News New documentary about Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund screened

02-09-2014 11:02 | Ian Willoughby

A new feature-length documentary about the famous Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund received a pre-premiere screening in his town of Zlín on Monday night. Petr Horký’s film Století Miroslava Zikmunda (Miroslav Zikmund’s Century) will enter cinema distribution on Thursday. Speaking at a sold-out Velké kino cinema, Mr. Zikmund, who is 95, recalled presenting the pair’s first full-length film on the same stage in the 1950s with his travelling partner Jiří Hanzelka, who died in 2003. The two visited more than 80 countries in a Tatra car between 1947 and 1950 and 1959 and 1964 before being barred from travelling or participating in public life after 1968.

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Czech-Serbian talks in Prague

31-10-2014 13:40 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday met for talks with the visiting Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic. The two officials discussed bilateral ties and economic cooperation, with the Czech side expressing interest in partaking in the planned reconstruction of Serbia’s infrastructure, putting down rail tracks and building highways. The two heads of government discussed the possibility of holding a Czech-Serbian business forum to boost cooperation and trade. Prime Minister Sobotka is expected to visit Serbia in mid-December. 

Inspection Office warns not all travel agencies trustworthy

31-10-2014 13:39 | Daniela Lazarová

A third of Czech travel agencies failed to pass an inspection by the Czech Trade Inspection Office which handed out fines amounting to 300,000 crowns, the ctk news agency reports. According to the office inspectors found fault with 25 out of 74 agencies audited. The failings most often had to do with not providing objective information about the conditions in which holiday makers would be living and a laggardness in dealing with complaints. 

Czech foreign minister says Prague not closing the door on human rights issues in China

31-10-2014 13:00 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech government will continue to bring up the question of human rights in talks with Chinese officials, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told journalists in the lower house on Friday in response to questions pertaining to the country’s foreign policy on this matter in the wake of President Miloš Zeman’s visit to China. During talks with Chinese top officials in Beijing the Czech president said Prague would not question China’s stand on Tibet or Taiwan and stressed that he had not come to the country to mentor its officials about human rights. The Czech Foreign Minister said that while the Czech Republic had economic interests in China it would not close the door on human rights issues. 

Military Intelligence Service says Al Qaeda radicals trying to influence Muslims in Czech Republic

31-10-2014 12:19 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Al Qaeda radicals are striving to spread their ideology to Muslims in the Czech Republic, the Czech Military Intelligence Service says in its annual report. According to the report, released on Friday, this is happening largely through internet sites and social networks. Such activities are dangerous in that they increase the chance of lone wolf terrorist attacks that are hard to prevent, the Military Intelligence says.

The Military Intelligence also monitored the activities of Chinese companies in view of the threat of technological espionage in the defense sector. The civilian counter intelligence service BIS likewise this week warned of what it called an “exceptionally high” number of Russian and Chinese spies operating on Czech territory. 

Fraudster doing time in jail charged with same crime

31-10-2014 11:54 | Daniela Lazarová

The State Attorney’s Office in Prague has filed charges of fraud against a man who embezzled close to nine million crowns from the National Museum of Agriculture. Vladimír Prokop served as the museum’s chief economist for a number of years after applying under a false name and lying about his qualifications. Ironically, this happened at a time when he had escaped from jail where he was serving a sentence for the same crime. If convicted he could get up to 10 years in prison. 

Football: Slovan Bratislava, Sparta Prague handed fines by UEFA

31-10-2014 10:19 | Jan Velinger

Football clubs Slovan Bratislava and Sparta Prague have been handed fines by European footballs governing body, UEFA. Last week the clubs faced each other for the first time since the break-up of Czechoslovakia but the Europa League match was marred mid-way by crowd disturbances. Sparta will have to pay 80 thousand euros as a result while Slovan was handed a lower fine of 50 thousand. UEFA also ruled that Sparta will have to play one match behind closed doors, a decision that has been deferred for a two-year probation period. Sparta won last week’s match 3:0. 

Czech Army to guard munitions site

31-10-2014 09:56 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Army will be called in next week to begin guarding the site of a munitions depot in Moravia which suffered a deadly explosion that left two employees missing and presumed dead. The ministers of the Interior and Defence visited the surrounding area on Thursday. It has emerged gradually that the site, leased by four companies, represented a greater threat than previously registered; Defence Minister Martin Stropnický maintained that the officials has reacted as quickly as possible as the bigger picture emerged. The authorities are have compiled information about the site which contains numerous buildings with stored munitions untouched by the blast; but, the minister suggested that not all regulations had been followed at the depot, and dozens of other depots around the country will be checked. The army is expected to receive a mandate on Monday to guard the site. The clean-up and removal of debris as well as munitions from surviving buildings could take months. 

Tennis: Berdych through to quarter-finals in Paris

30-10-2014 16:56 | Jan Velinger

Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdcyh advanced to the quarter-final on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open to stay in the running in a spot for November’s ATP World Tour Finals. The fifth seed defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-3 in Paris to improve to a 53-19 match record this season. 

Poll: Babiš 'most trusted'

30-10-2014 16:49 | Jan Velinger

A new poll released by the CVVM agency suggests that Czechs most trust Finance Minister Andrej Babiš of leaders in Parliament. According to the poll, 58 percent ranked Mr Babiš first; he was followed by the country’s EU commissioner, Věra Jourová, who until recently was the minister for regional development, and the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. Those queried said they trusted former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek the least. 

Study ranks Czechs 17th in Europe when it comes to number of road fatalities

30-10-2014 16:39 | Jan Velinger

A new study conducted by the Allianz technology centre suggests that out of more than 180 countries the Czech Republic ranks 36th when it came to the number of road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants and 17th in Europe. The study was based largely on numbers from the World Health Organization, according to reports. Neighbouring countries which fared better on the European scale were Germany (6th) and Austria (9th) while Slovakia ranked 20th and Poland 26th. The safest countries in Europe when it came to the lowest number of traffic fatalities are Sweden, Great Britain and Malta, according to the study. 

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