Czech President Miloš Zeman is set to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the foreign and defence ministers and other state representatives at Prague Castle to streamline their foreign policy views. On the agenda of their talks will be sanctions against Russia, the Eastern partnership project as well as the potential threat presented by ISIS radicals. The president and the prime minister last year agreed to meet three times a year to ensure the Czech Republic’s unified stance on foreign affairs.
The Defence Ministry is planning on buying munitions worth 1.3 billion crowns, with most going to ground forces. But larger munitions such as shells and rockets for the air force will also be stocked, the spokeswoman for the ministry said. In recent years, due to austerity measures, the Czech military was forced to scale back requirements; last year the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Petr Pavel, said soldiers needed ammunition for around 5.6 billion. The stockpiles would last around 30 days in the case of conflict, before the alliance supply chain was up-and-running.
Foreign TV and film producers spent over four billion crowns in the Czech Republic last year. They were attracted by special film incentives, which allow companies to reclaim up to 20 percent of the cash spent on film-production in the country. According to the Czech Cinematography’s Fund Helena Bezděk Fraňková, the incentives allow the Czech Republic to compete with 14 other European countries, which have introduced similar measures. Among the films made in the Czech Republic last year was Unlocked, featuring Michael Douglas, and the second series of the BBC drama The Musketeers.
Some 43 percent of Czechs trust President Miloš Zeman, according to a survey conducted by the STEM polling agency in January. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has the trust of three fifths of respondents. Trust in the Czech president reached its peak in October last year, when he had the support of 57 percent of respondents. However, the president’s trust rating took a sharp dive following a series of controversial moves, including his use of vulgar language in a radio interview. Mr Zeman currently enjoys the highest support among the sympathizers of the Communist and the Dawn parties.
Collectors and investors spent 854 million crowns (around 35 million US dollars) last year at art auctions in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech art investment website artplus.cz. The sum was ten percent lower than in the previous year, but it is still the third highest annual turnover in the country’s auction history. The most expensive object auctioned last year was Emil Fila’s painting Man with Pipe, dating back to 1915, which was sold for 14 million crowns.
A court in Olomouc on Tuesday upheld a six-year sentence and a four-year ban on driving for road pirate Christo Dimitrov Klisurov. The driver was found guilty of reckless and aggressive driving on the country’s D1 highway. According to eyewitnesses, Mr Klisurov edged a car off the highway, causing the driver to swerve off the road and hit the crash barrier. One person suffered light injuries during the accident. Mr Klisurov had previously received several fines for speeding.
The Czech Republic’s national carrier Czech Airlines has lost one fifth of passengers on its regular lines, the company’s spokesman Daniel Šabík told the Czech News Agency on Tuesday. Some 2.27 million passengers travelled with Czech Airlines last year. The Czech carrier, which has been focused on Russia and the former Soviet Union, ascribes the drop in passenger numbers mainly to the situation in Ukraine.
The Czech grain harvest increased by 17 percent in 2014, hitting an overall yield of 8.8 million tonnes, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Tuesday. Last year’s harvest of grain is the third highest in the country’s history. The harvest of wheat, the main crop, has risen by 16 percent to 5.5 million tonnes. Farmers have also harvested a record 1.3 million tonnes of rapeseed, an increase by 94,000 tonnes.
The Mladá Boleslav-based car maker Škoda Auto is set to unveil the new generation of its flagship luxury sedan, the Superb, at Prague’s Žofín on Tuesday. The Czech car maker last week published the first photos of the third generation Superb, which will be manufactured in its factories in Kvasiny and in China. The unveiling ceremony will be accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic which will perform a symphony composed especially for the occasion.
Czech players made a mark in the NHL on Monday evening: Calgary’s Jiří Hudler helped the Flames come back despite trailing 3:0 against Boston: Hudler put the Flames within one and tied the game at 3:3. The Flames won in overtime, Hudler was named the game’s first star. Carolina’s Andrej Nestrašil was also named first star against Ottawa, scoring once and clinching two assists while fellow teammate Michal Jordán scored his first NHL goal. The Hurricanes won 6:3. Montreal Canadiens forward Tomáš Plekanec scored two minutes from time against Detroit and set up Max Pacioretty for an open net goal to earn points for his fourth game in a row.
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