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NATO requests Czech army to renew surveillance of Icelandic airspace

NATO has requested the Czech Republic to renew its surveillance mission of Icelandic airspace, the defence ministry’s spokesman Petr Medek told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. He said the army is set to reveal the details at a press conference on Friday. The Czech air force took its turn protecting Icleand’s airspace last autumn over the course of nine weeks. Iceland is the only NATO member state with no air force of its own. The head of an airbase in Čáslav, Petr Hromek, told the daily Lidové Noviny on Thursday that the mission should take place in July and August this year.

Opposition parties ask for no-confidence vote in PM Sobotka’s government

The opposition TOP 09, Civic Democrats and Dawn Party want to propose a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s government. They made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference in the lower house. The move comes in reaction to Wednesday’s vote over the support of biofuels. Despite its previous declarations, the ANO Party did not vote to end a tax advantage for biofuels. The deputy head of TOP 09, Miroslav Kalousek, has accused the government of corruption, saying that Mr. Babiš’s company Agrofert would use the scheme to tunnel the state budget.

President Zeman signs amendment to energy law

President Zeman has signed an amendment to the energy law, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Thursday. The new energy law, among other things, cushions the burden on industrial users of supporting renewable power. It has drawn criticism mainly from the national energy regulator, ERÚ, which has warned that that it could spark a massive new drain on public and state resources adding up to 150 billion crowns. The new energy law also enables households to install rooftop photovoltaic power stations with up to 10 kilowatt output without obtaining a license.

PM Sobotka supports establishment of industrial zone in Bochoř

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday voiced support for the establishment of strategic industrial zone in the former helicopter base in Bochoř, near Přerov. With an area exceeding 300 hectares, it would be one of the largest industrial zones in central Europe. According to the governor of the Olomouc region, Jiří Rozbořil, it could bring between five to seven thousand new jobs. The main condition for establishing the zone is the completion of the missing stretches of the D1 motorway.

Army to clear wreckage of Hungarian Gripen

The Army is set Thursday, to start clearing the wreckage of a Hungarian Gripen fighter jet which crashed at an air base in Čáslav in Central Bohemia on Tuesday. The accident happened during an international Gripen training exercise named Lion Effort. The plane’s two pilots managed to eject and were unhurt when the aircraft came to a stop in a field near a runway at the base. The cause of the crash is being investigated by Czech and Hungarian experts. The wreckage will be stored in guarded premises at the air base.

Newsweek announces Czech language launch

Owners of the international current affairs magazine Newsweek have revealed plans to publish a Czech version of the publication. The launch of the Czech version, which would contain editorial content produced by a local team of writers as well as translated copy from the main publication, is being targeted for the Autumn. A Czech language version would be the ninth local version of the original US publication.

Dozens of people claim to be winners of record Eurojackpot

Dozens of people have called the Sazka lottery firm in recent days, claiming to be the winners of a record 2.5 billion crown lottery jackpot. The spokesman for Sazka said people are making up various stories about losing their ticket – one claimed the dog had eaten it. He also said they had received calls from women who would like to marry the prospective billionaire. The winning ticket was bought in the Pardubice region only one day ahead of the Eurojackpot draw. Its owner still hasn’t come forward five days after the winning number was announced.

Czechoslovak WWII refugee wills his assets to US government

A Czechoslovak refugee from World War II has willed all his assets to the US Department of Treasury, the Seattle Times daily wrote this week. A Seattle-based couple, Joan and Peter Petrasek, willed their entire estate of over 850,000 USD to “the United States of America”. Peter Petrasek was born in Prague in 1927, and fled Czechoslovakia in 1949 for political reasons. He died in 2012 at the age of 85. Although the will had no more specifics, the daily suggests Mr Petrasek made the move out of gratefulness to his adopted country.

Bookmakers say Czechs have no chance at Eurovision

The duo Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta, representing the Czech Republic at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, have little chance of winning. Bookmakers see the Czechs, along with representatives of San Marino and Portugal, as the least probable winners, putting their odds at 1 to 970. The Czech duo is representing the country with a song called Hope Never Dies. According to bookmakers, Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow is the most likely winner. Russia’s Polina Gagarina is listed as second favourite.

Nymburk take basketball league title for 12th time in row

In basketball, Nymburk have for the 12th time in succession won the Czech league title. They won the third match against Děčín 95:59 on Wednesday night to take the series 3:0. Nymburk’s Chester Simmons was named the player of the match. Nymburk were the clear favourites having lost only one of the previous 87 league games, and that in overtime.