The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, met with the Czech Republic’s richest man, PPF investment group owner Petr Kellner, at Prague Castle on Tuesday. The president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, said the two had discussed economic relations with Russia, China and the US. PPF does business in all three countries. Mr. Ovčáček said Mr. Zeman was going to visit all of them this year, though his plans to go to Russia were not previously known. Mr. Kellner visited China with the Czech head of state in 2014 and was present when the latter held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Czech scouts have begun mapping the fates of scouts who died during World War II in battle, in concentration camps or in prisons, Czech Television reported on Tuesday. Within the project War Heroes they are attempting to trace their fallen predecessors’ life stories in a bid to preserve them for future generations of Czech scouts. The Nazis banned the scouts in 1940 and many of its members joined the resistance. Around 700 died in the course of the war.
A woman who brutally stabbed a stranger to death at a Prague shopping centre last year has received a 30-year prison term. Michelle Sudků was also ordered by the Prague Municipal Court to pay compensation of CZK 850,000 to the family of her victim. Sudků’s plea that she was insane at the time of the killing, which took place at the capital’s Nový Smíchov shopping complex, was rejected. She was also found guilty of attempting to strangle a girl at a café.
The Czech National Bank made its biggest ever intervention on the currency markets in one month in January, according to figures released on Tuesday. The central bank spent around CZK 391 billion buying euros in January in a bid to keep the Czech crown down to around 27 to the common European currency. The policy of keeping the crown weak was launched in late 2013. Czech National Bank officials say it will be discontinued this year. Analysts say anticipation of the change has made the crown more subject to currency speculation. The divisive intervention policy has cost the CNB CZK 1.3 trillion to date.
Coalition leaders the Social Democrats lost around a tenth of their members in the last two years, according to a report prepared for next weekend’s party congress quoted by the Czech News Agency. At the end of December the Social Democrats had just under 20,500 members, around 2,200 fewer than at the end of 2014. In the same period 57 local branches were shut down.
Alphonse Mucha’s cycle of paintings the Slav Epic has gone on display in the Japanese capital Tokyo. The exhibition is part of a Year of Czech Culture in Japan organised in connection with the 60th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two states. The Slav Epic exhibition, which is expected to attract up to a quarter of a million visitors in three months, was opened by the Czech minister of culture, Daniel Herman. There has been some opposition to the sending of the paintings to Japan, with restorers warning that the canvases could be damaged.
There is strong political will in the EU to deepen defense cooperation, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický said on Monday following a meeting of foreign and defense ministers from the 28 member bloc. The meeting approved plans to establish a joint command center for the bloc's military missions. The move is part of a broader effort to increase security and defense cooperation within the European Union. The Military Planning and Conduct Capability Centre would command the bloc's non-executive military missions, such as the three currently underway in Mali, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. Minister Stropnický welcomed the move saying the Czech military was open to closer cooperation and would willingly send experts to the centre.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the two Czechs detained in Turkey on charges of terrorism will go on trial in May. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova told the news site aktualne.cz that the ministry was devoting special attention to the case and hoped for a positive outcome. Miroslav Farkas and Marketa Všelichová were arrested in November 2016 trying to cross the Turkish-Syrian border and charged with aiding terrorist activities within the People's Protection Units YPG which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.The Chief Prosecutor's Office in Ankara is seeking a prison term of between seven and a half years and 15 years. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, who visited Turkey in January to try to negotiate their release, said he hoped the two might be expelled from the country.
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