Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for September 21, 2021

Czech Republic send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, EU fines Poland for mine operations near Czech border, policehand over files on Babiš investigation.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff
Published on 21.09.2021 10:02 (updated on 21.09.2021)

Czech Republic to send CZK 75 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

The Czech government has approved CZK 75 million in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, with the money intended mainly for healthcare, support for neighboring states in the region and as aid for Afghan women and children. The aid package is an increase on the CZK 40 million which the Foreign Ministry suggested sending to Afghanistan in July to help Afghan defense, security forces and sustainable development.

The new total includes an additional CZK 5 million from the Foreign Ministry budget as well as CZK 30 million from the Interior Ministry. The aid will be distributed in cooperation with the EU and the UN, to programs helping refugees, women and children in the region. Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek said the aid is also intended to help prevent illegal immigration.

EU fines Poland over mine operations near Czech border

The European Court of Justice has imposed a daily fine of half a million euros on Poland for not ceasing operations at its Turów coal mine near the Czech border. The ECJ issued an order for work at the mine to cease after local Czech residents complained about its negative impact on drinking water in the surrounding area. Poland has refused to obey the order, though, arguing that to do so would cause significant disruption to the Polish energy sector as well as severe economic damage. 

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The ECJ has rejected the Polish complaint, however, saying that the closure order was issued in order to prevent serious damage to the environment and human health. While the ECJ has sided with the Czech Republic on the issue, the Czech authorities had demanded a fine ten times larger, of €5 million a day. The Polish government said the mine would continue to operate.

Police propose charging Prime Minister Babiš over Stork’s Nest affair

Czech police have handed over files following their completed investigation into the Stork’s Nest case of alleged EU subsidy fraud committed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his former advisor. Supervising state attorney Jaroslav Šaroch, who demanded the further police investigation of the case, will now decide whether to bring charges in the case.

Babiš and his former advisor stand accused of harming the financial interests of the European Union in connection with a CZK 50 million subsidy for the construction of the Čapí hnízdo (Stork’s Nest) farm and conference center. Babiš’s lawyer said the new police file does not add any new information to the case. Last week, Babiš’s son Andrej Babiš Jr. testified to the police over the affair, after telling the media his father made him a front man for the Stork’s Nest scheme.

Moravian winery reaches finals of prestigious architecture competition

The Lahofer winery, created by Brno architecture and urban design company Chybik + Kristof, reached the finals of the prestigious MIPIM Awards for real estate. The Czech entry did not win the competition, but has gained international recognition through inclusion in the awards which form part of the world’s biggest real estate fair every year in Cannes, France.

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For the Lahofer winery, architects Ondřej Chybík and Michal Krištof created an elegant structure characterized by a wave shape, including an amphitheater for events and a tasting room inspired by the design of traditional of wine cellars. The winery in Dobšice was a finalist in the category of mixed-use projects. The awards featured the world’s most renowned names in architecture, and the Lahofer winery’s success is significant as Czech projects do not often become finalists.

Zeman stays in hospital for longest time during presidency

President Miloš Zeman is still in Prague’s Central Military Hospital (ÚVN), making his current hospitalization is the longest so far during his time in office. Asked when the President would leave hospital, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said Zeman would start his working program at the presidential manor in Lány near Prague on Wednesday.

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Zeman was admitted to ÚVN on September 14, and remains in hospital despite medical check-ups finding no life-threatening issues. The President suffers from dehydration and minor exhaustion. Zeman has ongoing problems with neuropathy in his legs and with diabetes.

Major new thriller series to be filmed in Prague

Thriller crime series Last Light, starring Lost’s Matthew Fox and Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt, is set to begin filming in Prague. The five-episode series, by Peacock and MGM International Productions, will be directed and executive produced by Dennie Gordon. Based on a novel of the same name by Alex Scarrow, the drama’s filming location in Prague is further confirmation of the city’s appeal for international filmmakers.

The summer saw large portions of Prague city center closed for filming of The Gray Man, Netflix’s most expensive ever film starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. Attractive incentives offered by the Czech capital have helped lure filmmakers amid the global uncertainty of the Covid pandemic.

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