News Krejcíř trial adjourned

30-05-2014 17:09 | Jan Velinger

The trial of Czech fugitive business Radovan Krejcíř and five others in South Africa facing charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder, has been adjourned until June 9. The lawyer defending him has asked to be able to call additional witnesses, largely from among police ranks. The Czech News Agency reported some were individuals Mr Krejcíř had allegedly targeted. Krejcíř has been described in the South African media as a major underworld figure. The suspect, who has asked for asylum in the country, is also wanted in the Czech Republic.

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Czech mountaineer Pavel Michut dies on Denali

29-05-2016 16:40 | Jan Velinger

Czech mountaineer Pavel Michut died on the Messner Couloir on Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) in Alaska on Sunday, fellow climber Radek Jaroš confirmed on facebook. In his message, Jaroš wrote that the other members of the Czech group of climbers were safe. Jaroš set out to Denali with a group of ten after having completed the Crown of the Himalayas. 

Newly-named governor says central bank should be less euro skeptical in outlook

29-05-2016 13:59 | Jan Velinger

The newly-named governor of the Czech National Bank, Jiří Rusnok, has said that the central bank should be less euro skeptical while at the same time remaining critical regarding the eurozone. He made the comment on a popular Czech TV political debate programme on Sunday. He said that while he felt the Czech Republic belonged in the eurozone, the time was "not yet mentally or politically ripe". Mr Rusnok, who officially takes up the post of governor in July, said also that the Czech National Bank would announce in advance when the time came to lift measures in its low crown policy, keeping the Czech currency at 27 crowns to the euro. The measures have been in place for some two-and-a-half years. 

Health minister to table reworked anti-smoking legislation

29-05-2016 13:40 | Jan Velinger

Reworked anti-smoking legislation - taking into account a number of changes suggested by MPs in the lower house last week - is to be put forward at the cabinet meeting on Monday by Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček. The ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, similarly to last week's rejected bill, will apply to cigarettes and cigars but not, for example, electronic cigarettes or hookahs. The new legislation would also newly ban smoking at public bus and tram stops and at the zoo, with the exception of designated exterior areas. The reworked law does not include a proposal put forward last week by Civic Democrat MP Marek Benda for restaurants to have special rooms for smokers, service-free, to protect restaurant personnel from second-hand smoke. That was a sticking point for eight MPs from the ruling coalition's ANO Party, and led to the bill's rejection. If approved by the government and passed by Parliament, the new legislation could come into effect in January 2017 - half a year later than originally intended. 

Livestock numbers fell significantly over last 30 years

29-05-2016 09:53 | Jan Velinger

Livestock numbers in the Czech Republic fell by more than half over the last 30 years, according to information released by the Czech Statistics Office. The number of cattle fell to just 40 percent of 1987 levels and pigs to around 36 percent. Farmers have warned that more breeding farms could close unless they receive broader support. The government recently outlined in its agriculture road map until 2030 plans to improve the situation. 

Czech Radio: Czechs spending more on sport

29-05-2016 09:37 | Jan Velinger

Czechs are spending more each year on sports equipment and sport events, Czech Radio reports citing numbers by Eurostat. According to the broadcaster, they spend around 2,500 crowns per year on sport items, events or fitness club memberships. That is roughly twice the amount spent in 2012. Some spend considerably more, not least in areas of organized team sports such as ice hockey or football, where the numbers can go as high as 30,000 crowns. One interviewee told the broadcaster that ice hockey equipment for each of his sons cost 2,500 crowns alone - not including skates or helmets. 

Children evacuated from playing field in face of local floods

29-05-2016 09:18 | Jan Velinger

Firefighters intervened on Saturday as local flooding and thunderstorms threatened more than 400 children at an organized event on a playing field in Jílovice in the region of Hradec Králové. The children were evacuated from the area, many of them carried to awaiting vehicles in firemens' arms. No persons were hurt in the incident. Flooding affected a number of buildings in local municipalities including Výrava and Librantice. 

French Open: Berdych rebounds to defeat Uruguay's Cuevas in four sets

29-05-2016 08:06 | Jan Velinger

Czech men's tennis number one Tomáš Berdych rebounded after losing the first set in his Roland Garros third round match against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas, winning three straight to reach the next round. Berdych turned the game around with precision play and relatively few unforced errors.The final score was 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Berdych faces Spain's David Ferrer next. 

Controversial grouping Bloc Against Islam dissolved

28-05-2016 17:29 | Jan Velinger

Members of the controversial Bloc Against Islam, dissolved the movement on Saturday at their national congress in the Czech capital. Instead, they formed a new grouping carrying the name of its leader: Iniciativa Martina Konvičky (Martin Konvička Initiative). Not all members were in favor; one group of delegates left the proceedings in protest. The now defunct Bloc Against Islam originally signed an agreement to cooperate with the upstart Dawn Party in upcoming elections but withdrew from the contract in April. The Dawn Party is seeking financial compensation for alleged damages suffered. 

Právo: Lebanese national was extradited to US in April

28-05-2016 09:44 | Jan Velinger

Lebanese national Faouz Jaber was secretly extradited to the US to the Czech Republic weeks ago in connection with suspected terrorism charges, the weekly Právo reports. The move, confirmed by the police, was reportedly kept quiet for security reasons. Faouz Jaber was one of three people wanted by the United States, but earlier two other Lebanese citizens were allowed to return to their homeland in exchange for five Czechs held for more than half a year in that country. That move sparked sharp criticism of the Czech action from US authorities. They wanted to question the trio in connected with a suspected drugs for arms involving the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia. 

Damage to railway track in Friday crash estimated at almost 900,000 crowns

28-05-2016 09:22 | Jan Velinger

Repairs on railway track damaged in Prague after a passenger train derailed on Friday between the Vršovice and main train stations are underway and expected to continue over the weekend. The derailment of the train, not carrying passenger at the time, caused damage estimated at around 880,000 crowns. The accident blocked the use of two of four tracks, affecting connections throughout the day. 


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