News Telička: Czechs failed to realize potential of EU membership
The Czech Republic gained much through EU membership, but failed to make the best use of the potential it offered, according to former EU commissioner Pavel Telička. In an interview for the ctk news agency in connection with the upcoming 10th anniversary of the country’s accession to the EU on May 1st, Mr. Telička said Czechs had benefitted from the free movement of people, labour and goods, but due to their own negative attitude had thrown away the chance to help mould important concepts and norms that would later apply across the EU. We were viewed as a troublemaker and thus often left out of informal talks, Mr. Telička said. The present centre-left government has vowed to bring the country back to the EU mainstream and take an active part in moulding the future of Europe.
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Former NHL defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs and later the Montreal Canadiens Tomáš Kabrle will play for his hometown Kladno, in the Czech Republic’s second division, this season, after being invited to the New Jersey Devils training camp in September, iDnes reports. Kabrle, a veteran player of 36, told Czech news site iDnes it would be a challenge to help Kladno try and get back into the top league. His contract with the club the players says “taught him how to play hockey” is open-ended, allowing him to leave if he receives an attractive offer. To play for Kladno, he apparently declined offers from clubs in the top Czech league as well as elsewhere.
Veteran conductor of the Czech Radio Orchestra, Vladimír Válek, and radio drama director Hana Kofránková have been inducted in the Prix Bohemia Festival’s Hall of Fame. Reporter Jan Macháček received the Jiřího Ješ award and Pavla Tomicová received a Thalia for best performance in a radio play. The international festival continues until Thursday.
The Council for Czech Radio has recommended the station should no longer broadcast live the long-running programme Interviews from Lány, reacting to a recent scandalous broadcast in which President Miloš Zeman used vulgar language on the air. According to the Council, both the law and the broadcaster's ethical codex were breached; at the same time, the council conceded that surprise had played a strong role. The head of Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, said that the situation had been “impossible to predict” and made clear that cutting off the president, without warning, had not been an option under the circumstances. He indicated that in the future if a similar situation arose, the station would react immediately.
Czech Railways has paid off a massive loan for seven high-speed Pendolino trains it ordered back in 1996. The firm sent a final instalment of more than 110 million euros to a consortium of banks headed by ČSOB on Tuesday. The news was confirmed by Czech Railways’ spokesman Petr Stáhlavský. The Pendolino project is broadly-considered one of the least successful investments by Czech Railways: a single seat on the trains cost the company 1.9 million crowns, compared to Railjet, which cost roughly half, the Czech News Agency reported.
Electricity prices in the Czech Republic are set to drop slightly in 2015 while gas prices are expected to rise - the Energy Regulatory Authority has said. The authority announced it had succeeded in being able to cut regulated costs for electricity by an average 2.1% next year for the biggest consumers and predicts that wholesale electricity prices will fall by 5% over 2015. ERU chairwoman Alena Vitaskova said the costs of supporting renewable energy are expected to be cut by two billion crowns. Among the major changes next year are increased support for new capacity for electricity production from burning biomass with other fuels and cogeneration of heat and electricity.
Police are searching for convicted criminal Jan Novak who escaped from a hospital in Krč in Prague on Tuesday. The 44-year-old convict, who was due for release in 2017, was serving a sentence for a robbery. He is considered highly aggressive; although he was unarmed at the time of his escape, the police warn he is likely to obtain a weapon easily. Members of the public should under no circumstances try and apprehend the suspect themselves. Police conducting a search at the site of the hospital employed the use of sniffer dogs for tracking purposes.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has met with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, discussing trade opportunities, according to the Avesta news agency, as well as international issues including Islamic terrorism. Trade between the Czech Republic and Tajikistan is negligible; the presidents are launching a business seminar with the representation of 70 Czech firms. Cooperation in industry, energy, agriculture and other sectors are on the agenda, say sources.
According to The Independent, star football goalkeeper Petr Čech, who lost top spot with Chelsea this season to Belgian phenom Thibault Courtois, was better last season than the new No.1 has been so far. Analysing numbers compiled, the daily found that Čech edged Courtois in almost every category, including goals conceded per game. Courtois, 22, however, is ten years younger and is considered well part of the club’s future. In recent days there has been speculation that Čech could move to another Premier League team, possibly Arsenal or Liverpool. AC Milan, from Serie A, has also been mentioned. Other sources say that the keeper will stay until the summer, not opting to try for the earliest trade window in January. The player has less than 18 months left on his contract with Chelsea. He did not play in the Champions League on Tuesday – a 5-0 drubbing of Schalke.
A former close associate of President Miloš Zeman has launched an attack on the head of state in a new book. Miroslav Šlouf worked with Mr. Zeman while he was leader of the Social Democrats and is regarded as having masterminded his presidential campaign. In Jak se dobývá Hrad (How to Conquer the Castle), he says that Mr. Zeman’s behaviour is increasingly determined by three negative traits: unpredictable mood swings, dogged obstinacy and practically non-existent social intelligence. The president broke off contact with Mr. Šlouf after his election in January least year.
The popular Czech composer and singer Petr Hapka has died at the age of 70. Hapka co-wrote a series of hits with lyricist Michal Horáček and other collaborators for artists such as Hana Hegerová, Karel Gott, Lucie Bilá, Michal Kocáb and Jana Kirschner. His own distinctive voice appeared on solo recordings and duets, while he also composed music for a great number of films, TV series and theatre productions.