Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 14, 2021

Czech passport among world's most powerful, Kulhanek nominated for Foreign Minister, Petřín dog walker faces charges. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.04.2021 09:33:00 (updated on 14.04.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Czech passport among world's most powerful

The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world's most travel-friendly passports since 2006, has released its latest rankings. The index, which doesn't take temporary restrictions into account, puts Japan on top of the leaderboard once again, with its passport offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 193 destinations around the world. Singapore remains in second place (with a score of 192) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (with a score of 191). As usual, most of the remaining top 10 spots are held by EU countries with the Czech Republic coming it at no. 8. "With extensive travel restrictions still in place globally, any level of international travel freedom remains theoretical," Henley & Partners, the UK-based citizenship consultancy behind the index, said in a statement.

Czechs reject mandatory quotas on local food in stores

Czech lawmakers rejected a proposed bill that would impose a quota of locally-produced food to be sold in supermarkets. Lawmakers in the Senate dismissed the bill, which would have required that the percentage of Czech food sold in stores bigger than 400 sq. meters would be a minimum 55% in 2022 and rise to at least 73% in 2028, last month. The lower house had originally approved the controversial requirement in January but on Tuesday accepted the upper house’s veto. The bill was drafted by the opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party, which had pushed it through the lower house with the help from the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the opposition Communists.

Czech Deputy Hamáček collapses: "There has been enough of it"

Czech Deputy PM and Social Democrat (ČSSD) leader Jan Hamáček collapsed Tuesday during a morning meeting. Hamáček, who recently underwent surgery of upper respiratory tract, attributed his slight collapse to a blood pressure problem. "There has been enough of it," he told reporters, likely alluding to the political turbulence and work-related stress in recent days. Hamáček, 42, who is also interior minister, was re-elected the junior government ČSSD chairman by the party congress on Friday. On Monday, President Miloš Zeman named him acting foreign minister after dismissing Tomáš Petříček from the post at Hamáček's initiative. 

Deputy Interior Minister Kulhanek nominated for Foreign Minister

Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Social Democrats, ČSSD) will keep his post and Deputy Interior Minister Jakub Kulhanek will be nominated for foreign minister instead, ČSSD first deputy chairman Roman Onderka told journalists Tuesday evening. Onderka said the party leadership made this decision as it respected Zaorálek's wish to stay at the helm of the Culture Ministry. Personnel changes at the Foreign and Culture Ministries will be debated by the ČSSD leadership Wednesday night. When Zaorálek was foreign minister (2014-17), Kulhanek was his deputy for security and multilateral affairs. He was also a deputy defence minister. Kulhanek studied international relations at Charles University in Prague and has a MA degree from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Former foreign minister Tomáš Petříček was officially dismissed from the post earlier this week.

Man walking dog that attacked a small child in Petřín faces charges

A man who was walking a dog that seriously injured a child in Prague on April 1 was charged with serious bodily injury through negligence said a spokesperson for the Prague police. The same dog allegedly attacked another person and his dog just a few days before the child was attacked. The state veterinary administration will now decide whether the dog will be taken from the woman to whom it belongs. On April 1, the dog attacked a four-year-old boy who was walking with his mother in a park under the Petrin lookout tower. The child ended up in a critical condition in the hospital after the incident. The 58-year-old man fled after the incident and did not report to the police until police officers reported in the media that they were looking for him. According to police, the administration may have the dog removed from the owner.

Kriegel Prize awarded to all nurses fighting with Covid

The František Kriegel Prize from the Charter 77 Foundation for 2020 and 2021 has been symbolically bestowed on all nurses fighting with the Covid-19 epidemic over the past year. The foundation said it wants to remind the public that doctors, rescuers, other hospital staff, social workers, volunteers and scientists developing vaccines and new drugs have helped cope with the biggest health calamity in modern history. Nurses, however, are facing the heaviest burden. The prize, presented to people and organizations for defense of human and civil rights since 1987, is annually announced on April 10 on the birth anniversary of Frantisek Kriegel (1908-1979), the only Czechoslovak politician who after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which crushed the Prague Spring reform movement, refused to sign the Moscow protocol that was to legitimize the invasion. He was also one of the first to sign the Charter 77 human rights dissident manifesto.

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