Sixteen Czech citizens remain unaccounted for in earthquake-stricken Nepal, according to the Czech News Agency. There were some 239 Czech nationals in the country at the time of the disaster at the weekend. No Czechs have been reported dead or registered as injured. The Czech consul general from New Delhi in neighbouring India and the honorary consul general in Nepal have been helping nationals to be able to leave for home, the Czech ambassador to India, Miloslav Stašek, confirmed. Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and claimed more than 3,300 lives. The European Commission has ordered the release of three million euros to help.
Czech charities responded at the weekend to the tragedy in Nepal, donating or launching accounts to gather public funds for survivors and families in need. Some coordinators from the Czech Republic are already on the ground; the charity People in Need is sending several personnel, estimating that up to 90 percent of buildings in rural areas in Nepal were likely destroyed. The Czech Red Cross donated 13 million crowns to help, while ADRA is sending a team of five to the region. The charity is cooperating with other aid organisations to get food, water, clothes, and temporary shelter to those who need it most.
The Czech government has approved the sending of a special medical team to Nepal, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka posted on Twitter on Monday, without additional details. The government also approved an aid package of 20 million crowns, according to available information. Public broadcaster Czech TV reported that 36 physicians and firefighters would fly to the disaster-stricken country. Already, Czechs have sent one million crowns to special accounts set up by Czech charity organisations, while the first Czech help coordinators have arrived in the country.
The Czech government is aiming to kick start discussion on the adoption of the single European currency. The aim is to confirm a date before 2020 for the switch from the crown to the euro. Recently, Czech President Miloš Zeman suggested the country could make the actual switch by 2018, which many analysts consider overly optimistic. The debate on the euro agreed by the government is part of its policy framework for the country within the EU. The State Secretary for European Affairs, Tomáš Prouza, said that the country needed to have a precise idea about euro adoption over the next five years.
Power utility ČEZ should launch a new tender for the construction of further nuclear units next year at the latest, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech Radio on Monday. In the interview, he described 2016 as the "ultimate" deadline, pointing out one new reactor block each were needed at Dukovany and at Temelín. But, according to ČEZ CEO Daniel Beneš, neither the date nor the location of further nuclear units has been decided yet. ČEZ will tailor further activities depending on the state energy policy draft which is yet to be approved by the government. The policy is to define, among other things, when and where new nuclear units should be built. In April of last year, ČEZ cancelled a tender to build two new units at the Temeíin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia. The main reason was the government's decision not to provide state guarantees. According to Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek, the most feasible option is to build new units under the leadership of a new subsidiary of ČEZ.
Former Social Democrat lawmaker and governor David Rath, on trial for corruption, is being treated in hospital, according to reports. The Czech News Agency reported it had received a text message from Mr Rath saying he was in hospital after a bike accident at the weekend. Mr Rath’s lawyer, Adam Černý, explained he was trying to gather details after his client failed to appear in court. He said getting a clearer overview was difficult at this time as his client was on the painkiller morphine. The judge has adjourned the trial until Wednesday.
The results of a new poll released by the CVVM agency suggest that ANO’s Andrej Babiš remains the most-trusted of leaders of political parties in the lower house, followed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who heads the Social Democrats. Both results, however, were worse than in January. According to CVVM, 54 percent of respondents said they trusted Mr Babiš – down from an earlier 59 percent, while in Mr Sobotka’s case the number was 46, down from the earlier 53. By-and-large the public is currently most critical of the right-of-centre opposition party leaders, the poll suggests. Embattled Dawn Party leader Tomio Okamura saw his numbers fall from an earlier 34 percent to 24.
Montreal Canadiens’ Tomáš Plekanec got an assist on the game-winning goal against Ottawa on Sunday - a puck which Brendan Gallagher batted out of mid-air and slotted past Ottawa’s Craig Anderson in the first period. The Ottawa Senators were trying to force a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs after winning two games in a row. But Montreal’s Carey Price stopped 43 shots and the team held on for the 2:0 win to advance to the next round. The Habs will face the winner of Detroit-Tampa Bay, next. Detroit, with Czech goalie Petr Mrázek, have the upper-hand in that contest, leading their respective series 3:2.
Some 70 percent of Czechs want Vladimír Růžička to remain in the post of national squad coach ahead of the Ice Hockey World Championships despite allegations that he accepted a bribe, according to a survey carried out by the Median agency for Czech Radio. According to the allegation, the coach accepted a sum of 500,000 crowns from a businessman to allow his son to play for Slavia Prague which he coached. Most of the respondents said Růžička shouldn’t be dismissed unless the allegation was proven. Participants in the survey also said his dismissal could threaten the team’s performance. The World Championships this year take place in Prague and Ostrava.
Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has clinched a sixth doubles title in her carrier. With US partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, she beat the French-Slovenian pair of Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets 6:4 and 6:3 in the women’s doubles final in Stuttgart on Sunday. In the singles, the 29-year old Czech was knocked out in the second round by Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.
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