The Dawn party have changed their name to Dawn with Block Against Islam. Representatives of Dawn – who have eight seats in the Chamber of Deputies – and the extra-parliamentary group Block Against Islam approved the move at a joint congress in Prague on Saturday. The head of Dawn’s parliamentary group, Marek Černoch, said voters needed to know that the two groups had complementary outlooks were cooperating. It is the fourth time that Dawn has changed its name. It began as Tomio Okamura’s Dawn of Direct Democracy but Mr. Okamura was later ousted from the party.
The Czech police managed recent opposing demonstrations in Prague against Islam and supporting refugees well, says the Czech minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. Speaking to journalists on Saturday, he said only “minor excesses” had been uncovered. Mr. Chovanec is due to present on Monday the findings of an assessment of the police’s handling of events that took place two weeks ago. The minister of justice, Robert Pelikán, said at the time that officers should have intervened as some of those taking part were masked and carrying weapons, which is illegal during a demonstration. Mr. Chovanec said the actions of such demonstrators had likely been a “targeted provocation”.
A court in Norway has postponed the hearing of an appeal lodged by a Czech woman who was stripped of her parental rights and saw her two sons put up for adoption. The court said it had failed to secure interpretation for the hearing involving mother Eva Michaláková, according to a representative of a petition drive launched in her support. The court, which had been due to consider the matter by the end of February, did not inform the group as to whether a new date had been set.
Coalition leaders the Social Democrats will never act as a parasite on the migration issue or go in for scaremongering, its chairman Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Saturday, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The comments came days after President Miloš Zeman – a mentor turned rival of the prime minister’s – said the Social Democrats required somebody who would prepare the country for a wave of migration that could come this year. Speaking a day after returning from an EU summit in Brussels where the refugee crisis was discussed, Mr. Sobotka said the Czech Republic could not provide assistance at the cost of threatening its own security.
A new regulation came into force in the Czech Republic on Saturday requiring pedestrians to wear reflective items such as fluorescent armbands or vests on unlit sections of road or in the vicinity of construction projects. Failure to do so can result in a fine. The measure is part of a new amendment chiefly aimed at protecting pedestrians. It also regulates the use of Segways and allows police to confiscate technical certificates from motorists whose cars fail to meet certain requirements.
Trains running on Prague Metro system between the stations Muzeum and Pražského povstání are closed for the whole weekend for repair work on the tracks. That section of the C (red) line will also be closed next weekend, Metro operators said. A substitute bus service is in place. The original wooden sleepers on the section of the line – which runs through the Nusle Bridge and serves the large Prague 4 area – are being replaced with concrete ones.
A wing of the Industrial Palace at Prague’s Výstaviště destroyed by fire could be replaced by a two-storey temporary hall. Martin Kala of city agency Rozvojové projekty Praha said such a structure would remain in place until the planned rebuilding of the historic palace gets underway. Its west wing burned down in 2008. As well as rebuilding it, the city intends to spruce up the entire grounds of Výstaviště, which was opened in 1891. However, there is no target date for the project to begin.
The deal agreed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other European Union leaders on Friday night is a good precondition for the British people opting to remain in the bloc in a referendum, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, told reporters in Brussels. Mr. Sobotka, who represented the Visegrad Four at the lengthy talks, had earlier said that a decent compromise had been achieved in a bid to help the UK while at the same time defending the rights of Czech citizens. The deal gives the London government a “brake” on migrants workers’ benefits for four years when there are high levels of migration. It also cuts child benefits for the children of EU migrants living overseas; this will apply immediately for new arrivals and from 2020 for existing claimants.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has welcomed the EU deal reached with Britain. In a tweet shortly after agreement was reached Mr. Sobotka said it was a compromise that should help keep Britain in the EU. The Czech Secretary of State for EU affairs Tomáš Prouza told Czech Television that the Czech side was satisfied with the conditions of the agreement saying it would adequately protect Czechs working in Great Britain. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council said the deal had received unanimous support.
President Putin has appointed career diplomat Alexander Zmeyevsky the new Russian ambassador to Prague, according to the Kremlin. Zmeyevsky will replace the current Russian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Sergei Kiselyov, whose term in office ends in March. Alexander Zmeyevsky has been in diplomatic service since 1979. In 2011 he became Russia’s special envoy for international cooperation in combating terrorism and organized crime.