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26-10-2015

PM expresses hope Poland will remain close partner following conservatives’ victory

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the head of the Social Democratic Party, has expressed the hope that Poland under new leadership will remain a close partner of the Czech Republic following parliamentary elections which saw the centrist government headed by Ewa Kopacz swept from power. The Law & Justice party secured an unprecedented victory in Poland with exit polls suggesting it received 39 percent of the vote – enough to govern alone. As a conservative and Eurosceptic party, Law & Justice will be expected to take a tougher stance on a number of issues, not least the migrant crisis. Europe's refugee crisis proved to be a key topic ahead of the vote.

Czech government moves to increase support for renewables and other energy incentives

The Czech government agreed Monday to a proposal from the Ministry of Industry and Trade switching and increasing the support for renewable and other energy sources by around 6 billion crowns. The proposal counts on support for renewables and cogeneration of heat and electricity rising to around 22 billion crowns in 2016 from 15 billion crowns this year. One of the factors in the increase is a switch in way the support is charged to final customers with the aim of decreasing the burden on heavy energy using industries.

Legendary hockey defenceman Vladimír Kobranov dies at 88

Vladimír Kobranov, a member of the Czech hockey team which won the 1949 World Championship died on Sunday at the age of 88. The former defenceman, inducted in the Czech Hockey Hall of Fame, played for the national team from 1947 -1949 and scored 18 goals in 29 matches. In 1950, after the Communists seized power, Mr Kobranov was sent to prison following a political show trial and released five years later. He went on to play for Pardubice and Zlín and left Czechoslovakia in 1968 when he moved to Switzerland. Besides winning the Worlds, Mr Kobranov was a silver medallist from the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz.

Czech Republic ready to provide healthcare team, vehicles to help in Slovenia

The Czech Republic is considering sending a healthcare team, humanitarian aid, transport vehicles and a field kitchen to help Slovenia in dealing with the ongoing migrant crisis, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický revealed. He made the statement after Monday’s cabinet meeting; Slovenia has seen a major influx as migrants in recent days. The Czech Republic has provided similar help in Hungary, where some 21 Czech soldiers and 50 police officers are currently also on hand.

Czech Internet retailer targets number one position in region after latest acquisitions

One of the biggest e-commerce deals of the last years has been sealed with the purchase by the Czech group Rockaway Capital of the second biggest local e-commerce server, Mall.cz and price comparison server Heureka.cz. Rockaway Capital is paying more than 200 million euros or around 5.4 billion crowns for the package. The group is backed by prominent Czech businessmen Daniel Křetínský, Patrik Tkáč, and the PPF group of Petr Kellner. Together with Rockaway’s existing e-commerce companies, the new assets could give the company the chance of increasing its turnover to around 1.0 billion euros and make it the leading online retailer in the Central European region. The deals have to be approved by the Czech competition office.

Former footballer Nedvěd, babybox founder Hess, among those to receive state honours

Former Czech football international Pavel Nedvěd, the founder of the babybox system in the Czech Republic Ludvík Hess and pop singer and former actor Václav Neckář are among those expected to receive state honours on Wednesday, October 28th – marking the founding of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. Pavel Nedvěd is a former captain of the national squad and was European footballer of the year in 2003; Ludvík Hess is credited with a system which saved dozens of newborns abandoned by their mothers. Czech President Miloš Zeman said earlier in the year he would bestow a medal for heroism in memoriam on Petr Vejvoda – a 16-year-old who was fatally stabbed coming to the defence of a schoolmate attacked at their secondary school by a mentally-ill woman.

Respekt: Hotel billed Czech head-of-state for clean-up after smoking in non-smoking room

The Czech weekly Respekt reports that Czech President Miloš Zeman was billed 1,600 British pounds (around 60,000 Czech crowns) for clean-up costs after allegedly smoking in a non-smoking room at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bristol, where the Czech head-of-state stayed during the NATO summit in 2014. The weekly cited three diplomatic sources in its story. The Czech Foreign Ministry, which funds the head-of-state’s visits, has said it had paid for the accommodation but no extra expenses. The president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, told the publication neither he nor the president had any information about such a bill. The Czech president is known as an avid smoker.

Bare majority of ministers take part in weekly cabinet meeting

Barely a majority of cabinet ministers attended the government’s Monday meeting but enough, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said, that what needed passing had been approved already. Ministers away sent deputies in their stead but those have no mandate to vote on decisions. Those who did not attend included deputy prime ministers Andrej BabiŠ and Pavel Bělobrádek. Three members of the cabinet, including the culture minister, are on a visit to Israel while Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek is visiting Vietnam and Malaysia.

Wastewater contaminates hospital well

Patients in a hospital in Prachatice have begun receiving bottled drinking water and the facility itself is making use of an alternative supply after sewer water somehow got into a hospital well. The cause has not been determined; correcting the matter could take up to several days, the head of the hospital confirmed. Around 30 -40 percent of patients who were scheduled will be treated at different facilities; the hospital has also postponed around 30 operations which had been scheduled.

Šafářová and Kvitová enter Singapore Masters tournament

Czech tennis players Lucie Šafářová and Petra Kvitová will both compete on Monday at the Singapore Masters. Lucie Šafářová faces Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. She will be followed Petra Kvitová in the same group, who will play against Germany’s Angelique Kerber. Lucie Šafářová, who has also qualified for the doubles, entered the tournament on Saturday with her partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, defeating the Spanish duo Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suárez 6-3, 7-6.

26-10-2015