News Czech Republic for tougher sanctions against Russia

11-05-2014 16:30 updated | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic would like to see tougher sanctions imposed on Russia over the country’s involvement in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Zaorálek also criticized independence referenda staged by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The voting will not solve Ukraine’s problems, according to the Czech foreign minister who instead called for diplomatic negotiations with the participation of representatives of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions where the referenda are taking place.

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Czech PM meets with Austrian chancellor

31-07-2014 13:04 updated | Jan Richter

Austrian Chancellor Walter Faymann arrived in Prague on Thursday for talks with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Their agenda included plans to improve cross-border transport infrastructure including the modernization of railway connections between Vienna and Prague. Also on the agenda were candidacies for the European Commission as both the Czech Republic and Austria are hoping to clinch the post of commissioner for regional policy. On Thursday, Prime Minister Sobotka and his Austrian counterpart agreed to meet in the future on a regular basis, also incuding Slovakia's prime minister; the next meeting is expected to take place next spring. 

Daily: Czech-owned military helicopters dependent on Russian supplies

31-07-2014 12:54 | Jan Velinger

A possible decision by Russia to halt supplies of spare parts for military helicopters, in response to EU sanctions, would paralyze the Czech military, financial daily Hospodářské noviny writes. Such a move would ground the military’s fleet of 16 Mi-171s. Overall, the Czech Army has around 50 Russian-made helicopters. Citing analysis by the Defence Ministry, the daily reports the aircraft could only operate for six months without a new influx of parts and supplies. The Mi-171s are highly-regarded within the military, otherwise easy to maintain and capable of operating in adverse weather conditions, the only “flaw” being their dependency on spare parts from Russia, the daily writes. To fulfil urgent tasks, the military needs a minimum of 12 helicopters in operation. A short-time solution, in case of a supply halt, would be the "cannibalisation" or taking parts from some of the aircraft for use in others. In the meantime, the military would have to seek Western-made helicopters to replace the Mi-171s. 

Česka spořitelna posts 4.6-percent profit decrease in H1

31-07-2014 09:30 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic’s biggest bank, Česká spořitelna, has posted a consolidated net profit of 7.78 billion crowns for the first six months of the year which is 4.6 percent less than in the same period last year. The bank’s operating profit remained at 11.47 billion. The bank said the decrease in profit was due to decreasing prices of financial services as well as growing costs of commissions paid for credit and debit card transactions. Česká spořitelna’s parent company, Austria’s Erste Group Bank, has meanwhile posted a loss of nearly 930 million euros for the first six months of 2014. 

Court clears TV anchor of communist-era secret police collaboration allegations

30-07-2014 17:28 | Jan Richter

A court in Prague on Wednesday ruled that a former anchor for the commercial Czech TV channel Nova, Karel Voříšek, was wrongfully listed as a collaborator of the communist-era secret police, the StB. Mr Voříšek stopped working for Nova in 2012 after allegations surfaced that he reported to the StB on his fellow students while studying at the Faculty of Arts of Prague’s Charles University in 1980s. 

Czech Aeroholding’s operating profit down in 2013

30-07-2014 16:48 | Jan Richter

The state-owned Czech Aeroholding’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or EBITDA, reached 2.2 billion crowns last year, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. That is 0.4 billion less than in 2012. The company took in 16.3 billion crowns in revenues last year. The company said the results were affected by the incorporation of the carrier Czech Airlines and Prague’s Václav Havel Airport into the firm. 

Opposition slams government for not backing Israel in UN vote

30-07-2014 16:32 | Jan Richter

The opposition Civic Democrats have slammed the centre-left Czech government over what they called a diversion from the country’s policy of supporting Israel. The party criticized the fact that last week, the Czech Republic was one 17 countries that abstained from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s actions in Gaza. Civic Democrat chair Petr Fiala demanded explanation from Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, and said Israel deserved the Czech Republic’s full support. In a reaction, Minister Zaorálek said the Czech position on the UN vote had been coordinated with other EU member states. 

Social Watch criticizes Czech Republic over social housing, anti-Romany riots

30-07-2014 14:23 | Jan Richter

Social Watch, an international anti-poverty advocacy group, has criticized the Czech Republic over increasing numbers of overpriced and substandard accommodation facilities often used by the poor, and continuing anti-Romany rallies. In its annual report for 2013 released on Wednesday, the group says the country was affected by chaos, incompetence, record-high unemployment and decreasing living standards for a majority of the population. The group has also criticized a lack of women in the lower house of Parliament and other top political positions. 

Czech PM: EU’s sanctions on Russia won’t hurt Czech economy

30-07-2014 13:56 | Jan Richter

Extended EU sanctions against Russia adopted over Moscow’s alleged support for the rebels in Ukraine will not have any significant impact on the Czech economy, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said in a statement on Wednesday. The sanctions are targeting Russia’s oil sector, defence equipment and sensitive technologies. However, the Czech Republic’s trade to Russia is based on civilian goods, Mr Sobotka said. The opposition Civic Democrats have questioned the prime minister’s claim, and said any effective sanctions must also logically hurt those who impose them. 

Report: Student allowed to retake exit test after accusing teacher of anti-Islamism

30-07-2014 13:44 updated | Jan Richter

The regional authorities in Ústí nad Labem have allowed a Muslim student to repeat her school-leaving exams at a local secondary medical school after she accused one of the teachers on the examination board of anti-Islamism, the news website reported on Wednesday. The student reportedly failed her Czech language exam in May; she claimed she was deliberately failed because she had objected to the teacher showing students anti-Muslim videos during his classes. The teacher, who also serves as an evangelical pastor in the city, has denied the accusations but the regional authorities have approved the student’s request to resit the exams. 

Heavy storms with hail to hit Czech Republic

30-07-2014 12:30 | Jan Richter

Meteorologists have warned of heavy storms with hail that are to hit the Czech Republic on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. The storms are expected to move in from Germany to western Bohemia before advancing to the east of the country. The warning is in place until Thursday evening. Meteorologists have also warned that torrential rain could flood roads and buildings in low-lying areas. 



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