Daily news summary
Zeman begins four-day state visit to Israel
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, begins a four-day state visit to Israel on Sunday. While in the country Mr. Zeman will become the first Czech statesman to speak at a session of the Knesset. He will also open a Czech House in Jerusalem housing a Czech Centre and the offices of CzechTrade, CzechInvest and CzechTourism. Mr. Zeman says he regards that move as a precursor to transferring the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an idea to which the Czech government has not given its backing.
The Czech head of state will meet his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, and the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Zeman will be accompanied by around 70 Czech business people and representatives of scientific institutions.
Survey suggests 60 percent of Czechs don’t trust PM Babiš
Six in 10 Czechs do not trust the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babiš, suggests a poll conducted by the Kantar CZ agency for Czech Television published on Sunday. The survey indicates that 37 percent of Czechs do trust the ANO chief.
The poll also suggests that most Czechs were not in favour of President Miloš Zeman’s pledge to give Andrej Babiš another chance to form a government if he lost a no-confidence vote tabled by the opposition. In any event, Mr. Babiš’s cabinet survived Friday’s vote.
Czech pilots’ mission to train Iraqis coming to close
Czech pilots who have been training Iraqis in flying Czech-made L-159 jets will complete their mission in February, Czech Television reported on Sunday. The Czech experts have been sharing their expertise with local aviators in Iraq for over two years.
Czech ground staff will remain in the country. The chief engineer on the Czech team told Czech Television that while high temperatures and dust levels were problematic the lack of humidity in Iraq was a major boon.
Babiš holds talks with Kurz in Vienna
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, discussed the UK’s exit from the European Union, Austria’s presidency of the EU and bilateral relations with his Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, in Vienna on Saturday evening. Austria’s finance minister, Hartwig Löger, and speaker of parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, also attended the meeting.
Mr. Babiš was in Vienna for a concert by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra marking the recent centenary of Czech statehood.
New altar at famous Prague 1930s church consecrated
A new altar at Prague’s 1930s Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord has been blessed. The altar, designed by architects Josef Pleskot and Norbert Schmidt, was consecrated by Bishop Zdenek Wasserbaur during a ceremony on Saturday evening.
The Roman Catholic church, which is located in the Vinohrady district, was designed by Slovene architect Jože Plečnik, who was also responsible for a number of other significant projects in Prague.
Krpálek takes silver in judo Grand Slam in Osaka
The Czech Republic’s Lukáš Krpálek has taken the silver medal in judo’s Grand Slam tournament in Osaka, Japan. The 28-year-old was beaten in Sunday’s final of the 100 kilograms and over category by Henk Grol of the Netherlands.
It is the sixth prize of 2018 for Krpálek, who is the most successful Czech practitioner of judo of all time and earned the country’s only gold medal at the last Olympics.
It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Monday, with temperatures of up to 3 degrees Celsius. Snow is expected in some parts of the country. The following days are due to see daytime highs of around freezing point.