The former Czech prime minister Stanislav Gross has died at the age of 45. The one-time leader of the Social Democrats had reportedly been suffering for some time from the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In 2003 Mr. Gross became the youngest prime minister in Europe at the age of 34. However, he was forced to quit the post within a year when questions were raised about how he had funded his apartment. He later left politics and worked as a lawyer.
A number of Czech politicians have paid their condolences to the family of former prime minister Stanislav Gross, who has died at the age of 45. President Miloš Zeman, who was at one time a mentor to Mr. Gross, expressed sympathy with his nearest and dearest. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka described Mr. Gross as a distinctive figure in national politics and said he would reflect on all they had been through together in the Social Democrats. The party’s Zdeněk Škromach said he had been taken aback by the news of Mr. Gross’s passing and hoped he would find peace in “political heaven”. The chairman of the Christian Democrats Pavel Bělobrádek and Communist Party deputy leader Jíří Dolejš were also among those to pay their condolences.
The minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, has rejected a claim made in a radio interview by European Commissioner Věra Jourová that the first Czech citizen has gone to fight for a radical Islamic terrorist group. Mr. Zaorálek tweeted that her assertion was speculation, adding that his officials had been absolutely unable to confirm it. The Ministry of the Interior also said it was as yet unable to substantiate the claim.
The Czech and German police forces are planning to work together more closely. The two sides on Thursday signed a deal on cooperation at national level and in their shared border area. It allows for rapid cross-border operations in the other state without prior permission if life or health is threatened, as well as boosting the powers of both sides when it comes to joint searches on the other’s territory. It replaces a treaty agreed prior to Czech accession to the EU and the Schengen zone.
The former minister of defence, Vlastimil Picek, says he was unaware of any spying on or threats to the wife of former prime minister Petr Nečas. Mr. Picek made the comments on Thursday at a trial centred on whether senior military intelligence officials spied on Mr. Nečas’s then wife on the orders of his then aide Jana Nagyová, who is now his wife. The former minister said he had not signed any orders related to the allegations. The arrest of Mr. Nečas’s erstwhile aide helped bring down his government in 2013.
The granddaughter of legendary journalist Ferdinand Peroutka is planning to sue the Czech state over comments made about him by President Miloš Zeman, the news website Lidovky.cz reported on Thursday. Mr. Zeman has described Peroutka as an admirer of Hitler and insists the journalist wrote an article entitled Hitler is a gentleman, which, however, he has been unable to produce. Peroutka’s granddaughter Terezie Kaslová said the president had slandered somebody who could not defend himself and that she would demand an official apology.
Israeli ambassador on Wednesday recognised Anna Bohatá as the “Righteous among the Nations”, which is the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Mrs Bohatá, along with her husband, hid a Jewish girl in their home in Ukraine. After the war, the family returned to Prague and took the girl with them, helping her to establish her own family. Altogether 115 Czechs have received the “Righteous among the Nations” tribute.
Cheb in West Bohemia has been named the Czech Republic’s Historic Town of the Year 2014. The prize, which is for exemplary care of historical landmarks, comes with a cash award of CZK 1 million. Prizes also went to Jičín in North-eastern Bohemia and the Prague 1 district.
Czech Minister of Education Marcel Chládek said he will examine all state subsidies granted to hockey between the years 2012 and 2014. The announcement came on Wednesday as a reaction to a suspicion that the Czech national ice hockey coach Vladimír Růžička is guilty of bribe-taking. The trainer was accused of accepting CZK 500,000 from a man to allow his son to play for Slavia Prague, where he also coaches. The head of the Czech ice hockey federation Tomáš Král found the minister’s statement “humourous”, adding that a control has just been carried out, finding no shortcomings.
The new manager of Sparta Prague football club Zdeněk Ščasný says he will not make revolutionary changes but will attempt to retain the Czech league title, the task he has been charged with by Sparta’s owners. Ščasný was installed after the sacking on Wednesday of Vítězslav Lavička. The club are five points behind leaders Viktoria Plzeň in the league and were knocked out in the quarter-finals of Czech cup by Jablonec on Tuesday. Ščasný, who led Sparta to two titles in a previous stint at the club, has a contract until the end of the season
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