Viktoria Plzeň are preparing to face the French club Olympique Lyonnais in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie on Thursday evening. The second leg takes place in West Bohemia next week. Plzeň overcame the wealthy Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, who won the competition’s predecessor in 2010, in the previous round.
The police’s anti-corruption unit are investigating jailed former senator Alexandr Novák and influential businessman Patrik Oulický on suspicion of money laundering, Czech Radio reported on Thursday. The two are suspected of covertly investing CZK 17 million in a casino, the station said. Mr. Novák is currently in prison after being found guilty of accepting a bribe of over CZK 40 million. Both he and Mr. Oulický were regarded as “godfathers” in the Civic Democrats in Ústí nad Labem but are no longer party members.
A memorial to the late Czech president Václav Havel is likely to be erected at Maltézské náměstí by Prague’s Kampa district, the city’s mayor, Tomáš Hudeček, told the Czech News Agency. The “Havel’s Place” memorial features a circular table around a tree and two chairs and was designed by architect Bořek Šípek. Versions have already been unveiled in Washington, Dublin and Barcelona. The Prague one should appear this spring.
An exhibition that opened on Thursday at Prague’s National Library highlights samizdat books and magazines produced in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s. Entitled Samizdat: The Creative Power of Resistance, the show has been organised in conjunction with Libri prohibiti, a privately held library that possesses some 13,000 books produced illicitly in Czechoslovakia under communism. The exhibition is due to run at the Clementinum until April 18.
The minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, is considering the creation of a state enterprise to build new reactors for the Temelín nuclear power station, Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. Mr. Mládek has refused to reveal details about the proposal. However, Hospodářské noviny said its sources indicated that Temelín’s owner, semi-state power company CEZ, would likely conclude a tender to complete the plant in the next few months without picking a winner. The construction project would then be hived off from CEZ, meaning it would be relieved of any risks linked to the investment.
A smog alert remains in effect for parts of the Moravia-Silesia region in the northeast of the country, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute said. The alert was declared on Wednesday over dust emission values that in some places twice exceed the permitted limits; the highest levels of pollution have been registered in the Karviná district, with 242 micrograms per cubic metre. The situation is not likely to improve on Thursday, meteorologists said. The Ostrava region is one of the most polluted in the country, with heavy industry, traffic and home heating among the major factors.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka begins on Thursday a two-day visit to Germany, his first trip to the country since his appointment. The Czech cabinet leader is set to meet German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials during his trip. The visit should strengthen the cooperation of the two countries on shaping integrated Europe, Mr Sobotka said. The Czech prime minister is also scheduled to visit the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg; the German firm owns the Czech carmaker Škoda Auto.
The authorities in Central Bohemia on Wednesday rejected two appeals against a building permit issued to a contractor working for the US-based online retailer Amazon, paving the way for the construction of Amazon’s distribution centre in Dobrovíz, outside Prague. However, construction will only begin after a contract is signed between the municipality and the developer, a representative of the firm said, adding it was impossible to predict whether the deal would be concluded until the end of the month. Amazon is planning to build another distribution centre outside Brno, a project which also provoked opposition from local inhabitants.
Czech film director Věra Chytilová died in Prague on Wednesday at the age of 85, her family said. A native of Ostrava, Chytilová became a leading figure of the new wave of Czech cinema of the 1960s with films such as Daises and Fruit of Paradies; her best-known later movies include Prefab Story, Calamity, The Jester and the Queen, and others. For many years, Věra Chytilová taught filmmaking at Prague’s FAMU film and TV school. In 1992, she was awarded the French Ordre des Artes et des Lettres, and in 1998, she received the Czech Medal of Merit. She made her last feature film, Pleasant Moments, in 1996.
The organized crime unite of the Czech police have charged five current and former officials of the Regional Council Severozápad, an agency in charge of distributing EU’s cohesion funds, with breach of trust. Among those charged is former Ústí region governor and Civic Democrat MP Jiří Šulc, the head of the council said. Mr Šulc reportedly faces allegations that in his capacity as the council’s chairman, he included non-competition clauses in the contracts of two former directors of the agency worth hundreds of thousands of crowns. In 2011, the Regional Council Severozápad became embroiled in a corruption scandal; a year later, its director, Petr Kušnierz was sentenced for 7.5 years in jail for bribe-taking.