The Czech Republic’s footballers have lost their final warm-up game ahead of the European Championship in France, going down 2:1 to South Korea at Prague’s Eden stadium on Sunday afternoon. The visitors were 2:0 up by half-time before Czech defender Marek Suchý reduced the deficit with a deflected effort after the break. Pavel Vrba’s men will face Spain, Croatia and Turkey at Euro 2016 with their opening game against the defending champions in eight days’ time.
The domestic soccer first division is going to be sponsored by a Chinese company, the chairman of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, said on Czech Television on Sunday. However, Mr. Pelta would not reveal the name of the firm, saying an official presentation would take place within two weeks. He said that thanks to President Miloš Zeman, who has cultivated ties with the world’s most populous state, companies from China have a great deal of goodwill towards the Czech Republic. The Chinese company CEFC owns Slavia Prague and is one of the biggest sponsors of the Czech national team.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has rejected President Miloš Zeman’s suggestion on Friday that fire officers could be sent to help guard the country’s borders if there were an increased influx of migrants. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr. Sobotka said the head of state’s idea was “improvisation” that was some way removed from reality and would not resolve the migrant crisis. The PM said if there were any incidents at the border the army was available to help the police. He added that the Czech Republic was not a target destination for asylum seekers and that migrant transit across the country was minimal.
A Czech coach returning from Spain was shot at in the south of France on Saturday night, the Czech News Agency reported, citing the website FranceBleu. Six of the 70 passengers on board the bus were injured by flying shards of glass when two shots were fired at it, evidently from a bridge on a motorway near the town of Montelimar. The reasons for the incident are unclear but French police have investigated several cases of stones being thrown at vehicles from motorway bridges, the Czech News Agency said.
Coalition members ANO have submitted draft legislation to the lower house that would bar politicians from simultaneously serving as ministers and deputies, Czech Television reported on Sunday. ANO chief Andrej Babiš has previously said that the bill – which envisages substitutes standing in for MPs for the period they hold ministerial posts – would allow ministers to devote more time to their portfolios. The proposed amendment is seen as unlikely to succeed as it would require the backing of a constitutional majority of 120 MPs in the lower house and does not have the support of some government MPs or opposition parties.
The body that investigates violations by Czech police officers, the GIBS, has objected to the Constitutional Court’s claim that it is not independent, Lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. The court recently upheld a complaint from an environmental group which said inspectors from the GIBS had failed to investigate properly a police operation against ecologists taking part in a protest; the complaint also stated that the GIBS was not independent as most of its employees were formerly members of the Police Inspectorate, which it replaced. The head of the parliamentary committee overseeing the GIBS, Václav Klučka, said it was incredible that the court had asserted some connection between the agency’s staff’s previous employment and their independence.
Proposals to increase female representation at ministries and state-owned enterprises are to be discussed by the cabinet next week, Czech Television reported. The plan submitted by the minister for legislation and human rights, Jiří Dienstbier, envisages women holding 40 percent of senior positions. Mr. Dienstbier says the process should be gradual, with his “+1” strategy involving one woman being added at the top level of institutions every year. It also includes a provision for more gender equality on selection panels and a guarantee of 40 percent of places for women on candidate lists in elections.
The spokesman for President Miloš Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, says a recently launched video service showing appearances by the head of state are intended as a counterweight to state broadcaster Czech Television, Echo24.cz reported on Saturday. Mr. Ovčáček told the news site that his office had started posting the videos as Czech TV did not carry objective reports about Mr. Zeman’s visits to the country’s regions. In two months such videos have 50,000 views, he said. While they have hitherto been circulated via Twitter they will soon begin appearing on the president’s Facebook page.
A dispute between Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and the Prague 1 town hall surrounding the brandishing of a noose at a demonstration is set to go to court, Právo reported on Saturday. In an action filed by Mr. Chovanec, he states that officials uncritically accepted the testimony of the man who held the noose – directed at “traitorous” politicians willing to accept quotas of refugees – at an anti-migrant rally on Wenceslas Square last summer. Prague 1 shelved the case largely on the basis of a statement from the man when it should have properly considered all aspects of the matter and attempted to ascertain whether any violations had occurred, the minister’s petition states. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he supported Mr. Chovanec's move.
An extra CZK 300 million in state grants to replace old boilers will be available this year. The European Commission has agreed to fund the Ministry of the Environment scheme, making the move conditional on the money only going to renewable energy sources, meaning boilers using pure biomass or heat pumps. The Ministry is due to discuss the project with representatives of the Czech Republic’s regions in the coming weeks, a spokesperson said.
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