News Finance minister’s firm leader on Czech assisted reproduction market

06-08-2014 14:07 | Jan Richter

The Prague-based firm FutureLife, owned by Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, has become the leader on the country’s assisted reproduction market following its acquisition of the Iscare clinic, the news website ihned.cz reported on Wednesday. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed but it is said to have reached hundreds of millions of crowns. In May, FutureLife acquired another two clinics specializing in reproductive medicine, Brno’s Reprofit International and the Prague-based GynCenter. The latest transaction is yet to be reviewed by the Czech anti-monopoly agency; if approved, Mr Babiš’s firm will control some 20 percent of the market with annual revenues of around 600 million crowns.

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Changes to civil service law proposed in face of staff shortages

24-07-2016 10:08 | Chris Johnstone

Changes to the Czech civil service law are being prepared in an attempt to streamline recruitment and fill many gaps in ministries and other state bodies. The current procedures are regarded as overly complicated and time consuming. At the moment there are many vacancies in government departments. The Ministry of Justice is one of the worst cases with around 100 vacancies, comprising around 50 lawyers and a dozen IT specialists. Selection procedures often last up to three months or more. The civil service law was brought in after the Czech Republic dragged its heels for years in meeting EU demands that it put in place a professional civil service. 

New rules on unpaid police overtime being prepared

24-07-2016 10:07 | Chris Johnstone

The Ministry of Interior is working on a new set of rules over unpaid police overtime, according to Czech Television. The rules are likely to continue the practice that police can be called on to work for free during exceptional or crisis situations. Police overtime has been a cause of friction in the past with the police winning a Supreme Administrative Court judgement over excessive and free overtime. Police say the situation has since improved generally but for some special units, such as that tasked with protecting state figures and embassies, there has not been much change. 

Security stepped up in Czech Republic following Munich shootings

23-07-2016 18:36 updated | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said no Czechs are believed to be among the victims of a shooting spree at a shopping centre in Munich, Germany, on Friday evening. Nine people were killed and the gunman, believed to be a 19-year-old German-Iranian, then turned the gun on himself. Around 21 people were injured. Czech police stepped up police patrols in shopping centres and increased border security after the incident. The motive for the attack is not yet known. The increased Czech border checks were cancelled Saturday. 

Ceasefire ending Austro-Prussian war commemorated at Mikulov

23-07-2016 16:30 | Chris Johnstone

A ceremony and commemorative events marked the 150th anniversary on Saturday of the ceasefire between the Austrian Empire and Prussia at Mikulov castle in South Moravia. The ceasefire signed at the castle in the presence of the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck brought to an end the short lived but bloody conflict between the two powers. The decisive battle was fought at Hradec Králové. An exhibition at the castle includes the table where the ceasefire was signed. The war established Prussia as the leading Germanic power in Europe. 

No specific threat to Czech Republic: interior minister

23-07-2016 13:38 | Chris Johnstone

Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec said on his Twitter account Saturday that there is no suggestion that a specific terrorist or other threat applies to the Czech Republic at the moment. He added that the latest information from Germany was awaited after the Munich shootings on Friday evening. A meeting of Czech interior ministry, police, and security service officials is scheduled on Saturday afternoon to evaluate the security situation. At the moment a level one security alert applies to the country. That has been in place since the Brussels attacks in March. A one to four, with four the highest, security evaluation is in place. 

Selective ban on water craft sought by ministry

23-07-2016 11:55 | Chris Johnstone

Minister of Transport Dan Tok has called for a ban on motor vessels at 16 locations on the Slapy and Orlík reservoirs. He also wants to recommended a 10 km/hour speed limit be put in place in adjoining areas. The move follows an incident at the start of the month where two craft collided with a young girl later dying from her injuries. Rules for craft on rivers and lakes were relaxed last year but this has resulted in criticism of reckless behaviour and the greater risk of accidents and deaths as a result. 

Czech debt climbs after bond issues

23-07-2016 11:54 | Chris Johnstone

The total Czech state debt has climbed by around 18 billion crowns in the first half of the year according to the Ministry of Finance. That means the total debt now stands at 1.691 trillion crowns or around 160,000 crowns for every single Czech citizen. The Ministry of Finance said the debt total had climbed as the result of more state bonds being issued because of the favourable financial situation. 

EU Commission takes Czech Republic to court over waste

23-07-2016 08:59 | Chris Johnstone

The European Commission has warned the Czech Republic that it will take the country before the European Court of Justice over its alleged refusal to take back waste sent to Poland. The Commission made its announcement Friday, saying that the Czech Republic is obliged to take back dangerous waste. But the Czech Republic has and says it will continue to contend the description of the waste, arguing that it is a fuel mix and not dangerous. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment said that Prague is fully prepared to defend itself in court. The Commission has been dealing with the case since November 2014. 

Javelin’s Jakub Vadlejch wins Diamond League event

23-07-2016 08:58 | Chris Johnstone

Czech javelin thrower Jakub Vadlejch has won his first Diamond League event. He threw 85.72 metres at the event in London in his second series of throws, ending up more than two metres ahead of reigning Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Previously, a second place was Vadlejch’s best placing in the top athletic series of competitions. 

Woman charged over Prague shopping centre killing

22-07-2016 16:52 | Chris Johnstone

Police say they have charged a 33-year-old woman in connection with the murder in a Prague shopping centre of another woman on Thursday. The woman was reportedly stabbed to death with a weapon found in the Tesco store in the Smichov district. Police said the murder suspect had been released earlier in the day from a Prague psychiatric hospital where she had been undergoing treatment. The Ministry of Health has demanded to be informed about the results of the investigation being carried out by the hospital. The woman is currently being held in police custody. 

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