Daily news summary


Zeman to address United Nations General Assembly

Ahead of his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Czech President Miloš Zeman suggested to journalists that his speech had been somewhat pre-empted by other statesman, namely US President Barack Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. The Czech president has said for months that he will call for a united stand against Islamic terrorism. He expressed the view that the king of Jordan, as a military man, understood the fight against terrorism better than politicians.

Zeman celebrates birthday in New York at Russian restaurant

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, celebrated his 71st birthday on Monday at a Russian restaurant in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. Amateur video footage of the event showed Mr. Zeman receiving a cake from a woman in folk costume while guests sang birthday wishes in Russian at Manhattan eatery Maria Vanna. The video was removed by the person who originally posted it on Facebook but saved by another user and spread on social media. Mr. Zeman is regarded as enjoying good relations with Russia and was the only EU head of state to visit Moscow for VE Day anniversary celebrations in May.

Czech Army to buy new fleet of Tatra rocket launcher trucks

The Czech Army is planning to buy 41 Tatra rocket launcher trucks for over half a billion crowns. The cabins of the vehicles are mine resistant. The Army currently possesses Praga V3S trucks, which are seen as outdated. The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, is due to inform the government on Wednesday about the plan to buy the vehicles directly from Tatra Trucks in Kopřivnice in the Moravian Silesian Region.

Police suspect guards involved in planned Krejčíř prison break

Police in South Africa suspect that guards at a prison housing Radovan Krejčíř were involved in a foiled attempt by the Czech criminal to escape, the website Eyewitness News reported on Monday. Police found a pistol, a knife and mobile phones in Krejčíř’s cell on Saturday. The Czech underworld figure – who has been convicted of drug dealing, kidnap and attempted murder – planned an escape involving a helicopter, the news site said. Police said a diary found in his cell could help them crack other cases.

Forbes: Kellner richest Czech, finance minister Babiš second

The richest Czech is the owner of the PPF investment group, Petr Kellner, according to a newly released Forbes rich list. The magazine puts Mr. Kellner’s fortune at CZK 220 billion. Second on the list is the proprietor of the agriculture, food and chemicals company Agrofert, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, with CZK 64 billion. Radovan Vítek, the man behind the CPI property and investment group, figures third with CZK 47 billion.

“USA third biggest enemy” according to poll of Czech soldiers

The USA is the Czech Republic’s "third biggest enemy", according to a survey conducted among Czech soldiers and General Staff employees quoted by the Prima TV station. The poll also suggests that around half the respondents would vote for a party promising “a radical solution to the Romany question”, while 5 percent of soldiers attend far-right rallies. Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he would call on Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, an ANO party colleague, to respond to the disquieting findings. An army report said that one in eight general staff employees represented a security risk as they held aggressive views incompatible with the values that underpin Western society.

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize goes to veteran Russian campaigner Alexeyeva

The third Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been awarded to Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a veteran of Russia’s dissident movement and founder member of the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group. The human rights campaigner, who is 88, received the award – and a cheque for EUR 60,000 – at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It bestows the annual prize in conjunction with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.

Car fire investigated as possible attempted murder

Police are investigating a car fire at Náchod in East Bohemia early on Tuesday morning as a possible case of attempted murder. A passenger in the vehicle died while the female driver, who is 57, suffered serious burns in the incident. Witnesses said that the driver beeped the car’s horn and shouted for somebody to call the police before the vehicle went out of control and burst into flames.

Jockey dies after fall in Brno race

Jockey Michal Köhl died after falling from a horse in a race in Brno on Sunday. The rider, who had taken part in the famous Velká Pardubická steeplechase seven times, fell awkwardly after his mount Zadar stumbled at a hurdle, the head of the race track in Brno’s Dvorska district Josef Vymazal said. The horse did not fall on the experienced jockey, said Mr. Vymazal. It was the second death at the Brno course in five years.

Czech soldier arrives in US for possible operation

Czech soldier Josef Brychta, who was wounded while on a combat mission at the Bagram international base in Afghanistan in 2014, has travelled to the United States along with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Monday, government spokeswoman Alena Kovářová confirmed. In 2014, Corporal Brychta suffered a leg bullet wound when guarding a missile launch facility and access roads to the Bagram air base. He was transported to the Czech Republic within the MEDEVAC humanitarian programme and underwent several operations with mixed results. In the US, Brychta will be tended to by a well-known orthopaedist to determine whether he will undergo further surgery and then recovery in Florida.