News News sites: Ex-East Timor president Ramos-Horta listed as collaborator in StB files
Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta is listed as a collaborator in the files of Czechoslovakia’s communist era secret police, the StB, the news sites iDnes and Echo24 reported on Tuesday. According to the StB records, Mr. Ramos-Horta provided StB officers with information against the United States in New York in the 1970s, when he was at the UN representing the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor. Mr. Ramos-Horta, who was president of East Timor until 2012, denies having spied for Czechoslovakia; he says he was approached by StB agents but refused to cooperate with them.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Cooperation between the Czech Republic and Iran in nuclear energy is an important opportunity for Czech-Iranian bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and Iranian Vice-President Ali Akbar Salehi agreed at their meeting on Monday. Mr Zaorálek told reporters that Czechs can offer expert know-how to Tehran. Mr Salehi, who visited the Nuclear Research Institute in Řež near Prague before his meeting with Mr Zaorálek, also praised the work of Czech nuclear researchers. He referred to the agreement between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, from last July, in which Tehran pledged to limit its nuclear activities and make them more transparent in exchange for the of lifting of U.S. and EU sanctions. As a result of the agreement, relations between the Czech Republic and Iran have become dynamic, Mr Zaorálek said.
Chomutov hockey forward Roman Červenka received three awards at a gala event on Monday evening, including best player of the regular season in the Tipsort Extraliga. Most of the awards, however, went to Liberec, who won this year’s playoffs; the team’s Radim Šimek clinched the award for MVP in the postseason.
Companies in the Czech Republic named after their owners more easily nurture customer trust, which translates into increased profit, a study by the analytical firm Bisnode suggests. The study examined limited private companies with majority owners and other firms. It suggests that profitability among companies named after the owner was 0.5 percent higher than those with neutral names. Eleven percent of company founders 60 or older name their firm after themselves; while those under the age of 30 who do so are just five percent. Consumers seemed more likely to trust a company where the CEO was unafraid to put his or her name up front, standing fully behind their product, the analysis suggests.
A police team was called to the scene of a shooting in Sudomeřice on Monday, closing off a nearby street as well as part of the village, and ordering a local school not to allow anyone to go outside. A 60-year-old suspect is believed to have fired gunshots into the street; no one was hurt in the incident. Police apprehended the man as he slept; children were then allowed to go home from the school with their parents. It is not yet known whether the suspected shooter was under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Five suspects, described as leftist extremists, have been charged by the state prosecutor for allegedly planning a terrorist attack on a transport train carrying military material, Czech Radio reported on Monday. Of the five, three reportedly began planning the attack, which was never carried out, in 2014. The would-be perpetrators planned to firebomb the train along a Prague railway route; the additional two suspects met in an apartment where the conspiracy was discussed and failed to report the plans to the police. The five, as well as a sixth individual who faces weapons charges, were apprehended in a police raid last April. If found guilty, the three primary suspects face up between 12 and 20 years in jail and the other two, up to three years behind bars.
The government on Monday approved an action plan for the agriculture sector up until the year 2030. According to Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka, planned changes include lowering by tens of thousands of hectares rapeseed production, increasing the breeding of livestock, significantly boosting vegetable growth and markedly increasing the protection of arable land from soil erosion. According to available information, fruit orchards should increase from the current 14,500 hectares to 23,000 by 2030. By 2030, up to 60 percent of arable land should be protected from erosion compared to 11 percent now.
Macedonian officials in Prague say they have no knowledge of Czechs being expelled from Macedonia on accusations of vandalism, the spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry Michaela Lagronová has said. The Macedonian news agency Zhurnal reported on Sunday that two Czech citizens were expelled from Macedonia after being accused of damaging property during violent anti-government demonstrations in the capital Skopje. The two, aged 24 and 25, were reportedly barred from reentering the country. The Czech News Agency has since tried to contact the media which reported the story but so far without result.
Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek has said that the only way that difficulties surrounding the ailing OKD mining company have a chance of being resolved without insolvency, is if the owner, the Ad Hoc Group, lower demands; otherwise insolvency will be the next step. The minister made the statement after the cabinet meeting on Monday, in which the troubled OKD (owned by NWR which belongs in turn to Ad Hoc) was only indirectly discussed. OKD management is to meet over the possibility of insolvency on Tuesday. Recently Ad Hoc offered to sell the government the company shares alone for around 3.2 billion crowns which the minister turned down as largely worthless. On Friday, the government made clear it would not step in but instead focus on helping miners who would be laid off. OKD employs almost ten thousand people.
More than 19,000 students began taking the first part of their high school leaving exams, known as maturita, on Monday, choosing between math and a second language as optional subjects. Twenty-seven percent chose mathematics as their voluntary subject; compulsory in the exam, for example, is the Czech language. Education Minister Kateřina Valachová launched the exam day at the Prague Na Zatlance high school, telling journalists afterwards that when she was a student facing her own exams, she had had a bad case of nerves. The minister said she had said nothing of the sort to the students on the big day, however. In all, some 70,000 students are to take their leaving exams this term.
Forty-one people died on Czech roads over the month of April, two fewer than the same period last year, ČTK confirmed; 149 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic since the beginning of the year. That is fewer by eleven than the same period in 2015. The head of the traffic police, Tomáš Lerch, told the Czech News Agency that the lower number of fatalities may have been influenced by a colder Spring than usual, as there were fewer motorcyclists and cyclists on the road; the two belong to the highest-risk group when it comes to road accidents.