News Four people killed, two injured in bridge collapse

05-09-2014 09:15 | Ruth Fraňková

A road bridge near the town of Havlíčkův Brod collapsed on Thursday afternoon, killing four people and leaving two others injured. The incident happened on a section of road which is under construction and was closed to traffic. Three Czech and three Slovak road workers were under the bridge when it collapsed. Rescue teams with dogs were immediately dispatched to search the rubble. The sub-contractor of the bridge reconstruction is the Boegl & Krysl company, which also figures in two other cases of collapsed bridges in north Moravia and east Slovakia, that claimed the lives of 12 people in total.

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Chinese New Year celebrated in Prague

06-02-2016 08:31 | Chris Johnstone

A two-day celebration of the Chinese year will take place at Prague’s exhibition grounds, Holešovice, starting Saturday. The event is being staged for the second year by the Czech-Chinese chamber. It will feature Chinese cinema, calligraphy, crafts, and sampling of Chinese cuisine. 

Kometa Brno coach resigns after heavy defeat

06-02-2016 08:31 | Chris Johnstone

In ice hockey, the trainer of club Kometa Brno Alois Hadamczik resigned Friday evening after a 1:6 defeat against struggling Litvinov. It was the seventh defeat in the last eight matches. Brno had been tipped at the start of the season as one of the club’s with the biggest chances of winning the league. Hadamczik is a former coach of the Czech national team. 

Second group of Christians from Iraq arrive in Prague

05-02-2016 17:31 | Ian Willoughby

A second group of Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday. The 17 Iraqis, comprising four families, follow a group that arrived here almost two weeks ago. Over 150 more are due to resettle in the country in the coming weeks. The Iraqis come from the city of Mosul in the north of the country, which has been taken over by Islamic State. 

Respiratory illnesses and flu cases up as epidemic spreads

05-02-2016 16:53 | Ian Willoughby

The number of acute respiratory illnesses in the Czech Republic grew by 10 percent this week while flu cases increased by over 50 percent, according to figures released on Friday. Seven people have died of the flu. One official said an epidemic was developing around virtually the entire country but was so far regional in nature. Central Bohemia and Moravia Silesia have been among the hardest hit parts of the Czech Republic. 

Norwegian court to receive Czech state petition over Michaláková case next week

05-02-2016 16:04 | Ian Willoughby

A court in Norway is expected to receive on Tuesday a petition from the Czech state to be allowed to participate in a case involving a Czech woman whose two sons were put up for adoption against her will. The government says it wants to employ a Norwegian legal mechanism under which it would defend the public interest in the case. However, no state has ever taken that role and it is not clear whether the court will permit it to do so. Eva Michaláková’s appeal against losing her parental rights is due to be heard in the last week of this month. 

Ai Weiwei questions Czech attitude to migrants ahead of opening

05-02-2016 15:38 updated | Ian Willoughby

Ai Weiwei is set to officially open an exhibition of his Zodiac Heads at Prague’s National Gallery on Friday evening. The Chinese artist and activist on Thursday covered the statues, which were erected last weekend, in gold-coloured emergency survival blankets, in what may be a reference to Europe’s migrant crisis. Ai said he was aware there was opposition in the Czech Republic to the acceptance of refugees, which he found surprising. He also referred to Václav Havel, describing the late Czech president and human rights champion as a great thinker. The exhibition is part of celebrations of the 220th anniversary of the National Gallery. 

Opposition MP wants Sobotka to apologise to US over Fayad release

05-02-2016 14:38 | Ian Willoughby

MP Petr Gazdík of the Mayors group has called on Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to apologise to the United States after the Czech authorities freed a Lebanese man Washington wished to extradite. The opposition parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats have called for a lower house debate on the circumstances surrounding the release of Ali Fayad, who was wanted in the US on suspicion of supporting terrorism. The American ambassador to Prague, Andrew Schapiro, expressed shock over the move, which he said could harm cooperation between the two states’ law enforcement agencies and encourage criminal groups and terrorists. Mr. Fayad’s release came after five Czechs released in Lebanon last year were freed. 

Cigarette packs in Czech Republic to begin featuring graphic health warnings

05-02-2016 12:47 | Ian Willoughby

Cigarette packets in the Czech Republic will have to carry graphic images meant to deter smokers alongside the present written health warnings under a new regulation being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, iHned.cz reported. The edict will come into effect on May 20 and retailers will have a three-month period in which to sell off older supplies, the news site said. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said the government’s main concern was making the public more aware of the risks associated with smoking and that 65 percent of the front and back of cigarette packets would now be given over to health warnings. 

Zeman overtakes Babiš in regular poll of most “trusted” politician

05-02-2016 12:21 | Ian Willoughby

President Miloš Zeman is the most “trusted” Czech politician, suggests a public opinion poll conducted last month by the CVVM agency. In the regular survey Mr. Zeman climbed by 10 percentage points to leapfrog over ANO chief and Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš, who ranked second. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, also of ANO, moved up to third in the poll, ahead of Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. 

Czech police begin questioning five abducted in Lebanon

05-02-2016 12:06 | Ian Willoughby

Czech police will on Friday begin questioning five men released this week after being abducted in Lebanon, a police spokesperson said. The force’s organised crime unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding their kidnapping in July last year. The five are currently being examined by doctors at a Prague medical facility after returning to the Czech Republic on a government plane on Thursday. The head of the organised crime unit, Robert Šlachta, was among the Czech delegation that picked them up. The five were freed just days before a Lebanese man who stood to be extradited to the US was released from prison in Prague, prompting speculation about an exchange deal. 

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