News Lower house passes declaration reaffirming Czech commitment to NATO

14-05-2014 14:21 | Ian Willoughby

The Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday passed a declaration stating the Czech Republic regards NATO membership as a basic pillar of its security policy and is prepared to fulfil all commitments arising from its membership. The declaration was proposed by the minister of defence, Martin Stropnický. Earlier this week he sparked opposition criticism by telling the Reuters news agency that the permanent presence of NATO units on Czech soil would be a problem for a significant part of the population in view of the occupation by Soviet troops in the past.

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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. 

Czech interior minister backs creation of EU airline passenger database

30-01-2015 10:02 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec has said Prague will back the idea of a European system for exchanging data on air passengers. Chovanec was speaking at a two day conference on security and the fight against terrorism in Riga. Chovanec also said that supported EU moves aims bolstering arms regulation. EU plans focus on forcing airlines to pass on all details of passengers to a central data base which could then be accessd by national police and security agencies. 

Lucie Šafářová wins women’s doubles final at Australian Open

30-01-2015 09:03 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has won her first Grand Slam title. With US partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, she beat Taiwan’s Yung-Jan Chan and China’s Jie Zheng in straight sets 6:4, 7:6 in the women’s doubles final at the Australian Open. It is the first time a Czech has won the title for 20 years. The Czech-US pair won the first set with ease but had to save two set points in the second before taking the tie break 

North Korean from ruling family becomes Czech ambassador

29-01-2015 17:48 | Chris Johnstone

Kim Pyong- Il, the younger half brother of the former leader of North Korea Kim Jong Il and son of the regimes founder Kim Il-Sung, was accepted as North Korea’s ambassador to the Czech Republic on Thursday. His credentials were accepted, along with four other new ambassadors, by President Miloš Zeman at Prague Castle. Kim Pyong-Il had previously been ambassador in Poland for the past 17 years. Experts on the North Korean regime say Kim Pyong- Il has been kept in virtual exile at a series of European posts because he is feared as a possible rival to leaders if he returns home. 

Crime levels fall in Prague, but murders and rape reports on the rise

29-01-2015 17:05 | Chris Johnstone

Police say crime levels in Prague fell to their lowest levels since 1991 last year. They say they were called out to probe just under 72,000 criminal cases, around 12 percent down on 2013. The clear up rate across the board came to 25 percent of cases, that is the best figure since 2002. Car thefts and theft of property from cars, pickpocketing, and burglary were all down. Thefts of bicycles were up. The number of murders increased last year to 28 with eight of the cases still unsolved. Rapes increased to 128 from 88. Police said that rise was partly due to greater reporting of cases. 

Prime Ministers agree to step up three-way regional cooperation

29-01-2015 16:47 | Chris Johnstone

Prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria met at the town of Slavkov, outside Brno, on Thursday and agreed to step up their cooperation on key cross border issues. These include tackling youth unemployment, developing regional gas networks, the pumping of European funds, and transport links. The three premiers agreed that they should repeat the same three-way format next year as well. The three prime ministers also laid wreaths at the site of the 1805 Napoleonic battle just outside the town. 

Norwegian PM intervenes in Czech childcare case

29-01-2015 14:31 updated | 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 Michálková. 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 Michálková 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. 

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