An economist and an important political figure Valtr Komárek has died in Prague at the age of 82, having been hospitalized for a number of days following heart surgery. Mr Komárek, a holocaust survivor, played an important role in the reform wing of the Communist Party during the Prague Spring in the late 1960’s, and was an active participant of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In the mid-1960’s, Mr Komárek also served as an advisor to Che Guevara in Cuba. He was elected as an MP for the Social Democratic party in 1992, and a decade later was named the party’s honorary chairman. President Zeman, who has recently visited Mr Komárek at the hospital, said that he was one of the most important political figures in the Czech Republic since 1989.
Undeclared horsemeat has once again been found in products sold in the Czech Republic, this time in canned meat from Latvia. The Czech authorities were alerted by German inspectors, who found this particular product to contain up to 87% of horsemeat. According to the Czech food inspection agency, the products do not seem to be harmful, but since no horsemeat was listed on the label, they will have to be taken off the shelves. Some 144 cans were imported to the Czech Republic, meant for Russian specialties shops.
An internal police investigation has revealed that the former head of the anti-corruption unit, Tomáš Martinec, violated protocol when he showed Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová evidence compiled against her estranged husband. In mid-April, Ms Bradáčová asked the police president, Martin Červíček, to investigate possible leaks from the anti-corruption unit to the media and later told a source that she believed Mr Martinec was preparing a smear campaign against her. The unit director denied any wrongdoing, but resigned from his post in late April. Following the result of the initial investigation, disciplinary proceedings were initiated on Wednesday, although the police president stressed that there was no evidence that Mr Martinec had committed a crime.
In one of the biggest deals on the Czech transportation market, the company Arriva, which belongs to the state-owned German train operator Deutsche Bahn, is set to purchase the Central European division of the French transportation company Veolia. The majority of this division’s business lies in the Czech Republic, where it employs 2,600 people, and operates 1,600 buses and four regional train services. Veolia is currently the biggest bus operator in this country. The German buyer is not a newcomer to the Czech market either, though Arriva has been struggling to gain a foothold in the local railroad network. It is planning to run express trains in Central Bohemia between Kralupy nad Vltavou and Benešov.
Twelve refugees from Chechnya were discovered by the Czech police travelling in a van near Rozvadov in western Bohemia. Members of the group, which included six children, had applied for asylum in Poland, and according to the Dublin Convention were meant to remain there until a decision was made about their applications. The Russian citizens told the Czech police that they were travelling to Germany. Since they have no legal status in other EU states besides the country of entry, the Czech authorities have asked their Polish colleagues to take the group into their custody.
Following a proposal from the deputy prime minister, Karolína Peake, the Czech government decided to increase the budget of the police anti-corruption unit by 69 million crowns. The LIDEM party chairwoman indicated that the technical equipment of the unit is in a deplorable state. Around 39 million crowns from the newly allocated funds will be used to purchase new vehicles, and more than nine million for new computers. More than 20 million will be used to expand the unit’s staff.
Thomas Maria Messer, who headed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for more than 27 years, died on Wednesday in New York at the age of 93. Messer, who was born in Bratislava, moved to Prague when he was four years old. He left Czechoslovakia to go to the United States on a study grant sixteen years later, in September 1939. He enlisted in the American army during the Second World War and served in Europe, but returned to live in the U.S. afterwards. Mr Messer became the director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1961, and is credited with acquiring a number of large and important private art collections as well as facilitating the opening of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, the Guggenheim Foundation’s first international location.
The Czech Republic lost to the Swiss 2:1, in an emotional quarterfinal match at the Hockey World Championship in Sweden. The Swiss got in their first goal within the first seven minutes of the match thanks to the Czech defenseman Marek Židlický, who ricocheted the puck, after the goalkeeper’s successful save, off of his shin and into the net. The Swiss surged ahead with a second goal in the next period. In the thir perio, the Czechs used the first power play to their advantage, when Zdeňek Kutlák, who used to play for the Swiss team Ambri-Piotta, scored the team’s first and only goal. Despite the pressure the Czechs put on their opponents in the last 10 minutes of the match, they were unable to turn the game around. The Czechs lost their chance at a medal this year, making this the first time they will be heading home without a world cup title since 2009.
The sixth annual Czech Beer Festival started on Thursday. The 16-day event, which highlights the best Czech-brewed beers is taking place at the Holešovice Exhibition Grounds in Prague. Entrance is free every weekday before 2 pm. Live concerts will be held in the evenings for the duration of the festival.
Czech ice hockey forward Roman Červenka is leaving the NHL, where he played for Calgary, and returning to the Continental League (KHL) to play for Saint Petersburg, his agent Aleš Volek told the CTK news agency on Friday. Červenka, 27, who played for Calgary in the past season, has signed a three-year contract with St. Petersburg. Červenka is returning to the Continental League after a year-long pause. Before joining Calgary, he played for the KHL's Omsk for two years. He played 39 games for Calgary Flames, scoring nine goals and securing eight assists.