Daily news summary


Zeman tells Czech Radio mass migration to Europe organized by Muslim Brotherhood

According to Czech President Miloš Zeman, the mass migration of refugees to Europe has been organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. In an interview for Czech Radio Plus on Monday, the head of state suggested that the Sunni Islamist organisation could not declare war, so it was trying to gain an upper hand through the migrant crisis. As in his recent Christmas address, the president referred to the influx of refugees as an “invasion”. Mr Zeman cited two sources as having apparently confirmed his view: Morocco’s foreign minister and the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. The former, he said, recently told him that the Muslim Brotherhood had ambitions of ruling not only the Muslim world but the entire globe.

President slams government for failure to draw 35 billion crowns in EU funds

In his interview for Czech Radio Plus on Monday, President Zeman criticized the government for failing to draw around 35 billion crowns in EU funds. He suggested the failure to draw the money was the result of laxness and incompetence. Originally, before corrective measures were taken, the country stood to lose up to one hundred billion. The president maintained that ‘even’ 35 billion crowns was an enormous amount. Over the period of 2007 to 2013, the Czech Republic had at its disposal the equivalent of 800 billion crowns from EU funds.

Czech nuclear plants see significant production drop in 2015

Czech energy giant ČEZ announced on Monday a sharp drop in electricity production from its two nuclear plants, Dukovany and Temelín, in 2015. The total net production from the two plants last year came to 26.83 TWh compared with around 30.32 TWh a year earlier. The biggest production drop came from Dukovany, where 2015 power production reached 12.60 TWh, around 2.77 TWh down on the 2014 output figure of 15.37 TWh. Three out of the four Dukovany units were closed from mid-September when flaws in X-ray safety checks on pipes by a sub-contractor were revealed.

Česká rafinérská reaches deal with Mero on shipping and storage of crude

Crude oil processing company Česká rafinérská, owned by petrochemical holding Unipetrol, has reached a deal on the shipping and storage of crude with state owned Mero CŘ. The move was confirmed by Mero spokesman Mikuláš Duda. The new contract is valid as of January 1, 2016. Mero is the owner and operator of the Czech section of the Družba crude oil pipeline and the IKL crude oil pipeline and is the only transporter of crude oil into the Czech Republic. Unipetrol CEO Marek Świtajewski said on Monday that the open-ended contract was the result of extensive negotiations which began in 2010.

Cabinet stirs opposition with proposal over pensions increases

Limited increases in pensions could be passed in the future by the government without the need for parliamentary approval. That is the idea of a proposed law which has already been discussed by government officials. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová told Czech Television on Sunday that the limit for increases without parliamentary approval could be around 1.7 percent. Opposition parties have accused the government of attempting to limit parliament’s power with the proposed move.

New firefighting unit responsible for safety at Prague Castle

A new firefighting unit, capable of reacting to biological, chemical or even radiological threats, has begun its mission at Prague Castle. The unit comes under the direct command of the head of the Fire Rescue Service. Until now, the Prague Castle complex was the responsibility of the city’s fire brigade.

Three features nominated in top categories in upcoming Czech Film Critics’ Awards

The winners of this year’s Czech Film Critics’ Awards will be announced in a gala ceremony at Prague’s Archa Theatre on January 23. Three feature films will contend for Best Film. These are: Home Care, The Snake Brothers, and Lost in Munich. The titles have also been nominated for best screenplay and best director. In all, The Snake Brothers snagged the highest number of overall nominations, with six. All three of the films were co-produced by Czech Television.

Funeral held for Pavel Srníček

The funeral was held on Monday for former Czech and Newcastle United goalkeeper Pavel Srníček. He died following a heart attack at the age of 47. The keeper played for his country in the European Championships in 1996 and 2000, but was best known at club level for his seven years as goalkeeper for Newcastle United between 1991 and 1998. Srníček was more recently been one of the goalkeeping coaches for Sparta Prague. Newcastle United players payed tribute to the Czech before Saturday’s game against Arsenal when they wore t-shirts showing Srníček along with the message ‘Pavel is a Geordie’.

Limberský pays damages, will not drive for period of one year

The state prosecutors’ office has dropped legal proceedings against Czech footballer David Limberský, charged in a drinking and driving incident in Prague last September. After consuming alcohol, the player crashed his luxury Bentley in front of a police squad car and attempted to flee the scene. No one was hurt in the incident. The case against him was suspended after Mr Limberský paid all damages and agreed to a one-year ban on driving. His lawyer said important factors in the decision were that he no previous criminal record, nor had any points deducted in the points system which is part of the Czech driver’s licence.

NHL action: Jágr scores two in Panther’s ninth straight win

In hockey, Czech star forward Jaromír Jágr scored two goals for the Panthers on Sunday night in the team’s win over the Minnesota Wild. The final score was 2:1. The win was the Panthers’ ninth straight; the team is now first in the Atlantic Division on 50 points, three ahead of Montreal with a game in hand. Overall, the Florida Panthers are fourth in the league. The 43-year-old Jágr has 13 goals this season and 735 in his NHL career. He is six behind Brett Hull for third on the all-time list.

On Saturday, meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens won their Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins by the lopsided score of 5:1. Tomáš Plekanec earned points for two assists.