News Viktoria Plzeň proceeds to the last 16 of the Europa League after an away win
In football, Viktoria Plzeň has made it to the last 16 of the Europa League after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2:1 away from home on Thursday night. That brought the aggregate score over the two legs to 3:2 in the Czech team’s favour. Slovan Liberec drew 1:1 away at Dutch team Alkmaar and exit the competition due to the late goal conceded in their home game last week.
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Thirty-one Italians students were taken to hospital on Friday night after suffering the effects of what appear to be food poisoning. The group of students, who were housed in the Olšanka hotel in Prague’s Žižkov district, suffered severe intestinal problems and were taken by ambulance to several hospitals in the vicinity. All are said to be out of danger. Police and hygiene officers are investigating the incident.
A decision of whether to lift the government-imposed limits on coal mining in north Bohemia should be made by the end of 2015, according to Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek. The minister said he himself would be in favour of holding a referendum on the matter ahead of a government decision by said this would have to be approved by all parties of the coalition government. Environmental activists have welcomed the fact that the government is not taking a decision on the matter immediately and is ready to consider the views of the locals. The mining limits were imposed in the early 1990s to protect villages in the north from industrial expansion and have frequently come under attack from politicians and industry leaders who argue that at a time of growing unemployment jobs should be a top priority.
An interior ministry commission has rejected a complaint by the former police president Martin Červíček regarding the manner in which he was removed from his post at the start of the year by then interior minister Martin Pecina. Minister Pecina reinstated Červíček’s predecessor to the post after a court cleared him of the slander charges on the grounds of which he was dismissed from office. The minister questioned the validity of Martin Červíček’s appointment saying he should have been a temporary replacement. The interior ministry commission supports this interpretation. The interior minister has now called a tender for a new police chief in view of stabilizing the situation at the force.
Czech MEP Jan Zahradil has called for the European Union to take a firmer approach to Russia over its military incursion into the Ukrainian province of Crimea. Russia must face international sanctions over its actions, Mr. Zahradil, who heads the European Conservatives and Reformers group at the European Parliament, told the Czech News Agency on Friday. He said he disagreed with his former Civic Democrat party colleague Václav Klaus, who said that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had acted rationally in the current crisis in Ukraine. However, Mr. Zahradil said he shared Mr. Klaus's fears that the EU could "abuse" the situation.
Miloš Zeman has improved the image of the Czech Republic since being appointed president on March 8 last year, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said on the eve of the former’s first anniversary in office. While his predecessor Václav Klaus was a Eurosceptic, Mr. Zeman is avowedly pro-European and returned the EU flag to Prague Castle after his appointment. Mr. Sobotka said he had noticed the Czech Republic had a better image while on foreign trips.
NHL club the Buffalo Sabres are due to induct Czech goaltender Dominik Hašek into their Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the end of this month. Hašek was with the Sabres from 1992 to 2001, during which time he helped the club to 234 wins and a record 55 shutouts in 491 games. Now aged 49, he was the first goalie in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy twice and picked up six Vezina trophies in only nine years.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says tough conditions should be attached to any European Union aid to Ukraine. Speaking on a visit to the Moravian town of Přerov on Friday, Mr. Zeman said that at the present time, prior to elections, any such financial assistance would end up in a “black hole” in the pockets of the country’s oligarchs. The president said if Ukraine wanted to feel part of Europe, it would have in the coming decade to be prepared to accept related sacrifices, such as higher gas prices.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair is set to visit Czech President Miloš Zeman at his Lány residence near Prague on Saturday evening. Mr. Blair will sign a memorial book at the chateau before a meeting with the head of state. The two left wingers’ prime ministerial terms overlapped: Mr. Blair led a New Labour government in Great Britain from 1997 to 2007, while Mr. Zeman helmed a Social Democrats government from 1998 to 2002.
The Czech government wants to establish a central register of bank accounts in a bid to combat tax evasion. The register would be run by the central bank. The plan was announced by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec after a meeting on Friday. Mr. Babiš said he would present legislation creating such a register at the next meeting of the cabinet. A special inter-ministerial team will also be set up to deal with individual cases of tax fraud.
The widow of architect Jan Kaplický has discussed the building of one of his designs with the mayor of Prague 8, Lidovky.cz reported. The large, futuristic structure, originally conceived as a new National Library building to stand on Letná Plain and nicknamed the Blob, could be built on the city’s Rohanský Island, under a proposal from Culture Minister Daniel Herman backed by a wealthy developer. After a meeting with Prague 8 mayor Jiří Janků, Eliška Kaplický said she liked the idea of the project being realised on Rohanský Island, in part because it is by Karlín, an area that has seen a lot of new architecture in recent years.