The Czech Republic and Slovakia’s military could begin cooperating on the joint-protection of the countries’ air space as of this summer, as agreed by the cabinet. The news was tweeted by Defence Minister Martin Stropnický on Monday. The proposal between the two countries already received approval from the Slovak government. The plan, which would allow pilots from both countries, for example, to use deadly force in the event of a terrorist attack using a hijacked plane, will still have to be ratified by both countries’ houses of Parliament.
The Social Democrats, the leading party in the government coalition with ANO and the Christian Democrats, are weighing alternative proposals for how to use this year’s state budget surplus of 62 billion crowns. At a press conference ahead of a coalition meeting, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka suggested that the surplus could be transferred to the account used for the payout of pensions and the indexation of pensions; earlier, the prime minister suggested the funds could be rolled over to cut into 2017’s proposed deficit of 60 billion crowns (around 2.2 billion euros).
A group of around 50 activists travelling on foot from Germany to Aleppo in the hope of ending the war in Syria reached the Ústí region of the Czech Republic on Monday morning. Participants are working with a local priest to help organise the Czech part of their stay and journey. They are also being accompanied by Czech traffic police to ensure they are safe when travelling on the road, as recent snowfall has lowered visibility and led to poor conditions. The march to Aleppo is the idea of German journalist and blogger Anna Alboth; the number of participants has grown and fallen between cities since the group set out from Berlin.
The District Court for Prague 2 has given 10 month conditional sentences to
three people, former culture minister Jiří Balvín, former deputy head of
Czech Radio Michal Koliandr, and businessman Jan Hnilička, suspected of
corruption in connection with the attempted sale of a chateau in Přerov
nad Labem belonging to Czech Radio. In addition, each has also been order
to pay a 240,000 crown fine.
The ruling reverses an earlier decision from April last year, in which the three were found not guilty based on insufficient evidence. Monday’s decision is not final; two of three defendants have already appealed, the Czech News Agency reported. As a consequence of the case, the planned tender on the sale of the chateau was cancelled by the broadcaster. The region of Central Bohemia expressed an interest in obtaining the property last year.
Six people in Prague died from extreme cold since last Thursday, even though shelters reportedly still had room and were not full to capacity. One of the victims, in Prague 4, is believed to have taken his life. Harsh night time conditions well below zero degrees Celsius have claimed lives not just in the Czech Republic but across Europe.
The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic grew slightly in December, rising to 5.2 percent from 4.9 percent the previous month. Officials from the Office of Labour said on Monday that the development was typical of the end of the year, when seasonal work ends, and that the figure was still the best recorded for December since 2008. The number of people out of work last month was just over 381,000.
A smog alert has been declared in the Zlín Region in southern Moravia. After double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles was recorded in half of the region’s weather stations people were advised to keep their windows closed, not overly exert themselves outdoors and keep car journeys to a minimum. The worst levels of pollution have been recorded in the Vsetín area.
The Czech biathlon star Gabriela Koukalová has come first in the mass start event at a Biathlon World Cup meeting in the German ski resort of Oberhof. Sunday’s win, in which Koukalová finished over 30 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, reinforces the 27-year-old’s hold on overall first place in the season-long race for the World Cup’s title, which she also won last year.