News 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.

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CR to provide financial support to fight Ebola

18-09-2014 13:31 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Republic is to release three million crowns to the NGO Doctors without Borders to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka discussed the situation in Africa and the possibilities of Czech help with the head of the Czech branch of Doctors without Borders Pavel Gruber on Thursday, along with several members of the government. The Czech Republic has also pledged to send material support, such as protective equipment. Final details will be specified by the interior and health ministers by the end of September. 

First shipment of military aid sent to Kurdish forces

18-09-2014 13:31 | Ruth Fraňková

The first shipment of Czech military aid to Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State radicals in northern Iraq was sent from the military airport in Pardubice on Thursday. The C-17 Globemaster transport plane of will carry 25 tonnes of ammunition worth 41 million crowns, including millions of rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns, as well as hand grenades and ammunition for anti-tank rocket launchers. 

Czech authorities to clamp down on taxi drivers

18-09-2014 11:04 | Jan Richter

The Czech authorities are planning a major clampdown on fraudulent taxi drivers in order to curb the wide-spread practice of resetting taximeters, the news website reported. The authorities believe that resetting taximeters allows taxi drivers to only tax part of their earnings. The campaign by inspectors from the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, the tax and customs administration as well as from city- and town halls, planned for October, should make sure taxi drivers are complying with new legislation that is to ban such taximeters as of January. 

Football: Sparta face Napoli in Europa League opener

18-09-2014 10:58 | Jan Richter

Czech champions Sparta Prague are preparing to face Napoli in the Italian city on Thursday, in their first group stage game of the Europa League. Sparta hope to end their nine-game winless streak in European competitions; manager Vítězslav Lavička said responsible defence was key to success but promised his side would do their best to cause the hosts problems. Sparta will also play Slovan Bratislava and Young Boys Bern in the group stage. 

UK police free eight “enslaved” Czechs in southwestern England

17-09-2014 17:16 | Jan Richter

The British police have freed eight Czech citizens “enslaved” in Plymouth, in the southwest of the country, the news website Plymouth Herald has reported. The eight men had reportedly been forced to work for little or no money after having been trafficked into the UK by a criminal gang. Eight people, all of Eastern European origin, were arrested during the operation. The authorities were first tipped of the case in March when a Czech man who escaped his captors contacted the police, the news website said. 

President Zeman: Cowardice rampant in Czech society

17-09-2014 17:07 | Jan Richter

Cowardice is rampant in the Czech society, according to President Miloš Zeman. Speaking at a gathering of Czech WWII veterans at Prague Castle on Wednesday, Mr Zeman said there were few Czech people willing to risk their health or lives in defence of their country. The president also thanked the veterans for their service in wartime Czechoslovakia’s armed forces in exile, and said they fulfilled their lives. 

Czech military to train 31 Iraqi helicopter pilots

17-09-2014 16:55 | Jan Richter

The Czech military will provide training to 31 helicopter pilots from Iraq, the Czech Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday, adding that Czech and Iraqi officials signed the respective contract on Wednesday. The training programme is to begin by the end of the year at an air base in Pardubice, and will take 12 months. The ministry also said the first shipment of Czech military aid would be sent to Iraq on Thursday. The Czech government pledged last month to provide 500 million crowns worth of ammunition and grenades to the Kurdish forces fighting against the terrorist group Islamic State in northern Iraq. 

US think tank ranks Andrej Babiš world’s fifth most politically powerful billionaire

17-09-2014 16:22 | Jan Richter

Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš came fifth in a global billionaire political power index compiled by the US think tank Brookings Institute. The ranking, released ahead of the institute’s upcoming book Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust, is topped by Bill and Melinda Gates, followed by George Soros and China’s Jack Ma. Mr Babiš, whose assets are estimated at between 75 and 90 billion crowns, built an agriculture, food and chemistry empire in the Czech Republic before his party, ANO, came second in last year’s general elections. He also owns a prominent Czech media company. As finance minister, he has proven to be a strong voice for reducing government spending, according to the survey. 

Carmaker Škoda ninth best-selling brand in Europe in August

17-09-2014 14:10 | Jan Richter

The car manufacturer Škoda Auto sold over 36,000 vehicles in Europe last month, and moved from tenth to ninth place of the best-selling brands on the continent, according to figures by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association released on Wednesday. Compared to the same month last year, Škoda’s sales increased by 21 percent, giving the carmaker a record 5.2 percent market share.. Škoda’s Czech sales however only grew by 7 percent in August year on year. 

Opposition leader refuses to apologize for “communist cop” quip

17-09-2014 13:58 | Jan Richter

Deputy head of the opposition TOP 09 party Miroslav Kalousek has refused to apologize to fellow MP, Zdeněk Ondráček of the Communist Party, for calling him a “communist cop” in a lower house debate. The house’s mandate and immunity committee denounced the statement, and demanded that Mr Kalousek apologize to the Communist deputy. Mr Ondráček served as police officer under the communist regime and took part in the brutal suppression of a student march on November 17, 1989, which triggered the Velvet Revolution. But on Wednesday, Miroslav Kalousek said the committee’s decision was shameful, and appealed against the verdict. 



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