Gabriela Soukalová won the women's biathlon World Cup overall title for the first time on Saturday, finishing fourth in the 10 kilometre pursuit race in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Finland's Kaisa Makarainen clinched the 10-kilometer pursuit but fourth was enough for Soukalová to secure the title with one race remaining. Soukalová is the second Czech to win a biathlon World Cup overall title after Jiřina Adamičková in 1990, and also ends the season top of the pursuit standings.
The ANO party will spend 50 million crowns on its regional election campaign this year, party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has told the Czech News Agency. The leader said ANO was setting as its goal to win a minimum of five regions and place second where it failed to clinch victories. Mr Babiš is to partly finance the campaign with an ongoing loan; according to figures dating back to 2014, cited by ČTK, the party owed its leader 65 million crowns. Fellow members in government, the Social Democrats expect to spend 100 million on their own campaign.
More than fifty police officers took part in an extensive raid this week which included as search of homes and vehicles in the area of Cheb, and charges against eight people for the illegal production and sale of marijuana, the police have revealed. Confiscated in the crackdown were around four kilograms of dried marijuana, almost 100 plants, and several tens of thousands of crowns from sales. Charges against three of the persons were brought the same day: if found guilty, two face a potential 10 years behind bars, the third, five.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman, a member of the Christian Democratic Party, has tweeted that a recent minute of silence by MPs he initiated in the lower house to honour those who died in the 1959 Tibetan rebellion, reportedly drew a complaint from Chinese representatives, who allegedly said it could damage the upcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prague. The news was not confirmed by the Czech Foreign Ministry. A spokesman said the issue of honouring the victims had been discussed as one of several at a regular meeting with representatives from the Chinese embassy. The Czech Republic, according to a statement signed by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and his counterpart in 2014, does not support Tibetan independence in any form. All the same, on March 10 this year, some 700 institutions including schools in the Czech Republic took part in the international Flag for Tibet campaign.
Forward Tomáš Fleischmann got a goal in the Chicago Blackhawks' win on Friday over the Winnipeg Jets. In the game, defenceman Michal Rozsíval also picked up an assist. The Blackhawks won by a final score of 4:0. Goalie Ondřej Pavelec was in net for the Jets for all of Chicago's goals; he stopped 32 shots.
The top leadership of the Social Democratic party has recommended MPs back the programme for next week's extraordinary lower house session, calling on Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and the ANO party to explain the financing of the Stork´s Nest farm and conference centre. The proposal was originally put forward by the centre-right opposition. Serious questions over how the centre, which is owned by Mr Babiš agro-chemical giant Agrofert, received 50 million crowns in EU funds, remain. On Friday evening, Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said that the affair had hurt the ruling coalition; he made clear the matter needed to be properly explained as quickly as possible. The Social Democrat leadership on Friday also urged its MPs to back a proposed conflict of interest amendment. For his part, Mr Babiš called on his his party's MPs to also back next week's session programme.
A joint statement establishing a strategic partnership between the Czech Republic and China will be the main result of the forthcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reports, citing government information. A number of memoranda on cooperation in investment, finances, aviation and health care are expected to be signed. Xi Jinping is due to visit the Czech Republic on March 28-30, the first visit by a Chinese head of state to the Czech Republic. ČTK quoted a cabinet meeting report: "Within the strategic partnership, both countries are expressing the will to increase cooperation in a number of spheres". These include industrial production, science and research, aviation, health care, agriculture, energy production, culture, education, sport and tourism, the agency said.
Czech film director Jan Němec, a key figure of the Czech new wave in the 1960s, died on Friday at the age of 79. According to sources, he had been battling a serious illness. In the 1960s, the director first made his name with Demanty noci (Diamonds of the Night) based on short stories by the writer and Holocaust survivor Arnošt Lustig. Mr Němec achieved further acclaim with The Party and the Guests (1966), a satirical allegory describing servility to the ruling power. The film antagonised powerful figures in the Communist regime and was banned until after 1989. Němec also made Oratory for Prague that recorded the first day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. He described it as his "most successful film, seen by over one billion people". In the Normalisation 1970s, Mr Neměc was prevented from working in film and for a time worked in television. He left Czechoslovakia in 1974 and for 15 years lived in Germany and the US.
Some fifty-six percent of Czechs are happy with the way democracy is working in their country, which is the best result since 2004, according to a poll by the CVVM agency published on Friday. It is a one-percent rise on the last survey, carried out in 2015. At the same time, 51 percent of respondents said Czechs were not treated equally, which is a four percent increase on last year’s survey.
More than two-thirds of companies in automobile industry in the Czech Republic are planning to increase their economic production capacity in the next five years, according to a new survey by the accounting and consultancy firm Deloitte carried out in car plants in six central European countries. However, they will also face lack of qualified workforce, insufficient infrastructure and logistics, the study suggests. Among the biggest advantages of the Czech automobile industry mentioned by the respondents was the low cost of labour.
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