News Czech economy grows by 2.5 percent in first quarter

04-06-2014 11:31 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech economy has grown by 2.5 percent in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period a year earlier according to the Czech Statistics Office. That’s a lot higher than was previously expected and the strongest quarterly figure for the last three years. The office has previously estimated that the economy grew by 2.0 percent between January and March. Even so, the advance puts the Czech economy just slightly below the level it was at in the third quarter of 2011, when the country started to slip into recession.

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President speaks at NATO Days

21-09-2014 14:09 | Jan Velinger

Czech President Miloš Zeman, speaking at Mošnov in Ostrava on Sunday, the second day of NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days attended by thousands of visitors, reiterated that fewer tanks and more unmanned drones were needed in the fight against terrorism, specifically Islamic State. The president has made the case before, namely at the recent summit in Wales. On Sunday, Mr Zeman also congratulated the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, on his election to be the next chairman of NATO's Military Committee. In his speech, he also touched upon the usefulness of the country's supersonic Gripen fighter jets, which are to begin a mission in helping to protect Iceland's air space. 

Tennis: Plíšková wins second career title

21-09-2014 11:34 | Jan Velinger

Twenty-two-year-old women's tennis player Karolína Plíšková has won her second career title, winning in the final of a WTA tournament in Seoul. Plíšková defeated opponent Varvara Lepchenko in three sets by a score of 6:3, 6:7 and 6:2. The player has had an excellent season, reaching four finals this year. Last year, the player secured her first title in Kuala Lumpur. 

Kateřinice selected as Village of the Year

21-09-2014 11:26 | Jan Velinger

Kateřinice, in the region of Zlín, has won the prestigious title of Village of the Year in a popular competition, beating out 12 other finalists, including Ořechov and Nová Hradečná. In all, 306 municipalities took part in the competition this year - the 20th inception. The local mayor thanked all those who took part who helped to secure the win. Kateřinice boasts a population of more than 1,000 inhabitants and rich array of organisations including a local choir and the boy scouts. 

Man drowns trying to save dog

21-09-2014 11:10 | Jan Velinger

A 34-year-old man drowned on Saturday in the Ostravice River in Frýdlant after jumping off a weir into the water to try and save his dog caught in a whirlpool. He was himself caught and dragged under. Rescuers called to the scene pulled the man from the water after some 20 minutes and tried to save his life. They were able to only briefly resuscitate his heart. 

Amateur racers die on Brno Circuit

21-09-2014 10:55 | Jan Velinger

Two people - amateur motorcycle racers - died in a race on the Brno (formerly Masaryk) Circuit on Saturday and two others were seriously injured, after they were caught in a collision in the mass start. One of those killed in the accident died instantly; medics tried but were unable to save the life of the other gravely injured rider. Those injured were taken to the emergency ward at the Brno Teaching Hospital. The Brno Circuit was rented for the race, a spokesman told the Czech News Agency. 

Legendary singer Tony Bennett performed in Prague on Saturday

21-09-2014 10:37 | Jan Velinger

Legendary American singer Tony Bennett performed in Prague on Saturday - just his second appearance in the capital. The last time was 17 years ago. Bennett, who turned 88 in August, has been touring across Europe; his next stop will be in Brussels. On Saturday, the 17 Grammy holder included signature tunes as well as classic jazz standards. 

Prime Minister calls election of Czech general as chairman of NATO's Military Committee a major diplomatic success

21-09-2014 10:16 | Jan Velinger

The prime minister has called Saturday's election of Czech General Petr Pavel as the next chairman of NATO's Military Committee a "major diplomatic success", for the Czech Republic - one that recognised the Czech Army's contribution within the alliance. The defence ministry reacted similarly, called his election an expression of trust by fellow NATO members towards the Czech Republic. On Saturday, General Pavel was elected to the post at the committee meeting in Vilnius. He will replace the present committee head, Danish General Knud Bartels, next year. General Pavel is the first representative of a NATO east European member country to hold the senior post. The Military Committee chairman is NATO´s highest military authority and chief military adviser to NATO's secretary general. 

General Petr Pavel elected chairman of the NATO Military Commitee

20-09-2014 18:23 | Jan Velinger

The Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, will be the new chairman of the NATO Military Committee, according to information obtained by the Czech News Agency. General Pavel was elected to the post at the committee meeting in Vilnius on Saturday. He will replace the present committee head, Danish General Knud Bartels, next year. General Pavel is the first representative of a NATO east European member country to hold the senior post. In the vote, committee members chose the Czech over rival candidates from Italy and Greece. His mandate will last three years and can be prolonged.

The Military Committee chairman is NATO´s highest military authority and chief military adviser to NATO secretary general. In this respect, Pavel will cooperate with Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, who will take up the post of secretary general next month. The Military Committee is the supreme military body of NATO. It can submit proposals and recommendations to the North Atlantic Council, the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group. 

Tennis: Plíšková reaches fourth WTA final

20-09-2014 14:56 | Jan Velinger

Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has reached her fourth final this year on the WTA tour. In Seoul she defeated Russian opponent Maria Kirilenko 4:6, 7:6, 6:3. She will face Uzbek-American Varvara Lepchenko for the title. 

Railway fans mark 111th anniversary of electrified railway route

20-09-2014 14:49 | Jan Velinger

Around 30 travelers in period costumes on Saturday marked the 111th anniversary of the founding of the first electrified railway route in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the so-called 'Bechyňka' from Tábor to Bechyně, boarding an historic train called the Elinka. The route and railway car was the design of renowned inventor Frantíšek Krǐźik. A two-way trip on the historic train cost those who took part 500 crowns. 

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