News Czech PM calls for consideration of Ukraine minorities

21-03-2014 18:23 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka warned Ukraine authorities to prepare the foundations for the country’s continued integrity by reacting sensitively to the demands of ethnic minorities. Sobotka was speaking at the conclusion of a two-day summit of heads of government in Brussels. The Czech prime minister indicated recent attempts in Kiev to revoke the status of Russian as an official language in some provinces as an example of the problem. Separately, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said that an official delegation from Prague is preparing to leave for talks with the long term Czech population resident in Ukraine. Around 40 families in the Volyn region have asked for help to be repatriated to the Czech Republic.

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Over 900 Czech sights to open within European Heritage Days

25-08-2016 12:41 | Daniela Lazarová

More than 900 heritage sights in 150 Czech towns and villages will open to the public free of charge within the European Heritage Days held September 3-11, the ctk news agency says.The European Heritage Days traditionally offer access to architectonic and archaeological sights, sacral buildings as well as museums, galleries, libraries in 48 European countries. In the Czech Republic, not only official cultural heritage sites, but also many private and public buildings, such as town halls, courts, church institutions, schools and residential houses, which are normally not accessible, will open their doors to the public in the course of that week. 

President Zeman says Czech Republic should call for end to EU sanctions against Russia

25-08-2016 12:38 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic should join the states that are proposing a withdrawal of EU sanctions against Russia, President Miloš Zeman said at the opening of an agricultural goods fair in České Budějovice. The president argued that the sanctions had benefitted no one and were damaging both Czech farmers and the Czech industry. The sanctions are a sign of helplessness on the part of the EU and if our politicians want to help the agricultural sector they should take a clear stand in support of the states that propose a withdrawal of the EU sanctions, Zeman said. He pointed out that the French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had openly argued in favour of withdrawing the sanctions. The chairman of the Senate Milan Štech said he would address an appeal for the sanctions to be withdrawn to German Chancellor Merkel during her visit to Prague. 

Senate approves small alcohol tolerance limit for cyclists

25-08-2016 12:36 updated | Daniela Lazarová

The Senate has approved a proposed amendment to the law which would change the present zero alcohol tolerance for cyclists in the Czech Republic to a small amount of alcohol permitted. The proposal is based on the current norm in Austria which allows a blood alcohol level of up to 0.8 milliliters, the second most benevolent norm in Europe after Germany. This roughly corresponds to two or three beers or two glasses of wine. The proposed amendment was drafted on the grounds of a petition from close to 5,000 bikers. It will now be debated in the lower house. The Transport Ministry is vehemently opposed to the proposed change on the grounds that it would significantly decrease road safety. 

German Chancellor Merkel expected in Prague for talks

25-08-2016 11:06 | Daniela Lazarová

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to hold talks with top officials in Prague on Thursday, within a tour of several EU member states. Her talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and President Miloš Zeman are expected to focus on the future of the EU after Brexit, the migration crisis and bilateral cooperation in the field of science and research. Shortly after meeting with President Zeman at around 6pm, Chancellor Merkel will attend a dinner given in her honour at Prague’s Lichtenstein Palace. Several demonstrations have been announced in connection with the chancellor’s visit by both her critics and supporters. 

Eastern part of Prague to have water cut for four days

25-08-2016 09:25 | Ruth Fraňková

The eastern parts of Prague are set to undergo one of the biggest shutdowns of the municipal water system in years, due to an extensive renovation of a water main. The water was shut down on Thursday morning and water will not flow until August 29. The outage will affect some 17,000 residents in the eastern part of Prague as well as some villages outside the city limits. The Prague Water Supply and Sewerage Company has placed fifty water tanks in the streets but also advised people to stock up on water. 

Missing Czech woman found in New Zealand after four weeks

25-08-2016 09:03 | Ruth Fraňková

A Czech woman who was lost in a remote area of New Zealand for a month has been found alive in an unattended warden’s cabin, New Zealand media reported on Thursday. The woman and her partner had set out to hike the Routeburn Track, which winds through the mountains in the South Island. According to police the couple set on the trail on 26 July and the man fell down a steep slope on 28 July. The woman said she climbed down the slope and reached him but he died shortly afterwards. She had been taken to hospital for assessment and was in good health. 

Former lobbyist Marek Dalík to report to prison by September 1

24-08-2016 18:30 | Ruth Fraňková

Former lobbyist Marek Dalík is to report to Prague’s Ruzyně prison by September 1 to begin serving his four-year sentence for corruption, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. Dalík, who was a close associate of former prime minister Mirek Topolánek in the second half of the last decade, was found guilty of corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. Dalík’s defence lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. 

Finance and Foreign Ministers to attend meeting with German Chancellor Merkel

24-08-2016 18:19 updated | Ruth Fraňková

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek are scheduled to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Czech president Miloš Zeman and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The information was confirmed on Wednesday by president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček. The meeting will also be attended by Czech ambassador to Germany. Among the main topics on their agenda should be migration crisis and the impact of Brexit on the EU. Mrs Merkel, who will arrive in Prague for a one-day official visit, is also scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and pay a visit to the Czech Technical University. 

Court: hoisting red underpants over Prague Castle not a criminal act

24-08-2016 17:18 | Ruth Fraňková

A district court in Prague ruled on Wednesday that the activists who last year hoisted a giant pair of red underpants over Prague Castle in protest at the policies of President Miloš Zeman had not committed a criminal act. The three members of the Ztohoven guerrilla art group faced jail sentences of up to three years on charges of theft, disorderly conduct and damage to property. The court advanced the matter to the district authority of Prague 1, which is to decide if the act should be treated as a misdemeanour. The group replaced the presidential banner with a pair of underpants in a stunt in September last year. They later announced that they cut up the standard into 1152 pieces and gave it to people across the Czech Republic. 

Government approves teachers’ pay rise

24-08-2016 16:30 | Ruth Fraňková

The government on Wednesday approved a hike in the salaries of teachers and other school staff, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka informed on his Twitter account. The teachers will get an eight-percent pay rise, while other school staff will have their wages raised by five percent. According to the newly approved regulation, young teachers can expect their first salary hike after two years of teaching instead of the current six years. 


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