News New US ambassador to assume post
Andrew Schapiro, the designated new United States ambassador to the Czech Republic, is to arrive in the country to assume his post, writes ČTK. Mr Schapiro, who possesses Czech roots, will replace outgoing ambassador Norman Eisen, who has been in the post since 2011. Schapiro was nominated to the position back in March - the precise date he will present his credentials to the Czech president is not yet known.
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The Czech economy grew by 4.0 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2015, according to a revised estimate released on Tuesday by the Czech Statistics Office. A previous estimate issued at the end of May put the expansion of gross domestic product in the period at 4.2 percent. The estimate of quarter-on-quarter growth was also revised downwards, from 3.1 percent to 2.5 percent.
The Czech Republic’s former chief hygiene officer, Michael Vít, has lost an appeal against a three-year suspended sentence for breach of trust. However, the Prague Municipal Court reduced Mr. Vít’s probation period from five to four years. During that time he has to pay the Ministry of Health CZK 1.7 million. Mr. Vít was charged in 2012 with overseeing three rigged tender processes for consultancy services at the ministry.
A square in Haifa, Israel, was named after former Czech president Václav Havel in a special ceremony on Monday attended by the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, Czech ambassador to Israel Ivo Schwarz and Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman. The event was confirmed by ministry spokeswoman Simona Cigánková. Streets and buildings elsewhere around the world have also been named after the former dissident and playwright who became Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist era president and the first president of the Czech Republic after the country separated from Slovakia in 1993. Mr Havel died in December of 2011.
Marcel Chládek, the former minister of education, youth and sports – who was recalled from his post on June 5 – has been offered a position with the Czech Football Association, according to neovlivni.cz. The former minister told the site he had received several offers including a sports-related job. Neovlivni.cz suggests the position is in some way connected to the national squad. As minister, Mr Chládek sought more state funding for sports and in the past refereed matches in football’s third division. According to neovlivni.cz, he has good ties with the head of the Czech Sports Union, Miroslav Jansta, as well as with the chairman of the Czech FA, Miroslav Pelta.
London football club Arsenal confirmed on Monday it has signed a four-year contract for an undisclosed amount with Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, posting photos of the acclaimed player with an Arsenal jersey. Arsenal are thought to have acquired the player for around £10m. Čech played 11 seasons with Chelsea, making more than 400 appearances. Čech said he was thrilled with the move and couldn't wait for pre-season training. The BBC reported that Čech also wrote in an open letter to Chelsea fans saying that he always expected to retire at Stamford Bridge but that he opted to leave after being replaced by Thibaut Courtois, playing only six matches for the Blues last year. According to sources, the Czech keeper was allowed to go to a Premier League rival in return for his many successful years of service which include a Champions League title and other honours.
Czech cyclist Leopold König has been named as one of nine riders for Sky who will compete in this year’s Tour de France. According to reports, the team leader is the UK’s Chris Froome, who last year was forced to withdraw from the competition early. This year’s Tour will be Czech racer König’s fourth; last year, the rider finished seventh in the overall standings.
A one-year project entitled “Invisible Minorities” being organised by the Czech NGO Proud, is aiming to teach about some of the issues faced by gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals at the elementary and secondary school levels as well as offering seminars for experts, the coordinator of the project Rut Dvořáková revealed to journalists on Monday. The project began in April and will cost less than one million crowns, most of which will come from Norwegian funding. Around 800 students from elementary and high schools are expected to take part in the seminar; a second part will focus on the lives and problems of seniors.
Josef Masopust, the Czech football legend who led Czechoslovakia to the final of the 1962 World Cup, has died at the age of 84. The Club of Josef Masopust's Friends revealed that Masopust died in his home on Monday. The former midfielder, who was named best European player in 1962, is best remembered for his opening goal in the 1962 World Cup final against favourites Brazil. Brazil won the match 3:1. As a player Masopust made 63 international appearances and was named the best Czech footballer of the century in 2000.
The trial of Petr Kramný, accused of murdering his wife and daughter during their vacation in Hurghada, Egypt, two years ago, began on Monday at the regional court in Ostrava. Earlier, two versions of how the Czech husband could have killed his wife and daughter were outlined in expert analysis, according to Právo. Either, that he killed his wife Monika and eight-year-old daughter using a live electric cable when they were both talking a shower in the hotel room or that they were electrocuted as they slept in their beds. The deaths were initially put down to poisoning. Mr Kramný, who has denied the charges, could face a life sentence if found guilty.
The first weekend of the summer holidays was a tragic one on Czech roads: 12 people were killed in traffic accidents. The number is higher by five than the same period last year. Accidents involved not only cars but also other motor vehicles: a 46-year-old died from injuries suffered when he was thrown over the handlebars of his electric bike after skidding on gravel in a turn.