Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has justified a government minister attending a meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft association last weekend saying that given today’s state of Europe the Czech Republic needed allies. Sobotka’s comments came in an interview with the daily Právo. Christian Democrat Minister for Culture, Daniel Herman, attended the meeting in Nuremburg last Saturday. The Prime Minister said the leadership of the Sudeten association has signalled it wants to drop claims for the return of property after around 3 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia at the end of WWII. This, he added, was a significant sign the association wanted to focus on the future. Sobotka stressed though that it was the Sudeten Germans that contributed initially to the break up of Czechoslovakia and the expulsion of Czechs from border territories where the Germans were in the majority in 1938.
Vineyards in South Moravia suffered damage valued at 1.4 billion crowns and fruit growers damages of 400 million crowns from severe frosts in April. The figures were given out Saturday during a visit by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to the region. Worst affected have apricot and peach growers with around 60 percent of the potential crop reckoned to be damaged. Sobotka said he wanted to push for both national and EU steps to be taken as soon as possible to relieve pressure on farmers. As well the vineyard owners and fruit growers, dairy farmers and livestock breeders have been hit by low prices for their products.
Czech Tampa Bay Lightning back Andrej Šustr scored his first goal in the club’s Stanley Cup campaign. Šustr scored to make the score 2:0 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa then build up a 4:0 lead by the end of the second period but Pittsburgh came back with three goals in the final period. Tampa’s win levels the Eastern Conference series at 2:2.
The license for two solar power plants, which were at the centre of a scandal that resulted in an eight-and-a-half year jail sentence for the head of the Czech energy regulator, have been revoked. The decision to revoke the licenses was taken by the Brno regional court. The plants were awarded licenses in 2010 allow they were not completed in a move which allowed their owners to pocket twice the amounts of subsidized power payments that would have been the case if they had been approved in 2011. Head of the Energy Regulatory Office, Alena Vitasková, was sentenced for her role in the fraud earlier this year. She is appealing the sentence.
Czech European Commissioner Věra Jourová has joined European consumer organisations in criticising the levels of consumer protection in Central and Eastern Europe. The Commissioner, who is responsible for consumer protection, said consumer rights were less developed there than in Western Europe. Jourová said one of the problems is that local governments do not give enough priority to consumer protection. And she added that it is likely that business groups successfully lobby to water down or overturn consumer legislation when it is proposed. Consumer groups said the public were often also less willing to come forward and stand up for their rights.
The Klinika social centre in Prague was evacuated by police and firemen after a bomb threat on Friday. Police later said they would only allow officials from a state property agency into the building and not the volunteers and workers that have turned it into a non-official social centre for the last months. Attempts by activists were made to get back into the disused hospital building in a Prague suburb later in the evening and some activists occupied the roof. An agreement to rent for use as a social centre expired at the start of March. It was the target of a firebomb attack, suspected to have been carried out by extremist right wing and anti-immigrant groups, earlier in the year.
Hurdler Zužana Heynová finished a disappointing third in the 400 metres event at the Golden Spike event at Ostrava on Friday. The Czech star was making her first competitive start to the season after suffering an Achilles heel injury and had been hoping to attack the time of 54.53 seconds. The final performance was however 55.69, which resulted in a third place. Heynová will now focus on her next competitive event in Rome on June 2.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and seven ministers of the ruling coalition are due to travel to Israel where on Sunday they will take part in intergovernmental talks. During their meeting with Israeli officials in Jerusalem a number of memoranda on future cooperation are to be signed, the Czech News Agency confirmed. Topics to be tabled include security, health care, tourism and cultural and economic ties. The trip includes an accompanying business delegation. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Prague this year but the plans were changed to accommodate the Israeli cabinet.
The country’s anti-monopoly office has okayed the sale of the country’s price comparison website Heureka.cz to investment group Rockaway Capital. The deal, which includes Rockaway Capital buying the second-largest Czech retailer Mall.cz, was reached last year for a reported 5.4 billion crowns. Assessment of the Mall.cz portion of the deal by the bureau has not yet been completed.
Czech tennis player Lukáš Rosol will play defending champion Stan Wawrinka in his first match at Rolland Garros the draw for the championship determined. The results were announced Friday. Czech no. 1 player Tomáš Berdych faces Vasek Pospisil of Canada, while on the women’s side Petra Kvitová faces Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic.