Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will head a high-level Czech delegation to China in two weeks’ time, the Office of the Government announced on Tuesday. The aim of the visit is to boost cooperation in air transport, health care and the financial sector, officials said. The minister of labour and social affairs, Michaela Marksová, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, and the minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, and the minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, will join the Mr. Sobotka on the trip between June 16 and June 20. The Czech PM will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, during the visit.
The Czech Republic’s footballers are preparing to take on Russia in their second-last warm-up game for the European Championship on Wednesday. Coach Pavel Vrba is expected to again field captain Tomáš Rosický, who on Friday made his first appearance for the national team after a prolonged absence through injury. Other players, such as full-back Michal Kadlec, are also available for selection after arriving at the Austrian training camp late due to club commitments. The Czechs will then face South Korea before playing Spain in their first game at Euro 2016 on June 13.
A court of appeal has reduced Marek Dalík’s sentence for demanding a large bribe for a defence contract. The former lobbyist, who was a close associate of Mirek Topolánek’s when the latter was prime minister in the second half of the last decade, will now serve four rather than five years. He has also been ordered a CZK 4 million fine. Mr. Dalík sought a bribe of half a billion crowns in connection with a contract for armoured vehicles for the Czech Army.
Evidence has emerged that the commercial television station Prima ordered journalists to report negatively on the migrant crisis, iDnes.cz reported. The news website HlídacíPes.org on Tuesday posted an audio recording of a meeting at Prima where reporters were told that the station’s management regarded refugees as a threat; if they refused to accept this line, they ought to find new jobs. Prior to the posting of the recording, Prima representatives had referred to the allegations as “speculation”.
A team led by Dr. Eva Syková, who is a senator for the Social Democrats, took payments from patients undergoing treatment for ALS at a Prague hospital even though it should have been free, according to a Czech Television report. The head of the Academy of Sciences has called for Dr. Syková to be removed as head of the Academy’s Institute of Experimental Medicine. Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Bělobrádek says she should also be dismissed from the government’s Section for Science, Research and Innovation in connection with the payments.
A court in Brno has begun hearing testimony in the case of Kevin Dahlgren, who was extradited from his native US to face charges of murdering four relatives of his in the Moravian capital. Witnesses told the court on Tuesday that they were unaware of any conflict between Dahlgren and the family, whom he was visiting at the time. The state prosecutor said the American had stabbed his aunt, her husband and their two sons to death due to emotional instability, narcissism and heightened aggression. Immediately after the alleged killings in 2013 Dahlgren fled to the US.
The Czech Republic has the highest percentage of young cannabis users in Europe, according to the latest annual report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Dependency. Its survey found that over a fifth of Czechs aged 15 to 34 had used marijuana or hashish at least once in the previous year. Forty-two percent of Czechs aged 15 and 16 had some experience of those drugs, the survey found.
US singer-songwriter Paul Simon is set to perform at Prague’s O2 Arena on November 17, the concert’s organisers announced on Tuesday. The 1960s star will present his new LP Stranger to Stranger at the show, which will open a European tour and will be represent his first appearance in the Czech capital since 1991.
The final film by director Jan Němec, who died in March at the age of 79, is to take part in the main competition at the 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, organisers announced on Tuesday. Němec, who first made his name as part of the Czech New Wave, partly shot The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street (Vlk z Královských Vinohrad) at last year’s festival. There will be two locally-directed contenders for the top prize at Karlovy Vary this year, with Jan Hřebejk’s The Teacher also in the running.
Prague councillors have unanimously agreed to ban Segways from the historic centre of the city. Once a final vote has been taken on the matter the two-wheeled electric vehicles should disappear from the area’s pavements, cycle paths and pedestrian zones, where they have become a common sight in recent years. Councillors on Tuesday did not set a date for when the Segway ban will come into effect.