News Czech Republic will try to access EU funds to subsidize eco-heating on broader scale

17-05-2014 11:24 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic will try to access EU funds to subsidize eco-friendly pellet stoves that will reduce pollution in areas where coal burning is the main form of heating, according to Environment Minister Richard Brabec. Minister Brabec said the ministry would strive to get the equivalent of nine billion crowns for this purpose between 2014 and 2020 which could finance around 150,000 eco-stoves. The money would be used predominantly in the most polluted eastern parts of the country where air-pollution is a massive problem. So far these subsidies have been funded from government funds to the tune of 220 million crowns.

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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. 

Anti-corruption police raid Prague’s municipal services firm

30-07-2014 12:24 | Jan Richter

Detectives from the anti-corruption unit of the Czech police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of Pražské služby, a city-run firm providing municipal services in the capital, the news website lidovky.cz reported. A spokesman for the unit did not comment on the operation but the website said the police were searching for documents possibly related to the firm’s multi-billion deals on waste collection as a planned acquisition of an additional stake in the company by Prague City Hall. 

Top court strikes down legislation denying tax breaks to working pensioners

30-07-2014 12:13 | Jan Richter

The Czech Constitutional Court has struck down legislation that denies tax breaks to working pensioners in the past two years. Acting on a motion filed by a group of senators, the court said the legislation created inequality by only denying tax breaks of some 25,000 crowns to people who were receiving pensions on January 1 of the given year but not others who might began receiving pensions on any other day. The legislation was introduced in 2013 as part of the centre-right government’s austerity measures. However, the lower house of Parliament is set to vote on a bill that would re-introduce tax breaks for working pensioners regardless of the Constitutional Court’s verdict. 

Attack victim Hrůza brought out of induced coma

30-07-2014 09:30 | Ian Willoughby

Doctors have brought musician Michal Hrůza out of an induced coma, his manager told reporters. The singer and songwriter, who is 43, suffered brain injuries as a result of being attacked in Ostrava nearly two weeks ago after reportedly attempting to calm an altercation on the city’s bar-filled Stodolní Street. Hrůza was in the city to perform at the Colours of Ostrava music festival. 

Sparta beat Malmo 4:2 in Champions League third qualifying round first leg

30-07-2014 09:23 | Ian Willoughby

Sparta Prague beat the Swedish club Malmo 4:2 in the first leg of their third round qualification tie for European soccer’s Champions League on Tuesday night. Sparta twice fell behind but recovered thanks to a hat-trick from captain David Lafata. The away leg takes place in Sweden next Wednesday. If the Czech title-holders capitalise on their advantage they will enter the final qualifying round for the lucrative competition. 

Former chief hygiene officer gets suspended sentence over dubious contract

29-07-2014 19:17 | Ian Willoughby

A Prague court has handed former chief hygiene officer Michael Vít a three-year suspended sentence for signing unnecessary contracts for advisory services while he was a deputy minister for health in 2007. Mr. Vít was found guilty of exceeding the powers of an official and breach of trust. He has been ordered to repay the ministry CZK 1.7 million crowns. The verdict can be appealed. 

Draft legislation envisages ban on smoking in Czech restaurants from 2016

29-07-2014 16:12 | Ian Willoughby

Smoking in restaurants and pubs in the Czech Republic could become illegal from January 2016, under a bill being prepared by the Minister of Health, Svatopluk Němeček, for presentation to the government later this year. Mr. Němeček has drawn on a previous unsuccessful amendment put forward by a predecessor, Leoš Heger, but has made some changes to the draft legislation, including adding a provision under which electronic cigarettes would be permitted in eateries. An estimated 30 percent of Czechs smoke, with around 18,000 people dying as a result of smoking in the Czech Republic every year. 

Exhibition maps history and renovation of Hus statue in Prague

29-07-2014 14:13 | Ian Willoughby

The City Gallery Prague has launched a panel exhibition by a statue of Jan Hus on the city’s Old Town Square mapping the history and ongoing restoration of the large piece. The material holding the different parts together has been replaced, while the next phase of the renovation project will involve conservation work on the bronze exterior, cleaning the stone and renewing the seams. The job is set for completion next year, which will be the 100th anniversary of the statue’s unveiling and the 600th anniversary of Hus’s death. 

Foreign Ministry advises Czechs not to travel to Libya

29-07-2014 13:38 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning to Czech citizens not to travel to Libya. Ministry spokesperson Johana Grohová said any Czechs already in Libya were advised to leave the country as its government was not in control of the security situation amid fighting with militias. The conflict has led to the closure of the international airport in Tripoli. Ms. Grohová said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unaware of any Czechs being in Libya, though it did know of 10 who had married into local families. 

Ministry rejects pardon request from double-murderer Kajínek

29-07-2014 12:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Ministry of Justice has turned down a pardon request from Jiří Kajínek, who is serving a life sentence for two counts of murder and one of attempted murder in 1993. Mr. Kajínek, who claims he was framed, has twice failed in appeals to the Constitutional Court to have his case reopened. Czech Television reported that the ministry had written to the prisoner on Monday to inform him of its decision. The minister of justice, Helena Válková, has said she regards Mr. Kajínek’s sentence as overly harsh, though President Miloš Zeman said he would not pardon him as his life was not in danger. 

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