WWII-era military fortification to reopen after three-year restoration

Plus: Czechia reportedly evaded embargo to sell Russia weapons after 2015, Czech MPs urge UK not to extradite Assange, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.04.2022 12:28:00 (updated on 24.04.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

Culture Dobrošov Fortress to re-open to the public after restoration

The Dobrošov Military Fortress, by Náchod in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic, will reopen to the public next month following an extensive three-year restoration project that cost 100 million crowns. A concrete bunker fortification near the Polish border, the fortress was originally constructed in the 1930s as a response to the growing Nazi threat in nearby Germany.

"The ceremonial opening of the renovated Dobrošov fortress will take place on Tuesday, May 3. The first [public] visitors could enter the fortress on the weekend of May 7-8," Dan Lechmann, a spokesperson for the Hradec Králové Region, told local media. "All three above-ground buildings and underground spaces of the Dobrošov fortress underwent reconstruction. A new visitor center was created, where people will be able to see an exhibition dedicated to the development of Czechoslovak fortifications and the events during the mobilization period."

Military Czechia evaded arms embargo to sell Russia weapons after 2015

The Czech Republic was one of ten countries that used loopholes in the EU's arms embargo to sell Russia weapons between 2015 and 2020, reports The Telegraph. Despite an EU ban on selling military weapons to Russia following its invasion of Crimea, a number of EU countries sold weapons worth hundreds of millions of euros to Russia under the stipulation that they be used for civilian purposes. Those weapons are most likely now being utilized by Russia in the war in Ukraine.

France and Germany led the way, selling weapons worth a combined €274 million (6.7 billion crowns) worth of weapons to Russia following the 2014 weapons ban. Italy, Austria, and Bulgaria also sold more than €15 million worth of weapons to Russia after 2014, while the Czech Republic came in at sixth on the list with weapons sold to Russia for €14.3.

International Czech Pirate MPs urge UK not to extradite Julian Assange

Three Czech members of parliament from the country's Pirate Party have called on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he would be prosecuted for espionage and other crimes. The Czech MPs assert that Assange faces a potential death sentence in the United States, and Russian President Vladimir Putin would use the case to challenge ties between Western democratic states.

WikiLeaks released confidential documents related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2010. A London court approved the extradition of Assange to the United States on Wednesday. The British Home Office has the final say on the extradition.

Politics Decision on Czech membership in UN Council could be made in May

A decision on the Czech Republic's nomination to the United Nations Human Rights Council could be made in a month, according to Czech ambassador to the UN Jakub Kulhanek. The Czech Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the country would like to replace Russia in the Human Rights Council after the latter was expelled due to war crimes. Kulhanek said the Czech candidacy was officially submitted in the UN on the same day, and now it is waiting on a decision.

Kulhanek said he believes the Czech candidacy will be successful. As the Czech Republic has long focused on the observance of human rights observance, he considers it a strong candidate. The UN General Assembly suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council on April 7 following news about Russian soldiers murdering civilians in Ukraine.

Environment Czech minister speaks out against exceeding coal mining limits

Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková resolutely rejects any effort at breaking the limits set for coal mining in the Czech Republic, she said at the Christian Democrats election congress on Saturday. Hubáčková added that some politicians mentioned exceeding coal mining limits to help curb surging energy prices following in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

"I resolutely reject any effort at breaking the mining limits," Hubáčková  stated. "We were damaging our environment for decades, we were damaging our landscape for decades, we warmed our landscape by burning fossil fuels. If we really want to live in a healthy environment, a return to coal will not lead us there."

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Charity Czech grocery stores launch nationwide spring food drive

The spring edition of the Czech Republic's twice-yearly food drive is underway at grocery stores across the country today. Last autumn, people in the Czech Republic donated about 520 tons of food, up from 450 tons in the spring. Donated goods go to children's homes, homeless shelters, and other locations assisting people in need.

Throughout today, customers can donate goods at hundreds of participating Albert, Billa, COOP, Globus, Kaufland, Lidl, Makro, Penny, Rossmann, and Tesco locations across the country. For those unable to donate in person today, Košík.cz, Rohlík.cz and iTesco also allow the donation of goods purchased through their e-shops to the food drive over the next two weeks.

Weather Strong storms forecast for eastern Czech Republic

Strong storms are forecast to hit eastern portions of the Czech Republic on Sunday afternoon, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute has tweeted. High winds of up to 75 kilometers per hour are anticipated, along with the possibility of hail, heavy rain, and lightning.

A warning for strong storms is in effect for the Czech regions of South Moravia, Olomouc, Zlín, and Moravian-Silesia from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Drivers are especially advised to be on the lookout for flying objects and road debris in affected areas tomorrow afternoon.

Sports Prague bids to host World Figure Skating Championships

The Czech Republic has submitted a bid to host the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague in 2025, 2026, or 2027, according to Czech Figure Skating Association chairman Stanislav Židek. The Czech capital previously hosted the World Championships in 1993, while Ostrava hosted the European Championships in 2017.

"The experience at the time [in Ostrava] helped us. And it also helps that the Championships were a success," Židek told local media. "We convinced ourselves that we are good organizers, and that we deserved even greater quality and a wider scope." The Czech Republic competed to host the World Figure Skating Championships in 2024, but ultimately lost out to Montreal. Budapest will host the European Championships in 2024.

Crime Prague murder suspect arrested in Amsterdam

Dutch police have detained a man suspected of committing murder in Prague, according to information tweeted by Czech police. The man was apprehended in Amsterdam shortly before midnight on Friday, and currently awaits extradition back to the Czech Republic.

The suspect is linked to a murder committed in Prague's Chodov neighborhood, where a body with stab wounds was discovered Thursday morning on Brodská street. Dozen of police units including a helicopter searched for the suspect on Thursday, and the public was also warned to be on the lookout for the potentially-armed perpetrator.

Military Czech Defense Minister requests additional 1.4 billion crowns

Czech Minister of Defense Jana Černochová has asked Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura to increase the country's defense budget by about 1.36 billion crowns, she told Czech media from Washington, D.C. Černochová added that the increased budget would go towards the purchase of military equipment, mainly Tatra vehicles.

Černochová requested the increase in the defense budget this week. Cabinet members previously stated that if the Defense Ministry needed more money due to a worsened security situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government is ready to increase the budget.

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