News Celebrations marking Bohumil Hrabal centenary launched in Brno

25-03-2014 09:48 | Daniela Lazarová

Celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Czech novelist Bohumil Hrabal have kicked off in his birthplace, the city of Brno. The series of events, leading up to Friday’s anniversary, include theatre performances and film screenings of his works, lectures and exhibitions documenting the authors life and work. The celebrations will culminate with a street party outside Hrabal’s family house in Židenice during which the organizers plan to release a hundred pigeons.

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Top court orders review of former bankruptcy judge case

20-08-2014 12:24 | Jan Richter

The Czech Supreme Court has ordered the review of a case involving a former bankruptcy judge, Jiří Berka that was partially covered by a presidential amnesty, Czech TV reported on Wednesday. Mr Berka along with two associates faced accusations of sending up to 10 firms into bankruptcy on using counterfeit documents, causing damages worth 264 million crowns. Some of the charges were dropped due to an amnesty declared by then president Václav Klaus in January 2013. The Supreme Court has now ordered the case be heard again by a lower court. 

Industry group: Czech firms to lose dozens of billions over EU-Russia sanctions

20-08-2014 12:01 | Jan Richter

Czech industrial firm could lose tens of billions of crowns over the short term due to sanctions between Russia and the EU, according to a survey by the country’s Confederation of Industry among their member companies. In the long run, however, the losses could amount to hundreds of billions. The machinery, energy, chemical and petrochemical sectors as well as agriculture technology and food industry are likely to suffer most due to the sanctions, according to the survey. The Czech government’s estimate of potential losses is much lower, of around 2.1 billion crowns. But the industry group says Czech companies’ sales to partners in Western Europe could also be affected by the sanctions. 

Archaeologists discover foundations of possible Byzantine-era church at Prague’s Vyšehrad

20-08-2014 08:18 | Ian Willoughby

Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of the oldest church yet found at Prague’s Vyšehrad, Czech Television reported. It would have been one of the largest churches in Central Europe in its day. Ladislav Varadzin of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences told Czech TV that its shape indicated it probably originated during the Byzantium Empire. The foundations were discovered around 150 metres from the main basilica at Vyšehrad, a historical fort probably built in the 10th century. The complex’s St. Martin’s Rotunda was previously believed to have been the first church there. 

Communist MP criticised by supporters for liking Plastic People

20-08-2014 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš has come in for criticism from some supporters for posting a photo of the band The Plastic People of the Universe on his Facebook page, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Members of the then underground group were imprisoned under the communist regime and they had strong links to the dissident movement. The MP shared a picture of the Plastic People on the social networking site, adding the word “legend”. Beneath this followers wrote comments such as “Why are you a Communist MP? Your legend was against socialism” and “junkies with unmelodic lyrics”. 

Man charged with acid attack on reported ex-girlfriend

19-08-2014 19:00 | Ian Willoughby

The police have charged a man with pouring acid on a woman in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň in November last year. The women suffered chemical burns on her face, including her eyes, arms and legs, while she also apparently swallowed some of the liquid. The man, who the Czech News Agency reported had been the victim’s boyfriend, was arrested on Monday. He faces 15 to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempted murder. 

Government to discuss munitions donation to Iraqi Kurds next week

19-08-2014 16:56 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech government will next week discuss an intergovernmental donation of small arms munitions to the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting representatives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries on Tuesday. At the same time, the cabinet is supporting Czech firms that wish to sell weapons to the Iraqi Kurds, who have been facing an offensive from Islamic State, or ISIS, radicals. Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák said last week that Czech armaments could be on their way to Iraq by the end of this month. Talks between Prague and Kurdish representatives are ongoing. 

German police arrest Czech man on arrest warrant issued in 1976

19-08-2014 14:23 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Germany have detained a Czech man on an arrest warrant issued in 1976, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The man, who is 67, was picked up at the airport in Frankfurt, where he had just landed on a flight from Brazil. Accused of committing sex crimes, he spent some time in custody in Germany almost four decades ago before fleeing to South America. Police in Frankfurt said he may have returned to the country because of home sickness. 

Fugitive Krejčíř regains part of property seized by state

19-08-2014 12:41 | Ian Willoughby

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř last week regained part of his property confiscated by the state, the news site Aktualne.cz reported. A court released valuables worth around CZK 30 million in order to sell them and raise damages, but Mr. Krejčíř’s lawyers applied for the property before his creditors did so and won it back. However, he does not have the right to take any action with regard to the items in question, according to the Chamber of Executors. Mr. Krejčíř escaped during a police raid on his Czech home; since 2007 he has been living in South Africa, where he has been linked to organised crime. 

Chocová sets new Czech record in 100m breaststroke

19-08-2014 11:46 | Ian Willoughby

Swimmer Petra Chocová has set a new Czech record in the women’s 100m breaststroke. Chocová, who is 28, shaved 42 hundredths of a second off a record she herself set last year, finishing in a time of 1:07:66 in heats at the European Swimming Championships in Berlin on Tuesday. The Czech will also be attempting to defend her title in the 50m breaststroke, which she won at the previous European Championships two years ago. 

Gottland documentary screened for first time in Prague

19-08-2014 11:06 | Ian Willoughby

Gottland, a documentary film inspired by a book uncovering various aspects of Czech culture and modern history, received a pre-premiere at a railway freight yard in Prague’s Žižkov district on Monday night. The film was shot by five documentary makers, several of whom were students when work on it began. The producers plan to only screen it at unusual venues and it will not get a cinema release. The book Gottland by Polish journalist Mariusz Szczygiel came out in 2007 and was recently published in an English translation. 

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