President Miloš Zeman will award the King of Jordon, Abdullah II, the Czech Republic’s highest honour during a trip to the country starting Monday. The Order of the White Lion will be presented in recognition of relations between the Czech Republic and Jordan and the latter country’s fight against terrorism,specifically the Islamic State, the president’s spoksesman Jiří Ovčáček told Czech Television. President Zeman will stay in Jordan until Wednesday and then fly onto the United Arab Emirates.
Czech Minister of Defense Martin Stropnický said that the Czech Republic does not believe that sending arms to Ukraine would help the current escalation in the war against Russian backed separatists in the east of the country. Stropnický repeated the Czech line during an interview Sunday on Czech Television’s flagship current affairs programme. He said a breakdown in the current negotiations led by France and Germany with Russia might change the standpoint of some European NATO members over arms deliveries, but he doubted whether Prague would change its position. Prague has so far sent some help, such as winter clothing to the Ukraine army, and some advisors and technical help. The leadership of the main government party, the Social Democrats, resolved Saturday that arms to Ukraine would only risk escalating the situation there.
A major accident involving four lorries and perhaps 20 to 50 cars on Sunday morning has complicated transport on the Prague ring road. The ring was completely blocked in one direction on one section in the direction of the airport. Drifting snow is thought to have contributed to the accident. Earlier the main highway north of Prague towards Dresden was blocked when electricity failed in two road tunnels. Power was eventually restored. Snow has also blocked the Harrachov border crossing to lorries
Record levels of diluted petrol have been found by trade inspectors at a gas station in Prague. They found petrol diluted with water at a level fifty times the acceptable limited. Drivers who filled up with such fuel would have soon found their vehicle motor’s damaged. Trade inspectors said they had never come across such an extreme case since checks were started in 2001.
The Krkonoš mountain rescue service on Sunday called for visitors to stay off mountain peaks because of the dangerous conditions there. The highest peaks were shrouded with fog with visibility down to around 10 to 50 metres. High winds have also combined with heavy snow showers with around 10 centimetres of snow falling overnight. A level three avalanche warning applies in the mountains at the moment.
All members of the party will decide on its future candidate for president not just the inner leadership, a meeting of the Social Democrat party (ČSSD) leadership decided on Saturday. The details of how such a selection will take place will not be worked out now but will wait until after regional and Senate elections. The question of who might be the Social Democrat candidate has been given prominence by the declaration last week of former trade union leader and current senator Zdeněk Škromach that he would like to get the nomination and fill the post.
The Czech Republic has taken a 2:0 lead in the Fed Cup first round match against Canada after the first day. Karolína Plíšková beat Francoise Abanda 6:2, 6:4 in the first tie with Tereza Smitková overpowering Gabriela Dabrowska 6:1, 6:2. Plíšková could seal victory in the first of the reverse singles matches on Sunday. A win would put the Czechs on course to meet either Italy or France in the next round.
In ice hockey, the Czech national team beat Russia for the second time in three days with a 4:3 victory in Prague on Saturday. The winning goal came from a penalty scored by Vladimír Svačina five minutes before full time. It was his first goal for his country at this level after 13 appearances in the team. Two of the other Czech goals were scored by Michal Vondrka. In spite of the two wins, the Czech Republic is still bottom of the Euro Hockey League group table trailing Finland, Sweden, and Russia.
Weather forecasters on Saturday warned against heavy snow and high winds. The warning of winds of up to 90 kilometres an hour on high ground and heavy snow affects Bohemia from mid-evening and Moravia from around midnight. A level three avalanche risk will apply to the Krkonoš and Jeseník mountains with visitors cautioned to take care. The current cold snap in the country is expected to ease slightly from the middle of next week.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká has won the finals of the ladies parallel giant slalom world cup event in Sudelfeld, Germany, on Saturday. Ledecká came in 0.60 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, Swiss Julie Zogg, over the two descents. Ledecká is now placed second in the world cup leader board for the parallel giant slalom event.