News EC criticizes Czech restrictions of EU nationals’ political rights

16-04-2014 13:33 | Jan Richter

The European Commission announced on Wednesday it would continue its proceedings against the Czech Republic, along with Poland and Latvia, over the countries’ restrictions of EU nationals’ political rights. Under Czech law, citizens of other EU member states are not allowed to join a political party or form their own, and are at a disadvantage to local citizens when exercising their right to stand as candidates in local and European elections. That is contrary to EU law and goes against the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of nationality, according to the European Commission. The Czech Republic and the other two countries now have two months to address the issue or face proceedings at the EU Court of Justice.

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Zlín region wants its own rapid reaction force

27-02-2015 15:08 updated | Daniela Lazarová

In reaction to Tuesday’s tragedy in Uherský Brod, where a deranged man shot eight people dead before turning the gun on himself, the Zlín region is demanding its own rapid reaction force. At present there are only two rapid reaction forces in Moravia – one in the Moravia-Silesia region and one in the South Moravia region. Police President Tomáš Tuhý has said the demand will be considered. He has asked to recruit another 4,000 officers for the force in the next five years. The country presently has 40,000 officers. 

Trade Inspection Office says discrimination of customers still a problem

27-02-2015 14:23 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Trade Inspection Authority says it uncovered 44 cases of discrimination of customers on the grounds of race, nationality and age during inspections conducted last year. Trade inspectors conducted over 1,200 inspections at restaurants, travel bureaus, spas and real estate agencies of which 16 institutions received a fine of over one million crowns. The number of overall transgressions (639) is reported to have doubled in comparison with the two preceding years. In several cases Romanies were denied admission to restaurants, were rebuffed when they wanted to join a package tour and were turned away when they asked to lease a flat. Inspectors also found discrimination against foreigners, particularly Russian nationals who were turned away from a restaurant or made to pay higher fees. 

Nexen to start building tire plant in Moravia in the autumn of this year

27-02-2015 12:11 | Daniela Lazarová

Construction work on Nexen’s tire plant in the Czech Republic is expected to begin in the autumn of this year, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during a working visit to South Korea on Friday. Production at the plant, which should provide around 1,000 new jobs, is expected to begin in 2018. South Korean car maker Hyundai Mobis is also planning to invest in a plant for spare parts in Moravia. South Korea is currently the third biggest Czech business partner outside of the EU. This week the two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement which should expand the scope of cooperation. 

Police propose charging six people with breach of trust over dubious export loans

27-02-2015 11:49 | Daniela Lazarová

The anti-corruption police has proposed charging six people with breach of trust in connection with a number of dubious loans granted by the Czech Export Bank in the years between 2009 and 2011. According to a police spokesman the loans were for exports to China and Tunisia and the losses have been estimated at over half a billion crowns. The government, which is a majority shareholder, has already moved to bring the bank under greater supervision. 

Czech economy grows by 1.5 percent in Q4

27-02-2015 11:29 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech economy grew by 1.5 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year, faster than the preliminary estimate of a 1.3 percent growth released two weeks ago, the Czech Statistics Office announced on Friday. It also confirmed a 2 percent GDP growth for the whole of 2014. Economic growth in the fourth quarter was driven by exports as well as domestic demand. Household consumption rose by 2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter and by 1.2 percent against the previous quarter. Growth was also supported by the manufacturing industry, in particular the production of motor vehicles and machinery. In the area of services, a significant growth was registered by transport, trade, real estate activities and public administration. 

Ministry acknowledges Rath’s right to compensation for unlawful custody

27-02-2015 10:00 | Ian Willoughby

The Ministry of Justice has acknowledged ex-politician David Rath’s right to compensation for being held in custody unlawfully. The Czech News Agency reported that Mr. Rath will have to reapply for CZK 45,000 in compensation because of shortcomings in his original application. The former Social Democrat regional governor and minister of health was remanded in arrested in May 2012 on suspicion of bribe-taking and remanded in custody until November 2013. Last year the Constitutional Court ruled that the custody had been unlawful from at least June 2013. 

Jágr leaves New Jersey for Florida

27-02-2015 08:40 | Ian Willoughby

Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has left the New Jersey Devils for the Florida Panthers. Jágr, who recently turned 43, made the move in a trade under which New Jersey acquire a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016. The forward – who is the most productive European player in the history of the NHL – notched up 11 goals and 18 assists with the Devils this season but recently complained of not getting enough playing time. 

Czech Republic could support Ukraine in know-how and training, says Stropnický

26-02-2015 18:20 | Ian Willoughby

Prague could in future support Ukraine in the fields of military expertise or training, the Czech minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said on Thursday. Mr. Stropnický added that a Czech Army logistician was already cooperating with the Ukrainians in Kiev and that the country had sent clothing and other materials to soldiers. He also said that an agreement recently signed in Minsk was not fulfilling expectations. Mr. Stropnický was speaking after talks in Prague with his Polish counterpart Tomasz Siemoniak. The two also discussed the situation surrounding Islamic State. 

Berdych notches up 501st career win to reach semis in Dubai

26-02-2015 17:55 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has reached the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free tennis championships after beating Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-3 4-6 6-2 on Thursday. A day earlier Berdych achieved his 500th match win, becoming only the third Czech-born to achieve that feat in the post-1968 Open Era (after Ivan Lendl with 1,071 and Tomáš Šmíd with 517). 

Family tried to block new gun license received just month before man kills eight

26-02-2015 17:02 updated | Ian Willoughby

The family of the gunman who shot eight people dead in an apparent random attack on a pub in Uherský Brod on Tuesday tried to prevent him getting a new gun license, Czech Television reported on Thursday. The killer, who took his own life in the incident, had been granted a new gun permit just last month. According to the mayor of Uherský Brod, Patrik Kunčar, the man’s brother-in-law said the family had called on his general practitioner not to give him the necessary medical certificate in view of his mental instability. reported that after the gun license had been granted (but not collected) the family also contacted the police, who discussed the man with his GP and a psychiatrist. They then issued him with a summons for a second medical test, which he picked up last Friday. A police spokesperson said its officers had followed the only possible procedure in the matter. 



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