News Czech president and veterans taking part in Normandy anniversary events
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, and a group of Czech veterans flew from Prague’s military airport on Friday to Normandy, France, to take part in events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day – the invasion by the Allies in mainland Europe and a pivotal moment in the war. The president gave a speech prior to their departure in which he thanked the Czech WW II vets and stated that freedom was not something forever guaranteed but something that needed to be continually fought for. The event was accompanied by military music and a display of Czech and Czechoslovak army standards. Mr Zeman’s spokesman on international affairs said the president will speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Normandy.
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Czech sprinter Pavel Maslák has advanced to the finals of the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague after coming first in the 400m qualification on Friday. Denisa Rosolová, meanwhile, has booked semi-final berth after winning her 400 metre hurdles heat.Runner Petr Svoboda mens 60 metres hurdles Another two Czechs on Friday qualified for their events’ semi-finals: pole-vaulter Jan Kudlička and Kristiina Mäki in women’s 3000 metres.
Czech athlete Eliška Klučinová has won the bronze medal in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague. The 26-year-old Klučinová took 4687 points, creating a new national record in the women’s pentathlon and setting her own personal record in 60 metres hurdles, shot put and 800 metres. Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson took the gold with 5000 points, ahead of Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam, who took 4700 points.
Police this week arrested a 24-year-old man suspected of being responsible for a series of hoax bomb threats, they announced at a press conference on Friday. The man, a student from South Bohemia, has allegedly been sending e-mails from an anonymous account to a number of institutions and politicians since last September. Among the institutions that received threats were Charles University and Czech Railways, who were forced to suspend all trains in the country due to a hoax bomb threat in February.
A court in Prague on Friday sentenced a 24-year-old man to seven years in prison for killing a woman in a hit-and-run incident. Last August, Marek Půček drove his black BMW into a bus stop at Prague’s district of Smíchov, hitting a 21-year-old woman who died at the scene. He abandoned the car and fled before turning himself in to the police later that day after his photo appeared in the media. The man received a suspended sentence for breaking into cars and shops in the past.
The cleaning up of toxic sludge left by the former chemical plant Ostramo in Ostrava should be completed by 2022, Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said on Friday. The most offensive waste is expected to be dealt with already by the end of 2016.The polluted lagoons remain one of the major ecological problems for the Czech Republic. Some 200,000 tonnes of waste was removed in the past but thousands more were unexpectedly uncovered. The winner of a tender to remove the additional sediment should be chosen by the end of March.
The transport of munition from the Vrbětice depot, which was severely damaged last year by a blast, to an army storage site in Květná will continue on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the Zlín police department told the ctk news agency on Friday. Thirty-one lorries with munition belonging to several private companies have so far been removed from the site. According to the Interior Ministry, there were some 7,000 tonnes of ammunition, including some 1,000 tonnes of explosives, in the storage facility at the time of the blast. The ministry expects it will take up to 400 lorries to remove all the material.
Czechs are less inclined to favour Arabs, Romanies and Albanians, suggests a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency, focusing on Czechs’ perception of 17 foreign nationalities living in the country. Slovaks have traditionally been regarded as the most popular foreigners in the Czech Republic, with 84 percent of respondents appreciating their eastern neighbours. And despite a slight drop in sympathies, Greeks and Jews remain among the five best perceived foreign nationalities living in the Czech Republic, along with Slovaks, Germans and Hungarians. On the other side of the scale are Roma, followed by Russians, Ukrainians, Albanians and Arabs.
Czech farmers made a record profit in 2014, according to the figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Friday. Agricultural earnings increased by nearly 40 percent, to 22.9 billion crowns, which represents the best results since 1989, when monitoring started. The record figure is the result of an extraordinarily good harvest and higher subsidies. The value of agricultural production increased by more than eight billion crowns compared with 2013 to 136.6 billion. Revenues from cultivation of crops reached 79.5 billion and livestock production rebounded after several years of decline to total 51.6 billion.
The chief of staff of the Czech army Petr Pavel on Thursday visited Czech soldiers serving in the EU training mission in war damaged Mali. General Pavel, who is set to take a senior NATO post next summer, met with the mission head Alfons García-Vaquero, who thanked him for the excellent work of the Czech soldiers. The Czech Army on Thursday started rotating its soldiers taking part in the mission. The Czech unit in the African state is responsible for guarding the mission’s headquarters, escorting convoys, and the training of new soldiers. The state in Central Africa was the subject of civil strife when Islamic rebels took over a large part of the county.
The mountain rescue service in Jeseníky Mountains has called a third degree avalanche alert on a five point scale. Relatively mild temperatures, strong winds and heavy snowfall over the past few days are reported to have created a highly unstable layer of snow on many slopes. Skiers have been warned not to take risks or stray from marked trails.