The arms and military equipment manufacturer Česká zbrojovka has won a tender to provide the Czech Army with 2,300 bullet-proof vests, according to Czech daily Lidové noviny. After final testing is completed, the firm will deliver the items in two waves by November at the latest. The Defence Ministry will pay 68 million crowns for the equipment as opposed to an earlier projection of 171 million. In all, six firms took part in the tender: two were excluded and have filed complaints with the country’s anti-monopoly office.
Over 1.2 million cars were produced in the Czech Republic last year, which is a record. That represents a jump of at least 6 percent on the figure for 2013. The preliminary figures were announced by the director of the Automotive Industry Association, Antonín Šípek. Previously 2011 was the record year for production in the Czech Republic, with 1.195 million cars. The largest producer Škoda Auto accounted for 59 percent of last year’s output. Hyundai accounted for a quarter of production while the rest came from TPCA.
Influential businessman Roman Janoušek has petitioned to be conditionally released for prison on health grounds, the newspaper Právo reported. Mr. Janoušek is serving a term of four and a half years for hit and run. His plea will be considered by the Regional Court in Brno, Právo said. His lawyers have said in the past that he is suffering from health problems after a brain operation and requires further surgery. Mr. Janoušek’s hit and run incident came in 2012, days after a daily published wiretaps suggesting he wielded considerable power behind the scenes in Prague politics.
Senator Tomio Okamura says he would not now publish a call on Czechs to walk their pigs in the vicinity of mosques on a social network. The Japanese-born leader of the populist Dawn party sparked anger at the weekend by posting a text on his Facebook page saying among other things that Czechs should protect their heritage from Islam and boycott Muslim businesses. Speaking on Tuesday he said the post had made light unnecessarily of the issue of radical Islam. Dawn, which has 14 seats in the Czech lower house, says that Mr. Okamura did not write the text himself.
The Ombudswoman’s Office received 8,200 complaints last year, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. The figure was 150 down on 2013. The most frequent correspondence concerned social welfare payments, followed by problems linked to the construction industry and complaints over the army, police and prison services. The Ombudswoman’s Office can only deal with state authorities and is unable to address about 60 percent of the complaints received every year.
The president’s spokesman says it is up to the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, to explain the circumstances surrounding the low-seeming price he paid for a Prague villa. Spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told reporters on Tuesday that he believed President Miloš Zeman’s chancellor would do so in the coming days. Mr. Ovčáček said the head of state had no plans at present to dismiss Mr. Mynář over the CZK 5.5 million purchase of a protected property that sold for over CZK 8 million a decade ago.
After five years of preparation, the West Bohemian city of Plzeň is planning to launch its year as European Capital of Culture 2015 on Saturday 17 January. Organisers said on Tuesday that the year would kick off with a three-day celebration attended by tens of thousands of people. Transport will be halted in the centre of Plzeň for events including a large video-mapping project and a tightrope walker.
The chances of the president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář receiving security clearance could be harmed by his purchase of a villa in Prague for a low-seeming price, iDnes.cz reported. The news website said if it was proved that the price of CZK 5.5 million paid for the protected property was excessively low the State Security Office would evidently not provide Mr. Mynář with the clearance. He bought the villa – which a decade ago was sold for over CZK 8 million – from a lawyer for Roman Janoušek, an influential businessman currently in prison for hit and run. Mr. Mynář, who says the villa is in a poor state, has been President Miloš Zeman’s chancellor for almost two years without top secret security clearance, meaning he cannot accompany the president at some international meetings.
Former Czechoslovak ice hockey and soccer international Vlastimil Bubník has died at the age of 83. Bubník was part of the ice hockey team that took bronze at the 1964 Winter Olympics and earned three World Championship medals. He played for Brno ice hockey club as well as the football club RH Brno. Between 1957 and 1960 he made 11 appearances for Czechoslovakia’s soccer team, including at the European Nations’ Cup, scoring four goals.
The Czech Republic beat Italy on Tuesday for their second victory at tennis’s Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, Australia. Lucie Šafářová overcame Flavia Pennetta while Adam Pavlásek, who is 20, notched up a surprise victory over Fabio Fognini before the Czech pair secured victory in the doubles. They will now face a USA team comprising Serena Williams and John Isner on Thursday for a place in the final.