News Draft legislation envisages ban on smoking in Czech restaurants from 2016

29-07-2014 16:12 | Ian Willoughby

Smoking in restaurants and pubs in the Czech Republic could become illegal from January 2016, under a bill being prepared by the Minister of Health, Svatopluk Němeček, for presentation to the government later this year. Mr. Němeček has drawn on a previous unsuccessful amendment put forward by a predecessor, Leoš Heger, but has made some changes to the draft legislation, including adding a provision under which electronic cigarettes would be permitted in eateries. An estimated 30 percent of Czechs smoke, with around 18,000 people dying as a result of smoking in the Czech Republic every year.

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Many institutions to mark 700 years since birth of Charles IV

30-11-2015 17:36 | Jan Velinger

Many Czech cultural, academic and professional institutions will mark the 700th anniversary of the famous Czech monarch and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV next year. Details of the programme were unveiled on Monday. The National Gallery will present a unique series of exhibits in the sphere of culture and arts focussing on Charles IV's day, the gallery’s director Jiří Fajt said. The government is likely to sponsor projects by providing funding of around 90 million crowns. A final sum has not yet been approved, but will in any case be lower than the originally proposed limit of 250 million. On Monday, organisers also revealed the official logo. 

Landa cancels 2016 tour

30-11-2015 16:41 | Jan Velinger

Czech singer Daniel Landa has cancelled a tour which had been scheduled in major cities across the Czech Republic next year, citing security reasons. He made the announcement at a press conference on Monday, suggesting he could not justify bringing together large groups of people at concerts as details about his involvement in a secret project emerged. The singer claimed he had worked for the last seven years with members of the international Afghan community which is fighting Islamic State. He said he was due to consult details with Czech politicians and the intelligence services. As a performer Daniel Landa has sold 1.2 million records in the Czech Republic; in the late 1980s he co-founded a now long-defunkt skinhead band which was accused of racial overtones. The band denied the accusations and claimed that their music was misunderstood. 

Police checked 1,500 establishments in November in continuing effort to curb underage drinking

30-11-2015 16:12 | Jan Velinger

Police checked 1,500 establishments with liquor licenses in the second wave of an operation to curb underage drinking across the country. This time officers detained 287 minors – 51 more than in October. The news was released by the spokeswoman for the police presidium on Monday. Extra checks of venues are to continue until the end of the year. 

More than 90 percent of Czechs fear European security will be threatened in coming years

30-11-2015 14:51 | Jan Velinger

More than 90 percent of Czechs fear that European security will be threatened over the next 20 years, a new poll by the STEM agency suggests. A similar number said that the threat was likely to come from the east, while three-quarters of Czechs said the EU needed to do more in defence. The poll was conducted before terrorist attacks in Paris killed 129 people. The results of the poll contrast sharply from 2007, when 62 percent feared a threat to Europe, compared to the 93 percent now. 

Green Party puts focus on marijuana and shorter work week

30-11-2015 13:57 | Jan Velinger

The Green Party will push for legislative changes such as the legalisation of the growing of marijuana for both health and recreational use, as well as (with rising effectivity) a shorter work week, according to the party’s new policy programme agreed at the weekend. Party chairwoman Jana Drápalová made clear that Germany and Denmark were a source of inspiration for the party, which served in a centre-right government led by Mirek Topolánek in 2006. In elections in 2010 and 2013, however, the Greens did not get enough votes to make it into the Chamber of Deputies. 

Online Gulag museum to be launched next spring

30-11-2015 12:21 | Jan Velinger

The Gulag Online Museum presenting a 3-D reconstruction and virtual tour of the former Soviet labour camp system will be launched by the Czech association Archipelago in March or April of 2016, its head Štepan Černoušek has told the Czech News Agency. The aim of the project is to allow internet users to learn more about the infamous system and specific sites on the internet. The organiser said that while most people knew the names of Nazi concentration camps, and that museums had been built at sites annually visited by hundred of thousands of people, the names of Gulag labour camps such as Pechora, Kolyma, Norilsk or Yermakovo were far less known. He added that no museum had been built at the locations so far. 

Strong result in music competition by controversial group more to do with message than music, say critics

30-11-2015 10:46 | Jan Velinger

An online music and style magazine rating the recent Czech Nightingale pop contest suggests that a strong result in the survey by the group Ortel had less to do with music and more with the band's controversial image and texts, building primarily on fear in Czech society. In one of its videos, for example, frontman Tomáš Ortel sings in the position of a hostage held by Islamic militants. Another of the group's songs became an anthem for a Czech far-right party. Despite stoking controversy, the group is not considered an extremist band by one of the country's top experts on extremism, Miroslav Mareš, the Czech News Agency reported. On Saturday, Ortel came second in the Best Band category in the Czech Nightingale competition and its singer finished third as Best Male Vocalist. The results in the contest are determined by votes from the public. 

Government to discuss purchase of Javelin missiles and new radars

30-11-2015 10:43 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Army is planning the purchase of new radars and American-made anti-tank missiles, according to the Czech News Agency. The deal will be discussed by the government this week. Defence Ministry spokesman Petr Medek said the equipment and missiles would bolster the country's military capabilities on foreign missions. The Javelin anti-tank missiles under consideration have automatic self-guidance and lock on before launch. The planned purchase of the missiles plus other equipment is expected to come to more than 500 million crowns. 

Football: Petr Čech, Arsenal, draw with Norwich City

30-11-2015 08:47 | Jan Velinger

Petr Čech remains one match shy of tying the clean sheet record set by David James in the Premier League. On Sunday, his club Arsenal appeared to be on its way against Norwich City, going up 1:0 on a chip from Mesut Ozil. But the Canaries tied the match before half-time. The game ended 1:1. Čech thanked fans for traveling to the away game and tried to take positives from the result in the social media. Arsenal are fourth in the standings. 

Prime Minister says Prague ready to provide part of EU financial support for Turkey

30-11-2015 08:36 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic is ready to contribute to planned EU support for Turkey to help the country deal with more than two million refugees, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed on Sunday ahead of the EU-Turkey summit. The Czechs are to provide the funds over two years. In total, the European Union is pledging to provide some three billion euros in funds to help Turkey tackle the migrant crisis but members require the country to boost security of its borders and to intervene effectively against people smugglers. The Czechs are to contribute between 300-400 million crowns in 2016 and a similar sum a year later. The largest contribution is to be made by Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. 


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