News Distributor of methanol-laced liquor accepts 15-year prison term

19-06-2014 10:40 | Jan Richter

A 54-year-old man convicted of distributing methanol-laced liquor has accepted a 15-year prison term, his attorney told the news agency ČTK on Thursday. The man was found guilty of serving as the main distributor of the deadly mix that killed around 50 people in the Czech Republic over the past two years. He was sentenced along with nine other people in May; another two men, convicted of consciously adding the deadly methanol into bootleg liquor, landed life sentences.

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Czech foreign minister denies claim more migrants being smuggled through Czech Republic

29-04-2016 13:44 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek on Friday denied claims that following the closure of the Balkans route there has been a rise in the number of refugees being smuggled through the Czech Republic. According to the German daily Passauer Neue Presse people smugglers are now using the Czech Republic as an alternate route. Since Monday German police are reported to have detained 14 groups of refugees on the Czech-Bavarian border. The Czech foreign minister said no such tendency had been registered and stressed that the Czech Republic was perfectly capable of securing its border against illegal migrants. 

Czech Republic to appoint ambassador to Cuba

29-04-2016 12:52 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic should appoint an ambassador to Cuba within a matter of months, due to a thaw in diplomatic relations, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said at a press briefing in Prague on Friday. The foreign minister said the ground had been prepared and both sides were interested in taking diplomatic relations to a new level. The Czech Republic has been one of the loudest critics of human rights violations in Cuba which left a mark on bilateral relations. Zaorálek said the last twelve months had seen a marked improvement in communication. Both countries want to boost trade and broaden cooperation in the areas of culture and education. 

Leader of nationalist party questioned by police

29-04-2016 12:04 | Daniela Lazarová

Adam Bartoš, the leader of a fringe far-right National Democracy party has been questioned by the police in connection with statements he made at a Prague rally against Islam. Bartoš slammed the Czech government for its “soft” policy on the migrant issue saying the politicians in office were traitors who deserved the ultimate punishment. The head of the National Democracy party spent the night in detention while the police searched his home and office confiscating documents and computers. 

Czech police officers leave for Lesbos to help with migrant crisis

29-04-2016 11:34 | Daniela Lazarová

Twenty-nine Czech police officers left for the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday where they will join an international team serving under the European agency Frontex. The group is to help escort refugees from Greece back to Turkey under the conditions of an agreement between the EU and Turkey. Eleven other Czech officers are already there and are helping to register migrants. There are currently some 4,000 refugees on the island. 

Czech confidence in EU drops to new post 2003 low

29-04-2016 08:25 | Chris Johnstone

Czech confidence in the European Union has fallen to its lowest level since the country voted to join the political and economic grouping in a referendum in 2003, according to a survey. The survey by the CVVM company shows that now around just over a third of Czechs, 38 percent to be precise, say they now have confidence in the EU. A year earlier the confidence percentage was 52 percent. The rapid fall since then is largely due to the EU’s perceived handling of the immigration crisis. The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004. 

President Zeman clouds Czech foreign policy: Association for International Affairs

29-04-2016 08:24 | Chris Johnstone

The Prague-based Association for International Affairs has identified President Miloš Zeman as one of the most problematic factors in the country’s foreign affairs. In its annual assessment of the past year and pointers for the current one, the association highlighted how Zeman put himself out on a limb by attending end of WWII ceremonies in Moscow and Beijing. Some of his statements conflicted clearly with government policy. The prime minister and foreign minister should clearly distance themselves from Zeman’s stances otherwise Czech foreign policy would be unreadable for outsiders, the assessment added. The assessment said attempts to build a strategic dialogue with Germany and South Korea were pluses. On the immigrant crisis though, the Czech Republic was too often reactive, isolationist, and short on positive proposals to strengthen the Schengen area or tackle the crisis, it added. 

ČEZ seeks to bolster safety checks following Dukovany problems

28-04-2016 17:53 | Chris Johnstone

Czech electricity giant ČEZ says it is has relocated and cut pay of some workers responsible for failures at its Dukovany nuclear plant last year which resulted in drawn out outages at reactors. The state-controlled company also said that it changing safety check procedures after a sub-contractor was found to have carried out flawed X-ray checks on pipe welds at reactors. ČEZ says around 100 new specialists will be hired at the reactors, a lot more work will be handed to daughter company ÚJV Řež, and steps will be taken to limit sub-contractors from re-sub-contracting work. 

Chinese company signs 1.0 billion crown investment deal for Sokolov

28-04-2016 16:44 | Chris Johnstone

The Chinese auto and farm machinery producer Shijiazhuang Zhogxing group has signed an agreement with Czech company Czech Industry Group which includes the investment of 1.0 billion crowns in a new plant near the West Bohemian town of Sokolov to make car discs. The Chinese company is one biggest producers of such discs in the world. The new factory is expected to employ 100 initially, eventually rising to 200 people. There is an above average unemployment rate of around 8.6 percent around Sokolov. 

Czech president visits scandal linked Stork’s Nest farm

28-04-2016 13:53 | Chris Johnstone

President Miloš Zeman has visited the notorious Stork’s Nest farm linked to ANO leader and minister of finance, Andrej Babiš. The farm was at the centre earlier this year of a scandal over whether Babiš, the owner of the massive agro-chemical group Agrofert, wrongly claimed European funds for the conversion of the complex. Babiš eventually told a special session of the lower house that the farm was owned by his daughters and son-in-law. The president’s visit is being taken as a sign of close links between Babiš and Zeman and their possible mutual support in upcoming election battles. The use of funds for the farm is still being investigated by a European fraud squad. 

Javelin medal hope Barbora Špotáková’s comeback delayed

28-04-2016 13:04 | Chris Johnstone

The comeback of one of the biggest Czech hopes for a gold medal in the Summer Olympics is encountering some problems. Javelin record holder Barbora Špotáková is still unable to train regularly after a bone fracture suffered in March. The athlete had been hoping to take part in her first major Diamond League appearance of the season at Qatar next week but that has now been cancelled. She now expects to compete at the earliest in June. 


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