The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says his country welcomes US President Barack Obama’s strategy against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. Speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Saturday, Mr. Zaorálek said events in Iraq showed that terrorism had taken on a new dimension and had to be faced with the utmost decisiveness. The minister said that the main task of the international community was to ensure global security but also dignity and prosperity. The Czech Republic says it will not take part in military action against Islamic State; however, it has sent munitions to help Kurds fighting the militants.
Sunday is the Day of Czech Statehood, a national holiday that is held every year on St. Wenceslas Day. It was on September 28, 935 that St. Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia and today patron of the Czech state, was murdered by his brother Boleslav the Cruel. Some events are being held in connection with the holiday, including the official launch of an exhibition for children at the Hrzánský Palace in the Prague Castle complex entitled My State explaining a number of symbols of the Czech nation.
Businessman Ivo Rittig has been released on bail after being charged with the asset-stripping of company Oleo Chemical. Mr. Ritting and nine other people were arrested in connection with the case on Friday. The detainees are also suspected of money laundering and tax evasion, the police said. Mr. Rittig and two of the other accused were previously charged with creaming off a percentage of the cost of tickets for the Prague public transport system via the off-shore company Cokeville Assets. Based in Moncaco, Mr. Ritting is said to hold sway over some politicians and was reported to have contact with Jana Nagyová, whose arrest while she was prime minister Petr Nečas’s chief of staff helped bring down his government in 2013.
Former Czech president Václav Klaus says European Union and US “propaganda” against Russia is ridiculous and unacceptable. Speaking in an interview in the magazine The Spectator, Mr. Klaus said that though he had lived in communist Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination it was “stupid” to not differentiate the Soviet Union and Russia. In the interview, the former Czech head of state said he was receiving fewer invitations to speak at conferences as when organizers became aware of his views of the EU, same-sex marriage and the Ukraine crisis they said they had found somebody else; he said he had experienced this in the communist era but not in “so-called free Europe.”
The popular Czech musician Petr Skoumal has died at the age of 76. A long-term collaborator, singer Michal Prokop, informed the Czech News Agency of his passing on Sunday. The Prague-born Skoumal, who had studied conducting, was widely known his songs for both adults and children and also wrote music for films by among others Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak. Music journalist Jiří Černý described him as the most original Czech popular composer of the last 30 years.
The Czech women’s basketball team have reached the qualification for quarter finals stage at the World Championship in Turkey after a 71:57 win over Japan on Sunday. Pivot Petra Kulichová played a key role for the Czechs after returning from an ankle injury, scoring 19 points in the victory. The Czechs had defeated Brazil in their opening Group A game on Saturday and will now face Spain on Tuesday in a game to decide which country tops the group.
Sparta beat Slavia 2:0 on Saturday evening in Prague’s biggest soccer derby. Both goals came in the second half and from the boot of Sparta captain David Lafata, who also failed to convert a penalty. It was the fourth “S derby” victory in a row for the Czech title-holders. Police arrested three dozen fans for setting off pyrotechnics and other offences surrounding the game, which took place at Slavia’s Eden stadium.