Negotiations with President Miloš Zeman over the composition of a new government could set a precedent, says Bohuslav Sobotka, who Mr. Zeman is due to appoint prime minister on Friday. In an interview for the Czech News Agency, the leader of the Social Democrats said even though the head of state won a direct election he should not interfere in the makeup of the cabinet. Mr. Sobotka said governments should be formed on the basis of parliamentary majority, not the views of the president. Mr. Zeman is due to hold talks with ministerial candidates in the second half of the month and has questioned whether a number of them are suitable nominees.
The Social Democrats’ nominee for minister of labour and social affairs, Petr Krčál, has rejected the possibility of a cabinet post. Mr. Krčál said he and his family had been shaken by the death of his brother and that he wished to spend time with his wife, who has been undergoing cancer treatment. The Social Democrats are expected to announce a new candidate for the post by the end of the week.
An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority has visited Prague to apologise to the Czech authorities for the fact weapons were held illegally at its embassy in the city. In a statement released after a meeting on Monday, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said both sides had agreed it was necessary to await the results of a police investigation into the matter. The unlicensed weapons came to light when Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal was killed in an explosion after opening a safe at the embassy in Prague 6 on New Year’s Day.
State attorneys in the US have rejected Kevin Dahlgren’s appeal against a decision to extradite him to the Czech Republic, where he is wanted on suspicion of killing four people. The development was reported by Czech Television. In a 50-page document, the state attorney’s office said the Czech side had put forward convincing evidence. The US State Department will have the final say on whether to extradite Mr. Dahlgren, who is accused of killing four of his relatives at their home in Brno last May.
Legendary gymnast Věra Čáslavská says she will not attend an event at Prague Castle announcing the Czech team for next month’s Winter Olympics because President Miloš Zeman will be taking part. Ms. Čáslavská supported Mr. Zeman’s rival Karel Schwarzenberg in last year’s presidential election. In a letter to Czech Olympic Committee chairman Jiří Kejval quoted by the news site Lidovky.cz, she said Mr. Zeman had brought “negative energy” to Prague Castle. A seven-time Olympic gold winner, she was an advisor to President Václav Havel in the 1990s and is honorary chairwoman of the Czech Olympic Committee.
President Zeman has outlined his reasons for going to the Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi next month while his counterparts from some other European states are staying away because of the host country’s stance on gay rights. Speaking to school children on a visit to the Karlovy Vary region, the head of state said the Olympics should remain a purely sporting event and that human rights issues ought to be dealt with at the political level. He said the nonsense seen in boycotts of the Moscow and LA games in the 1980s should not be repeated.
The authorities in Belarus have refused to grant a visa to Czech journalist and former dissident Petruška Šustrová, who planned to attend a memorial event for Václav Havel in Minsk. The Belarusian embassy in Prague has refused to say why it returned her passport with a stamp denying her entry into the country. Ms. Šustrová said she was annoyed by the decision but not surprised. She has visited the repressive state several times in the past, including as an election observer.
Officers arrested a man who hit a pedestrian and two cars while attempting to evade a police check in Prague on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who is believed to have been under the influence of drugs, has previously been banned from driving three times. After first escaping from the police he was detained later in the day on the capital’s Sokolovská St. His car had a handwritten number plate in the front.
The Czech soccer captain Tomáš Rosický has sustained a broken nose. The injury was the result of a clash in a game on Monday that lifted his club Arsenal to the top of the English Premier League. It normally takes three to four weeks to recover from a broken nose but the midfielder, who is 33, could return to action sooner if he wears a protective mask. Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger recently said the club hoped to sign a new contract with Rosický to keep him at the club beyond the summer.
The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, is set to take part in the Golden Spike athletics meeting in Ostrava in June, organisers announced on Tuesday. It will be the seventh appearance at the event for the Jamaican, who has won 100m and 200m gold at the last two Olympics. Also set for Ostrava is his compatriot and the world’s fastest woman, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.