The Czech Basketball team’s unusually successful journey through the
Basketball World Cup has come to halt in the quarterfinals after they lost
to Australia 70:82 in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The Czech team held its own in a close game, but had a dry spell in the third quarter of the game where they went three minutes without scoring a point and Australia got into a 15 point lead. Although the Czechs won the final quarter with a score of 22:19, it was not enough to win the game.
However, the tournament is not yet over for the Czechs. They now face games with Poland, Serbia and the United States in a special group composed of the teams that lost in the quarterfinals to determine their final standing.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) says the Czech
diplomatic corps is preparing further steps in regards to the ongoing
dispute surrounding the statue of Soviet marshal Konev.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the Konev statue dispute in which it accused some Czech politicians of initiating a “war” over the symbols of Soveit victory over Nazism.
Minister Petříček journalists that such comments are not helping build good relations. He urged for the discussion to be led on a factual basis, with legal aspects also being taken into account. He warned that the conflict could divide Czech society, going on to say that “this is something our partners perhaps want”.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement accusing
some Czech politicians of being initiators of a “war” over symbols of
the victory over Nazism. It refers to the ongoing dispute over a statue of
Soviet marshal Ivan Konev in Prague.
Jiří Pospíšil, chairman of the Czech opposition party TOP 09, called the Russian statement “unacceptable and outrageous”. The Konev statue was vandalised during the 30th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Prague 6 district mayor Ondřej Kolář (also TOP 09), has been pushing for the relocation of the statue either to the Russian Embassy in Prague or a museum.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in their statement that doing so would derogate the significance of the history the Konev statue is commemorating.
The statue's fate is set to be discussed at a Prague 6 district representatives meeting on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček says he sees no reason for a debate on
renouncing the Czech Republic’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence.
He says that such a shift would not be in the interests of Czech security
and the readability of Czech foreign policy. However, he says he will
gladly talk with the president about his opinion.
The statement was given to the Czech News Agency on Wednesday, after President Miloš Zeman said that he wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of an independent Kosovo at his next meeting with Czech top officials.
Kosovo has cancelled its planned participation in Thursday’s Visegrad
Four and Western Balkans summit in Prague, according to the Czech News
Agency which quotes diplomatic sources. The move was made in reaction to
President Miloš Zeman’s words earlier on Wednesday, where he said that
he wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the Czech recognition of
an independent Kosovo at his next meeting with Czech top officials. Czech
News Agency sources say that there are currently no confirmed guests from
Kosovo for the Thursday meeting of prime ministers. However, discussions
are still ongoing about whether the country will be represented on some
level at least.
The Czech Republic has maintained diplomatic relations with Kosovo since 2008.
There has been a significant rise in Fairtrade product sales in the Czech
Republic. The most significant increase was registered in cocoa beans
sales, which grew by 155 percent compared to last year’s numbers, Hana
Malíková, from the NGO Fairtrade Czech Republic and Slovakia, told
journalists at a press conference on Wednesday.
Fairtrade cotton sales also faired particularly well, increasing by 317 percent. Meanwhile, coffee and tea sales rose by 37 and 24 percent respectively.
Fair trade is an institutional arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions. According to a recent survey, 52 percent of Czechs recognise the Fairtrade logo and nearly a fifth of shoppers bought a product with this label in the last quarter-year.
President Miloš Zeman wants to discuss the possibility of renouncing the
Czech recognition of an independent Kosovo with Czech top officials. He
says that Kosovo does not belong to the community of democratic states
because it is led by war criminals. The statements were made by the
president at a press conference on Wednesday, which he attended after
meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić.
President Zeman’s strong words follow up on his statement yesterday, where he is reported to have said that he likes the Serbs and Serbia but he does not like Kosovo.
Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček reacted to the president’s words by saying that the Czech Republic has good relations with both Kosovo and Serbia.
The Czech police have proposed that the former regional governor of the
Usti region Jiří Šulc be charged with abuse of office, news site
Aktuálně reported on Wednesday. Investigators believe that Mr. Šulc
influenced the selection procedure for the director of the ROP Severozápad
who was responsible for allocating EU funds in the northwest of the
The benefactor of this action was to be Mr. Šulc’s acquaintance Petr Kušnierz, the former head of ROP Severozápad, who was sentenced to prison in 2017 for influencing grant projects in the region.
According to Aktuálně the police have also asked for criminal charges against Mr. Kušnierz’s predecessor in the position Petr Vráblík, who they believe took part in manipulating the grants.
Both Mr. Šulc and Mr. Vráblík have denied any wrongdoing in their previous statements.
The largest Czech small-arms manufacturer CZ Group - Česká zbrojovka
could be preparing to enter the Prague stock exchange, the Czech news site
iHNed reported on Wedneday, referring to its own sources. The President of
the Group Holding, Lubomír Kovařík, told the site that the company is
indeed considering a public sale of shares, but that these thoughts are
only in their initial stage. He refused to offer any details on the size
and timing of the transaction.
According to iHNed, the company could use the capital raised by share sales to boost its investment in the United States, where it is currently building a new factory and preparing to compete in the local defence tenders.
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