The former tennis great Ilie Nastase, banned for two years by the
International Tennis Federation for foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior
as Romania's Fed Cup captain, has agreed to serve as a diplomat for
the Czech Republic.
Nastase, who was ranked No. 1 in the world for a little under a year from 1973 to 1974 and is only one of 10 players in history to have won more than 100 ATP professional titles, called the invitation to serve as honorary consul a “great honour”.
Despite Nastase’s fiery temper, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said he would represent Czech interests well.
The number of people living in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of the year has climbed by 4,700 with the total population now standing at 10.558 million. The rise was due to the number of immigrants, at 10,500, being more than double the around 5,000 quitting the country. The number of deaths exceeded births over the first three months of the year. Most of those moving into the Czech Republic are from Ukraine, Slovakia, and Romania.
A number of Czech politicians have expressed support for Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot on trial in Russia for allegedly helping to cause the deaths of two Russian journalists in 2014. Savchenko is currently on hunger strike, and refusing to accept any verdict handed down by what she has described as a “totalitarian regime and a petty tyrant-dictator”.
Czech President Miloš Zeman begins a two-day visit to Romania on Tuesday at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart President Traian Băsescu. The Czech head of state is expected to meet with Romanian government officials and business leaders with economic interests high on the agenda of the talks. The two sides are also expected to discuss EU matters and security issues in the light of the Ukraine crisis. Bucharest recently announced it wanted to join the Eurozone by 2019. The Czech Republic has yet to set a time frame for euro-adoption.
The Romanian government has decided to limit support for existing renewable energy providers and to halt funding for any new projects. This decision will affect the Czech company ČEZ which owns a wind farm in the country. The energy giant has lost its energy distribution license in Albania in January, and its operations in Bulgaria have been under investigation for the past two months.
Senior Czech diplomat Petr Kolář has been hired by the international
financial group PPF, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Mr
Kolář served in the past as the Czech ambassador to the US and most
recently to Russia, and briefly also as an advisor to President Václav
Havel. He has been appointed to the newly created position of foreign
affairs director at the PPF group, and will mainly focus on the firm’s
activities in Asia.
The Dutch-based PPF group, whose majority stake is owned by Czech businessman Petr Kellner, operates in the areas of consumer financing, retail banking and insurance in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia and other countries mainly in central and south-east Asia.
Two foreign nationals being deported from Denmark to Romania attempted to escape during a stop-over at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport on Monday evening. They failed to board a waiting bus and ran across the tarmac to a fence where they were caught by police. Officers had to restrain the two men. The police were reportedly not informed about the reasons for their deportation.
Customs officers at the international airport in Prague have detained a Romanian passenger smuggling 600,000 crowns worth of heroin in his stomach. Suspicious behaviour on the part of the passenger, who had arrived from Istanbul, led the officers to perform tests. X-rays showed that the man had 35 capsules of heroin inside him, each containing roughly ten grams of heroin. The vast majority of such cases of drug smuggling involve cocaine rather than heroin, customs said.
There was a sad end to the story of a Romani “prince” from Romania on Monday when the 17-year-old boy died at Prague’s Vinohrady hospital. The boy – heir to the ‘throne’ of a Romani Olach clan – spent two weeks on a life support machine after almost drowning in a lake near Prague. Czech officials seemed at a loss on how to deal with the dozens of relatives who descended on Prague to be near him, and there’s now some confusion over who will pay for his body to be returned to his homeland.