Czech ice hockey coach Alois Hadamczik has called up such veterans as Jaromír Jágr and Petr Nedvěd for the country’s squad for the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi next month. Seventeen players from the NHL have been included in the roster, with Tomáš Plekanec of Montreal Canadiens being named captain. It will be the fifth Olympics for Jágr, who has not ruled out playing a sixth in 2018, when he will be 46.
UK firm National Express has established a branch in the Czech Republic with a view to entering the country’s transport market, iDnes.cz reported. A spokesperson for National Express, Europe’s second biggest private transport company, told the news website that in the Czech Republic it was at present only interested in trains. The head of its Czech office, Jan Paroubek, was previously involved in the privately owned rail companies RegioJet and Leo Express.
The outgoing minister of the interior, Martin Pecina, has removed Martin Červíček as president of the Czech Republic’s police force. The move brings to an end a bizarre situation in which there were two police chiefs in the wake of the reinstatement of Petr Lessy when charges against him were dropped. The man in the frame for the interior portfolio in the emerging government, Milan Chovanec, has indicated that he will not keep Mr. Lessy on as police president. The latter has indicated that he is ready to resign.
The chairman of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, has told reporters that he is set to meet President Miloš Zeman on Friday. The likely next prime minister has called on the head of state to implement the steps necessary for the formation of a new government as soon as possible. Mr. Sobotka, who cancelled his programme for Tuesday after coming down with a cold, will present Mr. Zeman with copies of the coalition agreements that he and the leaders of ANO and the Christian Democrats have just signed. The Social Democrats chief on Monday called on the president to name him prime minister as soon as possible. There has been speculation that Mr. Zeman may attempt to refuse some ministerial nominees.
Record high temperatures were registered at several places in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. The warmest spot was Klatovy in West Bohemia, where thermometers reached 13.9 degrees Celsius, 3.3 degrees higher than a record set in 1948. It was around 10 degrees Celsius in Prague, a few degrees below the highest temperature for January 7 – of 12.8 degrees Celsius – recorded at the city’s Clementinum in 1999.
The mayor of Suchdol, Petr Hejl, has met with Deputy Foreign Minister Jiří Schneider to voice his concerns over public safety in the wake of an incident last week at the Palestinian embassy in the Prague district. Palestine’s ambassador was killed in an explosion when a safe was opened and several unlicensed weapons were subsequently found at the embassy, leading the local authority to call for the diplomatic office to be moved. Mr. Schneider said the Foreign Ministry shared the mayor’s concerns and was taking steps in connection with the matter.
After a New Year’s lunch with the president on Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate, Milan Štěch, indicated that Mr. Zeman did have a problem with some nominees for ministerial posts. Mr. Štěch told the news site novinky.cz that the president had “comments” on more than one person, while all three parties in the emerging coalition were concerned. Lower house speaker Jan Hamáček, who was also invited to the Prague Castle meal, said the head of state was likely to make his position clear himself.
The new manager of the Czech soccer team, Pavel Vrba, has hired one of his predecessors, Karel Brueckner, as a consultant. Brueckner, who is 74, led a strong generation of players to the semi-finals at the 2004 European Championship in Portugal. The Czech FA headhunted Vrba for the national job after he proved a huge success at the helm of club Viktoria Plzeň. No details of the deal with Brueckner have been revealed.
The three parties also made public the nominations for ministerial posts in the emerging government. The Social Democrats will be managing 8 portfolios including the ministries of internal and foreign affairs, the ANO party will be controlling the finance, defense and justice ministries among others and the Christian Democrats the ministries of culture and agriculture. Commentators have noted that a number of business leaders nominated for ministerial posts in the emerging coalition government will have to give up their posts at the head of successful companies before taking up their posts in government in order to avoid a conflict of interests.
The 47th cross country skiing event Jizerská 50 has been cancelled due to insufficient natural snow, the organizers announced on Monday. In a statement issued on the Jizerská 50 homepage they said persistent above-freezing temperatures and rain over the weekend have made it impossible to prepare the race route, many kilometres of which are completely without snow cover. The decision to cancel the race was made on Monday in view of a forecast predicting even higher temperatures in the coming days.
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