Czech news in brief for November 11: Saturday's top headlines

Retired Czech tennis icon Ivan Lendl ends role as player Andy Murray's coach, Czechia honors Veterans Day, and more top headlines for Nov. 11, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 11.11.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 12.11.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Sports Pittsburgh Penguins to retire Jágr's jersey

Jaromír Jágr, legendary Czech hockey player, will have his Pittsburgh Penguins jersey, number 68, retired in a "Hall of Fame" ceremony on Feb. 18, 2024, before a game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins announced this news via an emotional social media video featuring a highlights reel of Jágr through the years.

He played eleven out of his 24 NHL seasons in the black and gold colors of Pittsburgh, winning two Stanley Cups and scoring over 800 games, 439 goals, and 640 assists. Jágr will be the fourth Czech player to receive this honor in the NHL.

Politics Pekarová Adamová re-elected as party chairwoman

Czech Chamber of Deputies head Markéta Pekarová Adamová was re-elected unopposed as the chairwoman of the ruling TOP 09 party at the Prague congress, securing 142 out of 177 votes. She pledged to continue leading the party until the upcoming parliamentary elections in two years. Pekarova Adamova expressed gratitude for the support, vowing to diligently work towards the party's visibility and the realization of its commitments.

Having led TOP 09 since 2019, she previously held deputy chair positions. Her re-election confirms her leadership ahead of the elections, where the party is part of the coalition government (SPOLU) consisting of the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democrats, TOP 09, Mayors and Independents, and Pirates.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR Czechia has sent over CZK 1bn military aid to Ukraine

According to a report from the Ministry of Defense, the Czech Republic has contributed military aid totaling approximately CZK 1.2 billion to Ukraine since the onset of the widescale Russia-Ukraine invasion in February 2022. The Ministry of Defense disclosed a list of donated equipment, including aircraft gear, tanks, combat vehicles, rocket launchers, handguns, and ammunition, acquired from the late 1950s to the present. 

Prime Minister Petr Fiala previously mentioned a CZK 10 billion aid commitment, while National Security Adviser Tomáš Pojar noted additional support from the Czech defense industry, valuing CZK 30 billion. The disclosed list features helicopters, tanks, and infantry vehicles.

Sports Czech tennis players advance at Billie Jean King cup

The Czech women's tennis team, after securing victories against Switzerland and the U.S., gears up to face Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup semi-finals on Saturday. The match follows Slovenia vs. Italy. The Canadians, advancing from Group C by beating Spain and Poland, enter the semi-finals for the first time since 1988, with Leylah Fernandez and Marina Stakusic impressing in singles.

Despite Canada's strong performance, the Czech team holds a winning record of seven victories over Canada, most recently in 2019. The anticipation builds for the semi-final clash in Seville.

LAW Mountain guide pleads guilty to two manslaughter cases

Czech mountaineer Dalibor Urban has pleaded guilty in a České Budějovice court to negligently causing the death of two women during illegal mountain ascents in the Austrian Alps. The incidents occurred during expeditions organized by Urban, a licensed national mountain guide, and associate Jan Linhart. 

In the first case in July 2019, a participant fell to her death due to the unqualified leadership of Linhart, whom Urban had picked as the guide. In the second incident one year later, a woman fell to her death – numbers of people on that tour exceeded the maximum by more than double. The defendants, facing up to six years in prison, are accused of disregarding weather forecasts and neglecting safety concerns.

HISTORY Czechia remembers lives lost on War Veterans Day

Czechia today commemorates its soldiers who lost their lives during World War I as part of the international War Veterans Day. Events will take place across the capital, including the Veterans Day Concert for Heroes at Prague Castle (where President Petr Pavel is expected to pay his respects) and a memorial service at Olšany Cemetery. Tributes got underway Friday, which included a ceremony at Prague 2’s Náměstí Míru that featured Defense Minister Jana Černochová, Chief of Staff Karel Řehka, and Prague 2 district representatives

Řehka highlighted the significance of Veterans' Day for soldiers, emphasizing the growing number of modern war veterans and the importance of public support. Černochová expressed gratitude to the military, police, and security forces for their service.

In memory President and First Lady plant tree in honor of Olga Havlová

In a tribute to the late Olga Havlová, President Petr Pavel and his wife Eva planted the 90th tree at Prague Castle's Deer Moat. The pecan tree planted by the President and First Lady marks the last of 90 trees planted across Czechia in honor of former First Lady Havlová's 90th birthday. The effort is part of the Committee of Good Will-Olga Havlová Foundation's campaign.

Havlová, known for her work helping those facing challenges, is being remembered for her advocacy. The symbolic planting at Prague Castle reflects her life's journey, from her birthplace in Prague-Žižkov to the role she played as the First Lady, as the foundation continues its humanitarian support, notably aiding Ukrainian children affected by war.

SPORT Tennis great Ivan Lendl parts with player Andy Murray

Czech tennis coach and ex-player Ivan Lendl has parted ways with British tennis player Andy Murray for the third time, both men announced Friday evening according to Reuters. Lendl had coached Murray during his most successful period from 2012 to 2016, when he secured three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals. 

Lendl rejoined Murray for the third time in March 2022. Despite Murray's improved ranking this year, his Grand Slam performance fell short, with the Australian Open marking his best result. Lendl, who rarely traveled to tournaments in recent months, praised Murray's dedication. "He works as hard as only a few others and the sport is better because of him. I wish him nothing but the best in the future," said 63-year-old Lendl.

government State mulls law to make lobbying more transparent

The Ministry of Justice on Friday announced it was proposing a draft law aiming to properly regulate lobbying in the Czech Republic in order to enhance transparency. The legislation suggests establishing a register to document lobbyists, including those being lobbied, such as legislators and politicians. 

Although seen as a positive step toward distinguishing between beneficial lobbying – focused on sharing information for legislative change – and non-transparent, behind-the-scenes lobbying, the Ministry of Finance opposes it, citing cost and time-related concerns. The proposed register would require lobbyists to inform the Ministry of Justice in advance, disclose their clients, and submit a public report on their activities every six months. 

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