There will be major personnel changes in the Czech military as of August, general staff spokeswoman Jana Růžičková told the CTK news agency. Army Chief of Staff Petr Pavel has selected three new deputies, to replace officers who will be serving in NATO structures or retiring. Jaroslav Kocián will be chief inspector of the Czech military, Jiří Baloun will head the Joint Operations Centre and Josef Bečvář will serve as first deputy chief of staff. More changes may be in the pipeline if the Army Chief of Staff Petr Pavel is elected chairman of NATO’s military committee. The Czech government nominated him for the post last week. A decision is expected in September.
The Supreme Court in Olomouc has upheld a 12-year sentence for a man who gave a young woman a lethal amount of crystal methamphetamine. The nineteen-year-old died within hours of taking the drug which she and her friend were given as a reward for cleaning the man’s house. Another man who was involved in the incident got a two year suspended sentence. An autopsy confirmed that the young woman died of a massive overdose of the home-made drug.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has dismissed criticism from the head of state relating to the manner in which the Czech government selected its nominee for the European Commission. President Zeman said in an interview for the weekly Tyden that the prime minister had humiliated the country by letting the commission’s president-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, hand-pick one of the Czech nominees himself. Prime Minister Sobotka on Monday issued a statement saying that he considered the president’s criticism unjustified and unnecessary and said the head of state was clearly ill-informed. Mr. Sobotka said that his meeting with Mr. Junker had revolved mainly around the portfolio which the Czech Republic would like to manage and noted that all EU member states had held similar talks with the commission’s president-elect. After lengthy negotiations the Czech government named regional development minister Věra Jourová as the country’s nominee for EU commissioner.
The Czech government will pay the German carmaker Volkswagen 301 million crowns after losing a dispute with the firm over settling debts following the privatization of Škoda Auto, the daily Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Volkswagen acquired Škoda in 1991 but claimed then Czech government siphoned off hundreds of millions of crowns. Earlier this year, the Czech government lost an international arbitration in the case as well as a court case heard by an Austrian court. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš had released the funds, and said he would determine who was responsible in the case, the daily said.
An accident on the railway line between Prague and Kolín in central Bohemia has halted traffic on the route used by international express trains with destinations in Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. The accident occurred when a train ran onto a wrong track and damaged a switch. Local trains have been cancelled and replaced with buses while international expresses have been diverted to an alternate route. The authorities expect traffic on the route to resume at 8 PM on Sunday.
Several towns and villages in South Moravia on Sunday commemorated their men who were killed on the battlefields of the First World War, the news agency ČTK reported. A plaque dedicated to their memory was unveiled in Hustopeče while in Valtice, a memorial cross was erected. In Olešnice and several other places, gatherings were held to remember the fallen soldiers on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the war’s outbreak.
A light airplane crashed during take-off at an airfield in Plasy, western Bohemia, on Sunday. The plane was carrying two people but no one suffered any injuries in the accident, a spokesman for the local fire brigade said. The news agency ČTK reported the plane’s engine lost power during take-off and the pilot ended the manoeuvre. The plane then crashed some 50 metres away from the runway. Causes of the accident are under investigation.
The privately-owned PORG school was the most successful of all Czech secondary schools in this year’s state leaving exams, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday quoting an analysis by the educational consultancy firm CERMAT. Students at PORG, which has branches in Prague and Ostrava, did best in the Czech and English languages, and scored second in math nationwide. The Czech Education Ministry does not officially release rankings of secondary schools based on their students’ performance in the leaving exams.
The British film director Peter Greenaway opened an exhibition of his drawings at the Summer Film School festival in Uherské Hradiště, eastern Czech Republic, on Sunday. The exhibit, entitled Eisenstein in Guanajuato, includes some 50 drawings the director made during work on a film of the same name dedicated to the Russian film pioneer Sergei Eisenstein that is to premiere next year. Peter Greenaway received an award at the festival whose 40th edition started on Friday.
The Czech Republic has won an international arbitration against the firm Diag Human, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said. The company took the country to arbitration in 2008 over its allegedly thwarted blood plasma business int eh coutnry. The Czech Republic was originally ordered to pay eight billion crowns in compensation to the firm but the Czech government appealed the decision and the final ruling, delivered to both parties last week, awards victory to the Czech Republic, according to the Health Ministry. However, the firm disputes the minitry's claims, arguing the ruling in fact confirmed the original verdict. The Health Ministry said it would release details on the case next week.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott