The Social Democrats’ nominee for foreign minister, Miroslav Poche, has
been a very negative force at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš said on a TV discussion show on Sunday
that Mr. Poche, who is currently a political secretary at the ministry,
would never head the government department.
President Miloš Zeman refused to appoint Mr. Poche and Social Democrats chairman, Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček, is currently also serving as caretaker foreign minister. The party say they will return to the matter after Senate and municipal elections next month.
Mr. Poche described the prime minister’s words on Sunday as an attack. He said if Mr. Babiš was cooperating with the likes of Hungary’s Viktor Orban he would be hard pressed to find a similarly minded foreign minister within the Social Democrats.
The number of road deaths in the Czech Republic in July and August was
one-fifth higher than in the same period last year. While 101 people died
on the roads in the holiday months of 2017 this year the figure was 121.
The director of the country’s traffic police, Tomáš Lerch, said the unusually hot weather was definitely one factor behind the increase, Czech Television reported.
A large number of motorcyclists and cyclists took to the roads in the summer and such road users accounted for over a third of all deaths in August.
Fatal auto accidents were caused in many cases by tiredness and a lack of attentiveness, the police said.
A political grouping fielding candidates in forthcoming municipal elections
in Brno is using mafia references in a bid to win support, Lidovky.cz
reported. The leader of Maffie.cz, Lubor Pospíchal, appears on its
candidates list as “capo di tutti capi” while other nominees have
nicknames such as “the big fish” and “the gun”, the news site said.
On its website Maffie.cz writes that politicians are considered a mafia but no other party admits it. At the same time the group lists turning Brno into a “smart city” as its number one policy.
The Czech BIS intelligence service has warned of the growing danger of
paramilitary groups, which have around 2,000 members in total, iDnes.cz
reported. BIS says that some such militia groups are attempting to forge
ties with state organisations and members of the national and local police
forces, the news site said.
In its latest report on extremism in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of the Interior writes that some paramilitary groups are xenophobic, racist and fiercely opposed to Czech foreign policy. However, they frequently disguise their ideological leanings and promote “defence education”.
iDnes.cz reported that the groups learn how to handle pistols, knives and other weapons and often believe that the Czech Republic could overnight be flooded with migrants keen to subjugate the local population.
The Czech women’s tennis number one, Petra Kvitová, has been knocked out
in the third round of the US Open in New York. The 28-year-old, who was
ranked fifth at Flushing Meadows, lost 5-7 1-6 to 20-year-old Aryna
Sabalenka of Belarus.
The result means that two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitová has failed to get to even the fourth round stage of any of this season’s four Grand Slam tournaments.
Slavia Prague have replaced Viktoria Plzeň at the top of the Czech soccer
league after a 4:0 victory over reigning champions in the capital. In a
dramatic game the hosts opened the scoring after just three minutes through
Souček and were awarded two penalties, converting one. The visitors had
defender Hubník sent off five minutes before half-time.
Previously Plzeň had taken the maximum points in the opening six round of the league and Slavia are only in front of them on goal difference.
A two-day air show got underway at an airfield outside Hradec Králové in
East Bohemia on Saturday. Around 40 planes and helicopters from eight
states are on display at the 25th edition of the CIAF international
Among the attractions is an acrobatic show by the Latvian Baltic Bees group, flying L-39 Albatros planes, and a Ukrainian SU-27 fighter jet.
A former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Helena Illnerová, says a
European Commission proposal to end daylight saving time would not have a
significant impact on people’s health. The biochemist and physiologist
said changing the clocks twice a year was not in itself problematic.
However, it was better when – until the year 1995 – summertime lasted six months in the Czech Republic, not seven months as at present, Mrs. Illnerová said.
For its part the Czech branch of environmental organisation Friends of the Earth said daylight saving time was a marginal issue and the European Commission should focus on more important matters.
Cheaper train and bus fares for people under 26 and over 65 were introduced
in the Czech Republic on Saturday. They will now have to pay just a quarter
the price of regular tickets.
The move represents the fulfilment of one of the promises made by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party in pre-election campaigning. It will cost the state up to CZK 6 billion crowns, though no precise estimate can be made, iDnes.cz reported.
The news website said Czech Railways had set aside 50 extra carriages with a capacity of 4,000 seats in case there were a sudden spike in traveller numbers.