News Lobkowicz brewery sells 2.3 million newly-issued shares

23-05-2014 13:00 | Jan Velinger

Pivovary Lobkowicz, the fifth biggest beer maker in the Czech Republic, has sold off 2.3 million newly-issued shares through an IPO with the option for another 230,000 shares, the company stated Friday in a press release. The offered price per share for traders and institutional investors was 160 crowns. An additional 3.4 million shares were to be part of the offer but the original shareholders opted to hang onto their shares. The company’s trading on the Prague Stock Exchange will start on May 28. The total volume of traded shares, including the option, is worth around 405 million which corresponds to market capitalisation at 1.87 billion, the company said. Apart from domestic investors, investors from Austria, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia were drawn by the offer.

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Education minister looking into security at schools

24-11-2014 14:20 | Daniela Lazarová

Education Minister Marcel Chládek has suggested setting up a fund which would help schools finance their security needs. Minister Chladek ordered an inspection into security at schools around the country in the wake of last month’s tragic incident at a secondary school in Zdiar in which a deranged woman stabbed to death an 18-year-old student. He said that the vast majority of schools were secure, but some could benefit from security cameras or someone who would guard the school entrance to prevent strangers entering. The Education Minister has also suggested introducing crash courses for teachers and students in how to behave in crisis situations. 

City transport in Prague may be cheaper

24-11-2014 13:45 | Daniela Lazarová

The annual fee for city transport in Prague should be cut by 1,000 crowns according to a coalition agreement signed between the ANO party, the Social Democrats and a three-way grouping of Greens, Christian Democrats and independents, the weekly Týden says in its Monday edition. The coalition agreement has not yet been released, but according to Týden the cost-cut was initiated by the Greens as a means of attracting more passengers and reducing car traffic in Prague. A cut in the price of city transport in Vienna allegedly attracted an additional 100,000 passengers. It is not yet clear as of when the cost cut may be affected. 

Government approves reopening of munitions depot in Květná

24-11-2014 13:43 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government has approved the reopening of a defence ministry munitions depot in Kvetná, in the Svitava region. The depot should be used for the transfer of munitions which were left undamaged by the blast at the munitions depot in Vrbětice in Moravia last month. Uncontrolled explosions on the grounds of the depot have now abated, making the planned transfer of 2,800 tons of munitions possible. A closer investigation into what caused the blast is also underway now that experts can work in the epicentre of the explosion. Villages in the close vicinity of the Kvetná depot are not averse to having munitions stored in the area but insist that the military must be in charge of security. The depot in Vrbětice had been leased to a private company and it was some time before the army was called on to help. 

President Zeman on economic mission to Kazakhstan

24-11-2014 12:24 | Daniela Lazarová

On a state visit to Kazakhstan Czech President Milos Zeman said the country had achieved an economic miracle since his last visit as prime minister in 1999 and offered considerable potential for economic cooperation. President Zeman who is accompanied by a group of Czech business leaders, including Škoda representatives, the heads of engineering firms and bankers, aims to boost business ties especially in the areas of energy, engineering and infrastructure. During talks with his Kazakhstani counterpart Nursultan Nazarbajev, President Zeman said he would push to simplify the visa procedure for Kazakhs travelling to the Czech Republic. 

Letter sent to Finance Minister Andrej Babiš contained a lethal amount of poison

24-11-2014 12:07 | Daniela Lazarová

An envelope containing a suspicious substance which was sent to Czech Finance Minister, Andrej Babiš last week is reported to have contained a lethal amount of cyanide-based poison. A similar envelope, also containing poison arrived at the Ministry of the Interior. Both letters were sent from abroad, though from different countries. Neither envelope contained an accompanying letter. The police have refused to disclose further details. Suspicious envelopes containing a white powder were earlier sent to the Office of the President and commercial TV Prima, but in both cases the substance was found to be harmless. 

Czech government delegation on working visit to Israel

24-11-2014 11:54 | Daniela Lazarová

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is heading a Czech government delegation on a three-day-visit to Israel. The prime minister is accompanied by seven members of cabinet among them Defense Minister Martin Stropnický, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemeček and Culture Minister Daniel Herman. On Monday Czech and Israeli ministers are to hold a joint session of cabinet, a tradition established in 2012, underscoring the close links between the two countries. The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe. On Tuesday the Czech delegation is expected to visit the Jad Vashem memorial. 

NHL action: Plekanec earns goal, one assist, against Bruins

24-11-2014 10:25 | Jan Velinger

Montreal Canadiens’ centre-forward Tomáš Plekanec has an excellent game against traditional rivals the Boston Bruins at the weekend, setting up a goal and scoring another to help sink the Bruins 2:0. Plekanec is second on goals and assists for the Habs this season, one point behind fellow player Max Pacioretty. Montreal are in top spot in the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Twenty-six metre tall Christmas tree felled

24-11-2014 10:10 | Jan Velinger

A 26-metre-tall pine has been felled in Nespeky, near Benešov to serve as this year's Christmas tree on the Old Town Square. The owner gave to go-ahead for the tree, which stood for more than 70 years, to be cut down. Organisers chose the winner from a list of 17 trees around the country. Transport of the pine will require the city’s Pařížská Street to be cleared of parked vehicles well in advance. 

Motorist tries to beat oncoming train

23-11-2014 18:09 | Jan Velinger

A Czech motorist was lucky to escape with her life on Sunday at a railway crossing in the Kolín area. Witnesses said the driver, at the wheel of a small car, showed impatience and drove ahead a line of waiting cars just as barriers on the tracks were coming down. An express train caught, and demolished, the back of her car. She escaped unhurt. The incident is under investigation. 

Defence minister outlines need for military reserve force

23-11-2014 18:01 | Jan Velinger

Defence Minister Martin Stropnický has made clear that planned legislative changes should make it possible for the Czech Republic to create a military reserve force capable of being called up in times of war or severe crisis. According to the minister, the country's army is low in personnel, fewer than 20,000 instead of a desired 27,000. Call up reserves, of between 10,000 - 15,000 trained personnel, the minister indicated, would help fill the gap. Minister Stropnický pointed out that military reserves were not uncommon in other countries and made clear the plan was in no way to reintroduce compulsory military service across the board, as was the case in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic up until 2004. 

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