News Czechs to assist Ukrainian police reform
Czech experts are likely to join a planned EU mission to assist in reforming Ukraine’s police force, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Monday. The decision to form a joint mission to help Ukraine with implementing reforms in the areas of security, police and the rule of law was taken at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. The mission is expected to start working in Kiev in the coming months, and should last two years. Mr Zaorálek said it was important the planned mission did not collide with other types of support provided to Ukraine by the EU, OECD, NATO and other organizations.
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A court has sent former deputy labour minister Vladimír Šiška to six years in prison for abuse of office. Mr. Šiška was found guilty of signing a disadvantageous contract with the firm Fujitsu Technology on a system for the distribution of social welfare benefits. He failed to announce an open contest for the contract, incurring losses to the state of 282 million crowns. Former labour Minister Jaromír Drábek resigned over the scandal back in 2012.
A central register of misdemeanors is to be put into operation on October 1. According to Justice Minister Robert Pelikan, who made the announcement at a press briefing on Friday, the register should enable the authorities to take a tougher line with repeat-offenders, who could be given higher fines for misdemeanors like petty theft and disturbing the peace. The data is to be retained for a period of five years.
Czech football club Sparta Prague stunned visitors Inter Milan in their Europa League group stage match at Letná on Thursday night, getting two goals from Václav Kadlec in the first half. Inter got a goal back in the final 19 minutes but Holek headed in a third goal after the Italian side’s Ranocchia was sent off. Sparta now have three points from two games in Group K, putting them in third spot.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has appealed to his British counterpart, Theresa May, to take action against hate crimes and attacks on Czechs and people from other European countries living in the United Kingdom, in a phone call on Thursday, the Czech Government Office said in a press release. The Czech government is alarmed by the increase in hate crimes in Britain, Sobotka said. “Hate and violence are also aimed against Czechs who live and work in the UK. Unfortunately, one of the incidents resulted in the death of a Czech citizen,” he said. A Czech businessman died in London last week after he was attacked by a gang of young men. A month ago, a large group of British teenagers attacked two Polish men and one of the victims died.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s singles at the Wuhan Open in China on Thursday after defeating Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6:3, 6:4. She is set to face Simona Halep of Romania.
The Czech anti-monopoly office on Thursday approved the acquisition of the oldest Czech travel agent Čedok by Polish tour operator Itaka. The former owner of Čedok, US-based Odien Group, is stepping out of the tour operator market altogether to focus on hotels and resorts. According to server e15.cz, the new owner paid over half a billion crowns for the acquisition. With turnover reaching around 2.0 billion last year, Čedok is estimated to rate as the country’s fourth biggest tour operator.
A new documentary film called RINO, a portrait of Karel Köcher, most successful Czechoslovak spy of the Cold War, who infiltrated CIA during the 1970s, has entered cinema distribution s on Thursday. The documentary, which premiered at last year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, was directed by Jakub Wagner, who interviewed numerous former US agents and other officials for the film.
The Czech National Bank has decided to continue intervening against the Czech crown to keep the exchange rate at around 27 crowns per euro, the bank’s spokesman Marek Zeman said after a meeting of the bank board on Thursday. The bank will also leave interest rates unchanged at all-time lows. The bank board repeated in August that it is likely to end the interventions against the Czech crown in the second half of 2017. The Czech National Bank launched currency interventions in November 2013 to head off the danger of deflation and weakened economic growth.
Over 15 kilometres of new highways are set to be built in the Czech Republic in the course of 2017, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday, citing data from the Ministry of Transport. Among the newly opened motorways should be a remaining stretch of the D11 highway from Prague to Hradec Králové, which should be completed by end of August. The Czech Republic’s highway network currently measures 1,228 kilometres.
Five Czech Gripen fighter jets left the military airport in Čáslav on Thursday to patrol the skies above Iceland. The Czech planes will be on duty in Icelandic airspace for the third time and for the first time they will be armed with air-to-air missiles. Iceland is a NATO member but does not have an army of its own. The area is often subject to Russian incursions to test NATO air security and preparedness.