News Interior minister calls for investigation into police raid on Islamic sites: report

29-04-2014 12:48 | Chris Johnstone

Minister of the Interior Marcel Chovanec has called for a police investigation into last Friday’s raid on Islamic sites in Prague, according to a report by the news server Aktuálně.cz on Tuesday. The minister is reported to feel that the intervention was insensitive and used excessive force. Members of the special police squad for combatting organised crime raided the headquarters of Prague’s Islamic Foundation and a mosque on the outskirts of the city during Friday prayers. Around 20 people were detained and charges relating to the propagation of hate crime were pressed against one of them. The Islamic community has complained itself about the police raid.

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Zaorálek slams Zeman's idea of unified military action against Islamic terrorists

27-01-2015 16:44 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, has expressed strong opposition to the kind of joint military action against Islamic terrorism proposed on Tuesday by President Miloš Zeman. In a statement, Mr. Zaorálek asked whether a “crusade” should be launched, and if so against whom and where. “Against Jihadist groups from Senegal to Somalia, against Libya, Yemen or Pakistan? Nonsense!” wrote the minister. Mr. Zaorálek said Muslims needed to take a leading role in curing the cancer of radical Islamic ideology. He said Arabs in particular should demonstrate that murder and terror are not the true face of Islam, adding that he did not believe in further Western military intervention in Syria, Iraq, or “God knows where”. Earlier Mr. Zeman had warned of a “super-holocaust” leaving hundreds of millions dead if Islamic State was not stopped. 

Prague's Werich Villa to become Voskovec and Werich Arts and Social Centre

27-01-2015 13:19 | Ian Willoughby

A famous villa on Prague's Kampa is set to become the Voskovec and Werich Arts and Social Centre in honour of the great Czech actors Jan Werich (who lived there) and Jiří Voskovec. It will be operated by the Jan and Meda Mládek Foundation. The authorities in Prague 1 voted on Tuesday to rent the Werich Villa to the organisation for CZK 600,000 a year on a 10-year contract with the option of another 10-year term when the first comes to an end. The future of the building had been the subject of speculation since 2002, when it was damaged in flooding. 

Prague approves possible return to paper travel passes

27-01-2015 12:55 | Ian Willoughby

Prague councillors have approved a possible return to paper long-term public transport passes that would start in March. The paper passes could be introduced if the city loses licenses for the Opencard electronic card system that was brought in to replace them. Opencard contracts signed by previous Prague governments are reported to have been overpriced. Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said last week that the city was prepared to introduce paper passes in order to avoid being forced to pay for new licenses under pressure of time. The operator of the service, eMoneyServices, has called for a stabilisation of the situation. Otherwise, it said, it would demand the city settle all its debts to the firm. 

Zaorálek hands second diplomatic note to Norwegian Embassy over child custody case

27-01-2015 12:26 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, has handed a second diplomatic note to the Norwegian Embassy in Prague in connection with the case of two Czech boys taken into care in the country in 2011 over allegations of sexual abuse. Their mother Eva Michaláková has been campaigning for their return. In the document, Mr. Zaorálek called on the Norwegian social services to enter into dialogue with their Czech counterparts. Norway's ambassador to Prague, Siri Ellen Sletner, said she would pass the note on to her country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Slight rise in number of registered partnerships seen in 2014

27-01-2015 11:59 | Ian Willoughby

Last year 233 couples entered into registered partnerships in the Czech Republic, 32 more than in 2013. The majority of the pairs – 148 – were men. Close to 4,000 gays and lesbians have entered such unions since the institution was introduced by Czech legislators eight and a half years ago. The information has been provided by gay rights activist Milda Šlehofer as no official count is kept, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Zeman: Islamic State could carry out “super-holocaust” leaving hundreds of millions dead

27-01-2015 11:46 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has warned of a “super-holocaust” leaving hundreds of millions dead if Islamic State is not stopped. Speaking in Prague at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Mr. Zeman said Islamic State was similar in nature to Germany's Nazis at the start of the 1930s. He called for unified armed action against Islamic State led by the United Nations Security Council and warned that more terrorist attacks would need to occur before the public realised that it wasn't possible to negotiate with terrorists. 

Czech and Slovak presidents honour victims of Holocaust

27-01-2015 10:08 | Jan Velinger

The presidents of the Czech Republic and Slovakia honoured victims of the Holocaust in a memorial ceremony at the National Cemetery in Terezín on Monday. Both Miloš Zeman and Andrej Kiska condemned Nazi propaganda in connection with the former ghetto and concentration camp; the Nazis staged social and cultural events in the town during a visit by Danish representatives of the Red Cross in 1944 to mislead officials about the actual use of Terezín, where many died of disease and maltreatment or were sent on to death camps. 

Berdych snaps losing streak against Nadal, advances to semi-final at Australian Open

27-01-2015 09:31 | Jan Velinger

Czech No. men’s tennis player Tomáš Berdych snapped a 17-match losing streak against Spain’s Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open on Tuesday, defeating his opponent in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals. The Czech completely dominated in the first two sets and withstood Nadal’s attempt to fight back in the third. The final score was 6:2, 6:0, 7:6. Berdych faces Great Britain’s Andy Murray next. 

Australian Open: Berdych looks to break Nadal ‘jinx’

26-01-2015 16:55 | Jan Velinger

Czech men’s No. 1 tennis player Tomáš Berdcyh faces Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Tuesday looking to put the brakes on a less than lofty record against the star Spanish player: 17 loses in their last 17 match-ups. If Nadal wins their 18th match, he will set a new record in the Open era dating back to 1968. Since then, no player has beaten the same opponent 18 times in a row. 

President, politicians react to Greek election results

26-01-2015 16:40 | Jan Velinger

President Miloš Zeman as well as a number of prominent Czech politicians commented the results of the Greek election on Monday, won by leftist-party SYRIZA, which is aiming for austerity measures in place to be softened. The president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, said Mr Zeman had no intention of interfering in Greece’s internal affairs, but relayed the president’s comment that “debts should be repaid”. Czech right-wing parties called SYRIZA’s promises “unfeasible”; deputy chairman and MEP for the Civic Democrats, Jan Zahradil, maintained that the Greek leftist party had won as a consequence of the radicalisation of Greek society which he said stemmed from strict austerity measures imposed by the Euro zone. 

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