President Miloš Zeman has expressed support for the deployment of Czech troops to the Golan Heights as part of the UN peace mission. Speaking at a meeting with Czech ambassadors on Tuesday, President Zeman said that given the uncertain situation in Syria it is important for the Czech Republic to take a more active part in UN peace missions. He said he has already discussed the possibility of joining the Golan Heights mission with the outgoing Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok and Foreign Minister Jan Kohout. The Austrian government has recently decided to pull out of the Golan Heights mission, due to the intensified conflict in Syria.
Former Prague mayor and Civic Democratic MP Pavel Bém issued a statement on Tuesday saying that he would do his utmost to assist former president Václav Klaus if he were to return to politics. In the statement, which was published on the Parliamentní listy website, Mr. Bém wrote that Mr. Klaus could become a symbol of right-wing values, which would help the ailing Civic Democratic party. In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Klaus said that he sees the current political situation as dire and that he is considering returning to politics. He has not yet announced any concrete decision.
Former leader of the Green Party Martin Bursík has announced plans to form a new political group. Mr Bursík, who left the Greens because he objected to the party’s shift to the left, said the new grouping would be called the Liberal-Environmental Party; among those working to establish the new group is former environment minister Ladislav Miko, civic activist Matěj Hollan, film director Olga Sommerová and environmentalist Ivan Rynda.
The founder of the political movement Dawn of Direct Democracy, Senator Tomio Okamura, announced on Tuesday that his group will be running in the October elections. Mr. Okamura wants to introduce a presidential system of government, a responsible political system, social benefits only for those “who live an upright life”, and stricter immigration policies. Former member of the Civic Democratic party Radim Fiala, who will be running on Dawn’s ballot said that the movement also wants to lower the VAT. Mr. Okamura has denied claims that his movement is based on a populist platform.
Acting chairman of the Civic Democratic party Martin Kuba came in for the second day to give a statement to Organized Crime Unit of the police in connection the corruption case involving former prime minister’s chief-of-staff Jana Nagyová. Mr. Kuba was already questioned last week and told the investigators that he knows nothing about the alleged offers of lucrative positions in state-run companies that the police claim were made to three former Civic Democratic MPs in order to win their cooperation. He may also be questioned about the connections between his party and the lobbyist and entrepreneur Ivo Rittig.
Three nominees have been shortlisted for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, an award honoring the late Czech president and human rights champion. The nominees include Belorussian activist Ales Bialiatski, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and China’s Rights Defence Network. The prize, which was established last year, will be awarded on September 30 at a ceremony in the Czech capital.
The Transportation Ministry has announced that transportation education will part of the mandatory program starting from elementary school as of the new school year, which starts next week. The ministry wants to teach children about correct behavior on the roads from early on, in order to decrease traffic accidents and aggressive driving. Part of the program, which will be integrated into a number of school subjects, will be teaching rules for pedestrians and cyclists. For older school children, the program will focus on controlling emotions, avoiding intoxication while driving and other topics. The Transportation Ministry has worked with the Education Ministry to come up with teaching materials for students and teachers, which include multi-media aides.
Some Czech travel agencies have decided to renew the sale of holiday packages to Egypt, despite warnings from the Foreign Affairs Ministry for tourists not to travel to the country. Travel agencies in the Czech Republic suspended trips to Egypt in mid-August, when the political situation in the country became unstable and protests broke out in major cities. Some travelers were asked to return to the Czech Republic before the end of their scheduled holiday. Three major agencies are planning to renew trips during September, saying that the situation in the outlying resorts has been stable and safe throughout. Although the Czech Foreign Ministry’s travel alert is still in place, some agencies cite the fact that the British Foreign Office has issued no warnings to tourists travelling to Egypt.
The exhibit of posters by the Art Noveau artist Alfons Mucha held at Prague’s Municipal Building has welcomed it 150,000th visitor on Tuesday. According to the exhibit’s organizer this makes it the most visited exhibit of fine art in the history of the Czech Republic. The exhibit comprises of 116 of the 119 posters known to have been created by Alfons Mucha, which belong to the Czechoslovak-born former tennis pro Ivan Lendl. The Ivan Lendl: Alfons Mucha exhibit has been extended until September 10.
The recording of Josef Suk’s A Summer’s Tale, performed by the BBC Orchestra with the Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, has won the prestigious Gramophone Award for the best orchestral recording of the year. It is one of 11 recording that are competing for the Recording of the Year award, which will be announced in London on September 17. Mr. Bělohlávek was the chief conductor of the BBC Symphonic Orchestra from 2006 to 2012.