In athletics, Martina Sábliková has announced that she will fly out to Rio at the end of next week ahead of the Olympics. Sábliková, a three-time speed skating medal winner in the Winter Olympics, will await a decision in Brazil on whether she can take part in the road cycling competition. The Czech thought she had booked a place in the Olympics with a ninth place in a speed trial in the World Championships last year but was stunned to learn just a few months ago that that no places had been earmarked for the Czech Republic on the basis of those times. Her last hope is the verdict from an appeal to an international sporting arbitration.
The REICO investment company, owned by one of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks Česká Spořitelna, is poised to buy the tallest office block in Prague, the City Tower. The pending purchase, with an estimated value of around 4.9 billion crowns, is being examined by the country’s competition office. The current owner is the PPF company of the country’s richest man, Petr Kellner. City Tower, at 109 metres, is the second tallest building in the country.
Dubai-owned company Alcor Holdings has launched an international arbitration proceeding against the Czech Republic. The company is claiming 483 million crowns connected with its claimed failure to get compensation for the use of around 23,000 m2 of land dotted around Prague. Most of the land has been built on for key highways around the capital. The proceedings were announced by the Czech Ministry of Finance.
Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek has called for the Czech government to take a stand over the clean out of schools and universities being undertaken in Turkey following the failed coup last weekend. The leader of the Christian Democrats said he wanted the issue discussed at the next Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday. According to reports out of Turkey around 22,000 teachers have been sacked from their jobs in the state sector and around the same had had their teaching permits withdrawn in the private sector. The Czech University Council on Friday expressed its solidarity with higher education institutions in Turkey and compared the clean out to events which took place under Communism in former Czechoslovakia.
The Czech Republic failed to pump 6.8 billion crowns in European funds earmarked for the county according to figures from the Ministry of Finance. The latest figure is an improvement on the 10 billion crown shortfall estimated by the Ministry for Regional Development at the start of this year and the 36 billion crown figure given in the middle of 2015. The Czech Republic is looking to use up 620 billion crowns earmarked for it under the latest spending period between 2014 and 2020.
Three times more Czechs have been poisoned this year from mushroom picking compared with last year. So far 52 instances of poisoning have been reported by hospitals, half of the cases concerned children. The sharp rise is explained by the drought conditions over the same period last year resulting in a mushroom scarcity and the fact that many varieties of poisonous mushrooms appeared to have prospered so far this year.
In football, Slavia Prague has progressed to the next qualifying round of the Europa League with a 2:0 win at home on Thursday night against Levadia Tallinn. The goals were scored by new Dutch signing Gino Van Kessel and Milan Škoda. The win meant Slavia proceeded on away goals after a 1:3 defeat in the first leg.
Czech politicians have reacted to US Republican nominee Donald Trump’s words regarding conditional US support for NATO allies in time of need. Speaking at a press conference in Warsaw, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said NATO was the basis for European security and expressed the hope that the US would remain a solid NATO partner no matter who wins the presidential elections. I am glad that the UK has confirmed it wants to stay part of NATO although it is leaving the EU, Mr. Sobotka said. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, who is currently on a working visit to the US, said that questioning the principle of mutual military aid was dangerous.
Czech police have arrested one of the bosses of the Calabrian mafia, Francesco Bonavita, commercial TV Nova reported. According to the tv report Bonavita had lived in the Czech Republic for several months under a false name. In Italy he faces charges of criminal conspiracy for which he could receive 26 years in jail. The suspect was reportedly arrested a few days ago in Prague’s north-western Dejvice district and is now awaiting a decision on extradition.
A meeting of Visegrad Four prime ministers in Warsaw on Thursday ended with calls for speedy EU reform. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlova, who hosted the meeting, said the EU must return to its roots and reflect the needs of its citizens. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the European Council should lead the debate on EU reform. He said the EU member states needed to improve cooperation in the field of security, in protecting the union’s outer borders and in the fight against terrorism. The V4 debate also focussed on Brexit and the current situation in Turkey. It is the Visegrad Four’s first session since Poland took over the V4 presidency from the Czech Republic on July 1st.
Czech IT specialists organize “hackathon” to give government online motorway vignette sales system for free
Minister: Czech Republic won’t take in 40 child refugees from Greek camps
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
Three Czechs trapped in Wuhan due to coronavirus
EU, Russia row over WWII, with Poles and Czechs on front lines