The Highest Constitutional Officials on Thursday rejected a proposal by
President Miloš Zeman to revoke recognition of Kosovo as an independent
state. He had promised during a visit to Serbia in early September to raise
the issue at the official's next meeting.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by 100 members of the United Nations. Among those refusing to are Russia and China, with which Zeman has courted favour and tried to deepen ties, often against the Czech government’s wishes.
Serbia and Kosovo signed an EU-brokered deal to mend ties in 2013, but those efforts stalled when Belgrade blocked Pristina last year from joining Interpol, triggering a tit-for-tat 100 percent tax on Serb imports. Since then, Belgrade has stepped up efforts to get countries to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo.
The Highest Constitutional Officials include the president, prime minister, the heads of both houses of Parliament, and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Interior. In a statement after the meeting, Minister Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) stated that all speakers had agreed that position of the Czech Republic regarding Kosovo has not changed.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on Thursday that the Czech
government agrees with the European Union’s condemnation of Turkey’s
ongoing military offensive in northern Syria to create a refugee zone.
Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies attacked Kurdish militia on Wednesday, pounding them with air strikes and artillery before starting a ground operation. The assault began days after US President Donald Trump withdrew American troops from the area.
Following a meeting in early September with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the United Nations, Mr Babiš had said that the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) supported Ankara’s intention to create a refugee zone in northern Syria.
Earlier this week, however, the Czech prime minister said that he was surprised by the situation and warned that military intervention could lead to another wave of refugees heading for Europe.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) had earlier warned in an official statement that the Turkish offensive would “only worsen the situation of civilians and refugees in the region”.
Consumer lender Home Credit announced on Thursday it will withdraw from a
controversial partnership agreement with Charles University announced
earlier this week.
A spokesman for the company said Home Credit did not want to be drawn into irrational debates about the nature of the cooperation before it had even begun.
Hundreds of Charles University students and faculty had called on the rectorate to cancel the agreement, accusing the company of lending irresponsibly, thereby adding to the personal debt crisis.
Home Credit is part of the PPF Group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner. Under the cooperation agreement, the consumer lender was to give Charles University half a million crowns annually, mainly to the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Institute of Economic Studies.
The telecom group O2 Czech Republic plans to remove all public pay
telephones by year’s end except for those it is obligated to keep in the
country’s smallest municipalities.
Out of the roughly 3,900 telephone booths currently in operation, some 1,150 will remain in municipalities with up to 200 inhabitants, an O2 spokesperson said.
Škoda Transportation has been confirmed as the winner of a tender to
supply of up to 45 six-car metro trains for Warsaw.
The first set is due to be handed over to the Polish capital within two years of signing the purchase contract.
Škoda Transportation is part of the PPF group controlled by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner. The total value of the contract is almost 8 billion crowns.
Peter Zamarovský, a professor at the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) in
Prague, has been awarded this year’s Littera Astronomica prize for his
literary work linking natural sciences and philosophy.
Prof. Zamarovský lectures on philosophy and at other institutions also teaches physics and digital photography.
The Czech Astronomical Society said he received the award for popularizing philosophy, physics and astronomy. He is due to receive it on Friday at the 29th Autumn Book Fair in Havlíčkův Brod.
The new Czech Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be built according to
a proposal by students of the Faculty of Architecture at the Slovak
University of Technology (STU) in Bratislava.
Jana Hájková and Kristína Boháčová, both 23, won an international competition announced by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Department of Architecture at the Faculty of Civil Engineering (ČVUT) in Prague.
The students’ concept used exterior materials that are in harmony with the Ethiopian environment and connected both Czech and Ethiopian culture. The new embassy should be built by 2025.
About 500 heads of nursery schools and kindergartens throughout the Czech
Republic have complained in a letter to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO)
that pre-school education is being neglected.
The letter charges that Minister of Education Robert Plaga (ANO) has failed to invest in kindergartens despite increasing numbers of children being enrolled.
There has been a marked rise in class size after pre-school attendance was made compulsory in order for disadvantaged families to receive certain social benefits.
Pre-school teachers often now have up to 28 children in their classrooms, the headmasters say.
Consumer prices in September fell by 0.6 percent, the biggest
month-on-month decline since September 2006, according to the Czech
Statistical Office (ČSÚ).
The drop stemmed mainly from a price decrease in ‘recreation and culture’ and in ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’.
The year-on-year growth of consumer prices decelerated to 2.7 percent in September, which was 0.2 percentage points down on August. The Slowdown in the year-on-year price growth occurred mainly in 'food and non-alcoholic beverages'.
The biggest influence on the growth of the year-on-year price level in September came again from prices in 'housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels', where prices of actual rentals for housing went up by 3.8 percent.
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