Daily news summary

Babiš: Prague not currently considering withdrawing troops from Iraq

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic is not at present considering withdrawing its troops from Iraq. Speaking on a visit to Olomouc, Mr. Babiš confirmed an earlier statement from the General Staff of the Czech Army that none of the country’s soldiers had been harmed during overnight rocket attacks on two US bases in Iraq.

A Czech Ministry of Defence spokesman said no Czech soldiers had been stationed at the bases.

Iran said the strikes had been in retaliation for the killing last week of its military commander Qassem Suleimani.

A spokesperson for the Czech Army said its troops had halted exercises and were remaining at their bases, adding that it would await a decision on how to proceed from NATO command.

Almost 40 Czech soldiers are taking part in a NATO mission in Iraq and five Czech police officers are serving as instructors in Bagdad.

2019 saw third fewest road deaths since 1963

Last year 547 people died in road accidents in the Czech Republic, deputy police president Martin Vondrášek said at a news conference on Wednesday. The figure was 18 lower than for 2018 and was the third lowest since 1961.

The number of people seriously injured in traffic accidents fell by 355 year-on-year to 2,110 in 2019, which was the lowest number recorded to date.

Last year second warmest in Czech Republic since 1961

Last year was the second warmest in the Czech Republic since 1961, according to data published on Wednesday by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The daily average temperature in 2019 was 9.5 degrees Celsius, which was 1.6 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.

The hottest year since 1961 was 2018. The years 2014 and 2015 are tied for third hottest year in almost six decades.

Czechoslovak Hussite Church reaches centenary

Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church. It broke away from the Roman Catholic Church at a time when the latter had lost influence due to its links to the pre-1918 Habsburg monarchy.

The Czechoslovak Hussite Church, which was established on January 8, 1920, traces its tradition back to the 15th century Hussite reform movement.

It was the second largest faith group in the country, with over half a million declared members, in a census in 1921. At present it has around 40,000 members.

Attacker of tennis star Kvitová gets increased jail term

The Supreme Court in Olomouc has increased the prison sentence of a man who brutally attacked tennis star Petra Kvitová in her apartment in 2016. Thirty-four-year-old Radim Žondra’s term has been increased from eight to 11 years. He had been initially found guilty of grievous bodily harm but at the request of the state prosecutor the crime was requalified as burglary, which carries a higher sentence.

When Kvitová tried to defend herself from her knife-wielding assailant she sustained career-threatening hand injuries that required major surgery.

Špotáková changes coach ahead of final Olympics

Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková has parted company with her long-term coach Rudolf Černý. The world record holder, who is 38, will be trained by Jan Tylče for her last ever Olympic Games in Tokyo later this year.

Špotáková was trained by Černý for most of her career to date, though between 2010 and 2014 she was coached by men’s javelin legend Jan Železný and in 2015 prepared alone.

Weather forecast

Thursday should be rainy in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 6 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs should fall to around 4 degrees Celsius at the weekend, when it will be overcast.