News Czech president says Ukraine referenda illegitimate but could reflect views of part of population

12-05-2014 13:14 | Chris Johnstone

Czech president Miloš Zeman has said that referenda in two areas of Eastern Ukraine on autonomy could be taken as the expression of the desire of a certain section of the population although there was no question of recognizing the legitimacy of the votes themselves. The head of state’s stance was communicated on Monday by his spokesman. The Czech government, like others in Western Europe, has refused to recognize the referenda held over the weekend by Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Zeman urged as many Ukrainians as possible to take part in presidential elections on May 25. Many Russian speakers in the east say they will boycott them. President Zeman has sought to position himself as a possible intermediary in the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

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Man arrested for shooting at people with air pistol from flat window

29-08-2016 14:23 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Prague have arrested a 47-year-old man for shooting at people from his apartment window with an air pistol, the news website iDnes.cz reported. A 55-year-old man was injured and ended up in hospital as a result of Sunday’s incident, which took place in the Palmovka district of the city. The shooter could face three to 10 years in prison if found guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm. Witnesses said the shots were targeted at homeless people drinking on a bench. 

Prisoners to keep working at call centre for mobile operator

29-08-2016 14:14 | Ian Willoughby

Inmates at a prison in Vinařice, central Bohemia are to be allowed to continue working in a call centre, Czech Television reported. They will again offer the services of mobile operator T-Mobile, a project that was previously halted over fears that the prisoners could get access to customers’ private information. However, the Office for the Protection of Personal Data dismissed those concerns as unfounded. The Ministry of Justice says working can encourage prison inmates to learn work habits and reduces the likelihood of their reoffending. 

Czechs preparing for first games under Jarolím

29-08-2016 14:06 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech national soccer team have gathered in Prague ahead of their first games under new coach Karel Jarolím. The Czechs are set to face Armenia in a friendly in Mladá Boleslav on Wednesday before taking on Northern Ireland in Prague in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday. Five players, including Petr Čech, retired from international football after the recent Euro 2016, at which the Czech Republic picked up just one point in three games. 

Slavia sack manager Uhrin after poor start to season

29-08-2016 12:21 | Ian Willoughby

Slavia Prague football club have sacked their manager, Dušan Uhrin Jr. Slavia have only five points after only four league games so far this season and lost a Europa League playoff against Anderlecht 6:0 on aggregate. Their latest defeat came against Viktoria Plzeň at the weekend. The chairman of Slavia’s board, Jaroslav Tvrdík, said he expected to see the next management team introduce marked changes in both style of play and the attitude of players. 

Babiš to again propose reducing VAT on draught beer to cabinet

29-08-2016 11:53 | Ian Willoughby

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš is planning to submit a plan to reduce value-added tax on draught beer to the coalition for the second time at a meeting on Wednesday. Mr. Babiš wants draught beer to be moved from the 21-percent to the 15-percent VAT band. When he put forward the same proposal in January he said it would help pubs hit by increased costs stemming for an electronic cash-register system connected to a tax authority database. Coalition partners the Social Democrats responded with a proposal to cut VAT on essential foodstuffs. The right-wing opposition said Mr. Babiš’s plan amounted to populism and pre-election campaigning. 

Lightning knocks out tram and trolley bus services in Plzeň

29-08-2016 11:52 | Ian Willoughby

Tram and trolley bus services in Plzeň were disrupted on Monday morning when lightning struck an electrical substation in the West Bohemian city. The lightning hit a building in central Plzeň that serves as an operating centre for tram and trolley bus electrical substations, knocking them out for around 40 minutes. Public transport officials dispatched substitute buses but they failed to satisfy passenger demand at a time when many people were going to work. 

Record highs were measured in seven areas on Sunday

29-08-2016 06:12 | Jan Velinger

Seven measuring stations in the Czech Republic (operational for at least 30 years) recorded record highs on Sunday, August 28. The heatwave largely affected parts of Central and West Bohemia. The highest temperature measured on the day (although not a record there) was in Brandýs nad Labem: 33.7 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to drop on Monday. 

President: Discussion with Merkel was "calm and pragmatic"

29-08-2016 06:09 | Jan Velinger

In an interview for commercial radio station Frekvence 1 on Sunday, President Miloš Zeman described as "calm and pragmatic" a discussion on the migration issue he had last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Last Thursday, Mrs Merkel arrived on an official visit to Prague, meeting with her counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka as well as the president. The visit was billed as an opportunity for the two sides to discuss bi-lateral projects as well as the future of the EU. Merkel admitted that the one area where she and Czech representatives failed to see eye to eye was on migrant redistribution. 

Czech Republic will accept no migrants from Turkey before the end of the year, says Interior Minister

28-08-2016 15:38 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic will not accept any migrants from Turkey before the end of the year, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec confirmed on Sunday, speaking on a political debate program on Czech TV. The country was originally to have taken 81 migrants in October but the government indicated earlier the vetting process would take longer. Minister Chovanec made clear that the process was very strict following the recent failed coup in Turkey; in his interview he also stated that tough diplomacy was needed to get Greece to "start meeting its obligations concerning migrants". 

Pilot dies in ultralight plane collision

28-08-2016 15:21 | Jan Velinger

One pilot, aged 50, was killed and another injured when their ultralight planes collided in the area of Olomouc on Saturday evening. The police are investigating the incident, which also caused damage worth four million crowns. 

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