News Zeman calls Juncker a “good choice” for post of president of European Commission
Czech President Miloš Zeman made clear on Sunday he considers the possible nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker to head the European Commission a “good choice”, saying he believed that the new EC would bring about changes to the European Union. The president made the statement in his regular Sunday broadcast on Czech Radio. Juncker, a former long-standing Luxembourg prime minister, is the election-winning European People´s Party´s (EPP) candidate for EC president. On Saturday, his candidacy was backed by social democrat leaders including the Czech and Slovak PMs, Bohuslav Sobotka and Robert Fico. Juncker´s candidacy is to be discussed at the EU summit in Brussels.
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In football, Slavia Prague defeated their traditional rivals Sparta 2:0 in a Czech league game at the Letná stadium on Sunday. Maris Mešanovic opened the scoring in the 62nd minute, and Jaromír Zmrhal added another goal in 79th. The victory in the 286th Prague derby moves Slavia to the fifth place in the table.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Sunday advocated keeping production of the L-410 airplanes manufactured by the Russian-owned company Aircraft Industries in Kunovice, South Moravia. The employees went on strike alert on Wednesday over fears that production will be reduced or shifted to Russia. The future of the company is scheduled to be discussed by all parties concerned in Prague on Monday. The situation in the company has been deteriorating, with sales of the LET aircraft in one of the main markets, Russia, dropping sharply. Many of the 900-strong workforce have been forced to take leave with reduced wages.
After a three-day journey on road from Prague, a former government airplane Tupolev Tu-154 arrived in the Kunovice Air Museum in South Moravia on Sunday. The 45-meter long plane, which carried former presidents Václav Klaus and Václav Havel or the the gold-winning Czech hockey team from Nagano, was saved from demolition by a group of enthusiasts. After covering the distance on 383 kilometers on a semitrailer, its transport now aspires for an entry into the Czech book of records.
Friends of a Czech businessman, who was killed in London on Friday by a gang of teenagers, have raised money via the internet to help finance the repatriation of his body to the Czech Republic. The campaign, set up on a crowdfunding website GoFundMe, has reached its target of 10,000 pounds (or 312,000 Czech crowns) in just 24 hours. The 31-year old Zdeněk Makar was attacked by a gang of teenagers on Friday following a row inside a fast food outlet. Three people have been arrested over the killing of a Czech businessman working in London.
Minister of environment Richard Brabec wants to earmark another three billion crowns next year to fight drought, he announced on a political debate programme on Czech Television on Sunday. According to Mr Brabec, the ministry has handed out EU subsidies totalling three billion crowns since 2014. The environment minister also wants to submit a national action plan on climate change adaptation with measures aimed at reducing the effects of climatic change in the Czech Republic.
Three quarters of Czech drivers admitted to deliberately exceeding the speed limit, according to MobilityMonitor survey, carried out by LeasePlan among 4000 drivers from 17 countries. That puts the Czech Republic one percentage point above the worldwide average. According to the survey, the highest number of drivers not respecting speed limits are in Scandinavia, while the most disciplined drivers come from the US and Greece. One third of Czechs said they only speed when there is no traffic on the roads and around one tenth of respondents says they never risk when taking children.
Several thousand people marked the anniversary of the 1938 Czechoslovak mobilisation on Saturday night by illuminating hundreds of concrete bunkers in the border regions of the Czech Republic. The system of the concrete World War II-era bunkers have been unused by the military and many of them are being maintained by various institutions or fan groups and are accessible to tourists. For the first time, a similar event took place this May on the anniversary of the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945. This year, around 300 bunkers and fortresses participated in the event, including those in neighboring Slovakia.
Several dozen people attended a meeting organized by anti-Islam activist Martin Konvička on Malostranské náměstí on Saturday. The participants of the meeting marched to the US Embassy shouting slogans in support of the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Several police officers oversaw the gathering but no incidents were reported. A previous meeting organised by Konvička in Prague’s Old Town Square at the end of August caused controversy when he and a group of followers decided to stage their interpretation of an Islamic State “invasion” of the Czech Republic.
Temperatures are likely to stay above average for the rest of September, according to a regular monthly weather forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. On some days the temperature will reach up 24 degrees Celsius. During the first three weeks of October, daily temperatures are expected to drop to around 16 degrees Celsius. Rainfall levels over the next four weeks should be below the average for the time of year.
A massive anti-flood exercise took place in Prague on Saturday. Some 350 fire-fighters, rescue workers and other city employees have raised over one kilometer of barriers by the Vltava River at the Holešovice district. The overall anti-flood measures are nearly 20 kilometers long and have cost the city around three billion crowns. The massive exercise, the biggest since 2011, cost over one million crowns.