News Czech and Slovak banks sign agreement on supporting joint business ventures

29-07-2014 10:49 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic’s Export Bank and Slovakia’s Eximbank are to sign an agreement on cooperation in supporting joint Czech and Slovak business ventures abroad. The agreement, which is to be signed in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Tuesday, aims to bolster the two countries’ positions particularly on markets in the Far East where the now defunct label Made in Czechoslovakia still has a high brand awareness. The head of the Czech Export Bank Karel Bureš told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the agreement did not envisage the revival of the Made in Czechoslovakia label, an idea that was recently rejected by the Slovak president, but merely intended to support the two countries’ joint presence in business ventures and thereby increase their competitiveness.

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Police say a gang producing alcohol illegally cheated the state out of CZK 6.7 billion

23-09-2014 14:01 | Ian Willoughby

An alleged “spirts mafia” based in South Moravia cost the Czech state CZK 6.7 billion in unpaid taxes, detectives said on Tuesday. The extent of the suspected tax evasion is unprecedented. The police have concluded their investigation into the matter and handed the 13,000-page file to the Supreme State Attorney in Olomouc. Radek Březina, a Zlín-based businessman, is accused of being behind the production of over 20 million litres of untaxed alcohol from the late 1990s on. He is one of seven people under investigation. 

Senate candidate pictured in negligée pushing for free Viagra

23-09-2014 13:15 | Ian Willoughby

An ANO candidate standing in next month’s Senate elections who has appeared on billboards in a negligée says Czech health insurers should fully cover erectile-dysfunction drugs such as Viagra, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Laura Janáčková said at the launch of her programme on Tuesday that some men required the drugs as they were incapable of having quality sex lives otherwise. Ms. Janáčková, who is a psychologist, said she was inspired to appear in campaign materials in her underwear by an ad for the TV show Sex in the City. 

Prague 10 agrees 20-year contract to allow Bohemians to stay at Ďolíček stadium

23-09-2014 12:48 | Ian Willoughby

The Prague 10 municipal authority has agreed to allow the soccer club Bohemians 1905 to remain at their Ďolíček stadium for 20 years for rent of one crown a year. The contract will be signed as soon as Prague 10 acquires the property from current owners Bohemia Real, the district’s mayor, Bohumil Zoufalík, said on Tuesday. The move comes a week after Prague mayor Tomáš Hudeček said there were plans to knock the stadium down, a claim described as “nonsense” by Mr. Zoufalík. 

Zeman’s comments on Islam stupid and populist, says Halík

23-09-2014 12:02 | Ian Willoughby

Priest and theologian Tomáš Halík has described statements about Islam made by President Miloš Zeman as stupid and populist. Speaking on Rádio Impuls on Monday, he said the two gravest threats today were Russian aggression and Islamic State militants. He said the latter had been condemned by Islamic authorities, which was something Mr. Zeman had failed to take into consideration. The president has been criticised in the past for his statements about Muslims, including saying that “Islamic ideology” was behind an attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels. The recipient of last year’s Templeton Prize, Tomáš Halík has himself been spoken about as a possible future candidate for head of state. 

National Gallery’s only Rembrandt back on show after restoration

23-09-2014 11:37 | Ian Willoughby

An oil painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt has gone on show at the Czech National Gallery after a one-year restoration job. The painting, entitled A Scholar in His Study, dates from 1634 and is among the most valuable pieces in the institution’s collections. The only Rembrandt painting owned by the National Gallery, it is on display at its Sternberg Palace location at Prague Castle. 

Planned government legislation to curb gambling

23-09-2014 10:23 | Jan Richter

The Czech Finance Ministry is drafting legislation to curb gambling, the daily Hospodářské noviny reports. The bill should introduce the limit of one gambling bar per 1,000 inhabitants, and will only allow casinos in towns of 40,000 or more inhabitants. The legislation will also ban gambling bars near schools, public offices, playgrounds and hospitals, and in historic urban reserves, and will require staff at gambling bars to check whether their clients are not welfare recipients. The draft legislation should be discussed by the government until the end of the year, and enter into force in January 2016. 

Football: former Czech international Baroš set for Ostrava comeback

23-09-2014 09:51 | Jan Richter

Former Czech international Milan Baroš is close to signing a deal with his former club Baník Ostrava, the daily Sport reported on Tuesday. The 32-year-old striker, who most recently appeared for Turkish side Antalyaspor last December, was in the summer looking to join the newly formed Indian Super League but the plan was scrapped due to his knee injury. In the past, Baroš played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, Galatasaray and other clubs. 

Czech Olympic Committee clears Kreuziger of doping charges

22-09-2014 16:37 | Jan Richter

The Czech Olympic Committee has ruled that rider Roman Kreuziger did not breach anti-doping rules. In August, the Tinkoff-Saso rider was suspended by the International Cycling Union over irregularities in his biological passport registered in 2011 and 2012. However, the arbitration panel of the Czech Olympic Committee said on Monday that the anomalies did not exceed any limits. Monday’s verdict can be appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. 

New road connection between Brno and Vienna to open by 2018

22-09-2014 16:17 | Jan Richter

A new road connection the south Moravian city of Brno with the Austrian capital Vienna should be completed by 2018, Czech Transport Minister Antonín Prachař said after meeting the Lower Austrian governor, Erwin Pröll. Mr Prachař said the existing two-lane road between Brno and Mikulov was sufficient, and a bypass of the border town of Mikulov will be added to channel through traffic out of the town. In Austria, a motorway will be completed by 2017 that will end some 15 km south of the Czech-Austrian border. 

Stricter rules for Czech food importers

22-09-2014 14:17 | Jan Richter

The government on Monday approved stricter rules for Czech food importers. Companies importing animal food products and selected vegetable foodstuffs will have to notify the authorities two days before the arrival of the goods, and inform them of the planned retail price of the products. The government believes the rules will help prevent the Czech food market from being flooded with foreign products sold at dumping prices as a consequence of sanctions between the EU and Russia. 

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