News Nečas says police chief was about to be sacked before ordering operation that led to his downfall as PM

16-03-2014 15:17 updated | Ian Willoughby

Former prime minister and Civic Democrats chairman Petr Nečas says that the head of the police’s organised crime unit, Robert Šlachta, was about to be sacked shortly before he ordered an operation that included a raid on the office of the government and precipitated Mr. Nečas’s downfall. He told the weekly Euro that Mr. Šlachta was facing the axe for failing to combat the trade in illegally produced alcohol. Mr. Nečas said the organised crime unit had become chiefly interested in hounding politicians. For his part, Mr. Šlachta describes Mr. Nečas’s comments as completely untrue.

Last June members of the unit arrested on bribe-taking charges three former Civic Democrat MPs who had received lucrative posts at semi-state enterprises after agreeing not to bring down Mr. Nečas’s government. They have since been exonerated but Mr. Nečas himself is still facing bribery charges, as are his former chief aide and current spouse Jana Nagyová and a number of others.

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Bouzov castle to remain in state ownership

24-08-2016 15:12 | Ruth Fraňková

A court in Olomouc on Wednesday ruled that Bouzov castle in Moravia will remain in state ownership. The judge rejected the claim of a German Catholic Order against the Czech National Heritage Institute, which refused to hand the castle over within the church restitution process back in 2014. The court upheld the stand of the Heritage Institute which argued that the restitution law did not apply to that particular property. Bouzov Castle was confiscated under the post-war Benes Decrees, i.e. before the 1948-1989 communist period to which the church restitution law applies. 

Demonstration held in Prague over persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China

24-08-2016 14:30 | Ruth Fraňková

Several dozen people gathered outside the Chinese embassy in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the persecutions of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The demonstrators, accompanied by a brass band, are set to march from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle. According to the organizers of the rally, over 3,600 Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured to death and around 100,000 followers have been detained by the Chinese authorities. Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy. 

Czech Republic to have ambassador to Cuba after 27 years

24-08-2016 13:15 | Ruth Fraňková

Vladimír Eisenbruk will be appointed a Czech ambassador to Cuba, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed on Wednesday. Mr Eisenbruk, who previously served as an ambassador in Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, will be the first Czech ambassador to the country after 27 years. Until now, both the Czech Republic and Cuba have been represented in the other country by a charge d'affaires. According to the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman Irena Valentová, Cuba’s agreement shows a shift in the countries’ mutual dialogue as well as new dynamics in the bilateral relations. 

Czech plane forced to make emergency landing in Lyon

24-08-2016 12:10 | Ruth Fraňková

A Czech plane with over 150 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing at an airport in Lyon, France on Tuesday night over a suspected fuel leak. The plane, operated by the Czech charter company Travel Service, was on its way from Malaga in Spain to Prague. According to the company’s spokeswoman, the safety of the passengers and crew was not in danger. The company has already dispatched a replacement plane to pick up the stranded passengers. 

Czech hockey player Hudler reportedly signs one-year deal with Dallas

24-08-2016 12:09 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech hockey player Jiří Hudler has reportedly signed a one year deal with the Dallas Stars, the hockey news site Today’s Slapshot reported on Wednesday, adding that the deal is worth $2 million. The 32-year-old forward finished last season with 10 goals and 35 points in an abbreviated 53-game season with Calgary and 6 goals and 11 points with Florida following the trade deadline. 

Over 100 child deaths in 2015 due to serious injuries

24-08-2016 08:09 | Ian Willoughby

Some 109 children in the Czech Republic died as a result of injuries in 2015, while 330,000 children had injuries examined by doctors, according to the minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček. In 2010,168 children died from injuries. Traffic accidents were the major cause of death among children and the number of serious injuries on trampolines increased on previous years. 

Plzeň fail to reach Champions League after home draw with Ludogorets

24-08-2016 07:18 | Ian Willoughby

Czech league title-holders Viktoria Plzeň have failed to reach the Champions League, Europe’s top club competition. The West Bohemians drew 2:2 at home with Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday night but went out on aggregate after losing the first leg in Bulgaria 2:0 last week. Plzeň played in the lucrative Champions League in 2011 and 2013. This term they will take part in the second-tier Europa League. 

Schwarzenberg: Prague Castle now more closed than under Husák

23-08-2016 18:47 | Ian Willoughby

Responding to the introduction of airport-style metal detectors at Prague Castle on Tuesday, the honorary head of TOP 09, Karel Schwarzenberg, said that the institution was more closed today than it was under Gustav Husák, the last Communist president of Czechoslovakia. Mr. Schwarzenberg, who was chancellor to President Václav Havel and was defeated in the last presidential election by Miloš Zeman, said he recalled the joy with which Mr. Havel had opened Prague Castle to the public in the 1990s. He made the comments at an event launching the policy programme of TOP 09 ahead of regional and Senate elections later this year. 

Voter support for most popular party ANO up slightly, suggests poll

23-08-2016 16:53 | Ian Willoughby

Voter support for ANO has grown by just over 1 percent to 23.9 percent, suggests an opinion poll conducted in August by the SANEP polling agency. The survey indicated that government leaders the Social Democrats would get 19.1 percent back if an election were held this month, a decline of slightly over 2 percent on the figure for the same poll in July. The Communists came third with 13.4 percent, followed by the Civic Democrats on 11.2 percent and TOP 09 on 6.1 percent. 

Airport-style metal detectors installed at Prague Castle

23-08-2016 16:12 | Ian Willoughby

Airport-style walk-through metal detectors have been installed at Prague Castle. Some weeks after security checks at the popular tourist site were stepped up, two such metal detectors were installed on Tuesday at the entrance to the castle’s First Courtyard from the main square. There is no other way into that part of the complex and queues have grown longer at Prague Castle, Czech Television reported. President Miloš Zeman says he believes his residence is a potential terrorist target. Tour operators say the checks have led to very long lines of visitors. 

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