Speaking to a gathering of around 130 foreign diplomats in Prague, President Miloš Zeman said we must kill terrorists, by which he defined anybody who deliberately killed civilians. He said it did not matter whether they were members of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or Islamic State. Mr. Zeman said the fight against terrorism was one of two pillars of Czech foreign policy; the other was economic diplomacy. He made no mention of advancing human rights, which was previously a feature of the country’s foreign policy, the Czech News Agency reported.
Film director Jan Němec has returned a Medal of Merit he received from then president Václav Havel in 2002 in protest at the selection of people who got a similar award from current head of state Miloš Zeman on Tuesday. In an interview for iDnes.cz, Mr. Němec, who is 78, described this year’s choice of recipients as an act of arrogant political despotism. Among those honoured were Filip Renč, a film director who worked with Mr. Zeman on his presidential campaign, and Robert Sedláček, who has made a documentary about the president and turned up at the Prague Castle event in informal clothing.
The leading Czech men’s tennis player Tomáš Berdych needs a tougher coach, says Martina Navrátilová. The Czech-born legend, who was world number one for seven years, told Czech Radio that Berdych was talented but could be higher up the world rankings than his current fifth place. The winner of 18 Grand Slams, Navrátilová said jokingly that she had more advice for the 29-year-old but would need to be paid to share it.
The son of a Russian woman who protested the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 says the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, must call on Russia to release political prisoners. Yaroslav Gorbanevsky made the comment on Wednesday, after a ceremony at Prague Castle on Tuesday in which his poet mother Natalya Gorbanevskaya, who died last year, received a high state award in memoriam. Mr. Gorbanevsky said his mother had asked Mr. Zeman not to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, a call he had not heeded. Two others who also protested on Red Square in 1968, Viktor Fajnberg and Pavel Litvinov, have criticised what they describe as Mr. Zeman’s pro-Russian position on Ukraine.
The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, and the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, will on Thursday visit the site of recent explosions at a munitions store at Vrbětice in south Moravia. The main explosion took place nearly two weeks ago, leaving two members of staff missing, though smaller blasts have occurred since then. Locals say they are disquieted by the situation. The ministers are to consider ways to approach the cleanup of the former military munitions store and present their findings to the cabinet on Monday. Investigators are having to wait to make sure the site is safe before beginning to examine it.
Czech ice hockey player Jakub Voráček currently has the fourth highest points tally in the NHL after providing two assists in his third game in a row for Philadelphia Flyers, a 3:2 overtime win over Los Angeles. The former Kladno right wing, who is 25, was ranked first star in Tuesday’s game and has now scored multiple points in four games this season.
Dramatist Tom Stoppard and musician John Cale are set to appear at Prague’s National Theatre on November 17 as part of an event marking the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. The two will attend the Memory of the Nation Awards, which recognise those who resisted totalitarian power. Some 20 people from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia will receive awards at the event, which is organised by the Post Bellum civic group. Cale’s band The Velvet Underground were influential in Czechoslovakia and the Czech-born Stoppard explored the significance of music in the country in the 1970s and ‘80s in the play Rock’n’Roll.
The Czech personal data protection agency has fined the Mafra publishing house 240,000 crowns for printing information proceeding from police wiretaps for then prime minister Petr Nečas and his former aide and now wife Jana Nagyová. The wiretaps appeared last May in the daily Mladá fronta Dnes which belongs to the Mafra portfolio. The publishing company is owned by deputy prime minister and leader of the ANO party, Andrej Babiš. The police wiretapped the phones of Mr Nečas and Ms Nagyová as part of investigation into alleged corruption which led to the fall of the Czech government in June 2013.
The Czech Republic ranks 96th in this year’s global gender equality index compiled by the World Economic Forum, a Swiss-based NGO. Last year, the country ranked 83rd while in 2006, it was 53rd in the world. The Czech Republic’s poor ranking is mainly due to a wide gender pay gap and a very low representation of women in politics. The country however received top ranking in equal access to education, and ranked above average in access to health care.
President Miloš Zeman awarded Czech state decorations to 33 personalities on the occasion of Czechoslovakia Independence Day. The recipients include Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved Jewish children during the Holocaust, former UK leader Winston Churchill, the late Russian dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, five Czech soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and others. In his remarks, the president emphasised the role of the individual in crucial moments of history. Several Czech public figures did not attend the ceremony at Prague Castle in solidarity with two university rectors shunned by Mr Zeman over past disputes.
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