Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and seven ministers of the ruling coalition are due to travel to Israel where on Sunday they will take part in intergovernmental talks. During their meeting with Israeli officials in Jerusalem a number of memoranda on future cooperation are to be signed, the Czech News Agency confirmed. Topics to be tabled include security, health care, tourism and cultural and economic ties. The trip includes an accompanying business delegation. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Prague this year but the plans were changed to accommodate the Israeli cabinet.
The country’s anti-monopoly office has okayed the sale of the country’s price comparison website Heureka.cz to investment group Rockaway Capital. The deal, which includes Rockaway Capital buying the second-largest Czech retailer Mall.cz, was reached last year for a reported 5.4 billion crowns. Assessment of the Mall.cz portion of the deal by the bureau has not yet been completed.
Czech tennis player Lukáš Rosol will play defending champion Stan Wawrinka in his first match at Rolland Garros the draw for the championship determined. The results were announced Friday. Czech no. 1 player Tomáš Berdych faces Vasek Pospisil of Canada, while on the women’s side Petra Kvitová faces Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic.
Three players’ names have been struck from a provisional squad named just one day earlier for the upcoming Euro 2016 championships. Defender Ondřej Zahustel, midfielder Jan Kovařík and striker Matěj Vrba, it was revealed, will not be taking part. The provisional list is now 25 names long. The final tally – 23 – must be finalized with UEFA by May 31. The team’s coach Pavel Vrba told an internet website that the decision not to take the striker had not been easy. Currently named in the squad are three goalkeepers, eight defenders, 10 midfielders and four strikers.
The ANO party headed by finance minister Andrej Babiš has widened its lead over nearest rivals, the Social Democrats, in the latest polls. ANO scored 28 percent of preferences according to the CVVM May poll, up one percentage point from April. The Social Democrats, led by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, fell back one percentage point to 25.5 percent. The communists showed a surge in support, rising to 15 percent from the previous poll total of 11.0 percent. Elections to the lower house of parliament are due to take place in just over a year.
Almost half of some 5,000 checks of drinking establishments by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority last year revealed shortcomings, with proprietors either overcharging on beverages or selling customers short. On the positive side, the authority reported that no sales of bootleg liquor were uncovered; in 2012, the Czech Republic saw dozens of deaths related to bootleg liquor containing methanol. In all, the bureau handed down some 1,700 fines amounting to more than five million crowns.
Teachers' Unions see a proposed five-percent pay rise for teachers as unacceptable and made clear on Fridaz they would not stand for less than a ten percent increase. Unless the government raises the proposal, they are promising to take as yet undisclosed steps to apparently increase pressure in June. The news was confirmed on Friday by Marketa Seidlová of the umbrella organisation ČMKOS. She met with the Education Minister Kateřina Valachová to disclose union demands and look for possible ways forward. The minister also met with educators and representatives of parents of school-age children. The unions have set aside the next two weeks for possible negotiations. They are pushing for talks with Finance Minister Andrej Babiš who has so far resisted wage increases for teachers of higher than five percent.
Doctors have okayed the release from hospital for home care for one of two soldiers injured this week while undergoing training in the Libavá military zone in the Olomouc region. The incident happened on Wednesday evening. The other remains in serious condition in an induced coma. The training accident is being investigated by the military police.
The Ralsko nature reserve, a former Red Army military training ground in North Bohemia, is to become the Czech Republic's largest geopark. The area, which covers around 17,000 hectares of land, features a number of natural sights, including monumental rocks, ponds and peatlands with valuable flora and fauna. The organisers want to turn the park into an attractive natural recreation area, with a network of tourist and cycling paths and services for the visitors. The mayor of Ralsko hopes the geopark will create new job opportunities for local people.
The Ministry of Defence has withdrawn its offer to send Czech troops to the Golan Heights to take part at the UN peace mission, the daily Lidové noviny reported on Friday. According to the ministry’s spokesman, the soldiers were supposed to operate on Israeli territory, which is relatively stable, but the UN have changed conditions and wanted to deploy the Czech troops on the Syrian side of the border.
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