News Members of Czech kidnapping and murder gang given life sentences

18-07-2014 14:59 | Chris Johnstone

The two ringleaders of a gang whose kidnapping of wealthy Czechs sometimes ended up with murder have been given life sentences by a Prague court on Friday. Michael Šváb and Libor Skopalík were given life sentences for their roles in the five-man gang. The court heard how they picked their targets from rich Czech businessmen when they were abroad. One of the targets though was said to have been killed in the Dubai desert after being suffocated and hit on the head with a stone. Another businessman was shot in Italy after being first abducted in Nice. Members of the gang were said to have met in prison where they planned their future actions after they were released.

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Court rules red boxers protest group will not face trial

27-11-2015 13:46 | Ian Willoughby

An art group who protested against President Milos Zeman by replacing the president’s flag at Prague Castle with a huge pair of red boxer shorts will not face punishment, Czech Television reported on Friday, quoting an official at the Prague Municipal Court. In a closed hearing earlier this week the court confirmed that members of the Ztohoven group should not stand trial. A district court had previously decided that they should not face punishment but the verdict was appealed by the state attorney. 

Sobotka: Czech Republic important partner for China within framework of EU

27-11-2015 12:08 | Ian Willoughby

Though the two states are incomparable in terms of size of economy and population, the Czech Republic is an important partner for China within the framework of the European Union, says the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Sobotka made the comment during a trip to the Hebei province on the final day of a week-long official visit to China. He said Czech agricultural equipment had been sent to Hebei in the 1950s and since then people there had followed events in the Czech Republic. Mr. Sobotka is heading a large delegation including three ministers and numerous Czech business people. 

Prague court gives 15-year sentence to imprisoned crime boss Krejčíř

27-11-2015 12:01 | Ian Willoughby

Czech crime boss Radovan Krejčíř has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a court in Prague for asset-stripping the company Čepro and plotting the murder of a customs officer. Mr. Krejčíř is currently behind bars in South Africa after being found guilty of attempted murder and drug possession. He was previously found guilty in the Czech Republic of massive tax evasion and other crimes. The 47-year-old fled the country in 2005 after managing to escape during a police raid of his home. 

Seven charged over overcharging of tourists for taxi rides

27-11-2015 11:37 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Prague have charged seven people in connection with overcharging tourists for taxi rides in the capital. Six of them are taxi drivers and the seventh is an official at City Hall suspected of taking bribes to leak information on planned checks, a spokesperson for the police said on Friday. The seven are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud. The police arrested the taxi drivers earlier this week. It was the first time they had taken such action in connection with overcharging. 

Prague council votes to ban all gaming bars

27-11-2015 11:27 | Ian Willoughby

The Prague council has voted to ban all gaming bars in the city. Some 212 such bars, which contain gambling machines, are to be closed down. Around 100 establishments designated casinos will be allowed to remain in place. The city will cease issuing or extending licenses for gaming bars from the start of January and they will all gradually go out of business. The original motion put forward by the mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, envisaged a reduction in the number of gaming bars allowed in the capital. However, councillors made sweeping changes to her proposal ahead of a vote on Thursday evening. 

Chinese investors to build huge spa complex in South Moravia

27-11-2015 09:36 | Ruth Fraňková

Chinese investors are planning to build a huge spa complex in South Moravia, the region’s governor Michal Hašek, who is accompanying the Czech PM on his ongoing visit to China, said on Friday. The spa in the town of Pasohlávky is expected to cost about two billion crowns (around 80 million euros) and should create about 500 new jobs. The new complex is to be completed by the end of 2018. 

Mixed results for Czech clubs in Europa league

27-11-2015 09:36 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech football club Sparta will continue in the Europa League in the spring, after defeating the Greek club Asteras Tripolis 1:0 in Prague on Thursday night. The same evening, Viktoria Pilsen lost a chance to advance after losing 2:1 to Dinamo Minsk. Liberec also lost – 2:1 – to the Portuguese team Bragga but still has a chance to advance: the team needs to win its final group stage match against Marseille. 

Czech Prime Minister Sobotka held talks with Chinese President

26-11-2015 18:12 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met for talks with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his ongoing trip to China on Thursday. Mr Sobotka said that the Czech Republic, along with China and the EU, are currently facing serious threats, such as terrorism, which they have to fight together. He also said that Thursday’s meeting was a proof of the dynamic development of Czech-Chinese relations. Ahead of the meeting in the Chinese parliament, the Czech Prime Minister signed an agreement involving the Czech Republic in China’s News Silk Road Initiative, promoting trade between Europe and China. 

Over 1,500 Czech volunteers have been helping refugees abroad

26-11-2015 18:11 | Ruth Fraňková

Over 1,500 volunteers from the Czech Republic have been helping refugees abroad since early September, Zuzana Lenhartova from the group We Are Helping Fleeing People group told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Groups of Czech volunteers have organised help at the border crossings through which the refugees are coming, providing them with food and clothing, Lenhartova said. Volunteers have been paying most of their trips from their own means. The People in Need aid organisation has recently set aside 1.25 million crowns for material help, the purchase of water, food and sanitary needs. The Foreign Ministry has earmarked another 1.2 million for the purpose. 

Electricity prices to remain unchanged in 2016

26-11-2015 18:04 | Ruth Fraňková

The price of electricity for end clients will stay roughly the same in 2016 as this year, while the price of gas will drop by one to two percent, the Energy Regulatory Office announced on Thursday. The office raised the regulated part of the electricity price, which is comprised mainly of the fee for transmission and distribution and a contribution to renewable energy sources, but said the growth would be compensated for by a drop in electricity prices on the market. The regulated part accounts for over 50 percent of the end price of electricity; the price of baseload electricity is set by the suppliers. The regulated part of gas price currently accounts for one quarter of the final price, but its size is expected to drop by some 3 to 5 percent next year. 


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