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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Organic food chains to expand into production

21-08-2014 11:29 | Daniela Lazarová

Organic food chains in the Czech Republic are planning to expand into production since local farmers are allegedly unable to meet growing demand on the market. According to David Kukla, owner of the Sklizeno chain, there is a lack of home-grown organic vegetables and poultry in particular and shoppers cannot rely on regular deliveries. The chain Náš Grunt, which has 30 outlets around the country, is also planning to expand into production. 

Fourteen-year-old killed by falling goalpost

21-08-2014 10:48 | Daniela Lazarová

Police in the Náchod region of north Bohemia are investigating the death of a fourteen-year-old boy who was fatally injured on a football field after swinging on a goalpost and getting trapped under it. Despite getting immediate medical attention the boy died shortly after of extensive internal injuries. Police are investigating the incident as possible negligence on the part of the authorities who failed to properly secure the goalpost. Since 2009 three children have been killed by falling goalposts. 

Czechs commemorate 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia

21-08-2014 10:39 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic on Wednesday commemorates the 46th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A series of events is held to mark the anniversary including a chain hunger strike and a gathering outside the Czech Radio building which saw clashes between civilian protesters and the occupying forces. The invasion of five Warsaw Pact armies quashed efforts by Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party to reform the regime in a period known as the Prague Spring, ushering an era of renewed repression lasting until the late 1980s. 

Top court rules parents of children of up to 15 years are entitled to part-time jobs

21-08-2014 10:20 | Jan Richter

The Czech Supreme Court has ruled that parents of children of up to 15 years of age are entitled to part-time jobs, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported. Hearing a case of a clerk of Liberec City Hall who was fired over insisting on working part time, the court said employers had to accommodate parents’ requests for part-time contracts unless it would jeopardize the functioning of the firm or office. The verdict is seen as a breakthrough in the practice of Czech employers which have in the past been reluctant in granting part-time contracts to their employees. 

Cycling: Arbitration court upholds temporary ban for Kreuziger

20-08-2014 17:26 | Jan Richter

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a temporary ban for Czech bike rider Roman Kreuziger over doping allegations. The ruling confirms a decision by the International Cycling Union to temporarily suspend the 28-year-old member of the Russian-registered Tinkoff-Saxo team until irregularities in his biological passport are cleared. It means that Kreuziger, who has been unable to compete since June, will not participate in the Vuelta a España race that begins on Saturday. In a reaction on Twitter, Kreuziger said he would continue to fight the ban. 

Green Party ordered to pay compensation for lyrics used in campaign

20-08-2014 17:12 | Jan Richter

A court in Prague has ruled that the Green Party must pay 500,000 crowns, or some 24,000 US dollars, to the author of a song lyrics the group used in their election campaign in 2010. The party used the slogan “And what about children, do they have a place to play” which was featured in a 1980 song by the Czech rock band Katapult. The band allowed the party to use the song but the Greens never asked the author of the lyrics for permission. The author, who now runs a law firm, claimed one of clients, an industrial company, stopped working with him after the Green Party used the slogan. The court has also ordered the party to publicly apologize to the author of the lyrics. 

Prague police crack Ukrainian prostitute murder

20-08-2014 15:30 | Jan Richter

The police in Prague have charged 34-year-old man from Ukraine with the July murder of a prostitute who also originated from that country. The police said the man, who was the victim’s next-door neighbour, was addicted to online gaming but could not afford an internet connection. He secretly used the woman’s computer but when she caught him in her flat, he killed her with a knife. He then chopped her body whose parts were found in several waste management facilities in the capital. The police said they were able to determine the woman’s identity with the help of their German colleagues who kept a record of the woman’s fingerprints. The man has reportedly confessed to the crime; if convicted, he faces between 10 and 18 years in prison. 

Transparency International to monitor financing of Senate, local elections

20-08-2014 14:12 | Jan Richter

The Czech branch of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International will monitor the financing of October’s local and Senate elections, members of the group told a news conference on Wednesday. The NGO will keep track of the finance accounts of candidates running for the Senate; it will also monitor any abuse of municipally-owned media by political parties controlling local city and town halls. The group has voiced concerns of voter fraud and vote buying that is likely to appear in some of the country’s most depressed regions including north Bohemia and north Moravia. A report is to be released in late September, two weeks before the voting. 

Former Soviet leader Gorbachev among Forum 2000 guests this year

20-08-2014 13:08 | Jan Richter

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Belarusian dissident Ales Bialiatski will be among the guests of this year’s Forum 2000 conference, the organizers said on Wednesday. The event, founded by then Czech president Václav Havel in 1996 as a venue for bringing together world leaders, intellectuals and civic activists, will this year reflect on the 25 years since the fall of communism in central and Eastern Europe. The Forum 2000 conference will take place in the Czech capital between October 12 and 15. 

Škoda to hire 800 workers to produce new Fabia model

20-08-2014 12:50 | Jan Richter

The German-owned Czech-based car manufacturer Škoda Auto will hire some 800 workers for its main plant in Mladá Boleslav within the next three months to produce its new Fabia model, a spokesman for the firm said. Škoda, which employs around 19,500 people at Mladá Boleslav, is to start producing the third-generation Fabia in the coming days with the official premiere scheduled for the Paris auto show in October. The producer sold 522,500 cars in the first half of the year, 12.5 percent more than in the same period last year. 

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