Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a two-day official visit on Thursday. On the agenda of the Israeli leader, who is travelling with a delegation of seven ministers, is a meeting with his Czech counterpart counterpart Petr Nečas as well as several members of the Czech cabinet. The Israeli delegation is set to discuss bilateral relations as well as collaboration in the areas of education and research. Ahead of the visit, some 500 police officers are working to ensure the security of the Israeli prime minister. Senior police officials have said that the Israeli leader’s visit carries a higher security risk compared to those of other statesmen.
In related news, speaking after a meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that his country supported Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. He also expressed concern over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr Nečas made it clear that the Czech Republic opposes attacks on the legitimacy of Israel as a state. The Israeli PM said that he considers the Czech Republic his country’s closest ally within the EU.
A district court judge for Ústí nad Labem has ruled that regional
governor David Rath – charged with corruption – will remain in custody.
On Thursday, the judge also remanded in custody seven other persons who
were arrested along with governor Rath. The court on Wednesday said there
was a danger that if released ahead of trial, Mr Rath could influence
witnesses, attempt to escape or continue in criminal activities. Similar
reasons were cited for the other suspects remaining in custody.
On Monday, police arrested the former Central Bohemian governor, as well as four men and three women, among them Kateřina Pancová, the head of Kladno Hospital, and two entrepreneurs, one of them from the construction sector. The group is charged with corruption, damaging the EU’s financial interests and manipulation of public tenders. David Rath was caught on Monday with seven million crowns on his person; if convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars.
The acting governor of the Central Bohemian region, Zuzana Moravčíková, who has taken over the post following David Rath’s resignation, will be making changes in the personnel of the regional administration. Staff closely connected to the former governor, who is charged with corruption, will be dismissed. On Thursday, Mrs Moravčíková told the Czech News Agency ČTK that the extent of personnel changes depended on the results of the ongoing police investigation. She said that while she did not want to work together with close collaborators of the former governor, she also wanted to avoid a major shake-up in the Central Bohemian administration. It was important to put together a team whom she could trust, the acting governor added.
The party leadership of the Social Democrats is set to expel the director of the Kladno hospital, Kateřina Pancová, and a former MP for the Civic Democrats, Petr Kott, from the party on Friday. Both are being prosecuted in connection with the corruption case surrounding former Central Bohemian governor David Rath. The party’s deputy leader Jiří Dienstbier said on Thursday that he hopes both would leave the party on their own initiative rather than having to be expelled. According to police, the eight people involved in the case are suspected of manipulating a tender for the reconstruction of Buštěhrad castle.
The record auction of František Kupka’s painting The Shape of Blue has revealed shortcomings in the country’s registration of works that fall under the national heritage, especially in the area of fine arts. To date, the Czech state has failed to determine whether the painting, which was sold to a foreign buyer for 55.75 million crowns, falls under the national heritage or not, the Czech News Agency ČTK writes, citing insider sources. Should this be the case, the buyer would not be able to take the painting out of the Czech Republic. The National Heritage Institute claims that Kupka’s work does fall under the national heritage. However, the seller of the painting maintains that it does not, since the process of proclaiming it a part of the national heritage had not been completed by the time the painting went on sale. The buyer is now waiting for a decision by the Ministry of Culture on the matter.
A total of 6.2 percent of Czech secondary school students have failed this year’s exit exams, as compared to 5.3 percent the previous year. Among the areas in which results deteriorated was mathematics; in Czech, this year’s results improved slightly on 2011’s. Aside from a standardized test, Czech students taking the high school exist exam also have to successfully complete an oral and a written exam.
National hockey coach Alois Hadamczik is keeping quiet about who he will put in net in the quarterfinal game between the Czech Republic and Sweden at the World Championship in ice hockey. The Czech squad - under Hadamczik – has never won against Sweden at either the Olympics or the Worlds, so players will have their work cut out for them on Thursday. The coach could go with either goalie Jakub Kovář or Jakub Štěpánek. Who will start is already known to the goalies, but both are keeping silent ahead of the match. Hadamczik told the media simply that he wanted to keep his opponents guessing.
In related news, Czechs laying bets with at least one betting agency are favoring Sweden over the Czech Republic in Thursday’s do-or-die quarterfinal match at the world championships in ice hockey, news website idnes.cz reports. According to the site, more than two-thirds of Czech bettors laying bets with the Fortuna agency favor Sweden, most often predicting the Swedes will win by a score of 5:3. The Czech team, when led by team coach Alois Hadamczik, has been unable to beat the co-hosts of this year’s championship and one of the favorites to win the championship. Players are hoping they will be able to pull off a surprise result – stressing they will have to keep pressure on and try and score early.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvítová made it into the quarterfinals at the Italian Open in Rome. The Wimbledon champion won in straight sets to reach the third round. Kvítová overcame eight double-faults to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in her opening match. Kvítová dominated the match with her attacking game.