President Miloš Zeman’s proposal to move the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has evoked widespread criticism in the Czech Republic. The president made the suggestion in an interview for the daily Jediot Achronot ahead of a two-day visit to Israel, saying that he would try to get the Czech government to consider the idea. Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok immediately distanced himself from the notion, saying his cabinet had no intention of debating it and noting that the president’s statement could temporarily worsen relations with the Arab world.
Fifty-five percent of Czechs believe that the country’s membership in the EU threatens Czech national interests, according to the results of a poll conducted by the STEM agency. Forty-one percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the country’s EU membership, the lowest support rating since the Czech Republic’s EU accession in 2004. Two thirds of Czechs nevertheless consider themselves Europeans, the poll results show.
Greenpeace activists in Prague on Saturday staged an event in support of colleagues who are currently behind bars in Russia after protesting at an Arctic oil rig. Greenpeace is collecting signatures on a petition for their release and has urged supporters to write to the Russian embassy and send messages to the detained activists. On September 18, the environmental organization's icebreaker, the Arctic Sunrise, approached the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea, owned by a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, and its activists tried to scale the platform in protest against drilling in the Arctic. Russian authorities detained all 30 members of the ship’s multinational crew, comprising citizens of 19 countries, including Argentina, Finland, Sweden, UK, Ukraine and the US. Courts in Murmansk have ordered the activists to be kept in custody until November 24.
The Příbram rally was cut short by a tragic accident on Saturday. One of the racing cars crashed killing co-driver Jan Jinderle junior. The organizers immediately announced the rally would be cut short in its seventh round. The title will go to Vaclav Pech who was in the lead in the first six rounds.
The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition has revoked a contract that Czech Railways signed with Austrian Federal Railways for 11 locomotives, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Friday. Czech Railways leased the Siemens Taurus locomotives from the Austrian rail operator in 2008. However, the Czech anti-trust agency said the deal was in fact a purchase that was concluded without a public tender. Czech Railways now face a fine of up to CZK 4 million.
The Czech players Tomáš Berdych and Petra Kvitová have both reached the semi-finals of tennis’s China Open in Beijing. After overcoming John Isner of the US 7-5 6-2 on Friday, Berdych will face Spain’s Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. Kvitová, meanwhile, saw off local favourite Li Na 4-6 6-2 6-4 to set up a meeting with the Serb Jelena Jankovic.
A new British-made documentary entitled Lidice – A Light Across the Sea was screened in the Central Bohemian municipality on Thursday night. The village of Lidice was razed to the ground by the Nazis in June 1942 and the film focuses on the work of English doctor and Labour MP Barnett Stross, who soon afterwards started a collection to rebuild it. The mayor of the present-day Lidice, which is a few hundred metres from where the original village stood, said after the screening that it might not be there without Stross’s efforts.
The Ministry of Education plans to ask public broadcaster Czech Television to broadcast more programmes on its children’s station in English. It made a statement to that effect following a meeting on Friday between the minister of education, Dalibor Štys, and representatives of the Czech Secondary School Union. The students’ group recently made headlines with a call for a reduction in the number of dubbed shows on TV screens in the Czech Republic, which they say would improve people’s language skills.
Slovan Liberec beat the Portuguese side Estoril Praia 2:1 at home in a Europa League game on Thursday. The visitors had one player sent off towards the end of the first half and another dismissed with eight minutes remaining. Liberec are second in their group, with four points from two matches, behind Sevilla who have the maximum six. The north Bohemian side play host to the Spaniards in a fortnight’s time.
Preparations are being made for the 15th Czech Street Festival in New York. The annual event – featuring Czech food and drink, workshops and live music – is taking place on Saturday afternoon and evening in front of the Bohemian National Hall on Manhattan’s East 73rd St. This year it will also serve as a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the reopening of the Bohemian National Hall, which houses the Czech Center and other institutions representing the country.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket