The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says he will discuss a court ruling in the UK relating to the death of a Czech citizen with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday. Earlier he summoned the British ambassador to Prague, Jan Thompson, to discuss the matter. Mr. Zaorálek said he had major doubts regarding the acquittal of a British man who had been accused of beating Czech Zdeněk Makar to death with a bicycle lock in a street attack last September.
Big names in Czech ice hockey have questioned the NHL’s decision not to release players for next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. A member of the Czech team that won gold in Nagano in 1998, Jiří Šlégr, said the move was a step backwards as the Olympics would have less value. For his part, Vladimír Růžička, who has taken part in five Olympics as a player and coach, said there had been no better advertisement for the sport of ice hockey than the Olympics.
President Miloš Zeman has appointed Jiří Havlíček minister of industry and trade. He replaces Jan Mládek, who was sacked by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the end of February. Mr. Havlíček says he will focus on pushing through legislation aimed at reducing data charges for mobile device users. Inaction in that regard was cited as a reason for the dismissal of his predecessor. Mr. Havlíček was previously a deputy industry minister.
A new guidebook to Brno has come in for strong criticism from representatives of nearby towns that it disparages, Novinky.cz reported. Entitled “This is Brno”, the guide compares Kuřim to a labour camp and a monument to the loss of human judgement, as well describing the wine cellars of Velké Pavlovice as kitschy buildings that are a mockery of architecture. Its authors say they wished to present an unorthodox view of the region. However, one town mayor described the publicly funded publication as a work of childish provocation.
Prague’s Parkhotel is to be considered for protected status after a group of experts from the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture filed a petition with the Ministry of Culture. The 1960s structure, one of the city’s leading hotels when it opened, is located in the Holešovice district near the Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The ministry can take several months to decide whether to make a site a cultural historical landmark.
The head of the recently established Czech Literary Centre, Petr Janyška, has left the position after only five weeks, the news website Lidovky.cz reported. Mr. Janyška took up the post in late February, less than two months after the launch of the institution, which is tasked with promoting Czech literature internationally. He told Lidovky.cz that he had quit but refused to outline the reasons. A translator by profession, Mr. Janyška was one of the founders of the weekly Respekt and worked for several years as a diplomat.
A British court has cleared a 29-year-old British national who was accused of battering to death a Czech man following an argument in a fast food store in East London last September, the ctk news agency reported. Raymond Sculley was accused of beating catering manager Zdeněk Makar to death with a bicycle chain after he and a group of biker friends following him out of a chicken shop where they got into a spat. Sculley, who claimed to have acted in self-defense was also acquitted of an alternative charge of manslaughter. According to commercial TV Prima, Makar’s family is seeking ways to challenge the verdict.
Czech officials have offered their condolences to Russia in the wake of a bomb blast on a St Petersburg metro train on Monday that killed 11 people and injured several dozen more. In a telegram to President Putin the Czech head of state Miloš Zeman said he was shocked and angered by the attack against civilians. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek likewise condemned the attack, saying their thoughts were with the victims’ families. Words of support and solidarity have also come from party leaders, deputies and MEPs.
A key task ahead of the EU will be to minimize the damage caused by Brexit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said following talks in Berlin with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico stressed the need for the EU to hold a common line in the Brexit talks. The meeting, held on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the German-Czechoslovak Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, focussed on Brexit, the migrant crisis and the upcoming German road toll, which other EU members consider problematic and discriminatory. Commenting on the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Sobotka said EU nations should have more ways of showing their solidarity in dealing with the migrant crisis, not only the reception of migrants, but also providing aid in the countries of their origin or protection of the EU’s outer borders. Both the Czech and Slovak prime ministers stressed the value of the Visegrad Four group in presenting different views to EU problems and their ability to focus on what unites rather than divides them.