News German embassy to open doors to public on Thursday, marking events of 1989

11-06-2014 17:00 | Jan Velinger

The German embassy in Prague will open its doors to schoolchildren and other visitors on Thursday to mark 25 years since communism in Europe began to collapse. The embassy will recall what grew into a flood of East German refugees in 1989 travelling to Prague and climbing over the then-West German embassy walls to escape totalitarianism. By September, thousands had done so, camping on the embassy grounds, before they were allowed to seek refuge in West Germany. The embassy will be open to the public on Thursday afternoon and will see discussions with former East Germans who fled, former officials who helped them, and others including author Jaroslav Rudiš and artist David Černý.

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Hockey Worlds: Czechs face Team Canada

04-05-2015 13:51 | Jan Velinger

The Czech national hockey team will face its arguably biggest test so far at the Ice Hockey World Championships, Team Canada, on Monday. Canada has been on a roll in the championship so far, clinching two wins in two match-ups. On Sunday, the team crushed Germany 10:0. The Czechs lost their first match against Sweden in a penalty shootout and rebounded 4:2 against Latvia. Ondřej Pavalec, who plays for the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL, is expected to start in net, after Alexander Salák was pulled in the second period against Latvia. This year’s Worlds are taking place in Prague and Ostrava. 

Dukovany priority for new nuclear reactor says minister

04-05-2015 13:21 | Jan Velinger

Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said Monday that the Czech Republic should push for its next new nuclear reactor to be constructed at the Dukovany site so that it could start to replace the four units that will be gradually phased out there from 2035 onwards. He pointed out that the local region around Třebíč was actively campaigning in favour of new nuclear capacity, which was not the case with the Temelín area. He said that if a specially formed ČEZ daughter company was created to push ahead with construction, then a foreign shareholder, probably the nuclear technology provider, could take a shareholding of up to 49 percent. Mládek said he did not think Russian companies should be excluded from a new Czech nuclear construction tender, but he said he doubted their chances to win it. 

New poll suggests majority of Czechs wary of Russia

04-05-2015 13:12 | Jan Velinger

A new poll conducted by Ipsos suggests that a majority of Czechs are wary of Russia. According to the survey, 68 percent were uneasy about activities on Czech soil by Russia’s secret service while 61 percent expressed fear of a possible attack by Russia against the Baltic states – allies within NATO. Sixty-three percent do not support President Miloš Zeman’s stance towards the country.

The Ipsos poll also found that 62 percent of respondents felt more should be done to strengthen ties within NATO with 57 percent saying the organization was the best defence against Russia. Pollsters also asked Czechs how the EU and NATO should help Ukraine: more than half respondents said through military training and continuing economic sanctions. 

Annual report: 2014 saw jump in anti-Semitic behaviour

04-05-2015 12:56 | Jan Velinger

An annual report released by the Czech Jewish community suggests that cases of anti-Semitism in the Czech Republic grew last year, registering a jump in cases compared to 2013. While physical attacks remain uncommon in the Czech Republic and anti-Semitic sentiments are not mainstream within the majority population, there were cases of vandalism, verbal attacks as well as email threats, the Czech News Agency reported. The community registered five cases of vandalism, mostly of Jewish cemeteries, in 2014 – two higher than the previous year. It also registered 29 cases of harassment and nine threat cases, compared to six and three, respectively, in 2013. The community noted that increasingly individuals were harassed as “ambassadors” of the state of Israel. 

Police detain nine Somali refugees

04-05-2015 10:09 | Daniela Lazarová

Police are reported to have detained nine refugees from Somalia travelling with fake Italian passports. A police spokeswoman said the group consisting of three women and six men was travelling on a bus bound for Italy. Police are ascertaining their identity and whether they have already filed for asylum in another country of the Schengen border-free zone. 

President Zeman to appoint Josef Bečvář as Czech army’s chief

04-05-2015 09:44 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech President Miloš Zeman is to appoint Josef Bečvář as Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. The ceremony will take place at Prague’s Vítkov Hill on Monday. Mr Bečvář is to succeed General Petr Pavel who is leaving to head the oldest permanent body in NATO, the Military Committee. Until now he served as General Pavel’s deputy. Mr Bečvář, who is 56 years old, previously worked as head of the Czech military police and military attaché in France. He said his main goal as army chief was to complete the new conception of the Czech army. 

Czech tourists gradually returning home from Nepal

03-05-2015 18:10 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Foreign Ministry on Sunday reiterated that no Czechs were injured in the devastating earthquake in Nepaland said the vast majority of them had now returned home on commercial flights. A group of seven Czechs who were stranded in the mountains following the quake were airlifted from the Lho region by a Nepalese army helicopter on Saturday. Meanwhile a Czech trauma team has started providing first aid in the town of Melamchi where they are attending to the injured from several mountain villages which were cut off after the quake. 

Prague hosts 2015 Volkswagen Marathon

03-05-2015 17:07 | Daniela Lazarová

Runners from Kenya and Ethiopia traditionally dominated the 2015 Volkswagen Marathon in Prague on Sunday. First through the finishing line was Kenyan runner Felix Kandie with a personal record of 2:08:32. The fastest woman in the race was Ethiopian runner Yebrgual Melese with a time of 2:23:49. The first Czech to cross the finishing line was Vít Pavlišta with a personal record of 2:17:51. The race track is over 42 km long and winds through the city center. The winner in both the male and female category gets 15,000 euros. 

More than half of Czechs think minister Babiš has conflict of interests

03-05-2015 16:39 | Daniela Lazarová

More than half of Czechs think that Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who owns the Agrofert business empire, has a conflict of interests. According to the results of a survey conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television 52 percent of respondents said there is a definite conflict of interests, while 39 percent of respondents came to the opposite conclusion. It also emerged that 26 percent of those who said Mr. Babiš had a conflict of interests voted for his party in the general elections. 

Freedom Celebrations continue in Plzeň

03-05-2015 15:20 | Daniela Lazarová

Freedom Celebrations continued in the west Bohemia city of Plzeň on Sunday. Thousands of people turned up to greet the Convoy of Liberty, made up of historical military vehicles carrying around twenty US and Belgian war veterans who helped liberate Plzeň 70 years ago. Although the group of veterans, who are now over 90, have a packed agenda throughout the celebrations, manz of them made the trip through the city center standing in their jeeps saluting and waving as the enthusiastic crowd cheered and threw lilac at the vehicles as people did 70 years ago. Live street bands helped create a festive atmosphere reminiscent of the liberation and there was a fly-over of Gripen fighter jets to mark the occasion. 

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