Daily news summary
Aleš Opata to become new Army Chief of Staff
Major General Aleš Opata will be appointed the new chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová announced on Thursday. Mr Opata, who has served as a deputy of the Army Chief of Staff, will replace Josef Bečvář in the post. His appointment is scheduled to take place on May 1.
The minister said the first task of the newly appointed Army Chief of Staff, will be reorganizing the army’s management. Among other topics she wants to discuss with Mr Opata will be shortcomings in army equipment.
China’s CEFC chairman and Zeman’s advisor under investigation
The chairman of China’s energy and investment group CEFC Ye Jianming, who serves as economic advisor to Czech president Miloš Zeman, has been investigated for suspected economic crimes, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing an anonymous source.
CEFC, which describes itself as the biggest private company in Shanghai and seventh largest private firm in China, has chosen the Czech Republic for the headquarters of its European activities.
The company was recently refused permission by the Czech National Bank to increase its stake in the Czech-Slovak J&T Financial Group.
Last surviving male northern white rhino threatened by infection
The health of the world’s last surviving male northern white rhino, which belongs to Dvůr Králové Zoo, has considerably worsened, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday.
The 47-year-old rhino has been moved to a reserve in Kenya since 2009 as part of an international effort to save the dying breed in its natural habitat.
According to vets, the rhino suffers from a deep infection in his right rear leg and there is not much hope for improvement due to his age.
Smog alert declared for most parts of Moravia-Silesia
Meteorologists have declared a smog alert across much of the Moravian-Silesian region on Thursday. The warning applies to Ostrava, Karvinná and parts of Frýdek-Místek where levels of dust particles have exceed the permitted limit.
Children and people suffering from heart problems or asthma have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible. Forecasters have also warned that if the situation doesn’t improve, regulations may soon be introduced forcing some companies to limit production. The region of Moravia Silesia has long had the worst air quality in the country and in Europe with local industry, heat plants, and domestic heating contributing to the problem.
Czech agriculture earnings dropped to 21.3 billion crowns in 2017
Czech agricultural earnings fell to 21.3 billion crowns in 2017, which is a drop by 5.5 percent on the previous year, according to preliminary figures released by the Czech Statistics office on Thursday.
That figure still represents the third best result since the year 2000, according to the office’s deputy head Marek Rojíček. The best result recorded by Czech farmers to date was in 2014, when agriculture earnings reached 22.9 billion crowns.
Prague’s Libeň bridge reopens to cars and trams
Prague’s Libeň bridge over the Vltava River will reopen to trams and cars on Saturday after being closed for more than five weeks. Prague authorities made the decision after checking the temporary reinforcement of the bridge’s construction.
The bridge was closed for most transport late in January following a report to city transport bosses highlighting the dangerous state of one of its six sections. The bridge as a whole was classified as stage seven, the worst possible on a seven point evaluation.
The Culture Ministry has recently ruled that the unique Cubist bridge from 1928 is not a cultural heritage site. The Prague City Council is to decide at one of its next meetings whether the bridge is to be reconstructed or disassembled and pulled down.
Friday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime highs ranging between -7 and -3 degrees Celsius.