News Customs officers detain foreign national for ivory smuggling

25-07-2014 15:47 | Jan Velinger

Customs officers detained a foreign national at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport earlier this week, who had tried to smuggle 24 kilos of ivory on the Prague – Seoul route. The information was released on Friday by the spokeswoman for the Czech Environment Inspection office. The ivory, tusks from the protected African elephant, had been sawed down to size: fifteen pieces which had been wrapped individually and hidden in two pieces of luggage. It is the third time this year that an ivory smuggler at Václav Havel Airport has been caught.

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Claudio Magris to be awarded Franz Kafka prize

27-10-2016 08:18 | Chris Johnstone

Italian scholar, writer, and essayist Claudio Magris will be awarded this year’s Franz Kafka prize in Prague on Thursday. Born in Trieste in 1939, Magris is known for his focus on Central Europe and German. His most famous book, Danube, followed the course of the river through the region. Magris’ wok first appeared in Czech in 1992. He will be the 16th winner of the Franz Kafka award, which seeks to give recognition to writers who have followed in the literary path of the celebrated Czech 20th century writer. 

TV talk show featuring Jiří Brady pulled at last minute

27-10-2016 08:18 | Chris Johnstone

The scandal around the alleged withdrawal of a state honour to Holocaust survivor Jiří Brady has taken a new turn with news that an episode of the popular talk show Jan Kraus on commercial broadcaster Prima failed to be screened. The episode, recorded on Tuesday, was supposed to go out on Wednesday night. Prima said that was not possible because the copy of the recording arrived late. An earlier episode was repeated instead. The station’s version was challenged by the show’s producer, who said it was delivered as usual and in time. Other guests on the show, such as musician Anna K, have complained of media censorship. Jan Kraus, known for his outspoken comments and stand against corruption, has not commented so far. Brady, the uncle of culture minister Daniel Herman, has been in the spotlight the last week in a scandal focused on whether the president’s office first offered him a state award and then warned it would be withdrawn if the minister met with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. 

Lower house passes 2017 budget deficit proposal of 60 billion crowns

26-10-2016 18:55 | Chris Johnstone

The lower house of parliament in first reading passed on Wednesday evening the broad outline of the budget for 2017. This counts on a budget deficit of 60 billion crowns next year compared with the approved deficit of 70 billion crowns this year. Opposition parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats failed to push through a proposal to get the approved deficit for next year cut by a further 30 billion crowns to a final 30 billion crowns. Lawmakers can now propose changes within the agreed overall budget and spending and revenue raising limits. 

Robert Šlachta appointed to top post in customs administration

26-10-2016 16:37 updated | Chris Johnstone

Former top policeman Robert Šlachta has been appointed deputy general director of the Czech Customs Administration in charge of investigations and searches, the administration said on Wednesday. Šlachta was a central figure in the recent row over the reorganisation of elite police units which pitted government parties against each other. He resigned as head of the special police unit for combatting organised crime in June in protest at what he described as a politically motivated shake up aimed at curbing his force’s effectiveness. The customs administration said Šlachta was successful in his application in the tender for its high level job, it previously reported that there were no other candidates. 

Coalition agreement signed for South Moravia region

26-10-2016 16:09 | Chris Johnstone

Political parties in South Moravia have signed a coalition agreement. The deal covers ANO, the Social Democrats, Mayors for South Moravia, and TOP 09 and Žit Brno. That grouping should have 34 seats in the 65-seat assembly. The lead candidate for hejtman or regional leader is ANO’s Bohumil Šimek. Previously the region was governed by a partnership of the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. 


26-10-2016 14:45 | Chris Johnstone

The weather on Thursday will be cloudy with some sunny intervals and top daytime temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius. Some parts of the country could see fog and light showers. 

Prague airport destinations increase with new winter timetable

26-10-2016 14:44 updated | Chris Johnstone

Eleven new destinations will feature in the winter timetable out of Prague’s Václav Havel airport taking effect from October 30. Two new long distance flights to China feature for the first time in the new timetable. As well as that, new services will launch to Tunisia and Radom in central Poland. In total, 105 destinations to 39 countries will be offered out of Prague. 

Czech R&D spending climbs by 3.6 billion crowns in 2015

26-10-2016 12:24 | Chris Johnstone

Czech spending on research and development continues to climb and is already at one of the highest levels per capita among new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year R&D spending rose by 3.6 billion crowns (around 145 million euros) to 88.7 billion crowns, according to latest figures from the Czech Statistical Office. That represented a 4.2 percent increase on the previous year. Czech R&D spending has risen by two-thirds over the last five years. The proportion of spending per capita is second in Central Europe, bettered only by Slovenia. 

Czech Republic climbs World Bank business environment rankings

26-10-2016 11:36 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Republic has climbed the World Bank’s annual rating of countries for their business environment. In the Doing Business 2017 survey, the Czech Republic is now placed 27th, up nine places on its position a year earlier. The latest position is also the best ever for the country and an advance of 47 places compared with the placing in 2010. One black point in the survey is the red tape needed to get building permits where the country’s performance actually worsened from year to year. 

Police officers face criminal proceedings over Prague store stabbing

26-10-2016 11:35 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech police inspectorate has called for criminal charges to be pressed against two police officers over an incident this summer when a patient released from a Prague psychiatric hospital went on to stab to death a customer in a superstore. The police officers were called to an incident two weeks earlier when the patient attacked another person in a Prague café. The 33-yearold woman was taken back to hospital but police failed to give staff the information about the attack. Soon afterwards the woman was released from the hospital again and on the same day carried out the knife attack in central Prague. 


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