Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for August 17, 2021

Russia resumes flights to Czech Republic, Czech army interpreter released by Taliban, fundraising campaign launched to help Haitians after earthquake. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.08.2021 09:58:00 (updated on 17.08.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Flights resume from Russia to the Czech Republic

After a review of the epidemiological situation prevailing in certain countries, Russia has decided to lift restrictions on international flights to the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic and South Korea as of August 27, 2021. The news was announced by the country’s anti-coronavirus crisis center on Monday. In addition, the number of regular flights from Russia to other countries such as Hungary, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will increase. Flights from Moscow to Budapest will increase from four to seven a week, while one flight a week will be permitted from several other cities. Air links from Russia to Hungary and Cyprus were reinstated in June following the cancellation of operations during the pandemic.

Afghan interpreter for the Czech army released by the Taliban

An interpreter who worked for the Czech military in Afghanistan and who was kidnapped by the Taliban on Monday has been beaten up, released, and is now on the run, according to Czech NGO Poppies. The update was provided to the organization by the interpreter’s brother. Poppies said that other Afghan interpreters are still hiding from the Taliban with their families. Two former collaborators were invited to join the Czech Republic’s second evacuation flight from the country, which has taken off from Baku on its way to Kabul today. Crisis staff at the Czech Foreign Ministry will meet again at 18:00 today to discuss further steps in evacuating personnel from Afghanistan in the wake of the rapid Taliban takeover of the country over the last week.

CZK 1.4 billion set aside for reconstruction following tornado

The Czech cabinet has earmarked 1.4 billion crowns to meet applications for subsidies to help in the reconstruction of property damaged by the tornado and other strong storms which struck the Czech Republic in June. The south Moravia and north Bohemia regions were particularly badly affected by extreme weather earlier this summer, and the volume of approved applications for financial assistance has been growing quickly. The government is also planning to send further groups of administrative staff to the affected localities to establish an updated picture of the situation in the regions. The tornado which hit south Moravia on June 24 killed six people and around 1,200 homes were damaged, 200 of which had to completely demolished as a result. Significant damage was also caused by powerful storms in the Ústi region of north Bohemia.

Sparta Prague to play in Europa League without fans after racism

Sparta Prague will play their opening Europa League home match without fans as punishment for the racist incident which took place in the club’s recent Champions League qualifier against Monaco, UEFA has announced. Monaco players complained about the treatment of striker Aurelien Tchouameni by Sparta fans after he scored the opening goal in a match played on August 2. Sparta players pleaded with the fans to stop the racist abuse at half time and after the game ended. CCTV footage was subsequently used to identify the offending fans, who have been banned from attending all future Sparta matches and who have had criminal complaints filed against them. Sparta responded that it would demand clarification of the justification for the punishment, but would not contest it. The draw for Europa League group stage will take place on August 29.

Liberec commemorates first anniversary of Belarusian protests

Dozens attended a meeting in support of free Belarus in Liberec on Monday, organized for the first anniversary of the outbreak of mass protests against Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in the country. Liberec town hall will be lit up until Friday in red and white, the colors of the Belarusian flag until 1995 widely used by opposition supporters after the disputed elections of 2020. Liberec has granted temporary asylum to 16 Belarusian students whom the local university helped leave the country to avoid repression by the regime. Speakers at the event on Monday told their stories of the crackdown on demonstrators in Belarus. One detained student whose released has been pushed for by Liberec university remains in prison to this day.

Caritas CR launches public fundraising campaign after Haiti earthquake

Charity organization Caritas CR has launched a public fundraising effort to support Haitians affected by Saturday’s deadly earthquake, which killed around 1,300 people, injured approximately 5,700, and left thousands without shelter. “The proceeds of the campaign will help those who lost their homes in just a few seconds. The first phase will help secure food, drinking water, medicine and provisional housing. Later, the reconstruction of homes will begin,” said Martin Zamazal, head of crisis operations at Caritas CR. Caritas has been helping in Haiti continuously since the earthquake of 2010, which killed over 200,000 people. It runs development projects of the Olomouc Archdiocese supporting education for children, healthcare provision and housing for the poorest families in the country.

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