The Czech Republic has decided to take in the first seven Syrian refugees under a quota system approved by the European Union. The seven have undergone security vetting but three of them escaped from a Greek facility in order to avoid being relocated to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting a Ministry of the Interior report. The Czech authorites rejected 23 other asylum seekers on security grounds. The country is due to take in just under 2,700 refugees by the end of next year under the system, which the Czech government opposed.
Police officer Karel Kadlec has been charged with crashing into 29 cars in Prague’s Vinohrady district two weeks ago. The 46-year-old rammed his SUV into parked cars after consuming alcohol, which he had combined with an unnamed medication. He could face three years in prison, a monetary punishment or dismissal from the police force if found guilty of endangerment under the influence.
Fathers no longer have to pay for simply being present at the birth of children in the Czech Republic, according to a ruling by the Constitutional Court. Hospitals will only be able to charge for “above-standard” conditions if a father or other person close to the mother attends the birth. The court considered the matter after a hospital in Chomutov charged a man CZK 500 crowns for attending his child’s birth.
The Czech government will not pay the debts of the private owners of coal company OKD, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. He said it was willing to help those who will eventually be laid off from OKD. Mr. Sobotka made the comment a day before a meeting between Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek and President Miloš Zeman; the latter has suggested the ailing company could be nationalised. The owners of OKD have threatened to declare it insolvent as early as Friday unless the government steps in to help. The indebted mining firm employs almost 10,000 people.
The fastest man in history, Usain Bolt, is to compete at Ostrava’s Golden Spike meeting for the eighth time, organisers said on Tuesday. The Jamaican sprinter will take part in the 100 metres on Friday 20 May in what will be his second race of the season. Bolt, who is 29, has never been beaten at the Golden Spike in either the 100 metres or 200 metres.
The official website of the Social Democrats has been attacked by hackers. Party spokesperson Michal Kačírek said on Tuesday that the hackers had evidently attempted to alter the content on the party’s site or put it out of action. Though it has safeguards against such attacks the site was temporarily shut down for security reasons, Mr. Kačírek said. The Social Democrats’ website was previously attacked at the turn of this year while a far-right site posted hacked private emails from party chairman Bohuslav Sobotka in January.
Truck maker Tatra is to supply chassis for military vehicles to the Egyptian and Jordanian armies in deals worth a total of around CZK 800 million, iHned.cz reported on Tuesday. Tatra director Petr Rusek said the contracts had been agreed on a visit by Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek and a Czech delegation to the two states. Tatra, which is based in the Moravian town of Kopřivnice, went bankrupt three years ago. However, after being bought out by two Czech businessmen it saw a profit of nearly CZK 400 million last year.
Czech actress Jiřina Bohdalová, who turns 85 next month, will receive the President’s Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July, organisers announced on Tuesday. In connection with the prize, there will be a screening of her 1970 movie The Ear; directed by Karel Kachyňa, it is regarded as a classic of Czech cinematography. A restored version of another great Czech film, Intimate Lighting by Ivan Passer, will also be presented at the 51st edition of the festival. Actor and screenwriter Zdeněk Svěrák, who recently reached 80, will appear in the festival trailer.
Mountain areas in the saw fresh snow on Monday which has complicated the situation on Czech roads; Šumava saw some five centimetres and a further 15 cm are expected. Motorists in higher-lying areas such as the Krušný Mountains have experienced difficulties having already swapped their winter tires for the spring and summer season.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Prague’s Jiřího z Poděbrady square on Monday evening to protest against acts of vandalism at the weekend that the police are investigating as hate-related. Cafes which are part of the Hate-Free project were spray painted with Nazi symbols and threats. Protestors who took part made clear Nazi ideology and violence had no place in Czech society. Some carried placards against President Zeman. Before the demonstration, volunteers helped remove graffiti at one of the cafes which had been vandalised; Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová herself took part in the clean-up.