News Former City Hall employees given suspended sentences

24-02-2014 20:55 | Jan Velinger

Five former employees at Prague’s City Hall were handed suspended sentences on Monday, ranging between one to three years in prison. The Municipal Court found the five guilty of wrongdoing in the Opencard case – specifically that they had signed disadvantageous contracts with producer Haguess for the implementation of the multi-purpose card. The system reportedly cost around 1.25 billion crowns. The card is used primarily as a transit pass but is also used in libraries. Monday’s ruling may be appealed.

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Czech exports reached a record 3.9 trillion crowns in 2015, according to the country's statistics office

08-02-2016 10:44 | Jan Velinger

Czech exports reached a record 3.9 trillion crowns in 2015, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Monday; the figure represents a rise of 7.2 percent from the previous year. A little over 83 percent of domestic exports were destined for the European Union. Exports to neighbouring Germany alone increased by 8.7 percent to almost 1.3 trillion crowns; Germany is the Czech Republic’s main trading partner. Czech exports to Slovakia and Great Britain also saw a rise in 2015 but to Russia fell by almost 31 percent. 

Unemployment rate rises slightly to 6.4 percent in January

08-02-2016 09:18 | Chris Johnstone

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic climbed in January to 6.4 percent from December’s 6.2 percent, the Labour Office announced on Monday. Just over 14,000 Czechs were added to the jobless total during the month giving a total of around 467,000 seeking work. The number of vacancies stands at around 108,000, the highest January total since 2008. 

Taxi drivers protest against unfair competition, permitted fares

08-02-2016 08:41 | Chris Johnstone

Around 200 taxi drivers protested on Prague’s main highway in the centre of the city early on Monday morning. Only one lane of the normally busy highway was left free for traffic. The protest was called by the Association of Taxi Concessionaries against what they describe as unfair completion from unlicensed taxi drivers using such services as Huber. They also want to highlight the stalled talks with Prague City Hall about higher permitted fares. Talks between licensed taxi drivers and town hall officials collapsed in November last year. 

Czech Republic beat Romania 3:2 in Fed Cup tie

07-02-2016 19:06 | Chris Johnstone

In tennis, the Czech Republic won a tight tie against Romania on Sunday 3:2 and are through to the semi-finals of the Fed Cup. Karolína Plíšková and Barbora Strýcová beat Andreea Mitu and Loana Olaru in the decisive doubles 6:2, 6:3. Earlier, Karolína Plíšková drew the tie level at 2:2 with a 6:4, 4:6, 6:3 win against Monica Niculescu. Petra Kvitová had earlier lost 4:6. 6:3, 3:6 against Romanian top player Simona Halep. 

Czech government paid 6 million US dollars for release of kidnapped women in Pakistan: report

07-02-2016 14:40 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Republic paid a ransom of around 6 million US dollars for the release of two Czech woman held in Pakistan, the weekly Respekt reports in its latest edition, details of which were released Sunday. The sum far exceeds the ransom sum previously suspected, of around 2 million US dollars, the weekly added. Antonie Chrástecká and Hana Humpálová were released in March last year after two years of captivity. At the time of the release, interior minister Milan Chovanec, denied that any negotiations were held or ransom paid to the kidnappers, believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda. The report comes amid the fallout from the release of five Czechs held in Lebanon in return for a Lebanese citizen held in the Czech Republic. 

ČSOB to launch 20 billion crown arbitration against central bank: report

07-02-2016 13:57 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech National Bank is facing arbitration proceedings of up to 20 billion crowns, the business weekly Euro reports in its latest edition, the ČTK news agency reported on Sunday. The pending move relates to former paper industry giant ICEC-Holding which was given loans by the former bank IPB with part of its assets given as security. When the bank collapsed and was finally transferred to the Czech bank ČSOB in 2000 some of the ICEC assets went with it. The weekly reports that ICEC Holding and ČSOB have been battling over the claims for several years but now the state, specifically the central bank, which guaranteed the takeover of IPB, is set to be the target of an arbitration proceeding launched by ČSOB. 

Masked men launch fire bomb attack on Prague centre for immigrants

07-02-2016 10:33 | Chris Johnstone

A group of around 20 masked men attacked a centre used to help immigrants in the Prague district of Žižkov on Saturday night. They threw Molotov cocktails at the building in which around two dozen people were inside. Police and firemen rushed to the scene. They have not been able to confirm a link between the attack and anti-immigrant and anti-Islam demonstrations held in Prague earlier in the day. The centre was established in a disused building by volunteers to collect clothes and other basic necessities and offer help to immigrants. 

Foreign ministry confirms five Czechs killed in Austrian avalanche

07-02-2016 09:44 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed five Czechs were killed by an avalanche in the Austrian Alps on Saturday, the ČTK agency reported Sunday. Earlier police reports had only said the victims were believed to be Czechs. Three other Czechs injured by the avalanche have been released from hospital, the agency reported. A total of 17 Czech skiers were caught in a massive avalanche that struck the Wattener Lizum region, south-east of Innsbruck shortly before midday. Three others were airlifted to hospital. According to Czech Television the two groups of Czech skiers caught in the avalanche ignored repeated warnings not to set out. High degree avalanche alerts have been in place in the region for several days now. Some of the survivors said they were in a region where a lower second degree warning applied shortly before the avalanche struck. 

Former Czech hostage says Lebanon kidnapping not arranged by Ali Fayad family

07-02-2016 08:54 | Chris Johnstone

One of the freed Czech hostages in Lebanon has rejected the idea that their kidnapping was organised by members of Ali Fayad’s family. Fayad, detained in Prague, was released soon after the Czechs were put on a plane home. Jan Švarc told Czech Television that it would have been stupid for the family to kidnap the lawyer and a member of the family, who later suffered a heart attack during his imprisonment. He described the kidnappers as professionals and that they did not appear to belong to any religious group. But Švarc said his personal opinion was that they were not members of the Lebanese intelligence service. The identity of the kidnappers is still not clear. 

Gabriela Soukalová takes third place at Canmore

07-02-2016 08:34 | Chris Johnstone

Czech biathlete Gabriela Soukalová achieved third place in the mass start event at Canada’s Canmore. She trailed winner, Italian Dorothea Wierer ,by around 50 seconds. The Czech still tops the World Cup ranking with 763 points although second placed Wierer has closed the gap and is now on 672 points. 


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