A Taliban suicide bombing which killed four Czech soldiers last week near the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan has claimed a fifth life: that of a Czech sergeant who was critically injured in the attack. The Czech, who was transported by a military A-319 to a military hospital in the Czech Republic late Sunday, had undergone several difficult operations earlier. His condition had been deteriorating and he succumbed to his injuries on Monday morning. The chief of the Czech Army’s General Staff, General Petr Pavel, was informed of the death of the fifth Czech serviceman shortly afterwards. He called it a "huge loss" and said that he and other members of the military had hoped for a miracle.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting with other V4 heads-of-state in Warsaw next week, according to the president’s spokesman. The invitation was issued by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and the meeting will also be attended by Slovakia’s Andrej Kiska and Hungary’s János Áder. The V4 compromises of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mr Zeman will reportedly use the opportunity to discuss efforts in the fight against international terrorism; also on the agenda will be preparations ahead of the NATO summit in Wales in September.
The Defence Ministry and Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody have signed a contract on a brokered deal to sell the military’s unwanted L-159 fighter jets to the American firm Draken International. The deal will officially be announced later this week. The US company is buying 14 fighter jets at the cost of 220 to 250 million Czech crowns, with the option to purchase an additional 14. The Czech Republic, however, is also keeping the doors open for a possible sale of additional L-159s to Iraq. According to Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, the Iraqis are interested in up to 15 planes.
Coalition leaders are to meet on Monday to try and reach agreement on who should be the next Czech EU commissioner. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he wants the ruling coalition to agree on a single nominee whose name he will put forward in Brussels later in the week. The three party-coalition has been deadlocked on the issue for weeks now. The prime minister’s Social Democrats are backing the former finance minister Pavel Mertlík, the ANO party has nominated Regional Development Minister Věra Jourová, while the Christian Democrats now support a high placed Czech official in Brussels Petr Bližovský. It is not yet clear what portfolio the Czech commissioner will be given.
The Czech soldiers killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan last Tuesday will be buried with military honours, army chief of staff spokesperson Jana Ružičková told the ctk news agency on Monday. The army has also released the names of the four soldiers with their families’ consent. Another soldier who was badly wounded in the same attack has been transported to Prague. He remains in serious condition.
The Czech head-of-state will attend a cabinet meeting next Monday, according to his spokesman. Mr Zeman had promised to attend earlier several times but his attendance had been put off for various reasons. The president is expected to bring up issues including economic diplomacy and relations with target countries, as well as to take a critical stance on delays, for example, in passing a bill on social housing or steps taken in the health care sector, which he in the past labelled a ‘black hole’ for funds.
The Czech Finance Ministry plans to issue bonds worth around 670 billion, of which over 192 billion would be used to cover the budget deficit for this and last year, according to a bill on a state bond programme published on the government's website, the Czech News Agency noted. The state budget deficit last year reached 81.3 billion. For this year it is planned to rise to 112 billion crowns. Under the bill, a total of 478.7 billion crowns from the bonds would be used to cover debts that will be due in 2015 and 2016. These include an issue of domestic bonds from 2005 and 2010, and a euro bond issue worth 300 million from 2009.
Czech passenger car output rose by 10.3 percent to just under 635,000 units in the first half of 2014. Skoda raised output by 24 percent to 391,844 units. Hyundai produced 159,980 cars, up by 3 percent year-on-year. TPCA, on the other hand, registered a decrease by 20 percent to 83,089 cars. For the entire 2014, the association expects total passenger car output to reach 1.18 million units, which would be the second biggest result after record-high figures in 2011.Bus output rose by 15.5 percent to 1,644 units, of which company Iveco had market share of 86 percent, SOR Libchavy 12 percent and KH motor Centrum almost 2 percent. Lorry production decreased as Tatra, the sole lorry maker on the Czech market, reduced output by 13 percent to 337 vehicles. The output of Jawa motorbikes increased by 6 percent to 890 units.
Five people were injured in Liberec on Monday in a crash involving a personal automobile and a bus. The traffic accident was the fault of the driver in the car, who failed to acknowledge right-of-way. She suffered light injuries; four more people, the driver of the bus and three passengers, also suffered light injuries. Damage to the car was estimated at 150,000 crowns and 80,000 to the other vehicle.
The 12th annual Masters of Rock festival, which wrapped up on Sunday in the Zlín region, saw 25,000 visitors this year – over 3,000 more than last, according to organisers. Over four days fans turned up to see bands including Dream Theater, Sabaton, Anthrax and Helloween. Also popular was a project entitled Rocksymphony performed by the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra together with Czech rock star Marta Jandová.
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It’s a car, it’s a plane… no, it’s an autogyro in the middle of Prague!