News Head of Grant Agency resigns citing lobbyist pressure

09-06-2014 11:42 | Daniela Lazarová

The head of the Czech Grant Agency Petr Matějů has resigned from office. Mr. Matějů, who has held the post for six years, said he was resigning due to growing lobbyist pressure from various interest groups who were striving to gain control the agency. He accused these lobbyists of being behind orchestrated smear campaigns which cast doubts on the transparency of the agency’s policy of allocating grants for science and research projects.

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Vaidišová loses on return to WTA tour after five-year absence

04-03-2015 09:17 | Ian Willoughby

Former tennis star Nicole Vaidišová has lost on her return to the WTA tour after a five-year absence. The 25-year-old Czech lost 1-6 6-7 to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the first round of the Monterrey Open after entering the competition as a qualifier. A one-time world number seven, Vaidišová quit playing in 2010 after tumbling down the rankings. She has undergone two shoulder operations during her time away from the court. 

First Czechs repatriated from Ukraine under government programme arrive in Prague

04-03-2015 09:06 | Ian Willoughby

The first ethnic Czechs being repatriated from Ukraine under a Czech government programme are now in Prague. Forty-four of them arrived at the city’s Florenc bus station on a coach from Novhorodkivka (known in Czech as Čechohrad), around 200 kilometres from where fighting has been taking place in eastern Ukraine. The Czech government has to date granted fast-track permanent residence to 140 ethnic Czechs in Ukraine. It has earmarked CZK 66 million for a repatriation programme that includes free accommodation, financial support and help finding permanent housing and employment. 

Mourinho: Čech won’t come cheap if he leaves Chelsea in summer

03-03-2015 19:22 | Ian Willoughby

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says if Petr Čech does leave the soccer club it will be for a high price. The Czech goalkeeper became Chelsea’s second choice between the posts after Belgian Thibaut Courtois returned from a loan spell at the start of the current season and there has been speculation he will move on in the summer. Mourinho said on Tuesday that if Čech does want to end his 11-year association with the club, with which he has won numerous titles including the Champions League, he will not try to persuade him to stay. 

Four charged with misappropriation of Ministry of Defence property

03-03-2015 16:53 | Ian Willoughby

Officers from the police’s organised crime unit have charged four people over the illegal misappropriation of Ministry of Defence property. In connection with the charges the unit carried out raids at the ministry and at premises belonging to the company Excalibur Army. The supreme state attorney, Lenka Bradáčová, said the four were suspected of breath of trust and abuse of office. One of those arrested was an army officer, two were from the ministry’s now defunct department for disposal of redundant assets and one was a former manager at the company VOP CZ. 

Sobotka writes to Juncker with view to CR drawing on EU funds

03-03-2015 14:21 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech prime minister, Bohsulav Sobotka, has written to the president of the European Commission informing him that the Czech Republic has fulfilled a commission demand regarding the introduction of civil service legislation, the Czech News Agency reported. Prague is now waiting for confirmation from Jean-Claude Juncker that the Czech Republic has fulfilled a condition for drawing on European Union funds. Mr. Sobotka wrote that he expected the Czech Republic to be able to apply for funding from the EU’s operational programmes in the coming weeks and other programmes soon afterwards. 

Regular siren tests cancelled due to tribute to shooting victims planned for Thursday

03-03-2015 13:05 | Ian Willoughby

A regular test of the siren systems in Czech cities and towns will not take place on Wednesday due to plans to use the sirens the following day to signal a moment’s silence for the victims of a shooting in Uherský Brod last week. The sirens usually go off at noon on the first Wednesday of every month. A spokesperson for the fire service directorate said it had decided to cancel the March test at the proposal of the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. Eight people were shot dead in an apparent random shooting in a pub in Uherský Brod before the gunman turned his weapon on himself. 

Mayor says designer of much-delayed Blanka tunnel must be “moron”

03-03-2015 12:34 | Ian Willoughby

The mayor of Prague says the designer of the city’s Blanka tunnel must be “a moron” (debil). Adriana Krnáčová made the comment after news emerged that the tunnel would not be open until next year at the soonest as hundreds of kilometres of water-damaged cables have to be replaced. The mayor told TV Nova that moisture could be expected in a tunnel and the designers must be stupid. However, a representative of the company that planned the project, Satra, told Tuesday’s Mladá fronta Dnes that the design had fulfilled all technical and safety requirements. Originally meant to open in 2011 Blanka, which has cost Prague CZK 37 billion, was most recently scheduled to go into operation in April. 

December-March period one of warmest on record but not as mild as last winter

03-03-2015 11:32 | Ian Willoughby

This winter has been one of the warmest recorded in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The average temperature from the start of December to the end of February was 0.7 degrees Celsius, which is 1.9 degrees higher than the average for the period 1971 to 2000. However, last climatological winter was even milder with an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius. 

One World fest of human rights documentaries kicks off in Prague

03-03-2015 11:27 | Ian Willoughby

The One World international festival of human rights documentaries got underway in Prague on Monday evening. The annual event opened with Warriors from the North, which explores how a radical Islamic group recruits volunteers in Denmark. The 17th One World will bring over 110 films from five dozen countries to audiences in Prague before moving on in reduced form to 33 other Czech cities and towns. 

UK director to portray operation to assassinate Heydrich in Anthropoid

03-03-2015 11:20 | Ian Willoughby

British director Sean Ellis is set to portray the 1942 assassination of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, in Anthropoid, a movie named after the daring operation carried out by Czech and Slovak paratroopers dropped near Prague. The lead roles will be taken by actors Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. Heydrich died days after the attack, sparking Nazi reprisals that included the destruction of two villages and the killing of thousands of civilians. 



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