News ‘World Cup’ foam spray to make Czech football debut
The disappearing foam spray used in football’s World Cup in Brazil will also make its debut in Czech first and second division matches from September. The head of the Czech referee’s committee, Dagmar Damková, confirmed the news to Czech Television on Friday. She said deliveries of the foam spray to make sure players keep the required distance during free kicks were being awaited from Argentina. Damková has been lobby for the innovation for the past six years. English, Italian, and Spanish leagues will also now be using the foam spray.
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The crash of a Hungarian Jas-39 Gripen fighter jet at the Časlav, airbase southeast of Prague, on Tuesday was not caused by technical error, Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický told reporters on Friday. The minister did not elaborate further, saying the investigation by Czech, Hungarian and Swedish experts had not been concluded. The plane crash-landed during an international military drill in the Czech Republic. Both pilots ejected and were unhurt. The plane was completely destroyed. The information that the crash was not caused by a technical error means that the Gripen fighter jets used by the Czech army will not have to be grounded.
The leader of the Communist Party Vojtěch Filip has made it clear that the communists would not support the vote of no-confidence in the Sobotka government. Mr. Filip told reporters on Friday that his party welcomed some of the social measures effected by the Sobotka administration and that the Communist Party was not about to assist the return of right-wing government. Politicians like Miroslav Kalousek damaged the Czech economy for years and are now doing everything possible to return to power, the Communist Party leader noted.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s centre-left government will face a no-confidence vote in the lower house on Tuesday. The demand for a no-confidence vote was tabled by the opposition in reaction to a vote on a bill which would secure continued state support for biofuels. Opposition TOP 09 deputy leader Miroslav Kalousek told the lower house earlier this week that by supporting the bill the centre-left government was serving the interests of Finance Minister Andrej Babis’ business empire Agrofert. Although the government has enough support in the lower house to survive the no-confidence motion, the opposition Civic Democrats said the governments malpractices were such that it was no longer possible to let them pass unnoticed. The opposition has 52 votes in support of the motion but would need 101 to push it through.
Fourteen employees from the Czech government Agency for Social Inclusion, which is aimed at helping integrate Roma and other deprived groups, into mainstream society, handed in their notices on Thursday. They are walking out after a disagreement with the Minister for Human Rights, Jiří Dientsbier, over the way the agency should be run. According to the agency’s Lucie Macků, they are in particular angered by the recent dismissal of the agency’s long time head Martin Šimáček. She said the employees don’t want the agency to remain within the ministry’s authority and have called for it to be established as an independent entity.
A number of well-known personalities have protested against the Days of Jerusalem Festival, which is to be held as part of the Pilsen s 2015 cultural events. In an open letter addressed to the European Commission, parliament, and council, they claim that the label European Capital of Culture is being used to help legitimise Israel’s political strategy. They are asking the Commission to “take steps to ensure that no event held as part of the European Capital of Culture official programme is breaching EU foreign policy and misinforming or manipulating the public for the political gains of a third party state.” Among the signatories are the linguist Noam Chomsky, former Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan and British film director Ken Loach. The festival will be held in Pilsen in June, presenting dance, music, visual arts, films and cuisine.
Dozens of people have called the Sazka lottery firm in recent days, claiming to be the winners of a record 2.5 billion crown lottery jackpot. The spokesman for Sazka said people are making up various stories about losing their ticket – one claimed the dog had eaten it. He also said they had received calls from women who would like to marry the prospective billionaire. The winning ticket was bought in the Pardubice region only one day ahead of the Eurojackpot draw. Its owner still hasn’t come forward five days after the winning number was announced.
NATO has requested the Czech Republic to renew its surveillance mission of Icelandic airspace, the defence ministry’s spokesman Petr Medek told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. He said the army is set to reveal the details at a press conference on Friday. The Czech air force took its turn protecting Icleand’s airspace last autumn over the course of nine weeks. Iceland is the only NATO member state with no air force of its own. The head of an airbase in Čáslav, Petr Hromek, told the daily Lidové Noviny on Thursday that the mission should take place in July and August this year.
President Zeman has signed an amendment to the energy law, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Thursday. The new energy law, among other things, cushions the burden on industrial users of supporting renewable power. It has drawn criticism mainly from the national energy regulator, ERÚ, which has warned that that it could spark a massive new drain on public and state resources adding up to 150 billion crowns. The new energy law also enables households to install rooftop photovoltaic power stations with up to 10 kilowatt output without obtaining a license.
The Army is set Thursday, to start clearing the wreckage of a Hungarian Gripen fighter jet which crashed at an air base in Čáslav in Central Bohemia on Tuesday. The accident happened during an international Gripen training exercise named Lion Effort. The plane’s two pilots managed to eject and were unhurt when the aircraft came to a stop in a field near a runway at the base. The cause of the crash is being investigated by Czech and Hungarian experts. The wreckage will be stored in guarded premises at the air base.
The duo Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta, representing the Czech Republic at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, have little chance of winning. Bookmakers see the Czechs, along with representatives of San Marino and Portugal, as the least probable winners, putting their odds at 1 to 970. The Czech duo is representing the country with a song called Hope Never Dies. According to bookmakers, Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow is the most likely winner. Russia’s Polina Gagarina is listed as second favourite.