News Czech towns and cities mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

28-04-2014 12:29 | Daniela Lazarová

A number of Czech towns and cities marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday with traditional outdoor ceremonies at which the names of Holocaust victims are read out by politicians, church dignitaries and leading cultural figures. In the Czech capital the ceremony took place at Prague’s Náměstí Míru square attended among others by the minister for human rights and minorities, Jiří Dienstbier, the Israeli ambassador to Prague Garz Koren and others. The event, held for the 9th year now, is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust.

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Cold spells brings strong wind and first snow

22-10-2014 14:02 | Ruth Fraňková

Strong winds caused problems around the Czech Republic on Tuesday night, damaging roofs, breaking off tree branches and bringing down power lines. Dozens of incidents required the assistance of fire fighters. The sudden spell of cold weather has brought the first snow in the mountain regions. In Krušné hory in the north-west of the country, fresh snow fell overnight in areas higher than 600 metres above sea level. Snow was also reported in the Šumava mountain range in the south-west and in the Krkonoše mountains in the north-west. 

Senate approves abolition of health care fees

22-10-2014 13:59 | Ruth Fraňková

The Senate on Wednesday approved the abolition of direct payments in health care, introduced by the former centre-right government of Mirek Toplánek in 2008. Under the new bill, patients will no longer be required to pay 30 crowns for every visit to the doctor and a 30-crown fee for medical prescriptions in pharmacies. The only fee that will remain in effect is a 90-crown fee for emergency visits. The new bill should come into effect in January 2015. 

Hundreds of rescue workers take part in simulated terrorist attack

22-10-2014 13:58 | Ruth Fraňková

Hundreds of rescue workers, firefighters, soldiers and police officers took part in an operation simulating a terrorist poison attack in the Prague metro in the early hours of Wednesday. The operation was to check out the response and readiness of the emergency forces to this kind of situation and to examine the coordination of various parts of the rescue system. The simulated attack started at 1A.M. on Wednesday, when the terrorists broke a bottle containing sarin on the platform of the Andel metro station, killing ten people and leaving dozens of others wounded. Zdeněk Schwarz, head of the Prague Ambulance Services, said he was happy with the course and results of the training. 

Prague to ban hawking of guided tours beneath Old Town Hall clock

22-10-2014 07:06 | Ian Willoughby

Prague is to ban people from offering guided tours of the city from the area beneath the astronomical clock at the Old Town Hall. The prohibition is set to come into effect from November 5. The guided tour sellers will be allowed to ply their trade at other spots elsewhere on the historic Old Town Square, which attracts millions of tourists every year. The Prague authorities also want to introduce exams for would-be guides and to be allowed to re-examine those who currently hold licenses to give tours. 

Kvitová loses to Radwanska in first outing at WTA Finals

22-10-2014 07:06 | Ian Willoughby

World number three Petra Kvitová lost her opening match at the prestigious season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore on Tuesday. The Czech lost 2-6 3-6 to Agniszka Radwanska of Poland after making numerous unforced errors in the late night White Group encounter. Kvitová, who is current Wimbledon champion, has only beaten another top 10 player once in her last six attempts. The other players in the White Group in Singapore are Maria Sharapova of Russia and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki. 

Actor minister’s role in TV crime series sparks row

21-10-2014 16:49 | Ian Willoughby

The Civic Democrats failed to have a discussion of Defence Minister Martin Stropnický’s involvement in a TV series included on the agenda of the Czech lower house on Tuesday. The party’s Jana Černochová said that the character played by Mr. Stropnický – who is an actor – in a TV crime show presented soldiers as drug dealers and murderers, thus harming the Czech Army’s image. For his part the ANO minister said TV broadcast fiction, not reality. The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Jan Hamáček, had earlier described the latest episode of the show Kriminálka Anděl as spitting in the face of the country’s armed forces. 

Czech car production set to reach record 1.2 million this year, says industry chief

21-10-2014 14:15 | Ian Willoughby

Car production in the Czech Republic looks set to reach a record 1.2 million in 2014 the president of the country’s Automotive Industry Association, Martin Jahn, said at a regional gathering of carmakers on Tuesday. That would represent year on year growth of over 6 percent and would be higher than the growth rate for Europe as a whole. Parts makers in the Czech Republic should record an even bigger year-on-year increase in output, said Mr. Jahn. The current record for car production is 1.195 million, registered in 2011. 

Controls for Ebola begin at Prague airport

21-10-2014 12:59 | Ian Willoughby

Controls for the disease Ebola began at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport on Tuesday morning. Arriving passengers who have been in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in the previous 42 days have to have their temperature taken and undergo an interview at an anti-epidemic centre installed at the airport. If any indications of Ebola are detected, they will be taken to an infections clinic at the capital’s Na Bulovka hospital. 

Buffalo to retire Hašek’s no. 39 jersey before game with Detroit

21-10-2014 12:18 | Ian Willoughby

The NHL club Buffalo Sabres will retire the no. 39 jersey worn by Czech goaltender Dominik Hašek on January 13, the night the club play the Detroit Red Wings, with whom Hašek won his two Stanley Cup championships. The goalie spent nine seasons with Buffalo before being traded to Detroit in 2001. Hašek won the Vezina trophy as the league’s best goaltender six times and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player twice while at Buffalo. He is being inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame on November 17 and will be the first Czech to receive the honour. 

At least 30 percent of Czech playgrounds faulty, says consumer group

21-10-2014 12:06 | Ian Willoughby

Thirty percent of children’s playgrounds and sports grounds tested every year by the Czech Trade Inspectorate are faulty in some way, the head of the Czech Consumer Association, Libor Dupal, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Mr. Dupal said the actual percentage of dangerous playgrounds could be higher, adding that the Trade Inspectorate had limited powers when it came to such checks. The consumers group presented a guidebook outlining how operators could fulfill European norms with regard to playground and sports ground safety. 

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