News Foreign minister says reset of China relations does not mean climb down over human rights

24-04-2014 10:28 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has insisted that Czech moves to reset relations with China does not mean that it has abandoned its defence of human rights. Defence of human rights remained once of the country’s fundamental principles of foreign policy according to the minister, the Czech News Agency reported. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Wednesday that Prague could not recognise the sovereignty and unity of China within its current borders and at the same time recognise the exiled government of Tibet. The Czech Republic should not intervene in China’s internal affairs, he added. The government agreed that Zaorálek would make a three day official trip to Beijing at the start of next week, the first by a Czech foreign minister in 15 years. Former foreign minister and leader of the TOP 09 party Karel Schwarzenberg said human rights were violated in Tibet and the across the rest of China.

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Regular siren tests cancelled due to tribute to shooting victims planned for Thursday

03-03-2015 13:05 | Ian Willoughby

A regular test of the siren systems in Czech cities and towns will not take place on Wednesday due to plans to use the sirens the following day to signal a moment’s silence for the victims of a shooting in Uherský Brod last week. The sirens usually go off at noon on the first Wednesday of every month. A spokesperson for the fire service directorate said it had decided to cancel the March test at the proposal of the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. Eight people were shot dead in an apparent random shooting in a pub in Uherský Brod before the gunman turned his weapon on himself. 

Mayor says designer of much-delayed Blanka tunnel must be “moron”

03-03-2015 12:34 | Ian Willoughby

The mayor of Prague says the designer of the city’s Blanka tunnel must be “a moron” (debil). Adriana Krnáčová made the comment after news emerged that the tunnel would not be open until next year at the soonest as hundreds of kilometres of water-damaged cables have to be replaced. The mayor told TV Nova that moisture could be expected in a tunnel and the designers must be stupid. However, a representative of the company that planned the project, Satra, told Tuesday’s Mladá fronta Dnes that the design had fulfilled all technical and safety requirements. Originally meant to open in 2011 Blanka, which has cost Prague CZK 37 billion, was most recently scheduled to go into operation in April. 

December-March period one of warmest on record but not as mild as last winter

03-03-2015 11:32 | Ian Willoughby

This winter has been one of the warmest recorded in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The average temperature from the start of December to the end of February was 0.7 degrees Celsius, which is 1.9 degrees higher than the average for the period 1971 to 2000. However, last climatological winter was even milder with an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius. 

One World fest of human rights documentaries kicks off in Prague

03-03-2015 11:27 | Ian Willoughby

The One World international festival of human rights documentaries got underway in Prague on Monday evening. The annual event opened with Warriors from the North, which explores how a radical Islamic group recruits volunteers in Denmark. The 17th One World will bring over 110 films from five dozen countries to audiences in Prague before moving on in reduced form to 33 other Czech cities and towns. 

UK director to portray operation to assassinate Heydrich in Anthropoid

03-03-2015 11:20 | Ian Willoughby

British director Sean Ellis is set to portray the 1942 assassination the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, in Anthropoid, a movie named after the daring operation carried out by Czech and Slovak paratroopers dropped near Prague. The lead roles will be taken by actors Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. Heydrich died days after the attack, sparking Nazi reprisals that included the destruction of two villages and the killing of thousands of civilians. 

Five Czechs on Forbes list of US dollar billionaires

03-03-2015 09:48 | Ruth Fraňková

Five Czechs have made this year’s list of US dollar billionaires, compiled by the US business magazine Forbes. The richest Czech Petr Kellner, owner of investment group PPF, is reported to be the 160th wealthiest person in the world, with assets valued at 8.4 billion US dollars. It is the tenth time Kellner has been ranked in the Forbes’s rich list. Agrofert owner and finance minister Andrej Babiš is 732nd, followed by Radovan Vítek, Karel Komárek and Pavel Tykač. 

Newborn boy left in baby box in Vyškov

03-03-2015 09:40 | Ruth Fraňková

A newborn boy was placed in a babybox in Vyškov in Moravia on Monday evening at around six p.m. The founder of the Czech baby box network, Ludvík Hess, said the child’s condition was stable. The baby, who was given the name Dominik, was the fourth child this year to be abandoned in this manner. There are currently a total of 63 baby boxes in the Czech Republic, and in the past nine years, 70 girls and 46 boys were left in them. 

Madonna set to perform in Prague in November

02-03-2015 18:22 | Ruth Fraňková

American pop singer Madonna is set to perform in the Czech capital in early November. Her appearance in Prague’s O2 Arena is part of her tour promoting her last CD Rebel Heart. Tickets for the concert will be released in mid-March. The popular singer will launch her tour in August in Miami, before moving to Europe, Australia and Asia. Madonna last played in the Czech Republic in 2009. 

First victim of shooting incident in Uherský Brod laid to rest

02-03-2015 17:21 | Ruth Fraňková

The first victim of last week’s shooting incident in Eastern Moravia was put to rest on Monday after a funeral attended by family, friends and local inhabitants. The 43-year-old waitress was one of the eight people killed last Tuesday in a random attack in a pub in the town of Uherský Brod. The 64-year-old shooter, who was apparently mentally instable, subsequently turned the gun on himself. The other seven victims, all of them men, will be laid to rest in the coming days. 

Child custody case to be debated in Norway on Tuesday

02-03-2015 16:24 | Ruth Fraňková

Zdeněk Kapitán, the head of the Brno-based International Office for the Legal Protection of Children, is set to go to Norway on Tuesday to discuss the situation of two Czech children removed from the family by Norwegian social services with local authorities. The children were taken away in 2011on suspicion of sexual abuse; a year later, they were placed in foster families despite the fact that a police investigation found no evidence of abuse. Mr Kapitán is set to meet with the representatives of Norwegian social services as well as with the lawyers of the boys’ mother, who last year filed a lawsuit against the decision of the social services. 

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