News Český Aeroholding boss Miroslav Dvořák steps down

23-07-2014 14:52 | Chris Johnstone

The head of state aviation holding company Český Aeroholding has resigned from his post. Miroslav Dvořák’s departure as board chairman was announced in a press release on Wednesday. He has been under pressure from finance minister and ANO party boss Andrej Babiš to step down. The post will be filled by his former deputy, Václav Řehoř. The change must still be approved by Korean Air, which has a minority shareholding in Czech Airlines. Český Aeroholding’s main asset is its ownership of Prague’s main Václav Havel airport.

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President’s advisor and Lukoil executive receives diplomatic passport

07-10-2015 13:26 | Ruth Fraňková

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a diplomatic passport to Martin Nejedlý, head of the Czech branch of the Russian-based oil firm Lukoil and chief advisor to President Miloš Zeman, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Wednesday. The document was requested by the Office of President Miloš Zeman. Diplomatic passports are usually issued only to Foreign Ministry employees and certain high officials. The information was confirmed on Wednesday by president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček, who said Mr Nejedlý was a regular member of the president’s entourage on trips abroad. 

Exhibition on Wenceslas Square commemorates Sir Nicholas Winton

07-10-2015 11:58 | Ruth Fraňková

An open-air exhibition in remembrance 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, gets underway on Wenceslas Square in Prague on Wednesday. The exhibition, consisting of 28 panels with photographs presenting the life story of Winton and the children he saved, premiered in Prague and London in 2011, and it will run through the end of October. Sir Nicholas died on July 1 this year at the age of 106. 

PM Sobotka: Syrian migrants in Middle East and Africa pose serious threat of further migration

07-10-2015 11:57 | Ruth Fraňková

There are over 10 million Syrian migrants in the Middle East and North Africa, who pose a serious risk of further migration, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a night meeting of the National Security Council, citing the Czech intelligence services. Among other topics discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by President Miloš Zeman, were strategies on reinforcing the Czech military and police. Both documents have been approved and will now be discussed by the cabinet. 

Press: Czechs kidnapped in Lebanon still alive

07-10-2015 09:54 | Ian Willoughby

Five Czechs who were kidnapped in Lebanon in July this year are still alive, Právo reported on Wednesday. Czech security agencies have received evidence of the five’s well-being from an intermediary, the daily said, adding that they are evidently still in Lebanon. A source told Právo that the kidnapping was linked to the detention of Lebanese man Ali Fayad, one of three people arrested in Prague on charges of planning to sell weapons and drugs to US agents posing as members of Colombia’s FARC. A Prague court recently ruled that they could be extradited to the US. 

Czech Republic likely to send weapons to help Kurds fight Islamic State, says Stropnický

07-10-2015 09:14 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech government is considering sending machine guns to help Kurds in Iraq fighting Islamic State. Speaking at a meeting of the State Security Council on Tuesday evening, the minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said it was very probable that the weapons would be sent. Minister Stropnický said Prague would discuss the matter with the United States as its forces would make any such delivery. The Czech government has in the past approved the donation of ammunition and hand grenades to the Kurds. 

Prague to send diplomatic note to Norway over Michalák brothers case

07-10-2015 09:13 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic will send a diplomatic note to Norway on Wednesday in protest at a decision by Norwegian authorities that the six-year-old son of Czech woman Eva Michaláková can be adopted by his current foster parents. She has also been barred from having any contact with her second son, who is 10. Speaking on Tuesday night, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the country’s social affairs minister would seek an explanation from the Norwegian authorities on the ruling, which Prague says reneged on a previous agreement. The government has also encouraged Mrs. Michaláková to explore all avenues of appeal in Norway and if that fails to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Mynář to appeal vetting rejection Wednesday, says Zeman

06-10-2015 19:08 updated | Ian Willoughby

The president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář will file an appeal at the National Security Authority on Wednesday against its rejection of his application for top level security clearance, President Miloš Zeman told the Czech News Agency. The head of state indicated that Mr. Mynář was minded to try all avenues of appeal, including at the Supreme Administrative Court. He said that the BIS secret police had previously given the head of his office the security all-clear. Mr. Zeman has in the past said that Mr. Mynář cannot remain in the post if he fails to pass the National Security Authority vetting process. 

Czech ambassador to Norway should be recalled for consultations over Michalák brothers decision, says Zeman

06-10-2015 17:57 updated | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says the Czech ambassador to Norway should be recalled to Prague for consultations, after a decision under which Czech woman Eva Michaláková will no longer be able to see her two boys taken into care four years ago. Earlier the president had said that expelling the Norwegian ambassador to Prague over the matter – as suggested by Christian Democrat MEP Tomáš Zdechovský – was not a bad idea. The head of state also backed Mrs. Michaláková’s planned appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said the decision of the Norwegian authorities had been reckless. 

Lasers and single barriers aimed at improving safety at level crossings

06-10-2015 17:35 | Ian Willoughby

New laser detectors are to be installed at dangerous railway crossings in the Czech Republic, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, said on Tuesday. The lasers will monitor the crossings, with information about potential obstructions being instantly relayed to train drivers, the minister told journalists. In another move to improve safety, barriers at level crossings will only be in place at the entrance to such crossings in future, meaning there will be nothing preventing drivers exiting the space. Three people died recently when a high speed train collided with a truck at a railway crossing in North Moravia. 

Zaorálek protests to Norway's ambassador after ruling under which Czech woman may not see children again

06-10-2015 17:20 updated | Ian Willoughby

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, summoned Norway’s ambassador to Prague, Siri Ellen Sletner, for a meeting on Tuesday to protest at what he called an egregious breach of a previous agreement after the Norwegian authorities ruled that the six-year-old son of Czech woman Eva Michaláková can be adopted by his current foster parents. Mrs. Michaláková has also been barred from having any contact with her second son, who is 10. Norwegian social services took the two children into care in 2011 over suspicions of sexual abuse and neglect. The Czech side had been told that adoption would not take place if a biological parent expressed interest in a child, Mr. Zaorálek said. Mrs. Michaláková is planning to appeal the decisions at the European Court of Human Rights, though a previous petition to hear the case was rejected by the court. 


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