A meeting of Visegrad Four prime ministers in Warsaw on Thursday ended with calls for speedy EU reform. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlova, who hosted the meeting, said the EU must return to its roots and reflect the needs of its citizens. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the European Council should lead the debate on EU reform. He said the EU member states needed to improve cooperation in the field of security, in protecting the union’s outer borders and in the fight against terrorism. The V4 debate also focussed on Brexit and the current situation in Turkey. It is the Visegrad Four’s first session since Poland took over the V4 presidency from the Czech Republic on July 1st.
A Prague court has upheld a seven year jail sentence handed to a young man who neglected care for his bedridden grandmother, letting her go without food and drink for what doctors said appeared to have been weeks. The woman, who weighed less than 30 kilograms, died two days after being taken to hospital. Her grandson had moved her in with him in order to use her pension to buy drugs. The verdict is binding.
Czechoslovak RAF veteran Col Emil Boček took to the skies in a Spitfire on Thursday more than seven decades after his last flight in the iconic plane. The 93-year-old veteran, one of the country’s few remaining war heroes, spend thirty minutes up in the air, taking off from Biggin Hill and piloting the aircraft himself for a short while when it was airborne. He told reporters later it was an incredible experience. Boček voiced the dream to go up in a Spitfire once more a year ago and a number of organizations including the Czech Spitfire Club and the Czech Armed Forces got together to make it come true. Before the flight Boček attended a mass celebrated in remembrance of Czechoslovak RAF pilots at St George's RAF Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill. Cardinal Dominik Duka, who celebrated the mass, gave the chapel a copy of the Infant Jesus of Prague as a gift.
The western world should fight against the growing number of terrorist attacks by expelling radicalized religious leaders who recruit Muslims to the ranks of Islamic State or inspire them to lone suicide terrorist acts, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in an interview for the tabloid daily Blesk. Mr. Sobotka said that while it was difficult to prevent acts by lone wolf radicals, the authorities could address the problem by stopping those who are actively working to radicalize them, by focussing on their support networks and infrastructure.
Traffic along a stretch of Prague Metro’s C line was disrupted by an accident at midday on Thursday. One of the trains ploughed into a cart lying on the tracks in the station which got stuck under the carriage. Traffic between Kačerov and Háje was discontinued for over an hour and passengers were asked to use replacement busses.
The bark-beetle infestation of forests in South Bohemia has one again worsened and the Šumava National Park is once again logging infested trees, Czech Television reported. According to the report around twenty trees a day are being cut down to prevent further infestation. The fight against bark beetle is complicated by the fact that private owners of forests neglect their duty to fell infested trees or refuse to do so because of the low price of wood, Czech Television said. Foresters in south Moravia have also reported growing problems with bark beetle infestation.
The Czech Republic has placed 26th on BDO’s 2015 list ranking the investment potential of 174 states. The country slipped one place down the ladder compared to last year, but it is still the second best ranking since 2012, the ctk news agency reports. According to the BDO list, the Czech Republic is the most investment-friendly country of the post-communist bloc. The top three places went to Hong Kong, Singapore and the Netherlands. South Korea is bottom of the list. BDO, one of the world’s largest accountancy networks, ranks countries’ investment potential by comparing them over several categories using measurable factors relating to labour market performance. Countries are compared in three main areas: economic, political-legal and socio-cultural.
The Trade and Industry Ministry is preparing an amendment to the law which would give Czech trade inspectors greater powers and greater protection in performing their duties. The ministry wants them to be able to operate undercover and to have the right to force their way into locked storage facilities if they suspect there are fake goods in storage. The ministry says the proposals would significantly increase the efficiency of undertaken controls.
A state prosecutor has proposed 3 to 6.5 year sentences for the five people charged in connection with the devastating series of explosions at the Vrbětice munitions depot last year. Police searching the grounds later found internationally banned anti-personnel land mines in storage, which have been banned since 1997 by the Ottawa Convention. Five people from Excalibur Army and Real Trade, weapons trading companies which stored ammunition at the depot, are now standing trial on charges of violating the law on arms licensing and holding illegal weapons.
The defence lawyers of former lobbyist Marek Dalík, who was sentenced to four years in prison for corruption, have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, the news site Neovlivni.cz reported on Thursday. According to the defendants, the lower courts failed to properly assess the evidence against their client. Dalík, who was a close associate of former prime minister Mirek Topolánek, was found guilty of corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. He demanded a bribe of 500 million crowns to ensure that the lucrative order was won by the Austrian firm. Mr Dalík is due to start serving his prison sentence soon.