News Czech president begins state visit to Romania
Czech President Miloš Zeman begins a two-day visit to Romania on Tuesday at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart President Traian Băsescu. The Czech head of state is expected to meet with Romanian government officials and business leaders with economic interests high on the agenda of the talks. The two sides are also expected to discuss EU matters and security issues in the light of the Ukraine crisis. Bucharest recently announced it wanted to join the Eurozone by 2019. The Czech Republic has yet to set a time frame for euro-adoption.
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ANO leader and minister of finance Andrej Babiš has said that he believes
the near 70 percent state controlled power company ČEZ should be able to
finance the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Dukovany from its own
resources. Babiš’ comments came during a visit to the nuclear reactor
site on Friday. The minister pointed out that ČEZ has one of the lowest
debt levels of all major European electricity companies and should be able
to cover the preparation and construction costs on its own.
How to finance new nuclear reactors has been a major issue within the coalition government after it announced last year that it would not guarantee the price of electricity from new nuclear reactors. ČEZ immediately afterwards cancelled its ongoing tender for two new reactors at its Temelín site. Dukovany’s existing four reactors are likely to be phased out between 2035 and 2037.
Czech diplomat and former politician Jana Hybášková has been selected to be the European Unions new ambassador to Namibia, the Czech daily Lidové Noviny has reported. Hybášková is currently EU ambassador to Iraq, a post where she has been perceived as performing well, the paper adds. She has held that post since 2011. Hybášková was formerly a Czech ambassador to Kuwait and has been a member of the European Parliament. She stood in elections for a series of centre parties, most recently the Christian Democrats.
Czech contestants, the duo Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta, have lived up to low expectations and failed to win through to the finals of the Eurovision Song contest on Saturday. Their entry was ‘Hope Never Dies’ and they were eliminated in the earlier stages. The duo were the first to take part for the Czech Republic since 2009 with previous poor results and lukewarm public interest leading organisers to drop participation in the following years. Czech Television decided to rethink its decision later and the finals in Vienna will be broadcast Saturday.
Chinese investors from Hebei Province want to build a huge wellness centre not far from Brno, in Moravia, the governor of the South Moravian region Michal Hašek told journalists on Friday. The investment would be worth two billion crowns and would create hundreds of jobs. The deal should be finalized in September and the wellness centre should be built by the end of 2018, the governor said.
Two Czech nationals on trial for animal smuggling in Perth, Australia have admitted their guilt. The two men told the judge they had attempted to smuggle around 150 reptiles, mostly lizards and snakes out of the country. They were arrested along with two Russians when customs officers found reptiles hidden in their luggage, among them 33 dead snakes. The men face up to ten years in prison and steep fines.
Tomas Rosický is set to stay at Arsenal for another season, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed on Friday. Wenger said Rosický’s contract had been extended for another year. Rosický, 34, has been on the fringes of the Gunners squad this term, making only five starts in the Premier League. However, Wenger insisted the Czech Republic international remains integral to his plans for the 2015-16 campaign. Arsenal are likely to strengthen their squad in the summer, with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech a reported target.
A team headed by a Czech scientist is to study the influence of insects on forest vegetation on six continents, the ctk news agency reports. The project headed by Vojtěch Novotný from the Czech Academy of Sciences has received a 92 million crown grant from the European Research Council. The team will work in Japan, Ghana, Panama and Papua New Guinea among other locations. The Czech Academy of Sciences has been operating a research centre in New Guinea for almost two decades.
Attending an EU-Eastern Partnership summit in Riga Czech president Milos Zeman said Russia should consider joining the EU’s Eastern partnership. Mr. Zeman, who recently visited Moscow, noted that Russia had been invited to participate and had rejected the offer earlier on and may well be regretting its decision now. The Eastern Partnership project, launched at a summit in Prague in 2009,seeks to deepen relations between the EU and six former Soviet-bloc states and help them on the road to democracy and economic prosperity. Russia has criticized the project as an attempt to damage its interests and undermine its relations with the said countries.
The crash of a Hungarian Jas-39 Gripen fighter jet at the Časlav, airbase southeast of Prague, on Tuesday was not caused by technical error, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický told reporters on Friday. The minister did not elaborate further, saying the investigation by Czech, Hungarian and Swedish experts had not been concluded. The plane crash-landed during an international military drill in the Czech Republic. Both pilots ejected and were unhurt. The plane was completely destroyed. The information that the crash was not caused by a technical error means that the Gripen fighter jets used by the Czech army will not have to be grounded.
The leader of the Communist Party Vojtěch Filip has made it clear that the communists would not support the vote of no-confidence in the Sobotka government. Mr. Filip told reporters on Friday that his party welcomed some of the social measures effected by the Sobotka administration and that the Communist Party was not about to assist the return of right-wing government. Politicians like Miroslav Kalousek damaged the Czech economy for years and are now doing everything possible to return to power, the Communist Party leader noted.