News Kiev gets offer to exchange hostage OSCE observers for Russian separatists

28-04-2014 12:41 updated | Daniela Lazarová

According to a report published by the Russian Interfax news agency the group of OSCE observers who are being detained by Russian separatists in the town of Slaviansk, in eastern Ukraine, are unharmed and are being treated as “guests”. The town’s pro-Russian mayor Vjacheslav Ponomarjov confirmed on Monday that an offer had been made to exchange them for Russian separatists held in Kiev. According to the Czech ambassador to Kiev, the negotiations are complicated and the Ukrainian government has not yet responded to the offer. The Ukrainian Intelligence Service says it has evidence that the operation in which OSCE observers were taken hostage was masterminded by the Russian military intelligence. Among the captives are German, Czech, Polish and Danish nationals. A Swede who suffers from diabetes was released on Sunday.

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Ministers clash over relaxation of mining limits

29-01-2015 11:17 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said Thursday that he is favour of a partial relaxation of existing limits of mining brown coal in the country. Mládek repeated his stance ahead of a demonstration by miners in Prague. But Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš immediately reacted by saying he is opposed to any changes in the limits imposed at the start of the 1990s. Mládek has admitted that one of the options for relaxing the limits could involve partial demolition of the town of Horní Jiřetín. 

Czech au pair sentenced for child abuse by British court

29-01-2015 09:56 | Chris Johnstone

A Czech has been given a 10 year jail sentence by a British court for abusing a young boy and being in possession of more than 30,000 child porn images. The 25-year-old, who was working as an au pair, was caught by police when they raided a Bradford home where he was caring for two children. They found a vast quantity of child porn images. The child abuse charges related to a young boy in the Czech Republic, the images from which he later circulated on the internet. The Czech said he wanted to serve his sentence in his homeland rather than Britain. 

Norwegian PM intervenes in Czech childcare case

29-01-2015 09:40 | Chris Johnstone

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has hit back at the politicization of the case of two Czech brothers subject to Norwegian care authorities, according to a report by Czech Television. She said it was not for politicians to intervene in individual cases, referring to the case of the sons of Czech mother Eva Micháková. She added that when weighing up care orders no difference was made in Norwegian law between the of Norwegian and foreign born children. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka took up the Micháková case last week with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week firing off a second diplomatic note to Norway over it. Czech Christian Democrat member of the European Parliament Tomáš Zdechovský raised the case in the parliament this week saying that Norwegian authorities had removed the children from their parents on the basis of flawed evaluations. 

Prague’s DOX centre opens Charlie Hebdo exhibition

28-01-2015 17:02 | Chris Johnstone

The DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague launched an exhibition of more than 200 front covers from the French satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’on Wednesday. The exhibition draws on examples held by a private collector and will run until March 9. Charlie Hebdo hit the headlines worldwide when attackers shot down many of its editorial team in an attack at the start of January. A similar exhibition planned at the Belgian city of Louvain-La-Neuve was cancelled for security reasons. 

Forecasters warns of snow drift threat

28-01-2015 16:36 | Chris Johnstone

Forecasters are warning of the dangers of snow drifts, especially in Eastern Moravia and Silesia, when winds combine with snow showers overnight. The winds are expected to reach speeds of up to 110 kilometres an hour on high ground over 600 metres. The meteorological office says that difficult conditions could affect almost the whole country with the exception of Prague and central Bohemia. 

Cabinet selects new ‘super civil servant’

28-01-2015 16:34 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Cabinet on Wednesday selected its so-called ‘super civil servant’ from a shortlist of three candidates. The holder of the new post at the top of the civil service is Josef Postránecký, who has been in government service for the last 17 years. His latest posts have been in the Ministry of Interior with previous postings in the Ministry for Regional Development. The post has been created in connection with the reform of the Czech civil service which is aimed at creating a professional and non-politicized administration which falls into line with demands from the European Commission. 

Rare iron age burial site discovered in Prague

28-01-2015 14:21 | Chris Johnstone

Archeologists says they have found a rare burial site in Prague dating from the seventh or eighth century BC. The two graves apparently belonged to highly placed members of society given the rich hoard of effects found in the burial chambers. The effects include the remains of the burial carriage and equipment used by horses during the iron age. Only one similar burial site to the latest discovery at Letňany has been made previously in Prague and that was more than a century ago. 

Lucie Šafářová reaches women’s doubles final at Australian Open

28-01-2015 14:20 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has reached the women’s doubles finals at the Australian Open. Together with US partner Bethanie Mattek Sands, she cruised to an easy 6:0 win against German opponents Julie Görges and Anna-Lena Grönefeld in the first set before the pair conceded. In the final the Czech-American pair will face Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan and China’s Jie Zheng. 

Škoda Auto prepares transfer of up to 800 workers

28-01-2015 11:54 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker, Škoda Auto, is preparing itself for tougher times and a downfall in demand in spite of its record breaking year in 2014. The company is reported by the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes on Wednesday to be preparing a programme whereby hundreds of workers will be transferred and become contract workers for external companies. The move, affecting up to 800 workers, is part of an organizational shake up under which Škoda Auto focuses on manufacturing cars and other activities are spun off to external companies. Unions say they are prepared to strike over the move. 

Train crashes into landslide in north Bohemia

28-01-2015 11:53 | Chris Johnstone

Nine people were injured when a train collided with boulders which fell on the track during a landslide near Semíly in north-east Bohemia. The train driver was the worst casualty and was helicoptered from the accident scene to the hospital at Liberec. Accident investigators said he had no chance to brake the train in time. The line is expected to be closed for the whole day. 

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