One of the Czech Republic’s biggest telecoms company, 02, announced the collapse of its mobile roaming service on Wednesday saying that calls to numbers outside the Czech Republic and from its customers abroad could not be made. The problem started Tuesday afternoon and was the fault of its foreign telecoms connectivity provider, CETIN. O2 said it was trying to solve the problem. CETIN belongs to the same group that ownsO2, the Czech group PPF. O2 later said CETIN was probably victim of a hacking attack.
President Miloš Zeman said on Wednesday that outgoing education minister Kateřina Valachová has 10 days to rethink her resignation decision. If she has not come to a decision by the time he returns from a visit to Vietnam and Kazakhstan then Valachová will be dismissed, he said. Zeman previously called for Valachová to reassess her departure, sparked by a sport financing scandal at her ministry, underlining her support from sports and education associations. Valachová has said she wants to see some of her work through but at the same time has not withdrawn her resignation, which was given when prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka was putting pressure on ANO leader Andrej Babiš to resign.
Petra Kvitová’s grand slam comeback at the French Open came to an end on Wednesday. The Czech, who was playing in her first tournament following a hand injury following a knife attack at her Czech flat last year, lost in straight sets to US doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The score was 6:7, 6:7. Kvitová decided late to enter the French Open. The two times Wimbledon winner says her main target was to take part in the London tournament again this year.
The Czech justice and interior ministers clashed following comments made by Minister of Interior Milan Chovanec to the daily newspaper, Právo. Justice minister Robert Pelikan charged Chovanec with drawing on still secret government information when he told the paper that the Czech Republic would take no new immigrants as part of an EU share out ahead of lower house elections scheduled for October. Chovanec told the paper that the share out was badly conceived and did not take into account security risks. The Czech Republic should maintain its negative stance even if threatened by EU fines, he added. Chovanec added on Twitter later that Pelikan was unable to push through his point of view in the government.
Exports of Czech arms companies have almost tripled in value in the last three years. In 2016 the value of exports totalled almost 20 billion crowns compared with 7.6 billion in 2014. Minister of Defence, Martin Stropnický, speaking at the Brno arms fair, IDET, said that part of the increases stemmed from the cooperation between the ministry and arms companies. Ministry purchases of Czech equipment provided a reference point for exports to other countries, he added. Twenty-seven missions taking in 40 foreign countries are planned this year, the minister said.
The number of deaths in the Czech Republic dropped by almost 3,500 in 2016 to total 107,750, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Most deaths occurred in December and the least in September. The Moravia-Silesia region topped the death toll figures although it doesn’t have the biggest population. Average life expectancy for men last year climbed to 78 years and for women to 82.7 years. The longest life spans are usually in Prague and the lowest in the Ústí region.
A Czech anti-smoking law took effect from midnight on Tuesday with the measure banning smoking in bars and restaurants and public places such as theatres and cinemas. Fines, of up to 5,000 crowns, on individuals breaking the law take effect immediately but businesses will be given a 90-day period to adapt. Later they could faces fines of up to 2 million crowns and a two year ban on doing business. The Czech Republic becomes the 23rd European country with a wide ranging smoking ban. Wednesday is world anti-tobacco day.
Elzbieta Lederová one of the first signatories of the Charter 77 petition for the recognition of human rights in Czechoslovakia has died at the age of 85 at Augsburg, Germany. Lederová, a translator by profession who was born in Poland, was also one of the founders of VONS, one of the foremost organisations from the late 1970s to stand up for the rights of those persecuted and harassed by the secret police and other state authorities because of their anti-regime beliefs and actions as the so-called Normalisation clampdown began. Police persecution forced Lederová and her Czech dissident husband, Jiří, to eventually quit the country for Germany.