The foundation Generation 21 confirmed in a press release Thursday that a group of 16 Iraqi Christians being housed in Brno had decided to leave the Czech Republic. The Iraqis had handed in their passports to Czech officials, the news release said. It added that the charity was unable to comment on their intentions for the future. The move is another blow for the foundation which piloted moves to bring Iraqi immigrants to the Czech Republic. The Czech government last week suspended the programme to bring more Iraqi Christians to the country after demands by earlier refugees to head home and the departure of one group to Germany. The charity had been occupied in recent days with moves to find private accommodation in Brno for the families.
An internal investigation by police of their actions during the visit of Chinese President Xi JinPing at the end of March found that they only made a mistake when two officers demanded that Tibetan flags be removed from the windows of Prague’s film and television academy FAMU, according to a report released Thursday. Police said they received 27 submissions from the public of which three were taken as complaints against them. In none of the other cases were there grounds for further action. Police said they looked into a series of incidents on one of the main roads leading into Prague where there were clashes between pro-China and pro-Tibet supporters and also into the demand that a Tibetan flag be taken down from near the Hilton Hotel, where the Chinese president was staying for part of the visit. The two police officers who visited FAMU are now subject to disciplinary measures.
The government will be asked to add a series of new psychotropic drugs to the national list of banned substances, Czech Television reported Thursday. The list includes many new amphetamine related drugs which can be more powerful than heroin and are relatively cheap and accessible. Many of the drugs, according to the report are imported from India and China, and are on offer over the Internet. In some cases, the new drugs are mixed with commonly occurring substances, such as sleeping pills, to make much more powerful cocktails.
Top Czech women’s tennis player Petra Kvitová has named František Čermak as her new coach until the end of the year. Čermak is a doubles specialist and won the mixed doubles title at Roland Garros in 2013. Kvitová has been without a coach for the last three months after her split with long-time trainer David Kotyza. Her form has slumped and she has been given leave not to take part in the upcoming Fed Cup tie against Switzerland.
Conservationists in Berlin are calling for the Czech embassy there to be conserved in the face of possible demolition. Conservationists say they have expressed their wished to Czech officials and have also offered expertise on means of modernising the building, according to Czech Radio. The embassy on Wilhelstrasse is one of the few examples of so called “Socialistic brutalism” from the 1970s. The embassy, planned for more than 300 staff, now has around 35, and the costs of maintaining the building are high. Staff also complain that temperatures inside the building vary between tropical and Arctic.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has cancelled a trip to Prague, his first foreign visit since being confirmed again as government leader following recent elections. A spokesman confirmed that 51-year-old Fico had been taken to hospital Thursday for checks on his heart. Slovak media have reported that he suffered a suspected heart attack. Fico was due to meet with his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka and with Czech President Miloš Zeman. Talks were due to covering European issues, preparations for the upcoming Slovak presidency of the EU, and the ongoing immigration crisis.
The financial troubles of the leading Czech political party, the Social Democrats, has taken a new turn. The party is dealing with a court demand it pay 338 million crowns to a former lawyer by midnight on Thursday. But a spokesman has said that it will pay the lawyer’s creditors first and then settle with former lawyer Zdeňek Altner later. An expert warned though that the party lays itself open to action from bailiffs if the payment is not made by midnight. The fine and penalties stem from Altner’s contract to represent the Social Democrats in a court battle over their Prague headquarters which was won in 2000. The party says it will appeal the ruling it pay Altner to the Supreme Court.
Czech actress Věra Kubánková has died at the age of 91. Kubánková was awarded a Thalia prize for her lifetime contribution to the profession in 2006. One of her last roles in film was as the grandmother in the award winning Czech film “The Snake Brothers.” She was better known for her stage appearances, appearing frequently at Prague’s Divadlo Na Jezerce from 2005 onwards.
Moscow has protested the decision of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has refused to renew accreditation of two Russian journalists in the Czech Republic. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the step will harm Czech-Russian relations and lead to a reciprocal reaction. The two journalists are Alexander Kuranov, a Czech correspondent of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti and the Russia Yesterday TV news channel, and allegedly also Vladimir Snegiryov from the Moscow daily Vechernyaya Moskva. The spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry Michaela Lagronová said the ministry will explain the situation to the Russian embassy in Prague. According to the weekly Respekt, the Czech counter-intelligence BIS considers both reporters a security risk to the country.
Czech tennis player Jiří Veselý has stunned World number one Novak Djokovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday. The 22-year-old Czech, who is number 55 in the world, defeated Djokovic in two hours and six minutes and secured his first victory over a top-10 player in nine attempts. It is only second loss of the season for Djokovic and his earliest defeat on the ATP World Tour tournament in three years.