The Czech biathlon star Gabriela Koukalová has come first in the mass start event at a Biathlon World Cup meeting in the German ski resort of Oberhof. Sunday’s win, in which Koukalová finished over 30 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, reinforces the 27-year-old’s hold on overall first place in the season-long race for the World Cup’s title, which she also won last year.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have the power to decide extradition cases, not the Ministry of Justice as at present, according to Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek. Speaking on a television discussion show on Sunday, the foreign policy chief made the comment in connection with the case of alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin, who both the US and Russia are seeking. Mr. Zaorálek said making extradition a foreign policy matter was logical as it had an influence on relations with other states. Mr. Nikulin was arrested in Prague in October. He is wanted by the FBI in connection with a hack of LinkedIn in which the passwords of more than 100 million users of the professional networking service were compromised. Currently Czech courts rule on extradition, with their decisions then confirmed or rejected by the justice minister.
President Miloš Zeman says the fact Mikhail Gorbachev was in power, which meant the Soviets did not send in tanks in 1989, was a bigger factor in the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia than Charter 77. Speaking to the news site Blesk.cz on Sunday, Mr. Zeman said he did not sign Charter 77, a protest document launched in January 1977, because he hadn’t been asked to. When in spring 1989 he was presented with the petition Several Sentences he put his signature to it immediately, he said.
Former prime minister and Civic Democratic Party chairman Petr Nečas has returned to politics as an advisor to a new incarnation of the Civic Democratic Alliance funded by billionaire Pavel Sehnal, the news site Euro.cz reported. A former industry minister, Vladimír Dlouhý, is also serving as a consultant to the party. Mr. Nečas stepped down as PM in 2013 after his then mistress and now wife was arrested on suspicion of corruption. He himself was later charged with bribery.
The Czech authorities saw increased receipts in all forms of taxation last year. According to figures just released by central agency the Financial Administration and quoted by the Czech News Agency, value added tax receipts reached nearly CZK 350 billion in 2016, an increase of CZK 18 billion on the previous 12-month period. Income tax jumped by CZK 17 billion to CZK 164.7 billion. The tax authorities have also seen higher company tax and levies from lotteries.
Signatories of Charter 77 and other former dissidents are set to meet for a special evening of celebration and reminiscences at Prague’s Lucerna Palace on Saturday. The gathering comes one day after the 40th anniversary of the launch of the most significant protest movement in Communist Czechoslovakia. The event follows a day-long conference entitled Eye-witnesses to the Charter moderated by Petruška Šustrová, one of the 240 or so original signatories. Charter 77, a petition calling on the Communist regime to honour their commitments to human rights under the Helsinki Accords, was launched on January 6, 1977.
The minister of finance, ANO chief Andrej Babiš, may have started transforming the ownership structure of his business empire, HlídacíPes.org reported on Saturday. The news site said Mr. Babiš had changed the name of a hitherto dormant company of his in December and installed his partner Monika and people from his company Agrofert on its statutory bodies. The move comes after legislators approved a conflict of interest bill placing restrictions on government members. The president has vetoed the amendment.
The leading Czech women’s tennis player, Karolína Plíšková, has won the seventh WTA title of her career. The 24-year-old will now climb to fifth in the world rankings, equalling her previous best placing, after beating Frances Alize Cornet 6-0 6-3 in the final of the Brisbane International in Australia on Saturday. It was Plíšková’s first tournament under new coach David Kotyza.
A smog alert has been declared in parts of the Moravian-Silesian Region. The worst situation is in Věřňovice in the Karviná area, where more than double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles has been recorded, according to data released by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The region has had the worst air quality in the Czech Republic with the problem attributed to industry, transport, household heating and pollutants blown across the border from Poland.