News Audit at Social Democrat ministries finds suspicious deals worth two billion

11-07-2014 13:59 | Jan Richter

An audit at government ministries run by the Social Democrats has discovered suspicious deals worth around two billion crowns, Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka told a news conference on Friday. Around half of the potentially wasted funds is related to several problematic IT deals of the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. Mr Sobotka said the situation in the state administration was worse than expected, and blamed the problems on past Czech governments. The prime minister and his team has reviewed four ministries controlled by the Social Democrats; Mr Sobotka said that audits would continue. A review of six ministries controlled by the ANO party earlier this year found suspicious deals worth 16 billion crowns.

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V4 prime ministers meet in Prague over migrant crisis

04-09-2015 09:29 | Ruth Fraňková

Prime ministers of the Visegrad four countries are attending an extraordinary meeting in Prague on Friday. The government heads of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary will try to coordinate their position on the escalating migrant crisis. On top of the agenda will be the current situation in Hungary, where thousands of refugees are stranded at Budapest train station. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said prior to the meeting that he will call on his counterparts to support the establishment of more detention centres along the outer border of the Schengen area and he will push for a stricter intervention against people smugglers. 

Czechs leave it late to beat Kazakhstan 2:1 in European Championship qualifier

04-09-2015 09:08 | Ruth Fraňková

In football, substitute Milan Škoda was the hero for the Czech national team with two goals in the last 16 minutes to turn around their European Championship qualifier against Kazakhstan on Thursday night. The Czechs went down at home in the 21st minute with a headed goal from Yuri Logvinenko. A weakened Czech team, missing many key players from injury, looked slow and without many idea up front although David Limberský hit the crossbar in the first half. Slavia attacker Škoda was brought on for the second half. The Czechs can now qualify for the finals in France with a win against Latvia on Sunday. 

August probably the hottest in history, meteorologists say

03-09-2015 18:51 | Ruth Fraňková

This year’s summer holidays were one of the hottest and sunniest on record, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The average temperature recorded for July was 20 degrees Celsius, which is 3.2 degrees more than the long-term average. The average temperature in August reached 21.2 degrees Celsius, 4.5 more than the long-term values. According to the institute’s spokesman, this year’s August was very probably the warmest in the history of measurements. The summer months were also exceptionally dry, with precipitation in July reaching 40 percent of the long-term average. 

Czech asylum facilities are 90 percent full

03-09-2015 17:52 | Ruth Fraňková

The capacity of asylum facilities in the Czech Republic is currently 90 percent full, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said at a press conference on Thursday. He also said that the Czech Republic is at the moment able to master the migrant crisis. The minister said he planned to visit some of the reception centres to find out more about the situation there. At the moment, the Czech Republic has three asylum facilities, in Zastávka near Brno, in Bělá pod Bezdězem, central Bohemia, and Vyšní Lhoty in north Moravia, with a total capacity of 1100 places. The Interior Ministry previously announced that it would like to increase the total capacity to 1400 places. 

A third of Czechs would vote for president Zeman in future poll for head of state

03-09-2015 16:59 | Ruth Fraňková

One third of Czechs would vote for Miloš Zeman if he stands in the 2018 presidential elections, according to a poll carried out by ppm factum agency in August. The Czech head of state was elected two years ago in the second round of elections with 32 percent of the vote; the poll suggests he would currently get 33 percent of the vote. When asked about the likely candidates for the next presidential elections, president Zeman was mentioned by 10 percent of respondents, followed by the current Finance Minister Andrej Babiš with seven percent and former Prime Minister Jan Fisher with six percent. Among the other names mentioned were Zeman’s previous election rivals Karel Schwarzenberg and Dawn Party leader Tomio Okamura. 

Two people charged over throwing eggs at Czech president

03-09-2015 15:34 | Ruth Fraňková

Police have charged two people who threw eggs at President Miloš Zeman at a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution last November, police spokesman Tomáš Hulan said on Thursday. The incident at Prague’s Albertov was previously treated as a misdemeanour, which could have been punished with a fine, but the state prosecutor ordered the police to investigate it as disorderly conduct. If found guilty, the offenders could face up to two years in prison. The head of state had angered critics by some of his comments in support of Russia and his use of offensive language on state radio. 

Police presidium to set new rules on identifying migrants

03-09-2015 13:54 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Police Presidium will set rules on how to identify migrants arriving in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday. The announcement came in reaction to foreign media and Jewish organisations criticising Czech police officers for writing numbers on the hands of 214 migrants at Břeclav railway station on Monday night. In its report on Wednesday, the BBC noted that the ink marks carried an unfortunate visual resemblance to the Holocaust. The Interior Ministry said that it was not a standard procedure, adding that the officers were under pressure of time and tried to keep family members together. 

Blanka tunnel to open on September 20

03-09-2015 13:16 | Ruth Fraňková

The newly-built Blanka tunnel in Prague is set to open on September 20, deputy mayor Petr Dolínek said on Thursday, adding that no special ceremony was planned for the event. The tunnel, which has been under construction since 2007, was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but has been dogged by problems. The latest deadline in April had to be postponed after it turned out that hundreds of kilometres of electric cables had to be replaced after being damaged by rainfall. The tunnel, which has come under criticism for massive cost overruns, has cost Prague nearly 37 billion crowns. It is currently undergoing final testing of technologies and security systems. 

Czech Post issues stamp in honour of Nicholas Winton

03-09-2015 11:50 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Post office has issued a special edition of stamps in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669, mostly Jewish children, by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. Sir Nicholas died on July 1 this year at the age of 106. The 13-crown stamp, entitled Tribute to Sir Nicholas, was designed by graphic artist Zdeněk Netopil. It was issued in 750,000 pieces and went on sale on Wednesday. 

Czech President Zeman holds talks with Vladimir Putin

03-09-2015 11:50 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech President Miloš Zeman held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Thursday. The two heads of state are in China attending the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The two officials discussed security issues and the Czech president called on Russia to join the international effort to stop Islamic State terrorism. On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr Putin said he hoped that the trade exchange between Russia and the Czech Republic, now affected by sanctions, would improve. Miloš Zeman met with Vladimir Putin for the second time this year. In May, they conducted talks in Moscow on the occasion of the end of war celebrations. 


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