The advancing of the Czech Republic’s national interests would benefit from greater agreement between the country’s political parties, the foreign minister, Jan Kohout, said at a conference on foreign policy on Monday. At the seminar, which took place at the Foreign Ministry, representatives of the two biggest Czech parties the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats traded accusations as to which of them had most harmed Czech foreign policy in recent times. The Civic Democrats’ Alexandr Vondra said the foreign policy of a mid-sized state should not be the victim of domestic squabbling, which was a policy Social Democrats leader Jiří Paroubek had begun in 2006. But Social Democrat Jan Hamáček said it was the Civic Democrats, who led the last Czech government, that had damaged the country’s standing in the world and the EU.
CzechTourism is starting its biggest ever advertising campaign aimed at encouraging Czechs to holiday in their own country. The state tourism body will spend over CZK 70 million (nearly USD 3.6 million) on television and radio adverts, with 85 percent of that money coming from European Union funds. Launching the campaign in Prague on Tuesday, Regional Development Minister Rostislav Vondruška said in a time of economic crisis holidaying at home was increasing, while foreign trips were on the decrease.
The ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr says he regrets the fact that around two dozen Czech players from the NHL have declared themselves unavailable for the World Championship, which begins in Germany on Friday. Speaking after arriving at Prague Airport on Monday, Jágr said he did not want to judge the absentees, but said they may in time come to regard their decision as stupid. The forward, who is 38, signed a new contract with the Russian club Omsk on Sunday. The newspaper Sport reported that young Czech player Roman Červenka may choose to join Omsk rather than an NHL team, because of Jágr’s presence there.
A new Czech Centre officially opens in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Among those due to attend were the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jan Kohout, and the director of the network of Czech centres, Michael Pospíšil. The ceremony was linked to the opening of a new exhibition at the centre dedicated to Czechoslovak Jews who took part in the anti-Nazi resistance during the second world war. The Czech Foreign Ministry runs 24 Czech centres in 21 countries around the world.
An investigation into the activities of 13 employees of the power giant
ČEZ whose job was dealing with electricity theft has been shelved by a
state prosecutor’s office in Olomouc, the news website idnes.cz
The 13 had been accused of trespassing and blackmail in connection with
checks carried out on the premises of electricity consumers. An
investigation into other members of the unit was halted two months ago. A
spokesperson for the police’s organised crime unit said it had been
surprised by the state prosecutor’s decision.
Many in the Czech Republic were shocked by video footage of the ČEZ controllers which became public earlier this year. Its members were seen dressed like commandoes and carrying out paramilitary like training.
The one-time Olympic boxing champion Bohumil Němeček has died at the age of 72. Němeček, who was born in Tábor, took gold for Czechoslovakia in the light welterweight division at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. Seven years later he became European champion. He died on Sunday after a long fight against illness, the head of the Czech Boxing Association told reporters.
A new photography exhibition marking the 65th anniversary of the uprising of Czech citizens against the Nazi occupiers in May 1945 opened at Prague’s Old Town Hall on Tuesday. The show, which features around 140 pictures from that time, has been put together by the Military History Institute, the National Museum and the Czech Union of Freedom Fighters. It will run until May 16. The opening of the exhibition also saw the launch of a new book entitled the Prague Uprising and the End of the War in Prague 1.
The Civic Democrats have lost a great deal of support in Prague, but are still likely to come first there in general elections at the end of May, suggests an opinion poll conducted for Czech Television. Some 23.5 percent of respondents said they would give their backing to the Civic Democrats; four years ago the party took 48.3 percent of the vote in the capital. The Social Democrats would come second on 19.5 percent, but have also lost some support, the poll indicates. The big winners in Prague could be two new parties: 19.5 percent of those questioned said they would vote for TOP 09, while 16 percent said they would back Public Affairs. Polls suggest the Social Democrats will win the elections at national level.
The Czech interior minister has called on the police to improve security at the Office of the Government, after environmental activists held a protest on its roof on Monday. Martin Pecina said he had given the head of the country’s police force, Oldřich Martinů, until Friday to propose ways to make the current traffic system around the building more secure. Greenpeace activists held up banners against a decision to green light the refitting of a ČEZ-owned power station last week after using a truck with a cherry picker to get onto the roof of the Office of the Government. They succeeded in doing so despite the beefing up of security after members of the pressure group got onto the same building in October. Minister Pecina said the government did not want to introduce a traffic change that would inconvenience the public, but said a one-way system should be considered.
Dominik Hašek has been named Czech ice hockey player of the season. Hašek, who is 45, also took the prizes for goaltender of the season and best player in the playoffs at a ceremony in Prague on Monday night, less than two weeks after helping Pardubice take the Extraliga title. The “Dominator” was one of the NHL’s most successful goaltenders of the 1990s and early 2000s and was on the Czech team that took gold at the Olympics in 1998.
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