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Man with brain damage becomes third person to receive pardon from Zeman

Miloš Zeman has granted his third presidential pardon since being appointed in 2013. The recipient of the pardon was charged with obstructing justice but suffers from brain damage caused by a stroke and did not understand why he was facing trial. The request for clemency was made by the state attorney. Prior to his election President Zeman said he would only grant pardons in very exceptional cases. In 2013 he transferred the power to conduct clemency proceedings to the minister of justice, saying he regarded it as an unnecessarily monarchical element of the constitution.

Ice hockey coach Růžička fined for embezzling from club

Ice hockey coach Vladimír Růžička has received a fine of CZK 400,000 after being found guilty of embezzling CZK 500,000 intended for his then club Slavia Prague. If Růžička, who denies any wrongdoing, fails to pay the fine he will face 16 months in prison. The verdict may be appealed. As a player Růžička was part of the Czech team that won gold in the Olympics while as a trainer he has led the national side and spent nearly 15 years at Slavia.

Red boxers protest case set to return to court

A case involving the hoisting of a giant pair of red boxer shorts over Prague Castle is set to return to the Prague 1 District Court, Czech Television reported on Tuesday. An appeals court upheld an action taken by the state attorney’s office against a previous ruling by the District Court dismissing the case. Three members of the art group Ztohoven are accused of disorderly conduct, criminal damage and theft for illicitly removing the presidential flag above Prague Castle and replacing it with the red shorts last September in protest at the policies of President Miloš Zeman.

Schwarzenberg likely to head TOP 09 ticket in Prague in 2017 elections

Karel Schwarzenberg says it is highly likely he will stand for election to the Chamber of Deputies as the electoral leader of TOP 09 in Prague next year, iHned.cz reported. Mr. Schwarzenberg, who turns 80 next year, previously led the party and is its honorary chairman. He said he would not stand for president in elections in early 2018, saying he had lost once – to incumbent Miloš Zeman – and that was the end for him. TOP 09 chairman Miroslav Kalousek said the Schwarzenberg noble family had been serving the country for 700 years and his party colleague was continuing that tradition.

Poll: ANO would come first in elections on 28.5 percent

ANO would come first in general elections with 28.5 percent support, suggests a new opinion poll published by the CVVM agency on Tuesday. The party’s coalition partners the Social Democrats would place second on 23 percent, the survey conducted this month indicates. The Communists would be the choice of 15 percent of respondents, ahead of the Civic Democrats with 9.5 percent backing and the Christian Democrats and TOP 09, who would tie on 6.5 percent, according to the CVVM poll.

Gala premiere of Anthropoid takes place in Prague

The Czech gala premiere of the film Anthropoid about the 1942 operation to assassinate senior Nazi Reinhard Heydrich has taken place at a Prague cinema. Director and co-writer Sean Ellis attended the screening, as did one of its stars Cillian Murphy and several Czech members of the cast of the movie, which was shot in the Czech capital. It focuses on the daring assassination of Heydrich in Operation Anthropoid, which was led by Czechoslovak parachutists Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. Relatives of the two war heroes were also invited to the premiere.

Series of events to mark 80th anniversary of Havel’s birth

A number of events are being planned to mark what would have been the 80th birthday of Václav Havel. On the actual anniversary of the late playwright and president’s birth on October 5 a gathering is set to take place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square, while 80 figures from public life and the arts world are set to appear on four stages at a tribute at the city’s Lucerna Palace on October 15. Meanwhile the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation in the US will present Burmese writer Ma Thida with its first annual Disturbing the Peace Award at the Bohemian National Hall in New York on Wednesday.

Jarolím picks young striker Schick for World Cup qualifiers

The Czech football manager Karel Jarolím has picked 20-year-old Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers against German and Azerbaijan. Schick has made just one appearance for the senior international side. Meanwhile midfielder Milan Petržela and centre back Tomáš Sivok have returned to the Czech squad. The Czechs – who drew in their opening qualifier against Northern Ireland in Prague – face Germany away on October 8 and Azerbaijan at home three days later.

Slav Epic to be shown in Japan and China

The Slav Epic cycle of paintings by Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha will be displayed in Tokyo as of March 2017 within events marking the Year of Czech Culture held in Japan on the 60th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In mid-2017 the collection of 20 paintings will move to China where it will be shown in three prominent museums in the course of the next twelve months. According to Prague Gallery director Magdalena Juříková the loan contracts should be signed within a few months. The Gallery must also acquire an export permit for cultural heritage items issued by the Czech Culture Ministry. Art experts have warned that the Asian tour presents a high risk the paintings could be damaged not just by transport and handling but due to the high temperatures and humidity in this part of the world.

Training session underway on Czech-Slovak border

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are holding a joint training session on their common border to test coordination and communication in the event of the need to renew border checks due to the migrant crisis. Over 300 police officers, 140 soldiers and 30 customs officers have been stationed along a 250km stretch of the border and are conducting random checks of vehicles and people. The operation, which affects 11 border crossings, is to last for 24 hours. Similar training sessions are due to take place on the country’s borders with Austria and Germany.