News Czech PM says Czech Republic has not abandoned Havel’s legacy

03-07-2014 13:11 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has rejected the notion that under his leadership the Czech Republic has gradually been abandoning the late president Vaclav Havel’s legacy with respect to democratic principles and human rights observance in the world. In an interview for the ctk news agency Mr. Sobotka said that since taking office in January of 2014 his cabinet had considerably improved the country’s image abroad and was more successful than its predecessors in promoting Czech interests in the European Union. The coalition government has come under fire for fueling business ties with China at the cost of downgrading its support for Tibet. Mr. Sobotka said the Czech Republic was not ignoring human rights issues, merely strengthening economic diplomacy.

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PM Sobotka: Government’s stability allows it to undertake unpopular steps

25-10-2014 13:03 | Jan Richter

Nine months after its appointment, the Czech government is stable and can rely on sufficient support in Parliament, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in a statement marking a year since a snap general election. The government’s stability allows it to undertake unpopular measures including labour market and education reforms, the prime minister said. The government has successfully launched a public administration reform but should improve tax collecting and curb crime, according to Mr Sobotka. 

Czech TV drama wins Prix Europa award

25-10-2014 12:43 | Jan Richter

The television film Osmy (Wisdom Teeth or Eights), produced by Czech Television, has won the Prix Europa 2014 award for best TV drama. The film, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1980, follows the main character’s personal as well as political misfortunes. The jury said it was hilarious, and created black but warm-hearted absurd humour. The film is to premiere on Czech TV in December. 

Daylight saving time ends on Sunday morning

25-10-2014 11:58 | Jan Richter

Daylight saving time in the Czech Republic and other European countries ends at 3 AM on Sunday when clocks go back 60 minutes. The change will affect 13 night trains which will stop and wait for an hour at the stations to depart according to their regular schedules. Night public transport connections in Prague will not be affected by the change as they will complete their routes according to daylight saving time. 

Press: Slovak PM Fico among those set to receive Czech state decoration

25-10-2014 10:32 | Jan Richter

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is among those set to receive Czech state decoration on October 28, the country’s Independence Day, the daily Mladá fronta dnes reported. Mr Fico will be decorated for his contribution to friendship between the Czech and Slovak nations, the paper said, adding that Mr Zeman and Mr Fico are personal friends. The president’s office has not released the list of people set to receive the state honours on Tuesday but according to media reports, the president will among others decorate Sir Nicholas Winton who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Holocaust, and filmmaker Robert Sedláček who made a documentary about Mr Zeman before he became president. 

Football: Sparta, Slovan face sanctions over Europa League crowd trouble

24-10-2014 17:54 | Jan Richter

Sparta Prague and Slovan Bratislava face sanctions from UEFA, the governing body of European football, following crowd violence during their Europa League tie in Bratislava on Thursday night. The game was suspended for 40 minutes shortly before half time after violent exchanges occurred between fans of the teams. Sparta eventually won the game 3-0. The hosts now face stadium closure for failing to prevent the disturbances while Sparta’s fans could be banned from travelling to their team’s away games. Both clubs have condemned the incident. A verdict by UEFA’s disciplinary committee is expected next week, the Czech FA said. 

President Zeman on Chinese visit

24-10-2014 17:49 | Jan Richter

President Miloš Zeman is in China on the first official visit by a Czech head of state to the country in 10 years. Mr Zeman on Friday visited a trade show in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, and met with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to discuss plans to launch a direct flight connection between their countries, a spokesman for the Czech president said. Mr Zeman is accompanied by a large business delegation which includes representatives of Czech industrial companies, universities, wine producers, legal firms, railway operators, and others. The Czech head of state is scheduled to meet with the Chinese president and prime minister on Monday, the last day of his Chinese visit. 

Killer of Social Democrat figure sentenced to 17.5 years

24-10-2014 17:04 | Jan Richter

A man convicted of last year’s murder of an influential Social Democrat politician has been sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. The court said that the man, a former army officer, gunned down Roman Houska in front of his home in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem in what looked like an execution, and rejected the shooter’s claims that he acted in self-defence. Media reports described the killing as a contract murder but the court said no motive had been established. However, if new evidence emerges, the authorities will act accordingly, the court said. 

Tennis: Kvitová knocked out of WTA Finals

24-10-2014 16:54 | Jan Richter

Top Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová lost to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 2-6 3-6 in the group stage of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Friday, and has been eliminated from the event. Kvitová went ahead at the start of both sets but lost her lead after a series of errors and poor serving. The 24-year-old Czech said she was exhausted but would be in shape for the Czech Fed Cup team’s tie against Germany in Prague next month. 

Romany musician Eugen Horváth dies aged 74

24-10-2014 16:10 | Jan Richter

Renowned Romany musician Eugen Horváth died on Friday at the age of 74, the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno said. The Slovak-born Horváth, known as Janko, came from a musical family, and learned the play the violin at an early age. In 1969, he formed his own cimbalom band which recorded several albums including the 1992 record Gypsy Weeping. 

Finance Ministry cuts GDP growth forecast

24-10-2014 15:54 | Jan Richter

The Czech Finance Ministry has lowered its forecast for this year’s GDP growth to 2.4 percent, down from its previous estimate of 2.7 percent. The ministry said is cut the forecast due to revisions of the country’s economic growth in the previous quarters as calculated according to a new European methodology, known as ESA 2010. In the next two years, the ministry expects the economy to grow by 2.5 percent, mainly because of growing domestic consumption. 

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