An historical Lockheed Electra that Czech industrialist Jan Antonín Baťa used to travel the world landed at Otrokovice in the Zlín area on Monday, eighty years after it left. The crew brought with them a Czech tricolour that the pilot who flew J.A. Baťa had on his jacket. Thousands of people turned out to see the historic plane land. J.A. Baťa was the half-brother of Baťa shoe empire founder Tomáš Baťa; after fleeing the Nazis he eventually settled in Brazil.
Political parties and other groups held events in the Czech Republic marking May Day, a state holiday. As every year the Communist Party celebrated International Workers’ Day at Prague’s Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The Social Democrats held an event at the Prague island Střelecký ostrov while leader Bohuslav Sobotka attended events in his native Moravia. Leading members of the centrist ANO held an event on a boat on the Vltava. A number of extremist groups also held demonstrations in the Czech capital. While events in Prague were peaceful there were clashes between far-right extremists and opponents in Brno and the police made several arrests.
Two Czechs flew on Monday from Prague to Greek to appear in court on charges of espionage. Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta, who are software producers, are accused of filming by military installations near Greece’s border with Turkey in 2012 for the purposes of producing a video game. The pair say they were in Greece on holiday and merely took photographs and made videos as regular tourists. Their trial is set to begin on Wednesday and they face up to 20 years if found guilty.
The Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, is set to hold talks with his US counterpart, James Mattis, at the Pentagon in Washington on Tuesday. Mr. Stropnický said his meeting with the secretary of defense would take in the security situation, the Czech military budget and the modernisation of the Czech Army. Also on the agenda may be Czech plans to purchase military helicopters, with US firm Bell one of those in the running for the deal, the Czech News Agency reported. Mr. Stropnický had originally been due to travel to the US with Czech President Miloš Zeman but the US side postponed a meeting between him and Donald Trump originally reported as planned for the turn of April and May.
The international ballet star Sergei Polunin is set to perform in the Czech Republic for the first time on Monday. The Ukrainian will give two shows at Prague’s National Theatre that will be preceded by a documentary about his career entitled Dancer. Tickets for both appearances sold out in less than five minutes. Formerly principal dancer with the British Royal Ballet, Polunin, who is 27, is today at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre.
With four more rounds to go, the top two teams in Czech soccer's first division are tied on points after Slavia Prague drew 1:1 with Jablonec on Sunday evening. Slavia managed to save at least one point with an equalising goal in the final minute of regular time at their Eden stadium. The Prague side are ahead on goal difference only of defending champions Viktoria Plzeň, who had earlier beaten Dukla Prague 2:0.
The Financial Administration, the national tax authority, has been carrying out an inspection at ANO chief Andrej Babiš’s Agrofert company, the website of the weekly Respekt reported on Sunday. It said inspectors were also looking at the bonds that Mr. Babiš purchased from the firm in the past. Critics accuse him of buying crown bonds from Agrofert whose revenue is not taxable. For his part the ANO leader says the claims are part of an organised campaign against him.
If elections were held this month ANO would triumph with 31.5 percent ahead of the Social Democrats on 12 percent, suggests a new opinion poll conducted for Czech Television by the Kantar TNS polling agency and published on Sunday. Closing in on the Social Democrats are the right-wing Civic Democrats, who would receive 11.5 percent, the survey indicates. It also puts the alliance of the Christian Democrats and the Mayors and Independents on 10.5 percent, ahead of the 10 percent the two would need together to cross the threshold to enter the lower house. Elections are scheduled for October.
The head of the Social Democrats’ deputies group, Roman Sklenák, says the coalition parties should convene a meeting to consider a letter sent by ANO chief Andrej Babiš that was meant to explain how he purchased bonds in his Agrofert company. Mr. Sklenák said on Sunday that the explanation proffered was unsatisfactory and unacceptable. The issue has sharply divided the two biggest parties in the government and Social Democrats chief Bohuslav Sobotka has threatened to dismiss Mr. Babiš. Also speaking on Sunday, the Social Democrats' Jan Hamáček said the ANO leader should resign from the government himself.
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