Czech Republic lacks vital anti-corruption laws, says latest transparency index

Plus: Czech Republic unhappy with EU nuclear proposals, Czechoslovak Holocaust survivor dies in Sweden, first foal of the year born at National Stud Farm.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 25.01.2022 09:14:00 (updated on 25.01.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:33 Lipavský urges Czechs not to travel to north and east Ukraine

The Czech Republic has not yet ordered an evacuation of embassy staff from Ukraine over a threatened Russian invasion, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told reporters today. Lipavský also urged Czechs not to travel to border areas in the east and north of Ukraine, which are most exposed to potential Russian aggression. He called on Czechs in Ukraine to register in the Drozd system used by Czech embassies to inform tourists and foreign dwellers about emergencies in their location. The Czech State Security Council will meet to discuss Ukraine on February 1, according to Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

16:22 Man falls onto Prague metro track, suffering serious injuries

A man fell onto the Prague metro track at Vyšehrad station this afternoon, interrupting operations on the red "C" line between Pražského povstání and Florenc for around an hour. Prague public transport reported on the accident on its website, with firefighters and other emergency service workers attending the scene. Metro operations resumed shortly after 16:00. An emergency services spokesperson said that the man who fell onto the track is 45 years old, and suffered serious injuries to his head, pelvis, hands and feet, resulting in admission to hospital in Vinohrady.

14:41 Fiala warns of imminent Russian aggression

Russian aggression against Ukraine is imminent, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has warned the Czech parliament. Fiala said the Czech Republic calls on Russia to ease tensions, saying that along with allies "we clearly reject any aggression from Russia." Vladimir Putin's regime currently has over 100,000 troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, having already annexed Crimea and supported separatists in the Donbas region in 2014. Freedom and Direct Democracy leader Tomio Okamura has criticized Fiala for his tough words on Russia, saying Fiala's government "is trying to draw the Czech Republic into a war." Okamura rejected the government's plan to supply Ukraine with ammunition to assist in defense against Russian aggression; Defense Minister Jana Černochová announced the plan to supply arms to Ukraine last week.

13:11 Czech Republic lacks vital anti-corruption laws, says watchdog

The Czech Republic still lacks vital laws to protect whistleblowers, lobbyists and civil servants, according to the country's branch of the Transparency International (TI) NGO. TI claims the reason for the country's stagnation on measures to tackle corruption is linked to a lack of political will to solve the problem. TI proposes the establishment of a new anti-corruption office and the use of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council to combat the misuse of tax havens. TI's annual ranking put the Czech Republic in 49th place out of 180 countries assessed worldwide, lagging behind the EU and Western European average. Former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has blasted the NGO's findings, saying his regime eradicated corruption from high-level politics during its four years in charge of the country.

9:39 Lipavský joins EU foreign ministers in Ukraine talks

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský joined an EU council of foreign ministers to discuss the security situation in Europe, focusing on the threat of Russian invasion in Ukraine. EU ministers, led by the bloc's head of diplomacy Josep Borrell, met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the Russian threat. Blinken has warned of "massive consequences and a huge cost" for Russia if it enters Ukraine. The U.S. and British governments have already started pulling diplomatic staff out of Ukraine, but EU member states have not yet taken this step.

Nuclear power Czech Republic unhappy with EU nuclear proposals

The Czech government is pushing the EU to scrap provisions in its energy transition plan which make nuclear only a transitional energy source on the path to renewables. The bloc’s proposed new taxonomy includes deadlines for investments in nuclear energy, beyond which nuclear projects would not be considered “green.”

This is a problem for the Czech Republic because the country is focusing on nuclear developments as its main method of cutting out fossil fuels. The EU wants to issue a 2045 deadline for issuing operating permits for new plants, and a 2040 deadline for permits to renew operations at existing plants. Czech ministers have called for the proposals to be changed to make them “realistic and non-discriminatory.”

RIP Czechoslovak Holocaust survivor Roth dies in Sweden

Emerich Roth, a survivor of the Holocaust born in pre-war Czechoslovakia and well-known anti-racism campaigner, has died in Stockholm at the age of 97. Roth was born in Carpathian Ruthenia, now Ukraine but formerly part of Czechoslovakia, in 1924. He was interned at five different Nazi concentration camps during WWII.

Roth left Czechoslovakia for Sweden in the 1950s following the Communist takeover in 1948. There, he helped initiate an organization of Holocaust survivors with the aim of spreading public awareness of the Holocaust as well as wider issues of racism and hate. He wrote articles and lectured on these topics throughout Sweden, in 2017 receiving the Olaf Palme Award for defending human rights and values.

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New Arrival Czech stud farm welcomes first foal of the year

The National Stud Farm in Kladruby nad Labem has welcomed its first foal of the year. A filly (young female horse) in good condition was born on January 23. A total of forty Old Kladruby white horses are expected to be born this year at the farm. The breed is distinctive for large eyes, a huge arched neck and a wide chest.

Old Kladruby horses are a versatile breed with a mild nature suitable for individual riding as well as working in teams to pull horse drawn carriages. They are used for ceremonial purposes by the Danish and Swedish royal courts, and are the only breed of ceremonial horses in the world bred and trained for the drawing of carriages of social elites since the times of the Habsburg Empire.

The new foal at Národní Hřebčín Kladruby / photo Facebook, Národní Hřebčín Kladruby
The new foal at Národní Hřebčín Kladruby / photo Facebook, Národní Hřebčín Kladruby

Energy First Czech floating electric plant opens

The first photovoltaic electric plant to float on water in the Czech Republic has been installed in Štěchovice, in Central Bohemia. The 22 kW facility floats on a water reservoir, supplying power to a local hydroelectric plant. The floating system’s power output is set to quintuple by the summer, and if deemed successful, more similar investments could be made.

Floating photovoltaic plants have the benefit of supplying power without making it necessary to close off farmland which could be used for agricultural purposes. This could be a particular benefit in the Czech Republic, where freely available land is scarce and the new government is looking to focus on promoting environmental protection.

Travel Bamboo Airways makes first flight to Prague from Hanoi

A new air link between Vietnam and the Czech Republic is coming into action, with Bamboo Airways now operating flights on the Hanoi-Prague and Prague-Hanoi routes. The airline is co-operating with central European cargo handler Skyport for freight deliveries between the two countries, while the first passenger flight on the route took place last week, according to the two companies.

Bamboo Airways was the first Vietnamese carrier to launch a non-stop flight to Prague before the pandemic, and the airline says it now hopes to start operations on the route fully as soon as conditions allow. The first flight last week was a charter flight, but it’s expected that a regular passenger flight schedule will be published soon.

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