News Health Ministry plans to encourage schools to remove vending machines offering unhealthy foods

12-04-2014 15:27 | Ian Willoughby

The Ministry of Health is planning to encourage the removal of vending machines offering crisps, chocolate and other unhealthy foods from Czech elementary schools, Czech Radio reported. The majority of the country’s elementary schools feature such machines. Health Minister Marcel Chládek said he would not ban them but rather provide schools with sufficient funding so as not to need the extra income they bring. However, a school director told Czech Radio that the vending machines generated a negligible amount and that parents wanted them to remain.

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Military plane with munitions for Kurds takes off from Pardubice

20-12-2014 15:56 | Jan Velinger

A US military plane with a supply of Czech ammunition for Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq took off from the airport in Pardubice before noon on Saturday, the spokeswoman for the General Staff of the Czech Army confirmed. Some 5,000 anti-tank shells for RPG 7 launchers were provided. The plane's destination was Irbil. A day earlier, a Czech military CASA plane brought equipment as well as American personnel to Pardubice from their base in Ramstein, Germany, who helped prepare the payload for the journey, the Czech news agency said. At the end of August, the Czech government approved the donation of 41 million crowns worth of ammunition against IS (also known as ISIS and ISIL). The first munitions deliveries took place in September. 

European Commission president to attend commemorative event in Czech Republic marking liberation of Auschwitz

20-12-2014 15:26 | Jan Velinger

The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, together with almost two dozen speakers of parliament and deputy speakers, will attend a commemorative event in the Czech Republic in January marking the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp in neighbouring Poland in WWII, the Czech News Agency reported on Friday. According to ČTK, citing the US Embassy in Prague, US President Barack Obama had spoken to his Czech counterpart to say he would not be able to attend. Russian President Vladimir Putin, another invitee, is also expected to decline. From heads of state, only Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has confirmed his participation officially. A two-day international forum, organised by the European Jewish Congress and other organisations, will be held in Prague and Terezin, north Bohemia, on January 26-27. 

Unseasonably warm weather breaking temperature records

19-12-2014 17:02 | Daniela Lazarová

The unseasonably warm weather has been breaking temperature records around the country. The highest temperatures were recorded at weather stations in Lednice and Pohořelice in south Moravia where they reached 14.8 degrees Celsius. The weekend is expected to bring a cold spell with snow in altitudes 400 meters above sea level and a strong wind. Drivers have warned about snow drifts on less frequented roads. 

Trust in president sliding

19-12-2014 16:29 | Daniela Lazarová

According to a survey conducted by the CVVM polling agency public trust in Czech President Miloš Zeman has dropped further, to 34 percent compared to 37 percent in November. The president’s trust rating took a dive in October dropping by 21 percent in the wake of a number of controversial statements he made on a state visit to China and a radio interview peppered with vulgar language. Mr. Zeman had the trust of 61 percent of Czechs when he took office in March of 2013. 

Finance Ministry wants to double gaming taxes

19-12-2014 14:57 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech finance ministry wants to raise taxes on gambling to almost double the amount it collects from the industry at present. Companies currently pay the standard 19 percent corporate tax rate plus an additional sector tax of 20 percent of winnings. The finance ministry is proposing to raise the gambling tax to 40 percent as of 2016. The annual payment for one gaming machine will go up from the current 20,000 to 40,000 crowns. 

More sentences passed in methanol poisonings

19-12-2014 14:07 | Daniela Lazarová

An Ostrava court has sentenced two men involved in the 2012 methanol poisonings that killed close to fifty people to eight and ten years respectively. Jaromir Pánek allegedly provided the methanol to be used in bootleg spirits and Simon Kramarčík sold the deadly methanol-laced products to consumers even after the first deaths were reported. They were found directly responsible for the deaths of three people and the severe poisoning of four others. 

Brno issue blanket ban on gaming machines

19-12-2014 12:29 | Daniela Lazarová

The Brno city council has issued a blanket ban on gaming machines in the city as of next year. Gambling will be restricted to licensed casinos and only allowed in 8 of the city’s 29 districts. The ban was supported by 37 out of 55 councilors. Although several small towns have enforced similar bans, Brno is the only big city to have made the move. 

Czech Republic will get another chance to draw EU funds it failed to secure in 2007-2013 period

19-12-2014 12:28 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic will get another chance to draw EU funds it had been allocated in the 2007 – 2013 period, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told Czech journalists at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday night. At the summit, the Czech Republic and Slovakia managed to push through a plan that the European Commission and member states should try to secure a maximum use of the funds that failed to get spent. The prime minister said Czech ministries would launch talks with the Commission on the issue without delay. The Czech Republic has failed to use approximately 20 billion crowns worth of EU money this year. 

Anti-trust Office allows Unipetrol to gain control over Česka rafinerská

19-12-2014 11:54 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech antitrust office UOHS has permitted petrochemical group Unipetrol to become exclusive owner of the oil refining company Česka rafinerská as the merger will not cause a fundamental breach of competition on markets, UOHS chairman Petr Rafaj told the ctk news agency on Friday. The share of the merging companies will not exceed 15 percent of the market for ex-refinery supplies of petrol, diesel oil, LPG, heating fuel and aviation fuel. 

Czech doctors perform five-organ transplant

19-12-2014 11:37 | Daniela Lazarová

Doctors at the Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine have has performed a simultaneous stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestine transplant on a patient in an operation that is unique in Europe.The small intestine transplant was the first ever performed in the Czech Republic. The surgery took ten hours and the patient is in stable condition. 

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