The United States Senate on Wednesday approved the nomination of Andrew Schapiro as ambassador to Prague. Like the outgoing American ambassador, Norman Eisen, Mr. Schapiro is a lawyer who has worked alongside the US president, Barack Obama. But how is the next US ambassador like to differ from his predecessor? That’s a question I put to journalist Daniel Anýž, who is an expert on Czech-US relations.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will visit the United States in November where he will attend the unveiling of a bust of the late president Vaclav Havel in the U.S. Congress, the ctk news agency reports. The unveiling ceremony has been scheduled to take place on the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. In 1990, the late Czech president delivered one of his most famous speeches before the U.S. Congress.
US Internet giant Amazon has given up plans to build a distribution centre in a Brno industrial zone and is looking for other locality in Central and Eastern Europe, Amazon´s spokesman for the Czech Republic Karel Taschner has told the Czech News Agency. Amazon was promising investment of almost 3 billion crowns and creation of 1,500 jobs in Brno. Locals, however, expressed concern over increased road traffic which they consider to be beyond tenable already. The Amazon spokesman for the Czech Republic made clear that Amazon was still open to looking for further opportunities in the Czech Republic, given European market growth. One project is going ahead: the construction of Amazon´s distribution centre in Dobroviz near Prague, set to begin in the near future.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, may meet US President Barack Obama later this year, Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday. Mr. Sobotka could speak to Mr. Obama at an event in Washington celebrating the legacy of Václav Havel, the newspaper said. A bust of the late president is to be unveiled at Congress in November in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which Mr. Havel led. The US vice president, Joe Biden, will receive Mr. Sobotka after the ceremony, with Mr. Obama also due to join the meeting, Lidové noviny said, quoting its own sources.
The prestigious US Mayo Clinic has threatened to end its Czech collaboration focused on Brno’s International Clinical Research Centre unless outstanding bills are paid by the city’s St. Anne’s University Hospital. Some of the debt has accumulated though the Mayo Clinic’s training of Czech doctors. Both the Brno hospital and Czech Ministry of Education have said that they are keen to prolong the cooperation and pay the outstanding bills dating from last year. The Mayo Clinic is regarded as one of the best research hospitals in the world.
The Czech government did not respond a US offer to lease 14 fighter jets for the Czech Air Force, the news website aktulane.cz reported on Thursday. The report says the offer to lease US-made F-16 aircraft was last made in February, before the Czech government decided to lease the Swedish jets Gripen instead. The conditions of the deal were reportedly better that those offered by Sweden. The website quotes David Cannavo, the head of a US company which was mediating the deal, as saying they never heard back from the Czech government, and that the US embassy in Prague told the firm the deal on leasing Gripen fighters had been sealed long before.
The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution recognising former Czech president Václav Havel’s contribution to the fight against communism, to the Velvet Revolution of November 1989, and entry of the Czech Republic into NATO. The resolution will also result in a bust of Havel joining those of a select few foreign and US leaders in the Congress building. Only three foreign statesmen have previously received such recognition. Havel was already awarded the US’ highest civil award, the medal for freedom, in 2003.
Continuing discrimination and violence against Roma, domestic violence, failure to deal with cases of human trafficking and corruption are highlighted as black marks against the Czech Republic in the US state department’s annual survey of human rights in the world. Societal discrimination and violence against Roma was a problem last year with human rights organisations attacking the government’s failure to deal with it, the report said. Exploitation of illegal and migrant workers and discrimination against labour unions were also highlighted in the report. Attempts to stamp out abuses in the police and other forces were taken but areas of immunity persisted, it added.
Kevin Klose is serving a second term as president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an American-funded international broadcaster based in Prague since the mid-1990s. Mr. Klose oversaw the station’s move here from Munich on the invitation of President Václav Havel, before later going on to head National Public Radio in the US for a decade. In part one of a two-part interview, he discusses RFE/RL’s search for a new identity in the post-Cold War era and its move east.
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