Croatian police at the weekend briefly detained Czech national Vít Jedlička who in April founded a mock state on a seven-square-kilometre stretch of no-man’s land disputed for years by Croatia and Serbia. Mr Jedlička, a member of a Czech extra-parliamentary right-wing party, founded a state he called Liberland on April 13th. Croatia tightened checks around the area near the Danube over recent days, deploying police patrols and boats in the locality and preventing individuals from entering the uninhabited area. Mr Jedlička was stopped from entering and questioned for half-an-hour, according to the Czech News Agency. The Czech said afterwards he had discussed the further “functioning” of the zone with a judge in Beli Manastir. The Czech Foreign Ministry has declined to comment.
The Portuguese company Simoldes Plasticos, which produces plastic parts for cars, is to open a new factory at Rychnov nad Kněžnou in northeast Bohemia, the newspaper E15 reported on Monday. The firm is planning to invest CZK 800 million in the factory, which will employ around 300 people. E15 said Simoldes Plasticos had been attracted to Rychnov nad Kněžnou by the expansion of production by Škoda Auto at the nearby Kvasiny.
The majority of employees at the Government Agency for Social Inclusion began a strike on Monday morning. They staff are demanding independence for the state body, which falls under the minister of human rights, Jiří Dienstbier, and have called for talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The dispute arose after Mr. Dienstbier dismissed the head of the agency, which is aimed at helping integrate Romanies into mainstream society.
The Czech Republic beat Germany 4:2 at the World Ice Hockey Championship in Prague on Sunday. The Germans scored first but the hosts bounced back with goals from Vondrka, Koukal, Voráček and Jágr. The result secures a place in the quarter-finals for the Czech Republic, whose final group game is against Switzerland on Tuesday evening.
A number of Czech politicians have questioned President Miloš Zeman’s prediction that Western sanctions against Russia would be lifted by the end of the year. Mr. Zeman, who disagrees with the sanctions, made the comment in a radio interview in Moscow. Social Democrat MEP Miroslav Poche said he doubted the president’s prediction would come true as the Minsk Protocol pertaining to Ukraine was not being met in full, while ANO MEP Pavel Telička said Mr. Zeman appeared to be drawing on different information from that available in EU and NATO capitals. Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09 criticised not only Mr. Zeman’s statement but also his decision to visit Moscow to attend WWII commemorations. However, Communist Party deputies group head Pavel Kováčik supported the visit and welcomed the president’s raising of economic issues at the Kremlin.
New legislation set to be presented to the government this week would introduce an environmental tax on cars in the Czech Republic that are more than 10 years old. The law, which has been drafted by the Ministry of the Environment, also tightens conditions for the disposal of scrap cars and electrical appliances as well as old lights, batteries, solar panels and tyres.
Municipalities around the Czech Republic are planning to build new cycle paths in the coming years, the Czech News Agency reported. Some existing cycle paths are used by hundreds of thousands of people a year, it said. Prague has earmarked up to CZK 30 million to invest in cycling infrastructure, though a concrete plan has not yet been made public. The capital has over 150 kilometres of cycle paths at present with the most popular leading from Vrané nad Vltavou through the city centre to Troja. However South Moravia has the densest network.
Czech authorities last year increased checks on the provision of goods and services and levied more fines than previously, according to a report the government is to put before the Chamber of Deputies quoted by the Czech News Agency on Sunday. Financial authorities imposed a total of CZK 32 million in fines for overcharging for waste collection, water and sewage fees, and funeral services, as well as a range of other transgressions.
A new production of Bedřich Smetana’s opera Libuše premiered at Plzeň’s New Theatre on Saturday night. The title role is filled by Eva Urbanová, alternating with Ivana Veberová, while Vratislav Kříž and Martin Bárta are sharing the part of Přemysl. The opera is one of the highlights of Plzeň’s year as European City of Culture.
Czech President Miloš Zeman discussed economic cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting in Moscow on Saturday evening. Among the issues discussed was CZK 5 billion owed to a Czech firm for building a power plant in northern Russia. Mr. Putin praised his guest, who is opposed to sanctions against Moscow, saying there were still politicians capable of putting forward independent policies and speaking directly. Mr. Zeman was in the Russian capital to take part in events marking the 70th anniversary of WWII.