Daily news summary
Anti-corruption groups call on dismissal of president’s chancellor over suspicious villa purchase
Czech anti-corruption initiatives Vraťte nám stát and Veřejnost proti korupci have called on President Miloš Zeman to dismiss his chancellor Vratislav Mynář over his purchase of a villa in Prague for a suspiciously low price. Mr Mynář purchased the functionalist villa in the Strašnice district for CZK 5.5 million, which many real-estate experts say is far below its real market value. The anti-corruption groups also find unacceptable that Mr Mynář bought the property from the lawyer of influential businessman Roman Janoušek.
Gathering in support of victims of Paris shooting to take place in Prague
A gathering in support of the victims of Wednesday’s shooting in Paris will take place outside the French Embassy in Prague on Thursday evening. The meeting is organized by the French expat community living in the Czech Republic. A march against extremism and in support of the freedom of speech, organised by the Young Social Democrats, will also head to the building of the French Embassy.
Czech Muslim Community condemns terrorist attack in Paris
The Czech Muslim community has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday, which left 12 people dead. The Czech Muslim community said the attack was shameful and expressed their deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. The head of the Czech Muslim Community Muneeb Hassan Alrawi also expressed concern about possible knee-jerk reactions to the attack.
Government backs General Josef Bečvář to succeed Petr Pavel as chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces
The Czech government has nominated General Josef Bečvář for the post of Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. He is to succeed General Petr Pavel who is leaving to head the oldest permanent body in NATO, the Military Committee. Until now Bečvář served as General Pavel’s deputy. Nominees for the post of chief of the general staff are named by the president based on the recommendation by the cabinet. President Zeman has made clear he will want to meet with General Bečvář before he finalizes the decision.
Czech soldier and hero Jiří Schams, who survived a deadly suicide attack in Afghanistan in 2008, has died at the age of 42.
Jiří Schams, a Czech soldier and hero who was seriously injured in a suicide bomber’s attack while serving in Afghanistan in 2008, died on Wednesday at the age of 42. The soldier, who was struck in the head with shrapnel, spent two months in a coma before beginning the long road to recovery. He made progress but still suffered permanent disability. In the attack in March 2008 two Danes, four Afghans, and a fellow Czech were killed. Last May Mr Schams was diagnosed with cancer, which he called a “punch below the belt” after everything he had been through. He will be given a funeral with full military honours.
Škoda Fabia wins UK’s Car of the Year 2015 award
Škoda Fabia has won the UK’s prestigious motoring magazine What Car award for Car of the Year 2015. The third-generation model was praised mainly for its turbocharged 1.2 litre petrol engine. The Škoda Fabia, which has also won the Small Car category, took the top prize exactly 15 years after its first win in the year 2000. The Škoda Octavia, the mid-range model produced by the Czech-based carmaker Škoda Auto, came first in the Best Family Car category.
IFFHS: Petr Čech among world’s ten best goalkeepers
Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech was the world’s eighth best ’keeper for 2014, according to the International Federation of Football Historians and Statistics. The 32-year-old, who lost top spot with English club Chelsea this season to Belgian Thibaut Courtois, was usually ranked third in the IFFHS ratings in past years. Germany and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer has claimed his second victory in a row as the world’s best goalkeeper last year.
Kvitová reaches semi-finals at Shenzen Open
World tennis number four Petra Kvitová beat her compatriot Tereza Smitková 7:5 and 6:4 in the second round of China’s Shenzen Open on Thursday and advanced to the semi-finals. The Czech number one will have to get past Timea Basczinska of Switzerland to reach the tournament’s final.
Záhlavová-Strýcová advances to semi-finals in Auckland
Czech tennis player Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová beat Coco Vandewegh of the US 6:4, 7:5 in Auckland on Thursday in her first tournament of the season, and has advanced to the semi-finals. The 28-year old Czech player, who is ranked 26th in the world, will next face Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, the highest seed in the tournament.
Meteorologists warn of rising river levels over weekend
Meteorologists have warned that water levels on several rivers mainly in the mountain regions of the Czech Republic are expected to rise over the weekend as a result of sudden warming, melting snow, and heavy rainfall. The forecasters have also issued a warning against strong winds for the whole of the country. In the mountains, winds are expected to reach 110 kilometres per hour.