Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will meet with the outgoing minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek and deputy ministers on Wednesday, to take the reins at the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the interim. The prime minister’s move to sack Mr Mládek was welcomed last week by President Miloš Zeman. Mr Sobotka told journalists after the cabinet meeting on Monday that he had already received approval to head the ministry for the time being. He is expected to head the ministry for several weeks.
A new poll conducted by the CVVM agency suggests that if parliamentary elections had been held in February, they would have been won easily by the ANO party. According to the survey, ANO – the second-largest party in the current government – would gain 31.5 percent of the vote. The ruling Social Democrats would gain only 20 percent, up from 19 percent in an earlier survey. According to the latest numbers, the Communist Party would be third, the opposition Civic Democrats, fourth. The Christian Democrats and TOP 09 would also pass the five-percent threshold to make it into the lower house.
The black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) has been named Bird of the Year by the Czech Ornithological Society. The large bird lives in mature forest across the northern palearctic. The woodpecker is not a migrating bird. In Czech, the black woodpecker is known the "tree doctor" for searching out and eating wood boring insects, the Czech News Agency reported.
The Czech government failed to reach a consensus on Monday on an amendment which, if approved, would enable Czechs with firearms licenses to draw and use their weapon against perpetrators in the event of a terrorist attack. The bill was put forward by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec; the Czech News Agency reported the legislation has the support of over 30 MPs from parties across the political spectrum, including the Communists and the Civic Democrats. The government’s lack of a position on the proposal means it will be solely up to Parliament to decide whether it moves forward. Some have criticised the proposal, charging that allowing citizens to take matters into their own hands in the event of an attack could – without special training – make matters worse.
The former head of the Administration for State Reserves, Ondřej Páleník, together with a second individual has been charged for alleged damages incurred during his tenure from 2012 to 2014. Police charged Mr Páleník in connection with steps taken over a million litres of Czech oil which were frozen in Germany when Vikoriagruppe, the storage site owner, declared insolvency. Mr Páleník, a former boss of Czech Military Intelligence, has denied any wrongdoing. The new head of the Administration for State Reserves, Pavel Švagr, criticised his predecessor in the past for signing an allegedly disadvantageous contract.
The country’s spring break cycle, offering a week off for schoolchildren to go to the mountains or on other holidays, has reached the halfway mark. The cycle begins in February and continues through March. Children from elementary and secondary schools in 14 districts, including Mladá Boleslav, Příbram, and Tábor, will be off on break this week.
American band the Foo Fighters headed by frontman Dave Grohl will perform in Prague on June 27, organizers have announced. The Prague date is part of the band’s world tour; the last time the Foo Fighters performed in the Czech capital was in 2012. Live Nation's Petr Novák confirmed that many of the band’s European dates were part of rock festivals: the Prague show slated as one of the few 'solo' performances by the group. Dave Grohl, the former drummer for Nirvana, founded Foo Fighters in 1994, following the death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.
Renewal of Czech - Sudanese relations in economic and security fields were part of the deal to free the Czech national imprisoned in Sudan, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said after returning from Khartoum in the early hours on Monday. Petr Jašek, a Czech Christian missionary, was arrested in Sudan in 2015 and convicted of several crimes including espionage and fomenting hatred among local communities. On Sunday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir pardoned him and ordered his release.
Awards were handed out at the Mene Tekel festival against totalitarian regimes at Prague's Vinohrady Theatre on Sunday to people who opposed or were persecuted by the Communist regime. The Dame of Czech Culture title was given to the internationally-renowned harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková and to the founder of hospice care in the Czech Republic, Marie Svatošová. Sculptor Otmar Oliva, violinist Eduard Vokurka and evangelical priest Svatopluk Karásek received the Knight of Czech Culture title. Minister of Culture Daniel Herman also awarded doctor Karola Hejlová and founder of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague, Leoš Válka, who received the honorary title of Czech Culture Patron.