Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is set to speak at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival by video link, the organisers said on Wednesday. Mr. Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for three years to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he faces rape charges. He will appear in Jihlava’s Inspiration Forum, a festival sidebar that features interesting guests who may have nothing to do with film. This year’s festival, the 19th, takes place from October 27 to November 1.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš says all old age pensioners in the Czech Republic will this year receive a one-off allowance of CZK 600 (just over EUR 20). Announcing the move on Wednesday, he said all three coalition party leaders had agreed on it earlier in the week. Pensioners will receive the money in December. Mr. Babiš said that from next year pensions would be index-linked under a new law and would rise in line with inflation.
CzechTourism has launched a new mobile application enabling users to visit spots in the Czech Republic used as locations in domestic and international film productions. The state agency said on Wednesday that the Czech Film Trips database contained information on around 300 movie locations around the country and would be constantly updated. The app is free and is linked to the website http://www.zemefilmu.cz/en.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the influx of refugees into Southern Europe does not pose a threat to Czech tourists in the region. He said his officials did not believe asylum seekers in Italy, Greece and in particular the Greek island of Kos represented a heightened security risk. However, speaking at the launch of this year’s tourist season, Mr. Zaorálek warned Czechs against visiting countries where Islamic State radicals were active. As every summer, the Czech Republic is opening temporary consuls at destinations popular with Czech holidaymakers, such as Rijeka and Split in Croatia.
The president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association says the situation surrounding freshly resigned national team coach Vladimír Růžička has significantly damaged the sport in the country. Mr. Růžička quit on Tuesday after fresh allegations he took bribes to allow their children for the club Slavia Prague. Hockey association chief Tomáš Král said, however, that the affair only concerned one club and several individuals and was not symptomatic of a broader malaise. Mr. Král had backed Mr. Růžička when the first allegations of bribe-taking were made against him, shortly before the Ice Hockey World Championships last month.
Despite winning promotion to Czech soccer’s top flight Varnsdorf have decided to remain in the second division next season. A club representative said on Wednesday that bringing their stadium up to compulsory first division standards would have represented too much of a financial risk. Varnsdorf’s decision is good news for Zlín, who came third in the second division and will take the free spot among the Czech Republic’s top teams if they meet the technical conditions.
The grounds for acquittal in the case of Jana Nečasová (formerly Nagyová) are unlikely to be revealed until the start of August, the Czech News Agency reported. Prague 1 Municipal Court judge Helena Králová has applied for more time to write an opinion in view of the complexity of the case and is also taking a month’s vacation. The judge recently acquitted Mrs. Nečasová of ordering military intelligence officers to spy on the then wife of her now husband Petr Necaš. At the time she was chief aide to his prime minister and her arrest helped topple Mr. Necaš’s government. The state attorney has appealed the ruling. Mrs. Nečasová also faces trial on corruption charges.
Czech national ice hockey coach Vladimír Růžička has resigned following more allegations that he took bribes while coaching domestic league club Slavia. Mr Růžička’s decision came just hours after Czech Radio reported on Tuesday that the coach had asked several parents for large sums of money to allow their children play in the club. A criminal complaint has already been filed against the coach for bribe-taking, fraud and breach of trust in connection with a sum of CZK 500,000 he is alleged to have accepted from a man to allow his son to play for Slavia Prague. In a statement issued on Tuesday the Czech national coach rejected the allegations saying he wanted to clear his name in court.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec on Tuesday met with the Czech trauma team which helped to deal with the consequences of the devastating earthquake in Nepal and handed its members honorary medals. The team of doctors, nurses and firefighters set up a field hospital in Melamchi, in central Nepal, and provided assistance to over 1,100 people. The Czechs started their mission on May 1 and spent four weeks in the area.
A majority of Czechs have a positive attitude towards nuclear energy, according to a poll carried out by the CVVM agency in May. Some 45 percent of people are happy with the current state of the country’s nuclear power capacity and 22 percent are in favour of its expansion. Just over 20 percent of respondents said they would like to reduce the use of nuclear power. The poll also suggested that nearly 50 percent of respondents would like to see another two reactors added to the country’s two unit Temelín nuclear power station.
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