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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Minister wants to allow Czechs to build houses without planning permission

26-07-2016 11:29 | Ian Willoughby

Czechs will be able to build houses without having to acquire planning permission according to a plan put forward by the minister of regional development, Karla Šlechtová, reported. Under her proposal, people would just have to register a declaration of intent to build with their local authority. At present that is possible only for structures of 150 square metres or less. Minister Šlechtová’s plan is contained in a draft amendment to the building law, which the government is expected to consider in around a month’s time. If approved, it would come into effect next year. 

Six thousand Czechs expected at Krakow World Youth Day

26-07-2016 11:05 | Ian Willoughby

An estimated 6,000 young Roman Catholic pilgrims from the Czech Republic have set off for the Polish city of Krakow for World Youth Day, the Czech News Agency reported. One of the largest events of its kind, the festival runs from Tuesday until Sunday, when Pope Francis will address an expected 1.5 million people at an outdoor mass. While most have taken trains and coaches, over 100 pilgrims have travelled the 700 kilometres from Prague to Krakow by bicycle. 

Plzeň and Sparta prepare for home Champions League qualifiers

26-07-2016 11:04 | Ian Willoughby

Czech football title-holders Viktoria Plzeň are preparing to face Quarabag of Azerbaijan in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie on Tuesday night. If they overcome Quarabag over two legs, Plzeň will return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013. Sparta Prague, who last reached Europe’s elite club competition in 2005, welcome Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday at the same stage of qualification. 

Salmonella confirmed in summer camp water samples

26-07-2016 10:06 | Jan Velinger

The testing of water samples from a well at a children’s summer camp in the Jihlava area have confirmed the presence of salmonella, officials have confirmed. Roughly a week ago, 28 children suffered health complications at the camp as a result of the bacteria: 17 of them had to be transferred to hospital as well as two adults. The summer camp has been closed for the time being and is due to reopen in mid-August at the earliest. 

LN: Czech Republic to take in 80 Syrian refugees

26-07-2016 09:59 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic will take in 80 Syrian migrants in Turkish refugee camps per the European Union’s agreement with Turkey, Czech daily Lidové noviny reports. The newspaper cited Czech Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Malá as confirming the move. The exact date of their arrival was not specified but they are expected in the Czech Republic sometime in October. Two weeks ago the Czech Republic received files on Syrian refugees interested in applying for asylum from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; vetting is being conducted by the security services. 

Ostrava Transport to invest in new trams

25-07-2016 18:03 | Jan Velinger

Ostrava Transport, running public transit in the Czech Republic’s third-largest city, is planning on expanding and upgrading its existing tram fleet with 40 new low-floor trams. The news was confirmed by the agency’s head, Roman Kadlučka. The company wants the new vehicles to offer commuter comfort inclduing air conditioning. The tender is to be conducted online for reasons of transparency. The deal is worth a reported 1.4 billion crowns. 

First group of Czech competitors arrives at Olympic Village

25-07-2016 16:43 | Jan Velinger

The first group of Czech athletes has arrived at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the upcoming summer games. According to news site idnes, the team had expressed relative satisfaction with the accommodation and found no problems, the head of the Czech delegation Tomáš Houska, confirmed. Teams from Australia, New Zealand and Italy found the facilities lacking, idnes reported, saying that Australian athletes were looking for alternative accommodation at local hotels. 

French President Hollande to meet with Czech head of state on working visit

25-07-2016 16:21 | Jan Velinger

French President Francois Hollande will arrive in the Czech Republic on Wednesday on an official working visit, when he will meet with Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman. The news was confirmed on Monday by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for the Czech head of state. During his visit, President Hollande will also meet with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr Hollande was originally scheduled to travel to Prague last week but the date was postponed in the wake of the terrorist attack in Nice which claimed 84 lives. 

Crime rate falls in first half of 2016

25-07-2016 15:51 | Jan Velinger

The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell by 11.3 percent in the first half of 2016, according to police statistics released on Monday. In all, the police registered some 115,314 crimes in the first six months. Of those, some 42.5 percent were reportedly solved. Out of crimes committed, 7,735 were violent. There were 65 murders, down by 24 from the same period last year. The region of Central Bohemia had the most with 13 while Liberec had none. 

UK to extradite Czech businessman František Savov

25-07-2016 13:57 | Jan Velinger

Czech businessman František Savov is to be extradited from Great Britain to the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday citing spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová of the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor's Office in Prague. She spoke after a court in London rejected his appeal over an earlier ruling loast year. Mr Savov, best-known as the owner of Mlada fronta publishers, is wanted on the suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering going into the hundreds of millions of crowns. The 44-year-old businessman has denied any wrongdoing. 


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