Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to pay a one-day working visit to Berlin on Monday. He will be meeting for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and the country’s business leaders. The Czech prime minister is also scheduled to speak on the subject of European integration at Humboldt University. One of the issues on the agenda is a dispute over whether the Czech state is the rightful owner of 1.2 billion crowns worth of diesel that was being held by Viktoriagruppe, a company that administered some of the country’s strategic oil reserves in Germany but went bankrupt last September. The Czech Republic which stands to lose the reserves has threatened legal action over the matter.
The Czech Foreign Ministry on Sunday reiterated that no Czechs were injured in the devastating earthquake in Nepaland said the vast majority of them had now returned home on commercial flights. A group of seven Czechs who were stranded in the mountains following the quake were airlifted from the Lho region by a Nepalese army helicopter on Saturday. Meanwhile a Czech trauma team has started providing first aid in the town of Melamchi where they are attending to the injured from several mountain villages which were cut off after the quake.
Freedom Celebrations continued in the west Bohemia city of Plzeň on Sunday. Thousands of people turned up to greet the Convoy of Liberty, made up of historical military vehicles carrying around twenty US and Belgian war veterans who helped liberate Plzeň 70 years ago. Although the group of veterans, who are now over 90, have a packed agenda throughout the celebrations, manz of them made the trip through the city center standing in their jeeps saluting and waving as the enthusiastic crowd cheered and threw lilac at the vehicles as people did 70 years ago. Live street bands helped create a festive atmosphere reminiscent of the liberation and there was a fly-over of Gripen fighter jets to mark the occasion.
More than half of Czechs think that Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who owns the Agrofert business empire, has a conflict of interests. According to the results of a survey conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television 52 percent of respondents said there is a definite conflict of interests, while 39 percent of respondents came to the opposite conclusion. It also emerged that 26 percent of those who said Mr. Babiš had a conflict of interests voted for his party in the general elections.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has proposed giving Syrian students grants to study at Czech universities as a way of helping to build intellectual elite in the war-racked country. The proposal, which is to be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday, envisages offering grants to 20 students for the next six years which would cost the state five million crowns a year. The first year would be devoted to learning Czech after which the students could study in Czech or English. Applicants would be processed by the Czech embassy in Amman in cooperation with UNHCR. The final selection would be made by the Czech Education Ministry.
Runners from Kenya and Ethiopia traditionally dominated the 2015 Volkswagen Marathon in Prague on Sunday. First through the finishing line was Kenyan runner Felix Kandie with a personal record of 2:08:32. The fastest woman in the race was Ethiopian runner Yebrgual Melese with a time of 2:23:49. The first Czech to cross the finishing line was Vít Pavlišta with a personal record of 2:17:51. The race track is over 42 km long and winds through the city center. The winner in both the male and female category gets 15,000 euros.
The Czech Republic beat Latvia 4:2 in their second game at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Sunday night to take the top spot in Group A. Latvia took a lead twice and their second goal forced a change in the Czech goal where Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondřej Pavelec replaced Alexander Salak. The Czechs then scored three power play goals, the second of them by Jaromír Jágr.
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