Pope Francis received the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek
Vondráček in the Vatican on Friday. Mr. Vondráček travelled to the
Vatican together with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Danko on the
anniversary of the death of St. Cyril, one of the two missionaries that
brought Christianity to the Slavs. The Pope and Mr. Vondráček discussed a
treaty between the Czech Republic and the Vatican, which, among other
things, sets out the position of the Catholic Church within the Czech
Mr. Vondráček also took the opportunity to invite the head of the Catholic Church to visit the Czech Republic.
Cardinal and Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka has expressed regret in
connection with claims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of České
Budějovice. An investigative report conducted by journalists from the
online television Seznam TV brought interviews with women claiming to have
been sexually abused by church officials and presented evidence that
bishops in the diocese remained inactive despite being aware of the crimes.
Cardinal Duka released a statement on the church’s website expressing regret and shock over the cases of sexual abuse, which take place here and across the world. The Cardinal went on to say that he is aware of the overly long judicial processes on the state and church level and that it is necessary to work on a substantial change.
In their report, Seznam journalists found evidence that the testimony of one victim being repeatedly raped by a priest from the Diocese of České Budějovice started being investigated in 2009, but only achieved progress last year once it was brought up to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A helicopter crash near the town of Slavoňov in the north east of the
country claimed two lives on Friday morning. According to the regional
police spokesman Ondřej Moravčík, the police are now investigating the
helicopter’s flying route and other details. The village mayor, Michal
Suchánek, says that the helicopter circled high above before plunging down
from the sky straight into the field.
The company which owns the helicopter, told the news server Novinky.cz that the machine was on a training flight.
Czech police are currently tracking four people and three companies who are
suspected of subsidy fraud worth CZK 300 million. According to Jaroslav
Ibehej, the spokesman for the National Centre for Combating Organised
Crime, they sought to gain money from European Union funds for a number of
projects relating to a machine construction company. The suspects could
face five to ten years in jail if convicted.
Investigators started working on the case in 2017. According to the police spokesman, the suspects, together with associated companies, presented documents of purchased machinery where the original cost was sometimes inflated by up to ten times.
Four seasonal ferries across the Vltava River, operated by the Prague
public transport system, are set to resume their operation on Saturday. The
ferry between the districts of Holešovice and Karlín has extended its
service and will now ferry passengers until 10 p.m.
There are currently eight ferry lines available in the capital, with three of them running throughout the year. The ferry services on the Berounka River between Černošice and Kazín will resume operation on June 1.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks
over the news that apartments for Russian diplomats are reportedly being
rented to third parties in Prague.
The ambassador was summoned following reports in the Czech media that thousands of apartments intended for diplomatic personnel were being leased to third party tenants, which is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously said that the reports were based on local sources that “distort the truth.”
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly denounced Czech
President Miloš Zeman’s claims that Turkey was a de facto ally of the
Islamic State. The ministry’s spokesman said the statements are false and
insulting, both to the country and its president.
The Czech head of state said on Tuesday that despite seeking EU membership and being a NATO member, Turkey had served as a mediator in logistics operations for the Islamic State when it occupied parts of Syria and Iraq.
President Zeman also accused his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pursuing a policy of Islamizing his country.
Nine out of ten samples of water from the Vltava and Elbe rivers contain
micro-plastics, the environmental organisation Greenpeace said on Thursday.
The samples were taken last September in Prague, Ústí nad Labem and
Hřensko and sent for analysis in a Greenpeace lab in Britain’s Exeter.
The highest concentration of micro-plastics was recorded in the water released by the water treatment plant in Neštěmice on the Elbe River. The average concentration of micro-plastics, 3.7 particles per litre, corresponds with the results from similar studies abroad.