News Czechs honour four soldiers killed in Afghanistan suicide attack

10-07-2014 15:04 updated | Chris Johnstone

Sirens sounded and bells tolled across the Czech Republic at midday on Thursday in homage to the four Czech soldiers who were killed in a bomb attack near the Bagram airport in Afghanistan on Tuesday. A fifth Czech who was seriously injured has been operated on again in hospital and is said to be in a stable but serious condition. He will not be able to return home for at least 10 days.

The bodies of the four in coffins draped with the national flag were airlifted back to Prague’s Kbely military airport on Thursday afternoon. President Miloš Zeman, Defense Ministry officials and members of the soldiers’ special unit were present to pay their respects. Flags have been being flown at half mast and candles light. All four soldiers will be awarded medals for bravery in memoriam. President Zeman said the men’s actions in Afghanistan helped protect civilians from attack at home and that was the main significance of their sacrifice.

Parachutists from the brigade in Chrudim, eastern Bohemia, where three of the four dead soldiers were based will start a public collection. Money collected will be divided between the families of the bereaved.

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Ostrava Transport to invest in new trams

25-07-2016 18:03 | Jan Velinger

Ostrava Transport, running public transit in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city, is planning on expanding and upgrading its existing tram fleet with 40 new low-floor trams. The news was confirmed by the agency’s head, Roman Kadlučka. The company wants the new vehicles to offer commuter comfort inclduing air conditioning. The tender is to be conducted online for reasons of transparency. The deal is worth a reported 1.4 billion crowns. 

First group of Czech competitors arrives at Olympic Village

25-07-2016 16:43 | Jan Velinger

The first group of Czech athletes has arrived at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the upcoming summer games. According to news site idnes, the team had expressed relative satisfaction with the accommodation and found no problems, the head of the Czech delegation Tomáš Houska, confirmed. Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Italy found the facilities lacking, idnes reported, saying that Australian athletes were looking for alternative accommodation at local hotels. 

French President Hollande to meet with Czech head of state on working visit

25-07-2016 16:21 | Jan Velinger

French President Francois Hollande will arrive in the Czech Republic on Wednesday on an official working visit, when he will meet with Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman. The news was confirmed on Monday by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for the Czech head of state. During his visit, President Hollande will also meet with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr Hollande was originally scheduled to travel to Prague last week but the date was postponed in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice which claimed 84 lives. 

Crime rate falls in first half of 2016

25-07-2016 15:51 | Jan Velinger

The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell by 11.3 percent in the first half of 2016, according to police statistics released on Monday. In all, the police registered some 115,314 crimes in the first six months. Of those, some 42.5 percent were reportedly solved. Out of crimes committed, 7,735 were violent. There were 65 murders, down by 24 from the same period last year. The region of Central Bohemia had the most with 13 while Liberec had none. 

UK to extradite Czech businessman František Savov

25-07-2016 13:57 | Jan Velinger

Czech businessman František Savov is to be extradited from Great Britain to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday citing spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová of the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague. She spoke after a court in London rejected his appeal over an earlier ruling loast year. Mr Savov, best-known as the owner of Mlada fronta publishers, is wanted on the suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering going into the hundreds of millions of crowns. The 44-year-old businessman has denied any wrongdoing. 

Ministry report says extremist groups lost ground in second quarter

25-07-2016 12:58 | Jan Velinger

A report on extremism published by the Interior Ministry suggests that extremist groups in the country lost momentum in the second quarter, not finding new topics to attract potential supporters besides the migrant crisis. Right-wing groups in particular have been further weakened as they compete for the largely the same followers. According to the report, the most significant recent development from the persepctive of Czech extremists was Brexit (the decision by Great Britain to leave the European Union). 

Poll: Most Czechs support right of child adoption by registered same-sex couples

25-07-2016 12:03 | Jan Velinger

More than three-fifths of Czechs in a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency said they supported the right of adoption by same-sex couples. Less than one-third of those who took part in the survey said they were against. Lawmakers are currently debating an amendment dealing with ‘second-parent adoption’, granting the non-biological partner in a registered partnership the same legal rights to the child; the earliest that the debate will continue is in September. 

Tripartite consensus not yet likely on increasing of minimum wage

25-07-2016 11:47 | Jan Velinger

A meeting of the tripartite – government, union and employers representatives – is not likely to reach a consensus on Monday on a raising of the minimum monthly wage, the Czech News Agency reports. According to the service, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has backed an increase of no more than 700 crowns per month for a total of 10,600 crowns, which is also seen as suitable by employers. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wants the total to be 11,000 and unions 500 crowns more. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has backed an increase to at least 11,000. The monthly minimum wage was last raised at the beginning of 2016 – from the previous 9,200 crowns to the current 9,900. 

Spending watchdog highlights accounting flaws in interior ministry books

25-07-2016 09:09 | Chris Johnstone

State spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has reported auditing mistakes to the tune of 4.9 billion crowns in the books of the Ministry of Interior for 2014. The main factors in the flawed accounting were failures to properly account for the impact of a series of agreements made by the ministry and its estimation of property assets. The ministry said that no cash was missing and that steps have been taken to address the accounting mistakes. 

Roman Kreuziger ends 10th in final Tour de France rankings

25-07-2016 08:39 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger ended tenth in the Tour de France on Sunday, his fourth top 10 placement. He was just over seven minutes off the winning time of Chris Froome. Kreuziger moved up to 10th place overall from 12th on Saturday after coming sixth in the stage after an aggressive move to break free of the pack. He was helped by fellow team member, Slovak Peter Sagan. Kreuziger’s best ever placing in the tour was fifth in 2013. He had previously been placed three time in the top 10. 

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