The Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, has held talks in Kiev with his counterparts from Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary. Speaking in in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Zaorálek said the Czech government appreciated Ukraine’s reform efforts, adding that their implementation was the only way positive changes could be achieved. The Czech foreign policy chief said that Ukraine was in a difficult situation and needed to combat Russian aggression.
Exercises simulating terrorist truck and airplane attacks on the Temelín nuclear power station in South Bohemia reached a climax on Tuesday. Over 200 soldiers, police officers and specialists from operators CEZ have been taking part in the four-day Safeguard Temelín 2017. The scenario of one of the simulated attacks has involved a truck trying to smash through barriers at the nuclear station and was based on an incident in Berlin in December when a man drove a truck into a crowd. The exercises will conclude on Wednesday.
This year’s state maturita school leaving exams got underway on Tuesday with the written part of the Czech test. All of the other exams involved will take place in early May. Just under 70,000 students are doing the maturita this year, a lower figure than in 2016. Czech is a compulsory subject in the tests.
Five new plaques are being installed in Prague’s Vinohrady district in connection with this year’s 75th anniversary of Operation Anthropoid, a daring mission in which Czechoslovak soldiers were dropped into occupied territory to assassinate Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. The first two plaques, dedicated to two married couples who helped the parachutists, have been unveiled on the district’s Italská St.
The governor of the South Bohemia Region, Jiří Zimola of the Social Democrats, has announced that he is to stand down. The move comes after the collapse of a regional government coalition comprised of the Social Democrats and two other parties on Monday. Mr. Zimola, who has been governor for nearly nine years, said his party would attempt to forge a new coalition.
A stretch of the C-line of Prague’s metro will be out of operation throughout the Easter holidays due to scheduled repair work on the tracks, the Prague Transport authority reported. Trains will not run between the stations Nádraží Holešovice and Pražského povstání from early Friday morning until late Monday night. A substitute bus service and special tram line will be in place.
Romany singer and composer Radek Banga is to receive the František Kriegel Award for civic courage, handed out annually by the Charter 77 Foundation. The popular rapper was selected for his fearless stand against racism and xenophobia in Czech society. He walked out of the Slavik Music Awards gala ceremony last year in protest against the fact that the band Ortel, known for its xenophobic and neo-Nazi lyrics, won second place in its category. He was later showered with insults and threats on the social media. František Kriegel, a Charter 77 signatory, was the only Czechoslovak politician who refused to sign Moscow's humiliating dictate after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968.
Czech travel agencies say that they have not registered any immediate problems or calls for a change of holiday destination from the approximately 2,500 Czech tourists currently holidaying in Egypt. All are reported to be in safe seaside resorts. The head of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies Jan Papež said that interest in package holidays in Egypt had not dropped in the wake of the attacks and in view of the present situation holiday makers in safe locations were not eligible to a change of destination. The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a recommendation advising Czech citizens to carefully weigh making individual trips to Greater Cairo, but says Egypt’s Red Sea tourist resorts are safe.
The ANO party of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has pledged to return a financial donation from the owner of a company which won a tender to deliver a large consignment of bullet-proof vests to the Czech military. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický from the ANO party, who has been asked to explain the matter in Parliament, claims there was no connection between the donation of 200,000 crowns and the contract for the vests, saying the company had made the best offer out of four contestants and had been selected by an independent commission of experts. Party leader Andrej Babiš said the financial donation would be returned immediately in full and the party would be more careful about checking its donors in the future.