News Czech FA chief: Failure to reach World Cup cost over CZK 300 million

11-06-2014 08:23 | Ian Willoughby

The chairman of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, says the country’s failure to reach the World Cup in Brazil has cost Czech soccer at least CZK 300 million. Speaking in Wednesday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes, Mr. Pelta said a third of that sum would have been spent on participation in the competition, but the rest would have gone to the Czech FA. He said the team, then managed by Michal Bílek, had failed to qualify from a relatively easy group because they had lost points in home games.

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Green Party puts focus on marijuana and shorter work week

30-11-2015 13:57 | Jan Velinger

The Green Party will push for legislative changes such as the legalisation of the growing of marijuana for both health and recreational use, as well as (with rising effectivity) a shorter work week, according to the party’s new policy programme agreed at the weekend. Party chairwoman Jana Drápalová made clear that Germany and Denmark were a source of inspiration for the party, which served in a centre-right government led by Mirek Topolánek. In elections in 2010 and 2013, however, the Greens did not get enough votes to make it into the Chamber of Deputies. 

Online Gulag museum to be launched next spring

30-11-2015 12:21 | Jan Velinger

The Gulag Online Museum presenting a 3-D reconstruction and virtual tour of the former Soviet labour camp system will be launched by the Czech association Archipelago in March or April of 2016, its head Štepan Černoušek has told the Czech News Agency. The aim of the project is to allow internet users to learn more about the infamous system and specific sites on the internet. The organiser said that while most people knew the names of Nazi concentration camps, and that museums had been built at sites annually visited by hundred of thousands of people, the names of Gulag labour camps such as Pechora, Kolyma, Norilsk or Yermakovo were far less known. He added that no museum had been built at the locations so far. 

Strong finish in music competition by controversial group more to do with message than music, say critics

30-11-2015 10:46 | Jan Velinger

An online music and style magazine rating the recent Czech Nightingale pop contest suggests that a strong finish in the survey by the group Ortel had less to do with music and more with the band's controversial image and texts, building primarily on fear in Czech society. In one of its videos, for example, frontman Tomáš Ortel sings in the position of a hostage held by Islamic militants. Another of the group's songs became an anthem for a Czech far-right party. Despite stoking controversy, the group is not considered an extremist band by one of the country's top experts on extremism, Miroslav Mareš, the Czech News Agency reported. On Saturday, Ortel came second in the Best Band category in the Czech Nightingale competition and its singer finished third as Best Male Vocalist. The results in the contest are determined by votes from the public. 

Government to discuss purchase of Javelin missiles and new radars

30-11-2015 10:43 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Army is planning the purchase of new radars and American-made anti-tank missiles, according to the Czech News Agency. The deal will be discussed by the government this week. Defence Minister spokesman Petr Medek said the equipment and missiles would bolster the country's military capabilities on foreign missions. The Javelin anti-tank missiles under consideration have automatic self-guidance on lock on before launch. The planned purchase of the missiles plus other equipment is expected to come to more than 500 million crowns. 

Football: Petr Čech, Arsenal, draw with Norwich City

30-11-2015 08:47 | Jan Velinger

Petr Čech remains one shy of tying clean sheet record set by David James in the Premier League. On Sunday, his club Arsenal appeared to be on its way against Norwich City, going up 1:0 on a chip from Mesut Ozil. But the Canaries tied the match before half-time. The game ended 1:1. Čech thanked fans for traveling to the away game and tried to take positives from the result in the social media. Arsenal are fourth in the standings. 

Prime Minister says Prague ready to provide part of EU financial support for Turkey

30-11-2015 08:36 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic is ready to contribute to planned EU support for Turkey to help the country deal with more than two million refugees, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed on Sunday ahead of the EU-Turkey summit. The Czechs are to provide the funds over two years. In total, the European Union is pledging to provide some three billion euros in funds to help Turkey tackle the migrant crisis but members require the country to boost security of its borders and to intervene effectively against people smugglers. The Czechs are to contribute between 300-400 million crowns in 2016 and a similar sum a year later. The largest contribution is to be made by Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. 

Babiš hits back at new TOP 09 leader, labelling him a 'political chameleon'

29-11-2015 14:36 | Jan Velinger

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, criticised by the newly-elected head of TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek, struck back in a statement for the Czech News Agency on Sunday that Mr Kalousek was a very able "political chameleon". He warned TOP 09 to be on its guard, suggesting that Mr Kalousek would be the first person to jump ship if the situation called for it. The comment is an apparent reference to TOP 09's founding by Messrs Kalousek and Karel Schwarzenberg in 2009, when the former was still a Christian Democrat. Mr Babiš also maintained that in the departure of Karel Schwarzenberg, the party had lost a "true leader". 

Czech government in favour of closer cooperation with Turkey

29-11-2015 14:22 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic is in favour of greater cooperation between the EU and Turkey with regards the migrant crisis, and is ready to supply 25 million euros in support. The Czech Republic is seeking Turkey to regulate migrants, protect its borders and stop human traffickers or people smugglers from operating freely. The prime minister was given the mandate to purse the goals ahead of Sunday's EU summit with Turkey. EU states already agreed to provide three billion euros to Turkey over two years to help tackle the migrant crisis. 

Kalousek slams political rival Babiš, warns of oligarchization

29-11-2015 13:02 | Jan Velinger

In a speech prior to his election as new chairman of TOP 09, Miroslav Kalousek outlined political priorities - foremost among them the need stand against what he described as an "unprecedented attack on free society". Mr Kalousek warned of growing oligarchization in the Czech Republic and against a government led by "one enlightened general", a clear barb at Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, the billionaire businessman with whom Mr Kalousek has routinely clashed in Parliament. In his speech, Mr Kalousek also warned of the growing influence of Moscow and suggested the Czech Republic needed to strengthen its position within the EU in response. 

Miroslav Kalousek elected new chairman of TOP 09

29-11-2015 12:39 | Jan Velinger

Former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek was voted in as the new chairman of TOP 09 on Sunday, receiving a strong mandate from delegates. Of the 171 who voted, Mr Kalousek received votes from 148 (86.5 percent). No one else at the party's congress ran for the top post. Likewise, Marek Ženísek, endorsed by Mr Kalousek, ran unopposed for the post of first deputy and received 71 percent.

A day earlier, Karel Schwarzenberg stepped down for age and health reasons but was elected honorary chairman and intends to still work closely with the party in the campaign in senate and communal elections. Mr Kalousek thanked him for his work as party leader and made clear Mr Schwarzenberg would continue to be a moral authority for TOP 09. 


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