Daily news summary

Zeman: Czech support for EU sanctions against Russia “thoughtless nod” to views of bigger states

The Czech Republic’s support for European Union sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine has been a thoughtless nod to the views of bigger and more powerful states, says President Miloš Zeman. He made the comment on the first edition of Presidential Press Club on the radio station Frekvence 1. The show replaced a Czech Radio programme entitled Talks from Lány that was discontinued after Mr. Zeman employed vulgar language in the last edition. The head of state also said on Sunday’s show that he had been planning to attend a Social Democrats congress but would not now go even if Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka went back on a decision not to invite him.

Organiser again denies U.S. Embassy “link” to protest after Zeman comments

The organiser of a demonstration against President Miloš Zeman has repeated his assertion that it was not paid for by the U.S. Embassy in Prague. Speaking to iDnes.cz, Martin Přikryl accused Mr. Zeman of manipulation following his comment that a conspiracy theory linking the U.S. Embassy to the protest “could not be ruled out”, though there was no evidence to support it. Mr. Přikryl said the president had failed to rule out a proven lie and had by contrast overlooked evidence that it was untrue. The American Embassy’s “link” to the November 17 “red card” protest was asserted the next day by an obscure website.

Czech archaeologists discover tomb of previously unknown queen in Egypt

Czech archaeologists in Egypt have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen, Chentkaus III. She is believed to have been the wife of the pharaoh Neferefre, who ruled in the fifth dynasty around 4,500 years ago. The discovery was made at Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The head of the Czech group of Egyptologists, Miroslav Bárta, said the fact the tomb had been found in the necropolis of Neferefre made it likely that the woman had been his spouse.

Prague service remembers foundation of Committee of Good Will by Olga Havlová

A service was held at St. Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague Castle on Sunday marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Committee of Good Will by Olga Havlová, the first wife of late president Václav Havel. Mass was served by Bishop Václav Malý who like the Havels moved in dissident circles during the communist regime. The Committee of Good Will, founded in the tradition of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted, works to foster social inclusion for disadvantaged groups.

Okamura encourages supporters to insult Muslims and boycott their businesses

Senator Tomio Okamura has encouraged his followers to insult Muslims. On his Facebook page, the leader of the Dawn party said Czechs should walk pigs in the vicinity of mosques. The populist Czech-Japanese politician – whose party have 14 seats in the Chamber of Deputies – said Czechs should protect their democratic way of life and the heritage of their forefathers from Islam. Mr. Okamura also called on his supporters to boycott Muslim owned businesses, saying that “every kebab purchased was another step towards burqas”.

Several renovation projects planned for Prague Castle this year

A number of renovation projects are planned for Prague Castle this year. A spokesperson for the Prague Castle Administration told the Czech News Agency that the façades of the complex’s Deer Moat, Riding School and one wing of the Old Royal Palace would be renovated while some work will also be done on St. Vitus’ Cathedral. Those four projects will take up around CZK 140 million of CZK 292 million earmarked for repairs this year at Prague Castle, which is the city’s most visited landmark.

Jágr becomes oldest player to score hat trick in NHL

Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has become the oldest player to score three goals in one game in the NHL. Jágr, who turns 43 in the middle of next month, scored the hat trick for New Jersey against Philadelphia on Saturday to take the age record from Gordie Howe. The Kladno-born right wing is the last player drafted in 1990 to be still active in the NHL.