News Customs officers seize record 182 kg shipment of heroin

03-03-2014 17:43 | Jan Velinger

Czech customs officers at the weekend uncovered a record 182 kg shipment of heroin, worth almost 750 million crowns, being transported by truck. Jiří Barták, spokesman of the Customs Directorate, revealed the news on Monday, saying the shipment was the largest ever seized on Czech soil. Preliminary tests, he said, suggested the purity of the drug was 60 percent, while on the street the percentage would be far lower, around 15. The target destination, he suggested, was not the Czech Republic.

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Zeman arrives in China for events commemorating end of WWII

02-09-2015 09:48 | Ian Willoughby

Czech President Miloš Zeman has arrived in China, where he will take part in events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia. On Thursday he will attend a huge military parade in the centre of Beijing while his visit will also include talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. Mr. Zeman is the only European Union head of state or government taking part in the Chinese war commemorations. 

Football association deputy head to sue ex-referee over "mafia" charge

02-09-2015 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

The deputy chairman of the Czech Football Association, Roman Berbr, and the chairwoman of the referees commission, Dagmar Damková, say they will take legal action against former referee Libor Kovařík. In an interview for the newspaper Sport Mr. Kovařík said that Mr. Berbr – who is Ms. Damková’s life partner – controlled the country’s referees using mafia practices. Mr. Berbr said the pair had decided to turn the matter over to their lawyers as they had recently become the target of defamation and lies that harmed not only them but the Czech FA. Mr. Kovařík said he had retired because of Mr. Berbr’s alleged control of referees. 

Czech PM offers Serbian counterpart aid to help deal with refugees

01-09-2015 19:45 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has offered Serbia CZK 10 million in financial aid to help deal with a wave of refugees. Speaking on a visit to Belgrade on Tuesday, Mr. Sobotka also said he supported Serbia’s accession talks with the European Union, which he described as great progress. He offered his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic the help of Czech experts on both migration and EU accession. The two delegations at Tuesday’s talks also discussed mutual trade and investment opportunities. 

Watford loan Czech striker Vydra to Reading

01-09-2015 16:50 | Ian Willoughby

Czech striker Matěj Vydra has gone on a season-long loan from the English Premier League club Watford to Reading, who are in the second tier of English football, Sky Sports reported. Vydra scored 16 times for Watford last season as the club won promotion to the top flight. He had been at Watford on loan and only signed a permanent contract in July. The 23-year-old has scored four goals in 15 appearances for the Czech national team. 

Dalhgren unlikely to win release from custody, says lawyer

01-09-2015 16:44 | Ian Willoughby

A lawyer for Kevin Dahlgren says his client’s legal action against being remanded in custody on four counts of murder is unlikely to succeed, Czech Television reported. Attorney Richard Špíšek said the Regional Court in Brno was likely to issue a ruling on his client’s action within three weeks. Dahlgren on Monday became the first US citizen extradited to the Czech Republic, where the 23-year-old was wanted over the killing of four relatives of his in Brno in 2013. 

Chramostová becomes first inductee into National Theatre Hall of Fame

01-09-2015 13:32 | Ian Willoughby

The actress Vlasta Chramostová has been inducted into a new Hall of Fame at the National Theatre in Prague. Chramostová, who is 88 years old, was the first person honoured in this way. A signatory of the Charter 77 protest document, she was active in the Velvet Revolution. Speaking at Tuesday’s induction ceremony, Culture Minister Daniel Herman described her as a great moral paragon. 

Eurostat: Czech Republic among three EU states with lowest unemployment

01-09-2015 13:25 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is among the three European Union countries with the lowest unemployment, according to figures released by Eurostat on Tuesday. The Czech Republic, like Malta, had a jobless rate of 5.1 percent in July, with both behind Germany, which had an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. The EU average was 9.5 percent. 

Almost 120,000 first graders start school

01-09-2015 13:14 updated | Ian Willoughby

Almost 120,000 first graders started school on Tuesday morning as the 2015–2016 academic year got underway at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools around the Czech Republic. The overall number of pupils has increased by 30,000 since September last year, though demographic trends have resulted in a decline in numbers at secondary schools. The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, said on Tuesday that she planned to secure higher pay for teachers and to increase the number of psychologists and social workers working with schools. 

Austrian police charge Czech caught carrying three dozen refugees

01-09-2015 11:55 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Austria have charged a Czech man with people smuggling after catching him with 37 migrants in his truck near Vienna in July, a Czech Embassy official in the city told the website Echo24.cz. The man, who is said to be between 20 and 25 years old, is being held on remand and could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty. His lawyer said he had made a confession. 

Zeman tells schoolchildren he would vote for Rychetský as president

01-09-2015 11:35 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, told children at a primary school on Tuesday that if he were to choose his successor it would be Pavel Rychetský, the chairman of the Constitutional Court. He made the comment in a discussion with older pupils during a visit to their school in Prague as it reopened after the summer. Justice Rychetský served as deputy prime minister in a government headed by Mr. Zeman in the late 1990s. In an opinion poll in June he was named the third most trustworthy senior state official. 

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