News Major personnel changes await Czech military
There will be major personnel changes in the Czech military as of August, general staff spokeswoman Jana Růžičková told the CTK news agency. Army Chief of Staff Petr Pavel has selected three new deputies, to replace officers who will be serving in NATO structures or retiring. Jaroslav Kocián will be chief inspector of the Czech military, Jiří Baloun will head the Joint Operations Centre and Josef Bečvář will serve as first deputy chief of staff. More changes may be in the pipeline if the Army Chief of Staff Petr Pavel is elected chairman of NATO’s military committee. The Czech government nominated him for the post last week. A decision is expected in September.
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Seven measuring stations in the Czech Republic (operational for at least 30 years) recorded record highs on Sunday, August 28. The heatwave largely affected parts of Central and West Bohemia. The highest temperature measured on the day (although not a record there) was in Brandýs nad Labem: 33.7 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to drop on Monday.
In an interview for commercial radio station Frekvence 1 on Sunday, President Miloš Zeman described as "calm and pragmatic" a discussion on the migration issue he had last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Last Thursday, Mrs Merkel arrived on an official visit to Prague, meeting with her counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka as well as the president. The visit was billed as an opportunity for the two sides to discuss bi-lateral projects as well as the future of the EU. Merkel admitted that the one area where she and Czech representatives failed to see eye to eye was on migrant redistribution.
Czech Republic will accept no migrants from Turkey before the end of the year, says Interior Minister
The Czech Republic will not accept any migrants from Turkey before the end of the year, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec confirmed on Sunday, speaking on a political debate program on Czech TV. The country was originally to have taken 81 migrants in October but the government indicated earlier the vetting process would take longer. Minister Chovanec made clear that the process was very strict following the recent failed coup in Turkey; in his interview he also stated that tough diplomacy was needed to get Greece to "start meeting its obligations concerning migrants".
One pilot, aged 50, was killed and another injured when their ultralight planes collided in the area of Olomouc on Saturday evening. The police are investigating the incident, which also caused damage worth four million crowns.
Footballer Jiří Tichý - member of the Czechoslovak squad which came second in the 1962 World Cup - dies at 82
Former footballer Jiří Tichý, a member of the Czechoslovak national squad that finished silver at the 1962 World Cup in Chile, losing in the final to Brazil, has died at the age of 82. The news that he passed away on Friday was released by football club Slavoj Podivín which the former defender used to coach. In the 1962 final in Chile, Czechoslovakia opened the scoring but went on to lose 3:1.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has rejected any suggestion that police who ended a demonstration last weekend on Prague's Old Town Square - in which a populist politician and associates staged a "mock IS invasion" - acted inadequately. Instead, on Sunday, he laid the blame with City Hall councillors who were present. Speaking on Czech TV, Minister Chovanec suggested the event should have been banned the moment it started, given it could have caused broader public panic given recent attacks in Belgium and France. Some tourists were startled before it became apparent it was an act. The police stepped in to stop the publicity stunt when participants brandished replica firearms.
Almost a quarter of the country's measuring stations on Saturday registered record temperatures, meteorologists confirmed. New records for the date of August 27 were set at 51 of 237 stations. The highest for the day was recorded in the municipalities of Dobřichovice and Neumětely in Central Bohemia, west of Prague. Further records could be broken on Sunday, when temperatures are again expected to reach at least 31 degrees Celsius.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech and London club Arsenal clinched their first win of the season on Saturday after suffering a loss and a draw in their first two matches. Arsenal downed Watford by a score of 3:1 to put Arsenal seventh in the Premier League standings. Čech's former club, Chelsea, are first. This summer Čech announced his retirement from the Czech national squad after almost 15 years, intending to focus solely on his commitment to his professional team.
Changes on the city's tram routes announced in advance by Prague's Public Transport Company have come into effect. In all, nine routes were modified while 12 were unchanged. Three new trams routes were also added. As of Sunday, Prague's 18 tram, for example, will no longer travel to Petřiny but to Podbaba instead. The changes are expected to bump operational costs by some 130 million crowns annually. Yearly, the operation of Prague's trams comes to around 3.4 billion crowns.
Twenty-five thousand people attended an event called Tank Day in Lešany in the area of Benešov near Prague on Saturday. The day was organized by Prague's Military History Institute. Featured were tanks built in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s, including the LTH which the country exported to Switzerland, Peru and Iran.