News Catholic primate to mark centenary of death of Franz Ferdinand with mass at Czech castle where archduke lived

28-06-2014 14:29 | Ian Willoughby

The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, is set to serve a requiem mass on Saturday evening for Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination exactly 100 years ago sparked World War I. The mass will take place in the courtyard of Konopiště Castle – where Franz Ferdinand lived – and will be attended by the Czech culture minister, Daniel Herman, and the Austrian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff. Exhibitions and other events are also being held in various parts of the country to mark the centenary.

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Czech interior minister backs creation of EU airline passenger database

30-01-2015 10:02 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec has said Prague will back the idea of a European system for exchanging data on air passengers. Chovanec was speaking at a two day conference on security and the fight against terrorism in Riga. Chovanec also said that supported EU moves aims bolstering arms regulation. EU plans focus on forcing airlines to pass on all details of passengers to a central data base which could then be accessd by national police and security agencies. 

Lucie Šafářová wins women’s doubles final at Australian Open

30-01-2015 09:03 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has won her first Grand Slam title. With US partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, she beat Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan and China’s Jie Zheng in straight sets 6:4, 7:6 in the women’s doubles final at the Australian Open. It is the first time a Czech has won the title for 20 years. The Czech-US pair won the first set with ease but had to save two set points in the second before taking the tie break 

North Korean from ruling family becomes Czech ambassador

29-01-2015 17:48 | Chris Johnstone

Kim Pyong- Il, the younger half brother of the former leader of North Korea Kim Jong Il and son of the regimes founder Kim Il-Sung, was accepted as North Korea’s ambassador to the Czech Republic on Thursday. His credentials were accepted, along with four other new ambassadors, by President Miloš Zeman at Prague Castle. Kim Pyong-Il had previously been ambassador in Poland for the past 17 years. Experts on the North Korean regime say Kim Pyong- Il has been kept in virtual exile at a series of European posts because he is feared as a possible rival to leaders if he returns home. 

Crime levels fall in Prague, but murders and rape reports on the rise

29-01-2015 17:05 | Chris Johnstone

Police say crime levels in Prague fell to their lowest levels since 1991 last year. They say they were called out to probe just under 72,000 criminal cases, around 12 percent down on 2013. The clear up rate across the board came to 25 percent of cases, that is the best figure since 2002. Car thefts and theft of property from cars, pickpocketing, and burglary were all down. Thefts of bicycles were up. The number of murders increased last year to 28 with eight of the cases still unsolved. Rapes increased to 128 from 88. Police said that rise was partly due to greater reporting of cases. 

Prime Ministers agree to step up three-way regional cooperation

29-01-2015 16:47 | Chris Johnstone

Prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria met at the town of Slavkov, outside Brno, on Thursday and agreed to step up their cooperation on key cross border issues. These include tackling youth unemployment, developing regional gas networks, the pumping of European funds, and transport links. The three premiers agreed that they should repeat the same three-way format next year as well. The three prime ministers also laid wreaths at the site of the 1805 Napoleonic battle just outside the town. 

Norwegian PM intervenes in Czech childcare case

29-01-2015 14:31 updated | Chris Johnstone

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has hit back at the politicization of the case of two Czech brothers subject to Norwegian care authorities, according to a report by Czech Television. She said it was not for politicians to intervene in individual cases, referring to the case of the sons of Czech mother Eva Michálková. She added that when weighing up care orders no difference was made in Norwegian law between the of Norwegian and foreign born children. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka took up the Michálková case last week with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week firing off a second diplomatic note to Norway over it. Czech Christian Democrat member of the European Parliament Tomáš Zdechovský raised the case in the parliament this week saying that Norwegian authorities had removed the children from their parents on the basis of flawed evaluations. 

Police says number of illegal foreigners jumps in 2014

29-01-2015 13:51 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Foreigners’ Police said Thursday that they discovered 4,822 cases of foreign citizens living illegally in the Czech Republic last year. That is a 669 increase on the total in 2013. Ukrainians accounted for most of the illegal foreigners, followed by Kuwaiti’s and Russians. The number of illegal Syrians climbed to 146 from 39 in 2013. 

Total smoking ban in bars and restaurants suggested by health ministry proposal

29-01-2015 13:38 | Chris Johnstone

A total ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, and public places could be in force in 2016, under a proposal put forward by Ministry of Health and published on Wednesday. The ban would also cover electronic cigarettes. The proposal also touches on the sale of alcohol with a demand that restaurants and bars sell at least one non-alcoholic drink at a price cheaper than a beer or other alcoholic drink featuring on the menu. Surveys suggest that around 80 percent of Czechs favour a smoking ban in restaurants and bars. At the moment bars and restaurants can choose if they want to impose smoking banks or limits on their premises. 

Tomáš Berdych falls at Australian Open semi-final

29-01-2015 13:18 | Chris Johnstone

In tennis, Tomáš Berdych has crashed out of the Australian Open in his semi-final tie against Scot Andy Murray. Berdych went ahead in a tight first set by taking the tie break 8:6. But Murray stormed back to take the second 6:0 and won the third with a comfortable 6:3. Berdych rallied in the fourth but Murray broke his serve for a 6:5 advantage and then served out for the match. 

Czech ombudswoman highlights problems of pensions offering elderly care

29-01-2015 13:03 | Chris Johnstone

Czech ombudswoman Anna Šabotová has repeated her warnings about the state of some non registered care facilities for elderly in the country. She highlighted the state of four facilities across the country, two were so bad that the details were forwarded to state prosecutors with a view to possible criminal charges. The facilities were ostensibly run as pensions to bypass proper checks but nonetheless offered care for elderly. Šabotová’s office found that some of the elderly were not allowed to move about freely, they were not given enough food and drink, and the wrong drugs and doses were given to them. The number of elderly homes parading as pensions is not known. Šabotová first warned about such facilities last year. 



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