Daily news summary


Sobotka in agreement with foreign minister over Night Wolves’ journey

A planned journey across Europe by Russia's Night Wolves (a motorcycle gang with close ties to the Kremlin) Europe is a reaction by the Russian government to the recent passage of a US convoy across Czech territory and other NATO states, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists after meeting his Polish counterpart Ewa Kopacz on Monday. The prime minister said he agreed with the view held by Foreign Minister Zaorálek that the move was a provocation. The Night Wolves want to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s victory over the Nazi Germany by a road trip through Russia, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Germany from April 25 to May 9. The Night Wolves are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin who awarded members medals after they patrolled Crimea. The club supported calls for the “reintegration” of Crimea into Russia in 2014.

Czechs, Poles to cooperate in water management, gas, motorways

The Czech Republic and Poland will cooperate in water management along their joint border according to an agreement that the two countries' environment ministers, Richard Brabec and Maciej Grabowski, signed following inter-government consultations on Monday. Mr Brabec said the agreement will accelerate a joint reaction to possible floods and the pollution of water courses. The agreement on cooperation in water management along the border replaces a valid agreement which former Czechoslovakia and Poland signed in 1958. In addition to environment protection, the participants in the third Czech-Polish inter-government consultations also discussed cooperation in energy and transport. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the two countries want to submit a joint application in Brussels for the funding of the future connection of the R11 express road and the Polish S3. They must file the application during 2016, he said.

Prime Minister: EU must prevent refugee boat tragedies from repeating

The EU must try to stabilise countries from which refugees have tried to migrate to Europe to prevent tragedies such as the weekend sinking which saw hundreds of refugees die off Libyan coast, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said. After talks with his Polish counterpart Ewa Kopacz on Monday, Sobotka made clear the Czech Republic was ready to increase its aid to the refugees. Kopacz said the EU could not close its eyes on what has been occurring in the Mediterranean. She said improved border control as well as help in developing the North African countries was needed. According to some sources, up to 900 illegal migrants died after their boat capsized on Sunday. Hundreds of others died in similar incidents in the Mediterranean over the past few weeks.

Foreign Minister Zaorálek in Luxembourg for talks with EU counterparts following latest migrant boat disaster

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has suggested that the European Union needs to help stem the flow of migrants from North African countries, providing funds for states to help try and reinstate local institutions and create a possible security cordon and detention areas. The aim should also be to try and improve local living conditions. EU foreign and interior ministers are meeting on Monday in Luxembourg to discuss the problem following the deaths of hundreds of migrants trying to reach Europe whose vessel sank off the coast of Libya. According to the UN, the North Africa-Italy route has become the world’s deadliest. EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini has called it a moral responsibility for Europe to act. But she stressed there was “no easy” or “magic” solution. An emergency EU summit may be scheduled for later this week to focus on the problem of human trafficking.

Office of president makes public first of Peroutka articles it considers controversial

Prague Castle made public on Monday the first of several articles by 20th century journalist Ferdinand Peroutka which it considers controversial, the Czech News Agency said Monday. President Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček telegraphed last week the office of the president would do so in the coming days; the article was published in Přítomnost (The Presence) in February of 1939 but is not a written piece the president mentioned earlier this year called “Hitler is a gentleman” which he alleged the journalist had written. No evidence of such an article has been uncovered. Peroutka’s granddaughter Terezie Kaslová has challenged the claim and said last week she would sue the Czech state for slander. The president’s spokesman and team have been searching for said article; if it is not found President Zeman has promised to apologize.

Prague Castle makes public salaries of top officials

Prague Castle – the seat of the head-of-state and the office of the president – has made public the monthly salaries of top officials, including the president’s chancellor. According to information released online, monthly salaries range between 50,000 and 80,000 crowns, including bonuses. Chancellor Vratislav Mynář last year earned a net monthly income of around 120,000 crowns while his deputy earned some 36,000 less, the Czech News Agency reported. The gross average monthly wage in the Czech Republic is around 25,000 crowns. Comparing monthly wages, the chancellor earns almost the same gross income (including bonuses) as Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

Tabloid: Man on trial for acid attack against former partner found dead in cell

A suspect who was on trial for the attempted murder of his former girlfriend was found dead in his cell at Prague Pankrác prison on Sunday night after apparently taking his life, according to the tabloid Blesk; additional details have not been released but an autopsy has been ordered. During the trial Milan Balamuta admitted he was responsible for an acid attack against his former partner; he faced an exemplary sentence. Last week he appeared in court but did not complete his testimony.

Hundreds take part in march against anti-Semitism

Hundreds of people took part in the 12th March of Good Will in Prague on Sunday under the slogan Culture against anti-Semitism. Participants met at Franz Kafka Square in the historic Jewish quarter and walked to Wallenstein garden at the Senate building where a concert was held as well as a theatre performance in the evening. On the premises, Holocaust survivors spoke, as did Israel’s ambassador to Prague, Gary Koren, Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman, deputy chairman of the Senate Přemysl Sobotka, and others.

Hockey: Třinev stave off defeat with less than minute remaining, force game six in playoff final

Litvínov were moments away from winning the Extraliga playoff final on Sunday when Třinec scored with 36 seconds remaining. The club then edged Litvínov in a penalty shootout to force game six in the best-of-seven series. The winning goal was scored by Vladimír Dravecký.

Tennis: Berdych rues loss to Djokovic after promising start in Monte Carlo final

Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has reclaimed 7th spot in the ATP world rankings having reached the final at Monte Carlo. The player, however, lost on Sunday against Novak Djokovic. The final score was 7:5, 4:6, 6:3. Berdych has not won a tournament in 2015 although he reached tournament finals three times.