Czech biathlete Gabriela Koukalová has taken a second place in the world championships at Hochfilzen, Austria. She won silver in the 15 kilometre distance event on Wednesday to add to her medal tally of gold in the sprint and bronze in the pursuit. The first place was taken by Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier. Italian Alexia Ruggaldier was third.
The Czech and Slovak ministers of defence have signed an agreement covering the joint protection of their airspace. The agreement was signed in the margins of the NATO ministers meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Czech defence minister Martin Stropnický said the cooperation should take effect from the middle of this year. The agreement allows pilots from either country to intervene and take action in the others airspace in the case of an emergency such as a terrorist attack or plane hijack. One country’s aircraft could also be sent into action if the others were grounded.
The Czech Republic is looking for a so-called sector exception from the European Commission that would allow it to choose a nuclear constructor to build one new nuclear reactor at the current Dukovany site without a full public tender, the Czech daily Lidové Noviny reported on Wednesday. The idea was raised by Minister of Industry Jan Mládek who pointed out that a tender would prevent national interests, particularly the amount of work that should be offered to Czech suppliers, to be spelled out. Under the timeline for building new nuclear capacity, the process for choosing a supplier should start during the first quarter of 2018.
The Czech government has produced a league table of ministers’ appearances before parliament for questions during 2016. The worst performer with only three out of 15 appearances is Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš. The best is Culture minister Daniel Hermann with 14 out of 14 appearances. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had a record of appearing at 12 out of 18 times. The Christian Democrat leader, Pavel Bělobrádek, was present at four out of 10 sessions.
Former Czech European Commissioner Štefan Fϋle is to be put forward as the Czech candidate to be general secretary of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the security and peace keeping organization. The mandate of the current head of the OSCE, Lambert Zanier, ends on June 30. The choice should be made by the organisation’s council in the second quarter of the year. Fϋle was European Commissioner for enlargement and the union’s neighbourhood policy between 2010 and 2014 after earlier serving as a Czech minister for European Affairs.
Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has warned that European disintegration is a greater threat to the country than Islamic State. He told a Czech Television debate that developments within Europe has more bearing on the future of the Czech Republic than developments even in China and the United States. Czechoslovakia was only created in 1918 because of the constellation of forces on the European continent that favoured it, Zaorálek added. He said that one Czech fault was a mistrust and lack of respect of institutions.
The smog situation worsened across the Czech Republic on Wednesday with the Plzeň region being added to those areas where limits have already been exceeded. Smog warnings already existed across Moravia, East Bohemia, and Prague. The daily levels for particulate matter, which can cause cancer and other health problems, has been three times the limit in the Moravia-Silesia region over the past days. The situation has improved slightly in South Moravia.
The minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, has reprimanded his deputy Lubomír Bokštefl over a comment he made on internet charges. In an online debate with readers of the news website Aktuálně.cz he told one person to “go to Poland” if they wanted Polish rates for mobile data. The Czech Republic has relatively high charges. The comment prompted a storm of condemnation from both opposition and government politicians. Mr. Mládek also dismissed the head of the minister’s communications team, Roman Prorok, over the matter.
Jaromír Jágr, the greatest Czech player in the history of ice hockey’s NHL, turned 45 on Wednesday. Jágr, who made his Czech league debut in 1988 at the age of 16, is the fifth oldest player ever to take to the ice in the NHL and has the league’s second highest points tally. The forward, who is hugely popular in the Czech Republic, has picked up two Stanley Cup rings and won gold at the Olympics with the Czech Republic in 1998.