Czech billionaire businessman Pavel Tykač has been cleared to take control over the coal-mining company Severní energetická, through his Luxembourg company Haltixar. The Czech Office of the Protection of Competition approved the fusion of the companies. Mr Tykač wants to merge Severní energetická, which operates the ČSA open-cast mine and the Chvaletice power plant with his Czech Coal Group. He says it will be easier to face the unfavourable situation then on the Czech energy market.
Minister for human rights and equal opportunities, Jiří Dienstbier, and Justice Minister Robert Pelikán on Friday attended a commemorative ceremony for the victims of the Romany Holocaust at the site of a former concentration camp in Lety in South Bohemia. More than 1,300 Romanies were held prisoners in the camp between 1942 and 1943. Over 300 of them died there while others were transported to Nazi extermination camps. Mr Dientsbier said that plans for relocating a large pig farm established on the site of the camp in the 1970s seemed unlikely to be carried out, since the government has failed to reach agreement with the farm’s owners.
Minister of Culture Daniel Herman is the first government member to take official part in the Sudeten German congress, which is to take place at the weekend in Nuremberg. According to the head of the Sudeten German Homeland Association, Berndt Posselt, Herman’s presence will contribute to further progress in the reconciliation between Sudeten Germans and Czechs. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Herman’s participation at the congress "is fully within the context of the present very good Czech-German and also Czech-Bavarian relations."
Czech President Zeman greeted the Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henry I at Prague Castle on Friday. The Duke has come to attend ceremonies to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV. The president is also set to meet with Monaco’s crown prince Albert II and the Hereditary prince of Liechtenstein, Alois, later on Friday.
Czechs spend on average 58 minutes at work a day in activities not related to their work duties in 2015, suggests as a study carried out by the agency trueconneXion, which is six minutes more than in the previous year. The study suggests that smartphones and internet accessibility were the main factors to blame. According to Martin Hnízdil of truconneXion, an increasing number of people are struggling to catch up with the days’ work at home in late afternoons or evenings.
It has been confirmed that Czech captain and Arsenal midfielder Tomáš Rosický is to leave the English club after 10 years this summer. Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger announced the news at a press conference on Friday. The 35-year old Rosický, who was signed by the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, has been beset with injuries ever since his arrival. He might appear for the last time in the final round of the league against Aston Villa. Contracts have also expired for other Arsenal players Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta.
The 2016 Architecture Grand Prix has gone to the studio Chmelík and Partners for the reconstruction of the White Tower in Hradec Králové. An international jury headed by architect Eva Jiřičná selected the project from 51 entries in the competition, run by the Society of Czech Architects. The jury said the reconstruction of the 16th century tower combined sensitive approach to its historical values with active use of the object. The 16th century tower belongs among the most significant historical sites in the city.
New Zealand customs officers have apprehended two Czechs who are accused of trying to smuggle 20 kilograms of pervitin into the country. The Czechs were arrested on Thursday at the airport in Auckland where they arrived on a flight from Thailand. The drugs were discovered in secret compartments in their luggage. According to New Zealand authorities, it is the largest amount of pervitin ever seized in the country. It could be sold on the black market for up to 20 million New Zealand dollars, which is around 324 million crowns. The two Czechs have been placed in custody and could face life imprisonment.
The spokesman for Czech president, Jiří Ovčáček, is set to meet with Peter Bystroň, the head of the right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany, at Prague Castle on Monday. Mr Ovčáček told the news site aktualne.cz that he will meet Mr Bystroň on behalf of the president, adding that Mr Bystoň had asked for the meeting himself. According to Mr Ovčáček, the meeting will be of an informative character. In the past, Alternative for Germany, has received support from former president Václav Klaus.