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19-05-2015

Czechs not alone in opposing refugee quotas, says Zaorálek in Brussels

The Czech Republic is not alone in opposing the European Commission’s plan for compulsory quotas for accepting asylum seekers, according to the country’s foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek. Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, Mr. Zaorálek said several states had already made clear that such quotas would cause them problems. The Czech Republic would be required to take in over 500 refugees permanently and to process the asylum requests of around 9,000 others under the plan, which follows disasters in which large numbers of people have died at sea trying to reach Italy from North Africa.

Corruption trial of David Rath adjourned after “obstruction”

The trial on corruption charges of former politician David Rath has been adjourned. The one-time health minister and regional governor on Tuesday arrived at court for the second time without a lawyer who would have delivered closing arguments in his defence. The state attorney described the move as “extreme obstruction”. The Regional Court in Prague said it planned to choose a lawyer to appoint to him today but adjourned the case until June 2. The former Social Democrat politician was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of accepting bribes to rig contracts. Several others accused alongside him have been found guilty in a separate trial.

Pilots eject as Gripen crashes near Čáslav

A Gripen fighter jet crashed at an air base at Čáslav in Central Bohemia on Tuesday afternoon. The plane’s two pilots managed to eject and were unhurt when the aircraft came to a stop in a field near a runway at the base, a spokesperson for the General Staff of the Czech Army said. The cause of the crash is being investigated. An international Gripen training exercise named Lion Effort has been taking place at Čáslav.

TOP 09 and Civic Democrats may join forces for regional elections

Right-wing parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats are considering joining forces for next year’s regional elections, iHned.cz reported on Tuesday. In some regions the groupings could field joint candidate lists, the news website said. A member of the broader leadership of the Civic Democrats, Radovan Necid, said the party were in the highest state of emergency and could not afford to be dogmatic. TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg said he would not be opposed to local regional organisations hooking up with the Civic Democrats. The two parties have been overtaken in popularity by the right-of-centre ANO, headed by tycoon and finance minister Andrej Babiš.

Michael Žantovský to become director of Václav Havel Library

The Czech ambassador to the UK, Michael Žantovský, is set to become the director of the Václav Havel Library at the start of September. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the outgoing head of the institution, Marta Smolíková. Mr. Žantovský was Mr. Havel’s press spokesman in the early 1990s and last year published the acclaimed biography Havel. A psychologist and translator, he was a politician with the Civic Democratic Alliance and has also served as ambassador to the US and Israel.

Zeman still refusing to appoint three professors

President Miloš Zeman is still not minded to name three academics professors over objections he says he has regarding their pasts, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Tuesday. Mr. Zeman is due to meet the rectors of two universities at which the academics teach and the minister of education, Marcel Chládek, the week after next. Mr. Ovčáček said the president would inform the heads of Charles University and the University of Economics of his reasons for not naming as professors Jiří Fajt, Ivan Ošťádal and Jan Eichler. A ceremony at which Mr. Zeman was to appoint a number of professors was recently postponed after many academics said they would stay away in protest at the president’s position.

Business inspectors uncover major shortcomings during hockey championships

The Czech Business Inspectorate uncovered shortcomings in 53 percent of shops, refreshments stands and restaurants it visited during the Ice Hockey World Championships, it said in a news release issued on Tuesday. The inspectors targetted the stadia in Prague and Ostrava where the tournament was held and nearby spots. They said they had seized 200 counterfeit items, with the most popular being replica jerseys of Czech star player Jaromír Jágr.

Guardian ranks Kampa Museum among Europe’s best little-known museums    

The British newspaper The Guardian has listed Prague’s Kampa Museum as one of the 10 best little-known institutions of its kind in Europe. The daily praised the museum’s collection of 20th century art and described its curation as bright and public facing. Kampa Museum, which currently has a temporary exhibition of the work of Vladislav Mirvald, was opened by the art collectors Jan and Meda Mládek in 2003.

 

Prague ruling coalition divided over Charles IV “anthem”

Social Democrats who are part of the ruling coalition at City Hill have taken issue with plans next year for a new hymn or anthem celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, the Czech News Agency reported. Party members slammed the idea it might be written by Czech performer Daniel Landa, once a member of the skinhead band Orlík. City councillor Jan Wolf, representing the Christian Democrats/Three Party coalition, tried to clarify, saying that Mr Landa had only suggested the idea of an anthem, not that he had to write it. According to the city councilor, a jury will select a successful candidate from a broader list for the commission. Daniel Landa has sold 1.2 million records in the Czech Republic and has written several musicals, some of them drawing heavily on medieval settings and themes.

Football’s Viktoria Plzeň clinch league title

Football club Viktoria Plzeň on Monday evening clinched the Synot League title with a 2:0 win over Jihlava. The club secured the title two rounds before the end of the season. The team’s captain, David Limberský said the difference this season was that Plzeň took 12 points from defending champions Sparta Prague as well as Jablonec. Plzeň have now won the title three times in the club’s history. Players on Monday dedicated the title to teammate Marián Čišovský, who is stricken with a serious illness. Coach Miroslav Koubek, who described himself as a hard man, told uefa.com that while he had been waiting 32 years for the title, he would swap it immediately if he could for the Slovak defender’s health.

19-05-2015