Former Czech president Václav Klaus says European Union and US “propaganda” against Russia is ridiculous and unacceptable. Speaking in an interview in the magazine The Spectator, Mr. Klaus said that though he had lived in communist Czechoslovakia under Soviet domination it was “stupid” to not differentiate the Soviet Union and Russia. In the interview, the former Czech head of state said he was receiving fewer invitations to speak at conferences as when organizers became aware of his views of the EU, same-sex marriage and the Ukraine crisis they said they had found somebody else; he said he had experienced this in the communist era but not in “so-called free Europe.”
The Czech women’s basketball team have reached the qualification for quarter finals stage at the World Championship in Turkey after a 71:57 win over Japan on Sunday. Pivot Petra Kulichová played a key role for the Czechs after returning from an ankle injury, scoring 19 points in the victory. The Czechs had defeated Brazil in their opening Group A game on Saturday and will now face Spain on Tuesday in a game to decide which country tops the group.
Businessman Ivo Rittig has been released on bail after being charged with the asset-stripping of company Oleo Chemical. Mr. Ritting and nine other people were arrested in connection with the case on Friday. The detainees are also suspected of money laundering and tax evasion, the police said. Mr. Rittig and two of the other accused were previously charged with creaming off a percentage of the cost of tickets for the Prague public transport system via the off-shore company Cokeville Assets. Based in Moncaco, Mr. Ritting is said to hold sway over some politicians and was reported to have contact with Jana Nagyová, whose arrest while she was prime minister Petr Nečas’s chief of staff helped bring down his government in 2013.
Sparta beat Slavia 2:0 on Saturday evening in Prague’s biggest soccer derby. Both goals came in the second half and from the boot of Sparta captain David Lafata, who also failed to convert a penalty. It was the fourth “S derby” victory in a row for the Czech title-holders. Police arrested three dozen fans for setting off pyrotechnics and other offences surrounding the game, which took place at Slavia’s Eden stadium.
The popular Czech musician Petr Skoumal has died at the age of 76. A long-term collaborator, singer Michal Prokop, informed the Czech News Agency of his passing on Sunday. The Prague-born Skoumal, who had studied conducting, was widely known his songs for both adults and children and also wrote music for films by among others Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak. Music journalist Jiří Černý described him as the most original Czech popular composer of the last 30 years.
Sunday is the Day of Czech Statehood, a national holiday that is held every year on St. Wenceslas Day. It was on September 28, 935 that St. Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia and today patron of the Czech state, was murdered by his brother Boleslav the Cruel. Some events are being held in connection with the holiday, including the official launch of an exhibition for children at the Hrzánský Palace in the Prague Castle complex entitled My State explaining a number of symbols of the Czech nation.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says his country welcomes US President Barack Obama’s strategy against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. Speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Saturday, Mr. Zaorálek said events in Iraq showed that terrorism had taken on a new dimension and had to be faced with the utmost decisiveness. The minister said that the main task of the international community was to ensure global security but also dignity and prosperity. The Czech Republic says it will not take part in military action against Islamic State; however, it has sent munitions to help Kurds fighting the militants.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic at the turn of September and October next week could reach up to 22 degrees Celsius, relatively warm for the time of year, the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said in a monthly forecast released on Saturday. After that temperatures are expected to fall, with night time temperatures below zero by the end of the month.
A bust of Michael Jackson has been unveiled at the Charlotte Masaryk Children’s Home in the Prague district of Zbraslav. Speakers at the unveiling of the monument to the pop star, who died in 2009, drew attention to his charity work. The self-styled King of Pop visited the children’s home when he played a concert on Prague’s Letná Plain in 1996. Sculptor and Jackson fan Daniela Kartáková had campaigned to have her bust of the singer installed at Letná but the plan was dropped after objections from locals.
Czech President Miloš Zeman called on the West to drop “unnecessary and counterproductive” sanctions against Russia in a speech at an event organised by an associate of Russian President Vladmir Putin. Mr. Zeman described the conflict in Ukraine as a “civil war”, echoing the views of the Russian leadership, in the Russian-language address, which was delivered on Friday at the conference in Rhodes put on by Kremlin insider Vladimir Yakunin. The Czech president also said the West and Russia should unit in the battle against Islamic State militants.