News Deal reached to keep Prague’s Opencard in operation till end of June as city tries to strike deal with operator over price
Prague’s Opencard electronic card system will remain working as it is until at least the end of this month after the city authorities reached a deal with the company that operates it. There had been a threat that the firm eMoneyServices would stop issuing new cards from June 18. The two sides are in dispute over the cost of the service and councilors have threatened to do away with the Opencard entirely and return to paper travel passes only. Prague’s transport authority has said if no agreement on continuing with the card is reached it would be ready to have a paper ticket only system in place within weeks. eMoneyServices has significantly reduced its original price for continuing to operate the Opencard and talks with City Hall are still taking place. The card is used for transport and other services.
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The Czech Supreme Court has ordered the review of a case involving a former bankruptcy judge, Jiří Berka that was partially covered by a presidential amnesty, Czech TV reported on Wednesday. Mr Berka along with two associates faced accusations of sending up to 10 firms into bankruptcy on using counterfeit documents, causing damages worth 264 million crowns. Some of the charges were dropped due to an amnesty declared by then president Václav Klaus in January 2013. The Supreme Court has now ordered the case be heard again by a lower court.
Czech industrial firm could lose tens of billions of crowns over the short term due to sanctions between Russia and the EU, according to a survey by the country’s Confederation of Industry among their member companies. In the long run, however, the losses could amount to hundreds of billions. The machinery, energy, chemical and petrochemical sectors as well as agriculture technology and food industry are likely to suffer most due to the sanctions, according to the survey. The Czech government’s estimate of potential losses is much lower, of around 2.1 billion crowns. But the industry group says Czech companies’ sales to partners in Western Europe could also be affected by the sanctions.
Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of the oldest church yet found at Prague’s Vyšehrad, Czech Television reported. It would have been one of the largest churches in Central Europe in its day. Ladislav Varadzin of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences told Czech TV that its shape indicated it probably originated during the Byzantium Empire. The foundations were discovered around 150 metres from the main basilica at Vyšehrad, a historical fort probably built in the 10th century. The complex’s St. Martin’s Rotunda was previously believed to have been the first church there.
Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš has come in for criticism from some supporters for posting a photo of the band The Plastic People of the Universe on his Facebook page, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Members of the then underground group were imprisoned under the communist regime and they had strong links to the dissident movement. The MP shared a picture of the Plastic People on the social networking site, adding the word “legend”. Beneath this followers wrote comments such as “Why are you a Communist MP? Your legend was against socialism” and “junkies with unmelodic lyrics”.
The police have charged a man with pouring acid on a woman in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň in November last year. The women suffered chemical burns on her face, including her eyes, arms and legs, while she also apparently swallowed some of the liquid. The man, who the Czech News Agency reported had been the victim’s boyfriend, was arrested on Monday. He faces 15 to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempted murder.
The Czech government will next week discuss an intergovernmental donation of small arms munitions to the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting representatives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries on Tuesday. At the same time, the cabinet is supporting Czech firms that wish to sell weapons to the Iraqi Kurds, who have been facing an offensive from Islamic State, or ISIS, radicals. Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák said last week that Czech armaments could be on their way to Iraq by the end of this month. Talks between Prague and Kurdish representatives are ongoing.
Police in Germany have detained a Czech man on an arrest warrant issued in 1976, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The man, who is 67, was picked up at the airport in Frankfurt, where he had just landed on a flight from Brazil. Accused of committing sex crimes, he spent some time in custody in Germany almost four decades ago before fleeing to South America. Police in Frankfurt said he may have returned to the country because of home sickness.
Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř last week regained part of his property confiscated by the state, the news site Aktualne.cz reported. A court released valuables worth around CZK 30 million in order to sell them and raise damages, but Mr. Krejčíř’s lawyers applied for the property before his creditors did so and won it back. However, he does not have the right to take any action with regard to the items in question, according to the Chamber of Executors. Mr. Krejčíř escaped during a police raid on his Czech home; since 2007 he has been living in South Africa, where he has been linked to organised crime.
Swimmer Petra Chocová has set a new Czech record in the women’s 100m breaststroke. Chocová, who is 28, shaved 42 hundredths of a second off a record she herself set last year, finishing in a time of 1:07:66 in heats at the European Swimming Championships in Berlin on Tuesday. The Czech will also be attempting to defend her title in the 50m breaststroke, which she won at the previous European Championships two years ago.
Gottland, a documentary film inspired by a book uncovering various aspects of Czech culture and modern history, received a pre-premiere at a railway freight yard in Prague’s Žižkov district on Monday night. The film was shot by five documentary makers, several of whom were students when work on it began. The producers plan to only screen it at unusual venues and it will not get a cinema release. The book Gottland by Polish journalist Mariusz Szczygiel came out in 2007 and was recently published in an English translation.