Czechs spent a record sum on betting last year, placing bets worth 249.5
billion crowns. That’s a rise of just over 11 percent on the previous
year. Winnings paid out from bets came to over 218 billion crowns, an
increase of 18.4 percent.
According to the Czech Ministry of Finance, the number of casinos and gaming-machine bars has dropped to roughly 1,800 following the introduction of the new legislation and statutes.
Outgoing Slovak President Andrej Kiska has arrived in the Czech Republic
for his final foreign trip as head of state. He was received by Czech
president Miloš Zeman at Lány Chateau on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Kiska steps down in mid-June to be succeeded by Zuzana Čaputová. The first official visit of the newly elected Slovak president, who will be sworn in on June 15, will also lead to the Czech Republic.
The writer Jiří Stránský died on Wednesday at the age of 87. Mr.
Stránský spent almost a decade in Communist labour camps as a political
prisoner after being found guilty of “treason” in the hard-line 1950s.
He put those experiences into his writings, some of which he also adapted
for the screen.
In the 1990s Jiří Stránský became president of the Czech PEN Club. He was also a life-long devotee of the scouting movement and shared his experiences in talks with young people.
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech lost the final game of his career
on Wednesday night when his club Arsenal were beaten 4:1 in the final of
the Europa League by his former team Chelsea. The 37-year-old made a couple
of important saves when Arsenal were still in with a chance and was seen by
many as their best performer.
Čech holds the record for number of international caps with the Czech Republic and collected numerous trophies and set goalkeeping records during a very successful period at Chelsea.
A shot was fired on the plane of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who
was returning from a visit to Brussels on Tuesday, Czech Television
reported. The bullet came from the service pistol of a member of a police
team guarding Mr. Babiš and the incident occurred while the aircraft was
on the ground.
The matter is now being dealt with by the security service’s inspectorate, which investigates alleged police misconduct. A spokesperson for the agency said the gun had probably been fired accidentally.
Security officers must hand over weapons to the captain before a plane takes off and are required to prove that they are not loaded by pulling the trigger on an empty chamber. However, the officer in question had neglected to ensure there were no bullets in his gun beforehand, iDnes.cz reported.
Two men accused of a physical attack on MP Dominik Feri could face up to
three years in prison. Police suspect the pair, who are father and son, of
attempted bodily harm and disorderly conduct. The incident took place at a
wine-tasting event in Moravia last month.
News website iRozhlas.cz reported on Tuesday that the state attorney’s office had ordered the police to carry out a fast-track investigation of the incident.
A friend of Mr. Feri’s has accused one of the alleged attackers of using a racial epithet. However, prosecutors do not perceive a racial element to the case.
Sculptor Petr Váňa on Wednesday attempted to start rebuilding a Marian
column that stood on Prague’s Old Town Square until 1918. Mr. Váňa said
that he had planning permission for the column. However, he did not have
the required permit to close off the part of the square in question and was
stopped by the police after having removed seven square metres of
cobblestones to make way for the new structure.
The original Marian column was regarded by some as a symbol of Austrian rule and was torn down by protestors shortly after Czechoslovakia was founded.
A major security trade fair has got underway in Brno. Over 500 firms from
35 countries are taking part in the International Defence and Security
Technologies Fair (IDET). The opening of the event was attended by Czech
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar, as well
as the chief of the general staff of the Czech Army, Aleš Opata.
IDET runs until Friday. Taking place alongside it are the related trade fairs PYROS, which is focused on fire-fighting technology, and ISET, which is dedicated to security technology and services.
One of the four top jobs in the European Union should go to somebody from
Central Europe, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček,
said at the Prague European Summit on Wednesday. Following the weekend’s
elections to the European Parliament debate has begun on who should take
the roles of president of the European Commission, president of the
European Council, high representative for foreign and security policy and
president of the European Parliament.
Mr. Petříček said he sensed a positive mood as regards Central European states’ expectations being met in this regard.
The Czech foreign policy chief also told delegates at the conference that there were too many disputes between Central European and Western European EU members, saying that while the two parts had differences they had more in common.