Miroslav Sklenář is set to replace Jiří Forejt in the post of the head of protocol at Prague Castle, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Mr Forejt stepped down on Monday after the release of incriminating material which allegedly showed him snorting an illicit substance, half naked and in dubious company. Miroslav Sklenář has already worked as head of protocol, first under Václav Havel and subsequently under Václav Klaus between the years 2014 and 2015. Up till now, Mr. Sklenář has been employed by the China Energy Company Limited, a major foreign investor in the Czech Republic.
The European Commission has approved funding of three major infrastructure projects in the Czech Republic to the tune of 161 million euros (some 4.3 billion crowns). The European funds will be used for modernising a railway connection between Rokycany and Pilsen, to ensure a faster connection between Prague and the German border as well as for renovation of the D35 highway in the Pardubice region which is also used for international transport.
The European Commission has taken legal action against EU member states, including the Czech Republic, for not having done enough to deter or punish carmakers who cheated on emissions tests. The commission has sent a so-called letter of formal notice to seven member states, which now have two months to reply. The commission has targeted the Czech Republic for not having imposed any penalties for the use of illegal software which cheated the emission tests.
The Czech jobless total in November fell to 4.9 percent from October’s 5.0 percent, it’s the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008. Altogether, almost 3,500 people were removed from the jobless total, shrinking it to just under 363,000 jobseekers. The number of vacancies offered through local labour offices stood at just over 135,000, which is the highest November total since 2007. The number of long term jobless has shrunk to 40.3 percent from 43.9 percent of the total a year earlier.
Famous spokespeople of the Charter 77 human-rights manifesto will be presented at a new exhibition that will go on display on Prague’s Václav Havel square (the former plaza of the National Theatre) in January next year. Altogether 44 people took turns in the post of Charter 77 spokesperson between the years 1977 and 1989. At any time there were three of them in case one or two were detained or imprisoned. The open-air exhibition, consisting of sixteen large-scale panels, is organised by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and will be on display between January 20 and 26.
Jana Vildemutzováof the ANO party was elected the head of the influential national association of regional governors on Thursday. The newly elected governor of the Karlovy Vary region will replace Social Democrat Michal Hašek, who failed to defend his position as leader of the South Moravian region.
Jiří Lang has been put forward as the new head of the National Security Office. The former chief of the country’s counter-intelligence service is set to replace Dušan Navrátil, government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Mr Navrátil, who was in charge of the counter-intelligence service for the past 10 years, is set to become the government’s coordinator for cyber security. The government should debate the proposal by the end of the year.
The Ministry of Culture this week approved the loan of the Slav Epic series of paintings by Alfons Mucha to Japan, the ministry’s spokeswoman Simona Cigánková told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. The cycle of canvases by the famous art nouveau painter is set to leave the Czech Republic in February and go on display in Tokyo in March 2017. The ministry has not decided yet whether the paintings will subsequently travel to China. The loan of the Slav Epic has been criticised by restorers, who worry that the paintings could be damaged by transport and local conditions. It has also been opposed by the grandson of the painter, John Mucha.
Czech forward David Pastrňák has continued his scoring streak, racking up his 16th goal in the NHL this season for the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. The Bruins managed to earn a point from the match against the Washington Capitals, losing 4-3 in overtime. Pastrňák, 20, is currently third on the NHL scorers’ list behind Sidney Crosby and Patrik Laine.