Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek has been dismissed from office. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced the news after Monday’s session of the government saying he would inform President Zeman about his decision on Thursday and say who he wanted as a replacement. Mladek has been under fire in recent weeks among others for saying that mobile “roaming” services were for an elite class of people that make up 5 percent of the population. He also received negative publicity when his deputy Lubomír Bokštefl told participants in an on-line debate to “go to Poland” if they wanted Polish rates for mobile data.
18 time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer who is in Prague after a ten year break on Monday greeted fans on Old Town Square, accompanied by Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych. The tennis star is here to promote the Laver Cup which is to take place in Prague in September. Federer will return to Prague for the event which will be held at Prague’s O2 Arena on September 22 to 24.
Czech courts will once again rule on the restitution claim of Zdena Mašínová, sister of the Mašín brothers, who dramatically escaped from Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s. Mašínová has filed for restitution of her father’s farm in Central Bohemia which was confiscated by the Communists. Her claim was rejected by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the property could only be returned to all the heirs; however, the late Ctirad Mašín and his brother Josef had been disqualified from applying for restitution on the grounds that they lived abroad. The Constitutional Court upheld Zdena Mašínová’s appeal against the verdict.
The e-commerce giant Amazon has announced further investments in the Czech Republic saying it will be hiring another 1,000 people in addition to the 3,000 it currently employs in order to meet growing customer demand. The job offers will be for qualified and unqualified workers, spanning engineering roles, logistics, and customer service, among other occupations, the company said. Amazon is making huge investments world-wide creating 15,000 new jobs in Europe and 100,000 in the United States.
The future of the OKD mining company, which was forced to declare bankruptcy last year, remains uncertain after the government rejected its proposed sale to the state owned company Diamo for a symbolic one crown. The move was supported only by the Social Democrats; ANO voted against since it is in favour of a private investor and the Christian Democratic Party said it could not support the motion since it had insufficient information regarding the potential investor’s future plans. OKD is currently undergoing a reorganization and its future depends on finding a strategic partner.
Another 15 sites have been added to the list of Czech Cultural Monuments, including Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace and the massive baroque Invalidovna complex in the city’s Karlín district. The sites on the list are approved by the government as “monuments constituting the most important part of the cultural wealth of the nation” and are thereby under special protection.
Some 400,000 people from all over the world have signed a petition for the release of Czech Petr Jasek, whom a Sudanese court sent to prison for more than 20 years for espionage and subversion in January. The petition was reportedly launched by the international organization CitizenGO and is addressed to the UN Human Rights Commissioner. The Christian missionary was arrested in Sudan in 2015. He was convicted of several crimes including espionage and fomenting hatred among local communities.
The number of Czech fathers who are winning custody of their children and receiving alimony payments from their ex-wives is increasing, Czech Television reported on Monday. According to 2016 statistics over 7,000 fathers were awarded custody rights last year. Experts see this as a positive trend in Czech society and an indication of the fact that fathers are getting increasingly involved in the process of bringing up their children. In the years immediately after the fall of communism children were almost invariably placed in their mother’s care. Judges approach to custody lawsuits is also gradually changing.
Gabriela Koukalová failed to secure a fourth medal at the Biathlon World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria at the weekend. The Czech biathlete dropped to fourth place behind Finland’s Kaisa-Leena Mäkäräinen in the final fifth round of the race on Sunday. Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier won her fifth gold medal.