Former environment minister Tomáš Podivínský is to be the country’s new ambassador to Germany, according to the weekly Respekt. Respect says Podivínský’s nomination has won approval from the foreign ministry, the prime minister and the president. He is to replace the outgoing ambassador to Berlin Rudolf Jindrák who has served in the post for eight years, the longest tenure in the country’s modern history.
Deputy Justice Minister Hana Marvanová has announced she is leaving her post at the ministry and returning to her private practice as a lawyer. She made the announcement late on Sunday following a meeting with the head of the ANO party Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš called the meeting when conflict between the party’s Justice Minister Helena Valkova and Hana Marvanová reached a head. He asked Ms. Marvanová to serve as his own legal advisor at the Finance Ministry. The justice minister and her deputy reportedly failed to agree on a number of issues including lawyers’ fees and the appointment of court officials. Hana Marvanová is to be replaced by Robert Pelikán the Finance Ministry’s Legal Department head next week.
Josef Hušbauer of champions Sparta Prague has been voted player of the season in the Czech soccer league. The midfielder, who is 24, topped a poll of managers and captains. Sparta boss Vítězslav Lavička was voted manager of the year while Patrik Hrošovský of Viktoria Plzeň picked up the discovery of the year prize at a ceremony in Prague on Sunday night. Hušbauer is currently with the Czech squad ahead of a friendly game with Austria in Olomouc on Tuesday night.
The number of freshly registered cases of HIV in the Czech Republic has shot up this year, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Ninety-nine people were found to have the disease by the end of April, two-thirds more than in the same period last year and more than in the whole of 2006. In April alone 25 fresh cases were registered. Eighty-four percent of the Czech Republic’s total of 2,221 known HIV sufferers are men. Doctors say the country ranks among European states with a relatively low incidence of the disease but say they are alarmed by the recent sharp rise in the number of patients.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has reached the quarter-finals at the French Open in Paris. Berdych, who is seeded sixth in the Grand Slam tournament, overcame John Isner of the United States 6-4 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. The Czech’s opponent in the last 16 tie will be either Switerzland’s Roger Federer or Ernest Gulbis of Latvia, who knocked Radek Štěpánek out in the third round.
President Miloš Zeman has invited the newly elected president of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko to Prague. In an interview on a Czech TV politics show on Sunday, Mr. Zeman said he would welcome it if Mr. Poroshenko were to hold talks with oligarch Rinat Akhmetov from the Donetsk region in a bid to forestall future conflict and prevent an open civil war. Mr. Akhmetov recently split from pro-Russian separatists who threatened to nationalise his assets. The Czech president said that instead of the repression of the civilian population currently occurring in Ukraine the two men needed to make efforts to find a reasonable solution. He said the further escalation of violence in Ukraine would offer Russia a pretext to intervene militarily.
Znojmo and Sigma Olomouc were relegated from the Czech first division on a dramatic last day of the soccer season on Saturday. Znojmo went back down after only a year in the top flight after a 2:0 defeat to Dukla Prague left them bottom. Olomouc were relegated for the first time since 1984 after a 1:1 draw with Liberec. Bohemians 1905 managed to avoid the drop after a 1:1 draw with Plzeň and other results meant Slavia Prague stayed in the first division despite losing 2:0 to Baník Ostrava.
President Miloš Zeman has praised the government for its plans to index link pensions and increase monthly tax breaks for parents who have more than one child. Speaking on a Czech TV politics show on Sunday, the head of state also said he was glad that preparations for a civil service law were making progress. Mr. Zeman said he could only find fault with the Social Democratic Party-headed coalition for stalling on the introduction of a social housing bill. The president said he planned to attend a meeting of the government on June 16.
Around 3,500 delegates from around the world are taking part in an International Congress of Midwives which began on Sunday and runs until Thursday. Czech participants are demanding changes to the law in connection with a large increase in the number of women wishing to give birth at home since the fall of communism; such births are permitted but not covered by health insurance. The first International Congress of Midwives was held in Prague in 1925, when the delegates were welcomed by President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
International Children’s Day is being marked at many places in the Czech Republic. In Prague around 30 events are taking place, including at the Senate, where special tours are being provided by guides in period costumes, and Žluté lázně, where as part of a “comics day” children have the chance to play in costumes of international and Czech comic book characters. Other Children’s Day events are planned for after Sunday, including at the traditional venue of the city’s Letná Plain.