106. Transports organised by Sir Nicholas departed from the Main Train Station and a statue of him stands there.
Christian Democrats in the Olomouc Region have called on its governor Jiří Rozbořil to convene a session of the regional government in the coming weeks at which Mr. Rozbořil would shed light on his indictment on bribery charges. The Christian Democrats’ Ivo Slavotínek says information on the matter in the media has been unclear and could harm the reputation of the region. Mr. Rozbořil was arrested last week as part of an anti-corruption operation that has also involved senior police officers. He has filed a complaint against the charges, which he says are the result of a misunderstanding.
Opponents and defenders of refugees held rival demonstrations in the centre of Prague on Saturday afternoon. Around a thousand anti-immigration protestors led by populist MP Tomio Okamura gathered in front of the National Museum, some waving Czech flags and carrying anti-Islamic signs. Around 400 anti-xenophobia demonstrators gathered a little lower on Wenceslas Square by the statute of Saint Wenceslas. Some of the latter whistled while Mr. Okamura was speaking and there were verbal clashes between the two groups.
Over 25,000 Roman Catholics took part in a mass in central Brno on Saturday. The service on the city’s Zelný trh was the culmination of the first National Eucharistic Congress held in the Czech Republic. Over 500 priests were among those in attendance at the mass, which was performed by such figures as Prague’s Archbishop Dominik Duka, Archbishop Jan Graubner from Olomouc and the papal nuncio Giuseppe Leanza. Eucharistic congresses are common in states with large Catholic communities and are held every four years.
Three pedestrians were seriously injured after being hit by trams in three different parts of Prague on Friday evening and night. A 32-year-old man was hit by the Biskupcova tram stop in Žižkov, a man of 27 was hit near the Invalidovna stop in Karlín and a 46-year old woman was hit at the Slavia stop in Vršovice, the spokesperson for the city’s rescue services, Jiřina Ernestová, told the Czech News Agency. She said people needed to be aware that trams had right of way over pedestrians.