Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a two-day official visit on Thursday. On the agenda of the Israeli leader, who is travelling with a delegation of seven ministers, is a meeting with his Czech counterpart counterpart Petr Nečas as well as several members of the Czech cabinet. The Israeli delegation is set to discuss bilateral relations as well as collaboration in the areas of education and research. Ahead of the visit, some 500 police officers are working to ensure the security of the Israeli prime minister. Senior police officials have said that the Israeli leader’s visit carries a higher security risk compared to those of other statesmen.
In related news, Czechs laying bets with at least one betting agency are favoring Sweden over the Czech Republic in Thursday’s do-or-die quarterfinal match at the world championships in ice hockey, news website idnes.cz reports. According to the site, more than two-thirds of Czech bettors laying bets with the Fortuna agency favor Sweden, most often predicting the Swedes will win by a score of 5:3. The Czech team, when led by team coach Alois Hadamczik, has been unable to beat the co-hosts of this year’s championship and one of the favorites to win the championship. Players are hoping they will be able to pull off a surprise result – stressing they will have to keep pressure on and try and score early.
The record auction of František Kupka’s painting The Shape of Blue has revealed shortcomings in the country’s registration of works that fall under the national heritage, especially in the area of fine arts. To date, the Czech state has failed to determine whether the painting, which was sold to a foreign buyer for 55.75 million crowns, falls under the national heritage or not, the Czech News Agency ČTK writes, citing insider sources. Should this be the case, the buyer would not be able to take the painting out of the Czech Republic. The National Heritage Institute claims that Kupka’s work does fall under the national heritage. However, the seller of the painting maintains that it does not, since the process of proclaiming it a part of the national heritage had not been completed by the time the painting went on sale. The buyer is now waiting for a decision by the Ministry of Culture on the matter.
A district court judge for Ústí nad Labem has ruled that regional
governor David Rath – charged with corruption – will remain in custody.
On Thursday, the judge also remanded in custody seven other persons who
were arrested along with governor Rath. The court on Wednesday said there
was a danger that if released ahead of trial, Mr Rath could influence
witnesses, attempt to escape or continue in criminal activities. Similar
reasons were cited for the other suspects remaining in custody.
On Monday, police arrested the former Central Bohemian governor, as well as four men and three women, among them Kateřina Pancová, the head of Kladno Hospital, and two entrepreneurs, one of them from the construction sector. The group is charged with corruption, damaging the EU’s financial interests and manipulation of public tenders. David Rath was caught on Monday with seven million crowns on his person; if convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars.
National hockey coach Alois Hadamczik is keeping quiet about who he will put in net in the quarterfinal game between the Czech Republic and Sweden at the World Championship in ice hockey. The Czech squad - under Hadamczik – has never won against Sweden at either the Olympics or the Worlds, so players will have their work cut out for them on Thursday. The coach could go with either goalie Jakub Kovář or Jakub Štěpánek. Who will start is already known to the goalies, but both are keeping silent ahead of the match. Hadamczik told the media simply that he wanted to keep his opponents guessing.
A new poll conducted by the STEM agency has suggested that the majority of
Czechs rate the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party as the main
proponent of government reforms, despite the fact that that not it but
fellow right-wing party TOP 09 holds key ministries, including Finance and
Health. According to the poll, 53 percent of those surveyed named the Civic
Democrats, 41 TOP 09 and just six percent the former government coalition
party Public Affairs, replaced by a political platform led by Karolína
Peake (who is founding a new party to be called LIDEM or For the People).
Those surveyed were also asked which party in government was the most thorough in seeing the government’s programme fulfilled: there, TOP 09 received 43 percent, the Civic Democrats 42. In general, government has not done well in numerous recent opinion polls, in which a majority of potential voters have expressed opposition to wide-reaching reforms.
On Tuesday night, police also searched the office of Mr Rath’s close associate Kateřina Pancová. She is the head of Kladno Hospital in Central Bohemia and one of seven people charged along with the governor in the corruption case. The charged are suspected of having accepted bribes, having manipulated public tenders and having harmed EU interests. Some hospital staff members have expressed concerns over the developments, worrying about personnel changes. But the hospital’s deputy business and economic manager Jaroslav Pokorný told the ČTK news agency the case would have no impact on the day-to-day operation of the facility.
A district court judge for Ústí nad Labem has ruled that regional governor David Rath – charged with corruption – will remain in custody. The governor of Central Bohemia was caught on Monday with seven million crowns – an apparent bribe – on his person; if convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars. The court on Wednesday said there was a danger that if released ahead of trial, Mr Rath could influence witnesses, attempt to escape or continue in criminal activities. State prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová has not yet said whether she will recommend for others arrested in the case to also be held. Along with Mr Rath, the police arrested seven others on Monday – four men and three women -including Kateřina Pancová, the head of Kladno Hospital and a close Rath associate.
Residents and visitors in Prague and Kutná hora will be able to experience Literature Night 2012 on Wednesday. Fifteen spots in Prague’s Smíchov area will see readings of the latest translation of European authors by well-known figures such as Matěj Hádek, Miroslav Táborský and Daniela Kolářová. Dozens of cities and towns across Europe are taking part in the event.
The government has approved continuing the Czech Republic’s mission in Afghanistan through 2014, while gradually reducing the number of personnel. According to the plan, 539 people will serve next year, but a maximum of 340 a year after that. The gradual drawdown is in keeping with NATO’s plans to reduce alliance forces, and hand Afghans responsibility for their security in 2014. That year, some 50 Czech personnel will also serve in Iceland, helping protect Icelandic airspace. Pilots will have four Jas-39 Gripen fighter jets at their disposal.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott