After meeting with Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič on Thursday, Czech President Miloš Zeman expressed the hope that the Visegrad group, which includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, could be expanded to include Slovenia. The Slovak press reported on Friday that Mr Gašparovič, however, is not in favour of such a move. On the second day of his visit to Slovakia, Mr Zeman is scheduled to lay a wreath at the statue of the co-founder of Czechoslovakia, General Milan Štefánik, in Bratislava. The Czech president will complete his first international visit with a lunch on Friday with the chairman of the Slovak Parliament, Dušan Paška.
After months of preparations, the state prosecutor’s office has filed a lawsuit against former Central Bohemian governor and MP David Rath and ten other defendants, accusing them of corruption and abuse of office; if found guilty, Mr Rath faces up to 12 years in prison. Because of the considerable amount of evidence and documentation involved in the case, the court hearings will most likely only begin in the summer. The former governor remains in custody but could be allowed on bail by the Prague regional court.
The Romanian government has decided to limit support for existing renewable energy providers and to halt funding for any new projects. This decision will affect the Czech company ČEZ which owns a wind farm in the country. The energy giant has lost its energy distribution license in Albania in January, and its operations in Bulgaria have been under investigation for the past two months.
A request by Pavel Vondrouš, who shot former president Václav Klaus with an air gun last September, for criminal prosecution against him to be dropped has been rejected. The Liberec state prosecutor, Ivan Bernátek, said he sees no reason to suspend the investigation or downgrade the case to an infraction. The 26-year old defendant says that he shot Mr Klaus in the town of Chrastava with the non-lethal weapon to show that politicians in this country do not listen to regular citizens.
The Czech Post is launching a new online service that would provide exact daily gas prices at petrol stations around the country. The postal service created the project with the Industry and Trade Ministry according to the Hospodářské noviny daily, and will rely on the information that letter carriers will gather on their daily routes.
American specialists were instrumental in retrieving 68 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from the Czech Republic and bringing it to Russia where it will be turned into low-enriched uranium and used as fuel for nuclear reactors. The United States paid for the transportation of the uranium, which was produced at the research reactor in the town of Řež near Prague. The Czech authorities provided the containers.
Christie’s auction house in New York sold works by famous 20th century Czech photographers Josef Sudek and Jaroslav Rössler for a total of 143,750 dollars, or 2.9 million crowns. Photographs by two other Czech greats František Drtikol and Jaromír Funk were not auctioned off. The works by the four artists were part of a larger private collection. František Drtikol nonetheless remains the top-selling Czech photographer abroad, with his photograph A Snow Wave having been sold for 312 thousand dollars six years ago in New York.
Defending Davis Cup champions, the Czech Republic, are leading in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Kazakhstan, after Jan Hájek beat Michail Kukushin in three sets in the first match in Astana. Lukáš Rosol added an important second point by defeating Andrei Golubov: the final score was 4:6, 6:4, 6:2, 7:6. In the doubles match on Saturday, Radek Štěpánek and Ivo Minář will play the Kazakhstani pair Yuri Schukin, Evgeny Korolev.
Zlín defeated Třinec 4:3 in the best-of-seven semifinal series of the Czech hockey league playoffs on Thursday night to book a place in the final. Zlín scored the first goal of the game very early, and added another goal five minutes into the second period. The hosts Třinec equalized just two minutes later but Zlín scored their second goal just before the second intermission. The visitors then added two more goals with some ten minutes to go and Třinec were only able to narrow the gap but failed to take the game into overtime. Zlín, who advanced to the finals after eight years, will face Plzeň for the league title.
Czech President Miloš Zeman on Thursday began a two-day visit to Slovakia, his first foreign trip since his inauguration in March. Slovakia is traditionally the first destination for Czech officials. On Thursday, President Zeman met the Slovak head of state, Ivan Gašparovič; the officials discussed the need for better transport connections between the two countries as well as a plan for the joint defence of the Czech and Slovak air space. Mr Zeman also met Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, later on Thursday.