The Czech-Chinese Centre at Charles University is to be closed down on the
orders of the university’s rector Tomáš Zima.
The university has been embroiled in a scandal over secret Chinese payments to four of its faculty members, amid concerns that Beijing is using the centre to boost its influence in the Czech academic sphere.
The university fired the head of the university’s Centre for Security Policy, and two other members of the Social Sciences faculty last week after it emerged that they had set up a private fund through which the Chinese embassy paid for conferences co-organised by the university centre.
Rector Zima said he would not stand by and watch the centre damage the university’s reputation. Charles University is the oldest university in Central Europe.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has said that officials from the
Czech embassy in Athens would visit Greek refugee camps housing
“unaccompanied minors“ in order to ascertain the situation in
connection with an appeal from the Greek authorities for individual EU
member states to accept a given number of orphans.
Christian Democrat leader Marek Výborný, who relayed the minister’s words to the press, said that if the selected children passed the security screening then the Czech Republic should show solidarity and accept them. Greece has suggested the Czech Republic could take in 40 of the 2,500 “unaccompanied minors”.
The Christian Democrats who have strongly advocated for this to be done say there are Czech families ready to give them a home.
However the ruling parties have frowned on the idea, with Prime Minister Babis reiterating that refugees, including underage children, should be helped in their home countries.
Pilgrims from the Czech Republic attended a public audience with Pope
Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Believers from this country travelled to the Vatican to mark the 30th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Agnes of Bohemia by Pope John Paul II on 12 November 1989, which was considered a significant event in the final days of the Communist regime.
During the audience on St. Peter’s Square the pilgrims presented the Pontiff with a gift in the form of a bronze and silver statue representing the Czech saint.
The Pope blessed many of them and swooped up several small children for a ride in his Pope mobile.
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport will expand Terminal 2 in order to
accommodate the growing number of passengers, Prime Minister Andrej Babis
said at a press briefing in Prague on Wednesday.
The planned expansion, which was approved by the Finance Ministry, should cost 16 billion crowns and be concluded by 2028. The prime minister said plans to build another parallel runway would be dealt with in accordance with the availability of state finances for the project.
The airport is planning future investments to the tune of 55 billion crowns.
The Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych looks set to announce his
retirement. Berdych, who is 34, will make public that he is quitting the
sport at the ATP Finals in London this weekend, his father Martin Berdych
told the newspaper Blesk.
Berdych, who has problems with his left hip, signalled his intention to retire at the US Open earlier this year.
In a very successful career he reached fourth in the world rankings, made it to the final at Wimbledon and won the Davis Cup with the Czech Republic twice.
The Russian authorities have placed the Czech NGO People in Need on a list
of undesirable organisations, the TASS news agency reported. The move by
the Ministry of Justice in Moscow amounts to a ban on the humanitarian
organisation operating in the country as continuing to do so can result in
high sanctions and jail sentences. People in Need said it was not surprised
by the announcement, adding that it had no plans to cease working in
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, said the reasons the NGO were placed on the list were absurd and that he would seek an explanation from the Russian ambassador to Prague.
Since Russia brought in legislation against undesirable organisations in 2015 a number of international groups have been effectively barred from the country.
The Czech Ministry of Defence has approved the purchase of 12 helicopters from the United States at a cost of CZK 14.6 billion not including VAT. The minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, said that he had informed the government of the move at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. His officials aim to conclude the contract to buy eight UH-1Y Venom and four AH-1Z Viper helicopters from manufacturer Bell by the end of the year. Mr. Metnar said the new aircraft were needed to replace Mil Mi-24s that would soon not be fit for purpose, adding that the Czech Republic should also no longer be dependent on helicopters that were made in Russia.
Students at the Faculty of Arts at Prague’s Charles University began an
occupational strike aimed at boosting awareness of climate change on
Organisers said participants planned to sleep at the faculty overnight before the protest culminates on Palach Square, in front of the building, on Wednesday.
However, faculty staff have said that they must exit the building by 10 pm.
Czech clerics and pilgrims attended a special event at St. Peter’s
Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday marking the 30th anniversary of the
canonisation of St. Agnes of Bohemia. A mass was held in honour of Pope
John Paul II, who canonised the Czech saint on November 12, 1989, just days
before the start of the Velvet Revolution.
Tuesday’s mass was conducted by the leader of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka. Prayers were said at an altar to St. Wenceslas, a statute of St. Agnes, the tomb of St. Peter and the place where Cardinal Josef Beran's remains were interred before being returned to his homeland last year.