News Dlouhý becomes new head of Czech Chamber of Commerce

23-05-2014 14:12 | Jan Velinger

Vladimír Dlouhý was elected the new head of the Czech Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, replacing Petr Kužel, who did not defend the post for family reasons. Four candidates vied for the post. Besides Dlouhý they were current Chamber vice-president and former head Zdeněk Somr, South Moravia's Regional Economic Chamber head Michal Štefl and Vladimír Opatrný from the Jablonec nad Nisou District Economic Chamber. Dlouhý is a former industry and trade minister and a former candidate for the head of state. He currently serves as an adviser to the investment bank Goldman. In the 1990s public opinion polls, Dlouhý ranked among the most popular policymakers in the country.

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A third of Czechs would vote for president Zeman in future poll for head of state

03-09-2015 16:59 | Ruth Fraňková

One third of Czechs would vote for Miloš Zeman if he stands in the 2018 presidential elections, according to a poll carried out by ppm factum agency in August. The Czech head of state was elected two years ago in the second round of elections with 32 percent of the vote; the poll suggests he would currently get 33 percent of the vote. When asked about the likely candidates for the next presidential elections, president Zeman was mentioned by 10 percent of respondents, followed by the current Finance Minister Andrej Babiš with seven percent and former Prime Minister Jan Fisher with six percent. Among the other names mentioned were Zeman’s previous election rivals Karel Schwarzenberg and Dawn Party leader Tomio Okamura. 

Two people charged over throwing eggs at Czech president

03-09-2015 15:34 | Ruth Fraňková

Police have charged two people who threw eggs at President Miloš Zeman at a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution last November, police spokesman Tomáš Hulan said on Thursday. The incident at Prague’s Albertov was previously treated as a misdemeanour, which could have been punished with a fine, but the state prosecutor ordered the police to investigate it as disorderly conduct. If found guilty, the offenders could face up to two years in prison. The head of state had angered critics by some of his comments in support of Russia and his use of offensive language on state radio. 

Police presidium to set new rules on identifying migrants

03-09-2015 13:54 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Police Presidium will set rules on how to identify migrants arriving in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday. The announcement came in reaction to foreign media and Jewish organisations criticising Czech police officers for writing numbers on the hands of 214 migrants at Břeclav railway station on Monday night. In its report on Wednesday, the BBC noted that the ink marks carried an unfortunate visual resemblance to the Holocaust. The Interior Ministry said that it was not a standard procedure, adding that the officers were under pressure of time and tried to keep family members together. 

Blanka tunnel to open on September 20

03-09-2015 13:16 | Ruth Fraňková

The newly-built Blanka tunnel in Prague is set to open on September 20, deputy mayor Petr Dolínek said on Thursday, adding that no special ceremony was planned for the event. The tunnel, which has been under construction since 2007, was originally scheduled to open in 2011 but has been dogged by problems. The latest deadline in April had to be postponed after it turned out that hundreds of kilometres of electric cables had to be replaced after being damaged by rainfall. The tunnel, which has come under criticism for massive cost overruns, has cost Prague nearly 37 billion crowns. It is currently undergoing final testing of technologies and security systems. 

Czech Post issues stamp in honour of Nicholas Winton

03-09-2015 11:50 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Post office has issued a special edition of stamps in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669, mostly Jewish children, by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. Sir Nicholas died on July 1 this year at the age of 106. The 13-crown stamp, entitled Tribute to Sir Nicholas, was designed by graphic artist Zdeněk Netopil. It was issued in 750,000 pieces and went on sale on Wednesday. 

Czech President Zeman holds talks with Vladimir Putin

03-09-2015 11:50 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech President Miloš Zeman held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Beijing on Thursday. The two heads of state are in China attending the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The two officials discussed security issues and the Czech president called on Russia to join the international effort to stop Islamic State terrorism. On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr Putin said he hoped that the trade exchange between Russia and the Czech Republic, now affected by sanctions, would improve. Miloš Zeman met with Vladimir Putin for the second time this year. In May, they conducted talks in Moscow on the occasion of the end of war celebrations. 

Czech Republic stops detaining Syrians headed for Germany

03-09-2015 09:06 | Jan Velinger

Czech police officers will no longer detain Syrian migrants, claiming asylum in Hungary but trying to reach Germany, the foreigners’ police department has revealed. The Czech Republic has seen a growing number of refugees travelling from Hungary to the Czech Republic to try and reach their German neighbours. As of now, the Czechs will offer Syrians already registered in Hungary asylum in the Czech Republic as well; Syrian migrants who decline are to be escorted to railway stations from where will be allowed to continue their journey. 

Prague preparing to help up to 200 refugee families

03-09-2015 08:54 | Jan Velinger

Prague City Hall is preparing plans to help up to 200 refugee families, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek has said. The idea was presented at a council meeting on Wednesday but the city will still have to draw up details for debate. The deputy mayor indicated that security was not the only factor in the current migrant crisis but also human decency. The aim is to especially help those with the very youngest children; families would not all be located in one area but across a number of city districts. 

Foreign minister approves three million in aid for the Gaza Strip

02-09-2015 18:12 | Jan Velinger

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek approves three million crowns in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip to be used in reconstruction and renewal. The funds are to proceed through UNWRA, the UN’s relief and human development agency. The Czech Republic is continuing in its policy to provide aid for the Palestine autonomous territories. 

Refugee camp goes up in Břeclav-Poštorná

02-09-2015 15:12 | Jan Velinger

Some 90 firefighters have completed putting up a refugee camp, comprising of 25 tents, in Břeclav-Poštorná to house an eventual 300 inhabitants. The camp is located at a monitored site; locals have also asked for increased security on town streets by the local police. Mayor Pavel Dominik and South Moravian governor Michal Hašek spoke to journalists, with the mayor saying that while locals were not happy about the centre it was better than migrants moving freely through the town and causing a fuss. He added the situation was “complicated but not tragic”. The town on Tuesday filed charges against an individual who tried to cause a stir by posting falsely on the internet that the camp was full with 4,000 people. The mayor stressed that it is empty at this time. 

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