News Life sentences handed down to methanol poisoning masterminds

21-05-2014 12:56 updated | Chris Johnstone

A Czech court has handed down life sentences to two mean accused of being the ringleaders of the methanol scandal which cost the lives of more than 50 people. The regional court in Zlín handed down the sentences to Tomáš Krepela and Rudolf Fian, who were accused of masterminding the mixing hard spirits with deadly methanol in a concoction which started to kill from September 2012 onwards. Slovaks and Poles as well as Czechs numbered amongst the victims. A third man who acted as distributor, Jiří Vacul, was given a 15 year sentence. Lighter punishments were given to another seven co-defendants.

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Trust in president up in January

31-01-2015 10:50 | Ruth Fraňková

According to a survey conducted by the CVVM polling agency, public trust in president Miloš Zeman has gone up in January. Some 44 percent of people who took part in the poll said they trusted the president, which is an increase by ten percent compared to the previous month. The president's trust rating took a dive last October following a series of controversial moves by Mr Zeman, including his use of vulgar language in a radio interview. President Zeman had the trust of 61 percent of Czechs when he took office in March of 2013. 

Vysehrad Codex goes on display at Prague's Clementinum

31-01-2015 10:28 | Ruth Fraňková

The Vysehrad Codex, a latin illuminated manuscript, which is regarded as one of the most valuable historical treasures in the Czech Republic, has gone on display in Prague. The manuscript, written in 1085 to mark the coronation of the first Czech king, Vratislav II, is temporarily installed in the Mirror Chapel at Prague's Clementinum. The Vysehrad Codex is listed as a national cultural heritage and was last displayed to the public in 1969. Security at Clementinum has been tightened due to the immense value of the manuscript. 

Police arrest international network of euro counterfeiters

30-01-2015 17:33 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech police in December arrested members of an organised network, which has allegedly been importing counterfeit 500 euro banknotes in the Czech Republic. According to the police, the money was forged in Bulgaria and distributed in the Czech Republic and other EU states. Spokesman of the Czech Police's Organised Crime Unit Pavel Hanták said on Friday that the group produced 90 percent of all fake 500 euro banknotes seized in the Czech Republic last year. Nine members of the group, including one Czech national, were charged with counterfeiting so far. If found guilty, they are facing up to 12 years in prison. 

STEM: popularity of PM Sobotka continues to rise

30-01-2015 17:31 | Ruth Fraňková

A new poll released by the STEM agency suggests that the popularity of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has continued to go up. The survey found that 63 percent of respondents view the prime minister positively, which is the best result Mr Sobotka has registered so far. ANO party leader Andrej Babiš remains the most popular head of a parliamentary party with 72 percent. On the contrary, the popularity of Tomio Okamura, the leader of the controversial Dawn Party, has been gradually dropping, since reaching its peak after early elections in 2013. 

Number of newly registered HIV cases up by 232 in 2014

30-01-2015 17:30 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech doctors last year registered 232 new cases of HIV infection, mostly among men. According to the figures released by the National Reference Laboratory for HIV/AIDS on Friday, 34 people developed full blown AIDS and 13 people died of the disease in 2014. So far the highest number of new HIV cases was registered in 2013, when it reached 235. Altogether 2,354 people have been diagnosed HIV-positive since 1985, when testing for HIV in the Czech Republic started. There has been a steady increase in cases since 2003. 

Meteorologists issue snow warnings for most of Czech Republic

30-01-2015 17:27 | Ruth Fraňková

Meteorologists have issued a snow warning for most parts of the Czech Republic. Weather experts have also warned against strong winds, especially in Moravia. Drivers should expect snowdrifts and the fact that less frequented roads may be impassable. Heavy snowfall could bring up to 30 centimetres of fresh snow to the Beskydy Mountains in northern Moravia. Temperatures in the next few days are expected to remain below the freezing point. 

Health warning issued over extremely low pressure

30-01-2015 12:45 | Ruth Fraňková

Barometric pressure in the Czech Republic has been rapidly falling over the past few years, attacking a record registered in 1989. The barometric pressure on Friday reached 974 hPa while the average pressure in January is around 1013 hPA. The lowest ever barometric pressure measured in the Czech Republic, 967hPa, was recorded in February 1989. Chronically ill people, particularly cardiac patients and people suffering from asthma, have been advised to refrain from strenuous physical activity outdoors. 

Czech arms manufacturer to provide tanks for Nigerian army

30-01-2015 12:43 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech arms manufacturer Excalibur Group is set to provide tanks to the Nigerian Army fighting the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes. The first part of the arms delivery, which will also include fighting vehicles and missile launchers, should be shipped by Antonov airplane from the Ostrava airport during the next few days. The value of contract is estimated at almost 200 million crowns, the daily writes. Boko Haram extremists have taken control of part of Nigeria, allegedly killing some 13,000 people last year. 

Czech Army’s Chief of General Staff threatens to step down

30-01-2015 12:42 | Ruth Fraňková

The chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Petr Pavel has threatened to step down over a dispute with the Defence Minister Martin Stropnický. In a commentary for the daily Právo on Friday, Mr Pavel, who is to become the new head of NATO’s Military Committee in summer, said he was ready to resign if he was to be an obstacle to normal functioning of the government. The relationship between Mr Pavel and the Defence Minister Martin Stropnický has worsened in the past few weeks over the appointment of new head of the Czech military police. 

Dozens of otters killed by poachers every year

30-01-2015 12:41 | Ruth Fraňková

Dozens of otters living in the Czech Republic are killed by poachers every year, according to a survey carried out by ALKA Wildlife organisation. The organisation has warned that if the negative trend continues, the otter population in the Czech Republic would be seriously threatened. A number of other protected species, such as birds of prey, also fall victim to poachers. Killing a protected animal is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. However, only a small percentage of the cases are successfully investigated. 



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