Czech news in brief for May 30: Thursday's top headlines

US secretary of state arrives in Prague, hundreds gather outside govt. office in support of Gaza, and Pavel to honor hockey champs at Prague Castle today. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 30.05.2024 09:06:00 (updated on 30.05.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

weather Western Bohemia at risk of floods

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has issued a warning that heavy rains and saturated soil may lead to rivers in western Bohemia exceeding the third level of flood risk – the highest – on Saturday. This includes the Radbuza, Mže, and Ohře rivers, as well as streams in the Šumava and Ore Mountains. The Mže and Beroun rivers are already at the first level of flood risk, with a potential increase to the second level on Friday evening. Precipitation totals of up to 80 millimeters are expected in the western regions of the country. 

AGRICULTURE Prague farmers' protest is postponed

A planned June 4 demonstration by the Agricultural Association (ZS) in Prague has been cancelled as the ZS has chosen to negotiate with the government instead. ZS head Martin Pýcha has said that farmers are willing to plan another protest if the negotiations do not result in clear solutions. The Agrarian Chamber (AK) is also seeking further talks and is prepared to protest if necessary. Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný welcomed the decision to return to negotiations but expressed regret over the ultimatum from farmers. 

civic unrest Anti-war protesters gather near Prague Castle

Dozens of protesters gathered in Prague's Hradčanské náměstí to demonstrate against Czechia's potential involvement in war, carrying banners and drums with slogans such as "Stop guns, let's get out of NATO" and "Stop NATO." The event was organized by the Czech Republic First organization during NATO's ministerial meeting, where the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is a key topic. One speaker, security expert David Bohbot, emphasized the importance of avoiding war for financial reasons.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS NATO head speaks in Prague at summit

During a NATO meeting in Prague this afternoon, the bloc’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the Czech Senate today, stating that the summit aims to demonstrate the alliance's ability to adapt and respond to new challenges. He hopes the talks will lead to consensus among allies at the upcoming summit in Washington, with more members reaching the target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. Stoltenberg also highlighted the importance of continued aid to Ukraine.


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DIPLOMACY US secretary of state arrives in Prague

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Prague for a two-day informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers, where they will discuss the war in Ukraine and plans for the upcoming NATO summit in Washington. Blinken will meet with Czech President Petr Pavel and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský to sign a memorandum on cooperation against disinformation. He will also visit the military airport in Prague-Kbely with Defence Minister Jana Černochová to view Czech assistance to Ukraine. The meeting, organized by the Czech Foreign Ministry, is the largest NATO event in Czechia since the 2002 summit. 

protests Hundreds gather outside govt seat to support Gaza

Several hundred people gathered to support Palestine outside the Czech Government Office Wednesday evening, organized by the Not In Our Name! movement. The movement previously backed ICC prosecutor Karim Khan’s request for arrest warrants for leaders of Hamas and the Israeli state, alleging crimes against humanity and war crimes. Czech PM Petr Fiala criticized the request as unacceptable. Demonstrators chanted pro-Palestinian slogans and criticized the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

ENVIRONMENT Polish govt charged for coal mine on Czech border

The EU Court of Justice has confirmed that Poland must pay a fine for illegal mining in the Turów lignite mine on the Poland-Czechia border. This comes after the Czech Republic filed a lawsuit against Poland for violating EU laws by expanding and extending brown coal mining in the mine, with the court ordering Poland to stop operations on the border with the Czech Republic. Despite this, Poland has ignored the decision and is now facing a fine of EUR 500,000 (CZK 12.3 million) per day until it complies.

sports Pavel to honor hockey champs at castle today

Czech hockey players, who won gold at the home world championship on Sunday, will be honored by President Petr Pavel at Prague Castle today. The national team, coached by Radim Rulík, defeated Switzerland 2-0 in the final. Celebrations continued on Monday with thousands of fans at Old Town Square. Prime Minister Petr Fiala awarded them the Karel Kramář memorial medal on Wednesday. This marks their first World Cup title in 14 years.

MIGRATION Germany extends border checks with Czechia

Germany has announced that it will extend temporary checks at its land borders with Czechia, Poland, and Switzerland until Dec. 15 to combat crime and illegal migration. The checks were originally set to expire in March but were extended until June 15. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, initially skeptical of the measures, now praises their effectiveness. Czech ministers have long been opposed to the checks. Since October 2023, 920 smugglers have been apprehended and over 37,600 unauthorized entries have been recorded at the borders with Czechia, Poland, Switzerland, and Austria.

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