Daily news summary
Politicians slam Zvezda article suggesting Czechs should be grateful for Soviet-led invasion of 1968
Czech politicians have slammed an article published on the website of Russian state-wide television channel Zvezda, run by the Russian Defense Ministry, on Tuesday, maintaining that Czechs should be grateful that Soviet-led forces invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The article in question claimed that the forces had prevented the West from orchestrating a coup in the then-communist country by means, it claimed, which were delayed until 1989.
On the contrary, the Soviet-led invasion in 1968 crushed the period of democratic reforms in Czechoslovakia known as the Prague Spring. The events of 1968 ushered in the so-called Normalisation period during the 1970s and Soviet troops would remain on Czechoslovak soil for more than 20 years.
The article, written by Leonid Maslovskij, caught many off guard as it was published the same day Czech President Miloš Zeman met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Sochi and later travelled to Moscow. According to iDnes, Mr Zeman, widely seen as a pro-Russia politician, was angered by the report; Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek slammed the article as twisting and misinterpreting historical facts and made clear such articles were no way forward to good relations.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnický went further by calling the article “outright lies” and expressed regret the article had come during an official state visit by the Czech head of state. President Miloš Zeman will reportedly address the matter while in Russia.
Zvezda responded that the opinions expressed in the article were the author’s own.
Ex-PM Nečas’s wife sentenced over abuse of power
Ex-PM Nečas’s wife sentenced over abuse of power The former head of office of ex-prime minister Petr Nečas, Jana Nečasová (formerly Nagyová) was found guilty of abusing her public position by ordering the army’s intelligence service to spy on Mr. Nečas’ then-wife Radka.
A High Court in Prague gave Nečasová, whom she allegedly ordered to spy on the then prime minister’s wife, a two-year jail sentence suspended for three years. Another three former military intelligence officers also received suspended sentences. The verdict is still not legally binding and may be appealed.
A Prague district court previously cleared Nečasová of the charges, accepting the ex-prime minister’s assertion that the intelligence services had merely protected his wife from being followed.
Jana Nečasová was romantically linked to the prime minister and later became his wife. The case exploded in June 2013, bringing down the centre-right government of Petr Nečas.
Czech companies sign 19-billion crown deals in Russia
Czech companies signed contracts to the tune of 19 billion crowns in Moscow on Wednesday. The Czech tractor maker Zetor signed a deal with Russian company KEMZ, which should bring it around 14 billion crowns within the next four years.
The contracts were signed at the Czech Russian Business Forum in the presence of Czech president Miloš Zeman.
According to Eva Veličková, the spokeswoman of the Confederation of Industry and Transport, more agreements are expected to be signed at another business forum in Yekaterinburg on Friday.
Czech family firm to provide 10,000 pucks to Olympic Games in Korea
A family firm from the Czech Republic will provide nearly 10,000 hockey pucks to the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. The company GUFEX, located in Kateřinice in north Moravia, began producing pucks in 1994.
Since then, they have been used at all significant tournaments of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Winter Olympic Games, World Championship and other international tournaments. The company currently produces around 1.2 million pucks a year.
Czech Republic had lowest unemployment rate in EU in 2016
The Czech Republic had the lowest unemployment rate in the EU in 2016, according to the Statistical Yearbook, released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday.
In 2017 the Czech Republic had an average four percent unemployment rate, compared with EU average of 6.8 percent. The Czech Republic was followed by Germany with 4.1 percent, while Greece was placed at the other end of the scale with 23.6 percent.
Štepánek to try and help former no. 1 Djokovic back into top 10
Tennis player Radek Štepánek, the two-time Davis Cup champion who retired from the game last week, will take on a trainer’s role together with Andre Agassi to help Novak Djokovic regain his footing in the top 10 on the ATP trail. Djokovic, a former number 1, is currently 12th in the world.
Štepánek has reportedly already signed a deal; official confirmation is expected in the coming days.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime highs ranging between nine and 13 degrees Celsius.