News Academician proposes Czech President Zeman for Nobel Peace Prize

26-04-2014 15:23 | Jan Velinger

President Miloš Zeman has told journalists he had no idea a Russian academician – Sergey Komkov – had proposed him as a nominee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Komkov, the chairman of the All-Russian Fund of Education, praised Mr Zeman for a balanced approach to the situation in Ukraine and for the offer that the Czech Republic could act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine to try and solve the current crisis. Mr Zeman made the offer at the Eastern Partnership summit held in Prague on Thursday and Friday. Mr Zeman responded to journalists by saying that the peace prize was only awarded for “concrete results”.

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Funeral held for 16-year-old student killed in Žďár attack

20-10-2014 14:26 updated | Jan Velinger

Family, friends, fellow students, town officials and hundreds of others in Žďár nad Sazavou paid their last respects to 16-year-old Petr Vejvoda on Monday - the student killed in a knife attack at his high school last week. The ceremony was held at 12 PM but the chamber was full already an hour earlier. During the ceremony, the town’s mayor spoke while priest Tomáš Holý later read a letter from Cardinal Dominik Duka. Some classmates, unable to cope emotionally, were helped by medics.

Last Tuesday, Petr Vejvoda was fatally injured by a 26-year-old woman, with a past record of a similar assault and a history of mental illness, after she followed students into the school’s changing area. He died defending a fellow classmate. Last Friday, President Zeman and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka both visited the school and lit candles at the site in honour of the young man. 

Coalition slowly taking shape in Prague

20-10-2014 14:10 | Jan Velinger

ANO, the Social Democrats and the Three-Party Coalition (The Greens, Christian Democrats, STAN) have agreed on key issues in negotiations on a possible coalition at Prague City Hall. Among ideas agreed, the Czech News Agency reported, is the construction of a new “D” metro line, the lowering the of price of yearly transit passes by 900 crowns, zero tolerance of gambling, and the stricter protection of non-developed areas in the city. ANO finished first in Prague in the recent local elections, followed by TOP 09, and the Three Party Coalition. Others with representatives elected are the Social Democrats, the Civic Democrats, the Communists, and the Czech Pirate Party. 

Jiří Pařízek to head Prague branch of TOP 09

20-10-2014 13:23 | Jan Velinger

Jiří Pařízek, until now the city councillor for transport, has been named interim chairman of the Prague branch of TOP 09 by the party’s regional executive committee. He will stay on until the end of November, when the vote on a new city council and the opposition will be held. He replaces Jiří Vávra, who left the party last week along with Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček. The two left the party over continued infighting which critics charged had hurt TOP 09’s chances in Prague: TOP 09 came second to ANO in the recent local elections. 

President rates government favorably

20-10-2014 09:54 | Jan Velinger

Czech President Miloš Zeman rated the Czech government favorably in an interview on Sunday, telling commercial broadcaster TV Nova that Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had been successful in keeping the coalition together, which he saw as crucial. He also said the current government had given people 'hope'. At the same time, the president stated he could envisage ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš as prime minister as well. Commenting on the sharp words traded at times by Mr Babiš and Mr Sobotka, the president made clear occasional clashes in any coalition were common. 

Prague suffers partial blackout in early hours of Monday

20-10-2014 09:40 | Jan Velinger

A blackout hit parts of the Czech capital a minute after midnight on Monday, affecting some 100,000 homes. Affected were Prague 4 and parts of Prague 2 and 10. The blackout, caused by a technical failure at a substation in Chodov, also left the Thomayer Hospital in Krč briefly without power. In all, the blackout affected about a quarter of the city, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Tennis: Berdych clinches 10th career title

19-10-2014 18:25 | Jan Velinger

Czech men's tennis No.1 Tomáš Berdych won his tenth career title in Stockholm on Sunday, defeating Bulgarian opponent Grigor Dimitrov. Berdych won by a score of 5:7, 6:4, 6:4. The win keeps open Berdych's chances of clinching one of the remaining slots in the upcoming ATP World Finals. 

Police experts continue search at munitions depot

19-10-2014 14:23 | Jan Velinger

Police pyrotechnics experts have gotten within 300 metres of the epicenter of a blast which destroyed a munitions depot, using a remote control drone and heavy equipment. For the second day they are investigating the site in the village of Vrbětice in South Moravia. Equipment they are using includes an armored vehicle and a special firefighters' 'tank'. Two people have been missing since the blast on Thursday and are feared dead. 

President suggests candidates' personalities, not political affiliation, were important for voters

19-10-2014 14:13 | Jan Velinger

Czech President Miloš Zeman maintains that candidates' personalities rather than political affiliation played a deciding role in the second round of the Senate elections. He expressed the view on Sunday through his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček. The head-of-state also suggested that a lower voter turnout in the Senate elections was par for course, saying that voters lost interest if their candidate failed to make it to the second round. 

Schwarzenberg admits changes needed in TOP 09

19-10-2014 13:20 | Jan Velinger

The head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg, has reflected on his party's failure to win a single seat in the Senate elections. He promised that the party would begin internal reforms at once, but also made clear the current leadership would remain until a leadership conference was held next year. There is speculation that Mr Schwarzenberg, who is 76, is planning on stepping down. Last week, members of TOP 09's Prague branch quit the party following a long period of infighting. The party lost in Prague, coming second in the communal elections. 

Pehe: Christian Democrats in good position to become main right-wing party

19-10-2014 12:53 | Jan Velinger

Analysts also see the Senate results as strong confirmation that the Christian Democrats have returned as a significant political force. On Saturday, they clinched four seats; in addition, three Christian Democrat/Green candidates also won. Political analyst Jiří Pehe told Rádio Impuls the party was well-positioned and could become the main force on the political right; he suggested the party had done well because its priorities and values were well-understood by voters. The other parties on the right side of the spectrum, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09, have lost support since the collapse of the centre-right government of Petr Něcas. 



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