News Czech photographer, former dissident Škácha dies at 72

29-03-2014 16:03 | Jan Velinger

Acclaimed Czech photographer Oldřich Škácha has died at the age of 72 after suffering from a long illness. Škácha, who worked in the past for numerous Czech magazines and Prague's Barrandov studios, was a member of the dissident movement in the 1970s and a signatory of Charter 77. He was also a long-time photographer of Václav Havel. Mr Škácha was the author of numerous important photographs including that of demonstrators carrying a blood-stained Czech flag after the Soviet-led invasion in 1968 or of Václav Havel writing his famous letter to Communist leader Gustav Husák.

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ANO remain ahead in latest opinion poll

13-10-2015 15:34 | Ian Willoughby

ANO would win elections with 23.5 percent, ahead of their coalition partners the Social Democrats on 21 percent, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by the Median agency. The Communist Party would finish third, with 14 percent, the survey suggests. TOP 09 enjoy the backing of 11.5 percent of voters, ahead of the Civic Democrats with 8.5 percent and the Christian Democrats with 6, the poll indicates. ANO have been consistently ahead in opinion polls for some time. 

Campaigners say government more interested in extracting taxes than tackling gambling addiction

13-10-2015 14:11 | Ian Willoughby

Anti-gambling organisations say the government is not interested in genuinely regulating the industry but rather wants to extract the most possible money from those addicted to gambling machines. Speaking on Tuesday, representatives of Transparency International and Citizens Against Gambling said they were not satisfied with a bill just approved by the government that would increase taxation on gambling machines. Well-known campaigner Matěj Hollan accused the minister of finance, Andre Babiš, of making light of the impact of gambling and seeking only to line the state coffers with the new legislation. 

Takeover of SABMiller will not affect Plzeňský Prazdroj beers in Czech Republic, say experts

13-10-2015 13:57 | Ian Willoughby

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s purchase of SABMiller, which owns the Czech brewery Plzeňský Prazdroj, will not impact the price or quality of the latter’s beers in the Czech Republic, according to experts cited by the Czech News Agency. Vladimír Balach of the Czech Union of Breweries and Malt Houses said the move would not affect the manufacture of the brewery’s Pilsner Urquell or Gambrinus brands. However, some experts believe the huge deal could help boost international sales of the Czech-produced brews, reported. 

Czech boss Vrba admits to fondness for Dutch football ahead of Amsterdam game

13-10-2015 12:52 | Ian Willoughby

Speaking ahead of a soccer game between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, Czech coach Pavel Vrba said he had supported the Holland team featuring Johann Cruyff as a child and remained a fan of Dutch football. Vrba said he wished the Netherlands could qualify for Euro 2016 but that the Czechs aimed to win every game they played. The Dutch need to win to keep alive their hopes of reaching the playoffs for Euro 2016. The Czech team qualified for the tournament with two games to spare. 

Ombudswoman: Children at asylum facility have worse conditions than Czech prisonsers

13-10-2015 12:36 | Ian Willoughby

Children at an asylum facility for refugees have worse living conditions than inmates in Czech prisons, says the country’s ombudswoman, Anna Šabatová. After a visit on Tuesday morning, she called on the country’s asylum facilities authority and the migration police to immediately improve conditions at the Bělá-Jezová centre in Eastern Bohemia. Mrs. Šabatová said the children had inadequate clothing and were frightened by the constant presence of police and security guards at the facility, which she said did not meet basic hygiene standards. Bělá-Jezová at present houses around 400 adults and 100 children. 

Police question ex-minister Langer and senior officers after series of raids

13-10-2015 12:19 | Ian Willoughby

The police’s organised crime unit are questioning former interior minister Ivan Langer and senior police officers after a series of raids on Tuesday morning relating to the giving and receiving of bribes and abuse of office. Czech Television said that the police’s internal affairs squad were questioning the deputy head of the anti-corruption police, Jiří Jach, and the director of the criminal police, Milan Pospíšek. A search has been conducted of Mr. Langer’s home in Olomouc and a business partner of his, Ivan Kyselý, is also been questioned. The extensive operation relates to the Ševětín solar power plant in South Bohemia, Czech Television said. The magazine Respekt recently reported that CZK 100 million had disappeared during its construction. 

Constitutional Court orders case on possible discrimination against Romanies to be reopened

13-10-2015 09:39 | Daniela Lazarová

The Constitutional Court has ruled on the reopening of a case pertaining to the possible discrimination of three Romanies who were refused accommodation in a hotel in north Bohemia. The three men claim that the receptionist had confirmed they had vacant rooms over the phone but refused to accommodate them when they turned up in person. A ruling by the regional court in Ustí nad Labem went in favour of the hotel which produced an earlier booking for all of the hotel’s 156 rooms by a German entrepreneur who allegedly failed to turn up. The Romanies are demanding an apology and 25,000 crowns in compensation. 

Czech Prison Service workers to help guard detention centres

12-10-2015 21:16 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Prison Service is to help guard Czech detention centres for migrants, the ctk news agency reports. Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has released 70 employees for the job at the interior minister’s request. Prison Service employees will be working overtime for free under an article of the labour code relating to exceptional circumstances. 

Jan Zátorský wins Czech Press Photo

12-10-2015 18:00 | Daniela Lazarová

The winner of this year’s Czech Press Photo is Mladá fronta Dnes photographer Jan Zátorský with a photo of migrants desperately trying to cross the Serb-Hungarian border. The picture, taken in September of this year won both the main prize, the Crystal Eye award for Photograph of the Year and best picture in the Spot News category. The jury assessed 3,700 photographs by close to 300 authors. The migrant crisis was a dominant theme this year. 

Czech government approves social housing concept

12-10-2015 17:08 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government has approved a concept on social housing as proposed by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. The concept, which is to serve as a framework for a law on social housing, envisages three forms of housing for the needy – crisis, social and affordable flats. The draft states under what conditions people will be eligible for social housing. The Czech Republic completely lacks social housing, a state of affairs that has repeatedly been criticized by NGOs and charities. 


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