News Czech minister of industry and trade heads to China
The Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek is heading for China on Friday night at the head of a delegation of around 30 businessmen and officials. Mládek is due to meet top Chinese officials as well as the leaders of some of the most prosperous provinces. The trip is aimed at not only boosting Czech exports to China but also at trying to stimulate Chinese investment in the Czech Republic, which is currently minimal. The minister added that he hoped for a breakthrough in talks aimed at establishing direct flights from Prague to China with the goal of services to Beijing or Shanghai being launched within 12 months. The centre-left government has sought to reset relations with China by downgrading support for occupied Tibet.
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The Czech Republic neither improved nor worsened in the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, remaining 31st out of 140 countries ranked. In the report released by the World Economic Forum, Switzerland came first for the eighth time in a row. The study, which uses 70 per cent survey data and 30 per cent hard data, takes into consideration 12 pillars of competitiveness to determine the country’s ranking. Areas studied include health care, infrastructure, education and the labour market.
Czechs on Wednesday are marking the Day of Czech Statehood and paying tribute to the patron saint of Bohemia St. Wenceslas, murdered on this day (by his brother Boleslav) in the year 935. The town of Stará Boleslav on Wednesday will see a mass on Marianské square near the church where he died and a traditional pilgrimage which thousands are expected to undertake. The head of state, Miloš Zeman, is also slated to attend. September 28 has been a national holiday since the year 2000.
The Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, turned 72 on Wednesday but unlike in 2014, public broadcaster Czech Radio reported, planned no official celebration this year. According to the broadcaster, last year Mr Zeman marked his birthday at a Russian restaurant in New York City, where he was attending the session of the UN General Assembly. A year earlier, he held a larger celebration both at the president's chateau in Lány and at Prague Castle to which notable guests, including the prime minister, were invited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.