After more than a year of investigation, the Czech police have cracked down a gang smuggling cocaine in the Pilsen region. On Monday, police in arrested a man carrying 2.2 kilogrammes of cocaine from the Netherlands to the Czech Republic. Police subsequently searched 25 homes in Prague and the Pilsen region and found over quarter of a kilogramme of the drug. They also discovered five illegal indoor marijuana farms and detained eight people between the ages of 27 and 59.
The country’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto has recorded its best ever monthly worldwide sales in September, the company announced on Wednesday in a press release. The carmaker sold 107,100 cars and recorded a year-on-year increase by 14.4 percent. Sales have increased both on the European market as well as in China. Škoda Octavia remains the best-selling model, with nearly 50,000 models sold in September.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Čech has been included in the Guinness Book of Records 2017 for the most clean sheets ever in the Premier League. During his 12 years in English football with Chelsea and now Arsenal, The 34-year-old former Czech international managed to keep exactly 181 clean sheets. Čech has also become the first player to win the Golden Gloves – most clean sheets in a season – with two different clubs.
Czech Fed Cup team captain Petr Pála on Wednesday announced the nominations for the finals of the women’s team event in which the Czech Republic will play France. Pert Pála selected Petra Kvitová and Karolína Plíšková for the singles while Lucie Hradecká and Barbora Strýcová will play the doubles. The finals are scheduled for November 12 and 13 in Strasbourg, and the Czech team will attempt to get a fifth title in the past six years.
Parliament’s Budget Committee has recommended the lower house approve the basic parameters of the state budget proposal for 2017. The budget put forward by the finance minister Andrej Babiš and approved by the government is counting on a 60 billion crown deficit. The committee turned down a proposal by TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek who appealed for the proposal to be sent back to the government for changes; he said the government needed to slash spending next year by an additional 30 billion crowns or more.
The government on Wednesday approved the comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a free-trade agreement between the EU and Canada, the government spokesman Martin Ayrer said on his Twitter account. CETA could be signed and ratified on October 27 at the EU-Canada summit. The sectors that could benefit most from the CETA agreement in the Czech Republic are engineering, metallurgy and the chemical industry.
The government on Wednesday approved the continued use of daylight saving time over the next five years. The period will start on the last Sunday of March and end at the end of October. Daylight saving time was introduced in Czechoslovakia in 1979. Nowadays, it is observed by nearly all European countries with the exception of Russia, Belarus, Iceland, and Greenland. Critics of the move argue that the economic advantages it brings are far outweighed by the negative impact on people’s biorhythms and general state of well-being.
Nadja Murad, a former captive of the terrorist organisation Islamic State and recipient of Václav Havel human rights award has called for the prosecution of ISIS for crimes against humanity. Speaking at a conference at Prague Crossroads cultural centre, the 23-year-old Iraqi woman said that after ISIS is defeated its members will continue to commit crimes elsewhere in the world within different groups. Mr Murad, who was kidnapped by ISIS and sold into sex slavery before fleeing to Germany, received the European Council award this week for bringing attention to the plight of the Yazidi people.
The interior minister and deputy chairman of the Social Democrats, Milan Chovanec, says he would support Miloš Zeman if he runs for a second term as Czech president in early 2018. Mr. Chovanec made the comment in an interview with Wednesday’s Právo, adding that he regarded Mr. Zeman – who previously led the party – as a Social Democrat. Mr. Zeman is a staunch critic of the Social Democrats’ leader Bohuslav Sobotka. After the last general elections Mr. Chovanec and a number of senior Social Democrats held secret talks with the president and then called on Mr. Sobotka to resign. He was the only member of the group to remain in the party leadership after the failed move.