The Czech diplomat Jiří Šedivý has made the shortlist for the post of
chief executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), the newspaper Lidové
noviny reported on Monday, citing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Mr.
Šedivý was the Czech Republic’s ambassador at NATO and is also a former
minister of defence. At present he is government commissioner for combating
disinformation and hostile foreign influences.
If Mr. Šedivý gets the EDA post it would be one of the highest posts in an international organisation ever held by a Czech, the Office of the President’s foreign affairs specialist, Rudolf Jindrák, told Lidové noviny.
The EDA promotes and facilitates integration between European Union members within the bloc’s Common Security and Defence Policy.
Electric car owners consumed considerably more energy from public charging
stations in 2019 than in the previous year, the Czech News Agency reported.
Market leader CEZ said it had recorded a year-on-year doubling in the
amount of power used to fuel electric cars. Its customers “tanked up”
on 1963.5 megawatt hours last year, which was the equivalent of the amount
of power used by around 600 households.
CEZ said cars had been charged at its stations over 150,000 times in 2019. Three years ago the figure stood at only 36,000.
Masopust, or carnival, season is now underway in the Czech Republic.
Masopust falls between two traditional fasting periods and is connected
with feasting and colourful processions of people in costumes in the
country’s cities, towns and villages.
The custom, which probably dates back to pre-Christian times on the territory of the Czech lands, begins with Three Kings’ Day on January 6 and concludes on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on February 26.
The Czech Ministry of the Interior is preparing new legislation aimed at
helping sports clubs ban rowdy fans from entering stadiums, Czech
Television reported on Sunday. This includes permitting the use of cameras
with facial recognition technology that would catch problem supporters
trying to get into arenas.
The draft bill also envisages fines of between CZK 10,000 and CZK 50,000 for the use of pyrotechnics in stadiums, with sanctions doubling in the case of repeat offenses.
The Office for the Protection of Personal Data has expressed reservations over the use of facial recognition technology. The Ministry of the Interior said the misuse of information would be prevented by strict conditions set out in the amendment.
The remainder of February should see a continuation of relatively mild
weather for the time of year, the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute said
in a regular four-week outlook. Daytime highs in the following week could
reach up to 15 degrees Celsius with temperatures only returning to their
long-term averages in March, the forecasters said.
Precipitation will also be higher than usual for the time of year throughout the rest of February before returning to typical values after the turn of the month.
The Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková broke her own world record in the 5,000m at the sport’s world championships in Salt Lake City on Saturday with a new best of 6:41.18. However, the 32-year-old still finished second in the event and immediately lost the record after Natalya Voronina of Russia became the first women to break the 6:40 barrier.
Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the foundation of a new
counterintelligence service to replace notorious Czechoslovkia’s
communist-era State Security (StB), which was abolished a day earlier under
a Ministry of the Interior order. The new agency was first known as the
Office for the Defence of the Constitution and Democracy.
After a change of title in 1990 it was eventually named Bezpečnostní informační služba (BIS, Security Information Service) following the creation of the independent Czech Republic in 1993, BIS wrote on its website.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, may attend events in Plzeň in May
marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Czech city at the end
of World War II, the Czech News Agency said. The American foreign policy
chief has received an invitation from the Czech side and confirmation is
now being awaited, it reported.
The Czech News Agency said Mr. Pompeo had discussed a possible visit to the Czech Republic with the country’s ministry of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, at the ongoing Munich Security Conference.
Events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Plzeň will culminate on May 6, when US forces led by General George S. Patton entered the city in 1945.
The minister of transport, Karel Havlíček, says a planned online sales
system for motorway vignettes should now cost around CZK 128 million, far
lower than the CZK 401 million price agreed in a previous tender process.
Mr. Havlíček told the Deník N news site that the savings would mainly
come in the sphere of security. His predecessor in the post, Vladimír
Kremlík, was dismissed following the initial tender process.
Mr. Havlíček, who is also minister of industry and trade, said the new system may also draw on the results of a hackathon last month in which volunteer programmers created an alternative system.
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