Czech model Eva Klímková has won the Elite Model Look 2013 competition, held in Shenzhen, China. The 16-year-old secondary school student from Prague, who said she was inspired by Czech top models such as Karolína Kurková and Eva Herzigová, won the competition of models from over 50 other countries, the organizers said. The winner and two runners up will receive contracts from Elite, the world’s biggest modelling agency.
Viktoria Plzeň lost to Manchester City 4:2 in their fifth appearance in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday nigh. The hosts Manchester City went ahead twice but Plzeň managed to equalize each time; however, the English side prevailed with some 15 minutes to go, adding two more goals. After five defeats, Plzeň are ranked fourth in the group with zero points but still have a chance of finishing third to advance to Europa League; to do that, they need to beat CSKA Moscow by at least three-goal difference in their final Champions League match in December.
Czech biathlonist Gabriela Soukalová won a 15-km World Cup race in Östersund, Sweden, on Thursday. The 24-year-old athlete only missed two shots and sank to fourth position; she was second after the last shooting but outran the leading racer, Slovakia’s Anastasia Kuzmoniová, finishing first in 47 minutes and 56 seconds. It was the second win for Gabriela Soukalová in Östersund where she also won gold as part of the Czech mixed relay team.
The Social Democratic MP Jan Hamáček was elected to the post of chairman of the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. Mr. Hamáček ran for the position unopposed, receiving 195 of the 198 votes. The likely future coalition government partners – Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats – had agreed on supporting his candidacy beforehand. Deputy clubs of the TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic parties openly voiced their support for Mr. Hamáček. MPs also elected three deputy chairpersons in the first round of voting on Wednesday – Jaroslava Jermanová of ANO, the chairman of the Christian Democratic Party Pavel Bělobrádek and the chairman of the Communist Party, Vojtěch Filip. Neither the chairman of the Dawn of Direct Democracy party, Tomio Okamura, and Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09, received enough votes in the second round. The selection of the fourth deputy chairperson has thus been postponed until next Wednesday.
Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has called on European Union representatives to be more flexible in their negotiations with Ukraine, speaking in front of the Czech Senate ahead of a joint summit in Vilnius. Mr. Rusnok urged the EU to continue negotiations with Ukraine despite the fact that its parliament rejected a law that would have allowed the jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko from traveling to Germany for medical treatment. EU negotiators set the passage of such a law as a precondition for signing an association agreement with Ukraine. The Czech premier is planning to suggest at the summit, which begins on Thursday, that EU and Ukrainian representatives meet in Prague in the spring to renew discussions over the association agreement.
Vít Bárta has stood down as the chairman of the Public Affairs party, which failed to reenter the lower house in last month’s elections. Mr. Bárta is currently under investigation over allegations that as the owner of a security firm in 2009 he obtained sensitive documents from a then agent of the BIS intelligence service. He had only become chair of Public Affairs in February but had previously been considered de facto leader.
The Czech Senate has rejected a recommendation from the European Commission to introduce special measures focused specifically on the Romany minority. Senators rejected the recommendation based on the fact that creating legislation based on ethnicity is discriminatory and would go against the Czech Constitution. Deputy chairman Zdeněk Škromách said on Wednesday that the commission should not issue such blanket recommendations to all the member states, and that helping socially marginalized groups is a matter for national policy, based on the specific national context.
Tomáš Vaněk has been elected as the new dean of Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts. Mr. Vaněk, who is an alumnus of the school as well as a teacher there, received 11 of 21 votes in an anonymous vote of the academic senate. He was one of the main critics of the current dean Jiří Kotalík earlier this year, accusing him of bad management. Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) is the oldest visual arts university in the country, having been founded in 1799.
The Plzeň regional government is planning to install new security camera systems in border areas to help the police catch drug traffickers. New high-tech cameras will be installed in towns and on the road particularly in the Klatovy, Domažlice and Tachov districts, which are closest to the border with Germany. The west Bohemian border areas have long been the focus of international drug trade investigations, with methamphetamine Pervitin being one of the main products taken across state lines. German authorities have repeatedly criticized the Czech Republic for failing to effectively fight drug trafficking on its side.
The Jewish holiday Chanukah begins on Wednesday evening. To celebrate the eight-day festival of light, the Prague Jewish community is holding a special event on the first evening at the Jerusalem Synagogue, which will include the reciting of blessings and the lighting of the first Chanukah candle by rabbi David Peter. Prague’s Chabad community will be lighting the traditional menorah with human-size candles on Jan Palach square on Sunday.