News NGO unveils Putin as Hitler

11-03-2014 13:41 | Chris Johnstone

Members of the Czech NGO Dekomunizace have raised a giant banner at City Hall in Liberec, north of Prague, casting Russian leader Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler - complete with the Nazi dictator’s moustache and medals on his overcoat featuring the swastika and the red star. The banner was hung close to a memorial remembering nine in Liberec who were killed during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Dekomunizace, dedicated to casting light on crimes committed by the former regime, made clear it was protesting Russia’s recent invasion of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine’s domestic politics. The banner was raised with permission by City Hall; the police, however, began to investigate after charges were filed.

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Berdych advances in Paris while Štěpánek gives Murray tough match

24-05-2016 16:55 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic’s Tomáš Berdych has reached the second round at the French Open in Paris. The seventh seed advanced after beating Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday. His compatriot Radek Štěpánek, who was a qualifier at Roland Garros, led Andy Murray 2:0 on sets but – despite at one stage finding himself two points from victory – was eventually defeated in five. 

Sobotka outlines plan for rise in minimum wage

24-05-2016 16:09 | Ian Willoughby

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is to send a proposal to the government to increase the minimum wage in the Czech Republic from next year, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told a gathering of trade union leaders on Tuesday. The plan envisages a rise from the current figure of CZK 9,900 a month to CZK 11,000 at the start of January. While the unions would like an increase of CZK 1,500 from the present level, employers say they regard a rise of CZK 600 or CZK 700 as realistic. 

Czech driver arrested in UK after 28 migrants found in truck

24-05-2016 14:10 | Ian Willoughby

A Czech truck driver has been arrested in the UK after 28 illegal immigrants from Africa were found in a hidden compartment in the trailer of his vehicle. The driver, who is 61, was detained by police in Portsmouth before being released on bail, The Daily Telegraph reported. The arrest took place in an industrial zone around eight kilometres from the port in the city on England’s south coast. One of the migrants had to be taken to hospital with acute health problems. The driver could face a fine or jail term. 

Zeman testifies in court case involving ex-lawyer for Social Democrats

24-05-2016 12:57 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has appeared as a witness in a Prague court over a dispute involving the headquarters of the Social Democrats. Former notary Václav Halbich is demanding CZK 17 million from the president’s former party for legal services in their successful bid to get their HQ back in the 1990s. However, Mr. Zeman testified on Tuesday that the Social Democrats’ only partner in the matter was lawyer Zdeněk Altner. The president, who is known for his witticisms, said he had been familiar with their contract with Mr. Altner as he was not yet “suffering from dementia” at that time. 

Prague Writers’ Festival to welcome Coetzee and Palahniuk

24-05-2016 11:32 | Ian Willoughby

The 26th Prague Writers’ Festival will welcome the South African writer J.M. Coetzee and US novelist Chuck Palahniuk, organisers announced on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s festival, which takes place in October, is crime and punishment. Other scheduled guests include Egyptian poet Mohamed El-Baaly and Yan Lianke, a Chinese writer and recipient of the 2014 Franz Kafka Prize. 

Czech Republic to continue helping defend Baltics airspace, Sobotka tells Butkevicius

24-05-2016 11:25 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic will continue to play an active role in the defence of the airspace of the Baltic states, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday after a meeting in Prague with his Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Butkevicius. The two leaders discussed security in the Baltics in connection with a forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. They told reporters that the alliance should show unity and solidarity and beef up its presence in Eastern Europe. The defence ministers of the Visegrad Four are also due to discuss security in the Baltic states on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Nymburk lift 13th successive Czech basketball league title

24-05-2016 10:50 | Ian Willoughby

Nymburk have won their 13th Czech basketball league title in a row. The Central Bohemian club beat Děčín 102:53 in Monday evening’s third final to make it 3:0 on games, repeating the result from last year. Nymburk again dominated the NBL this season, losing only one match. The club’s Vojtěch Hruban was named most valuable player in the final. 

Jágr not to come out of international retirement for World Cup

24-05-2016 10:50 | Ian Willoughby

Ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr will not join the Czech squad for the sport’s World Cup in September. The Florida forward, who is 44, informed the Czech Republic’s general manager Martin Ručinský of his decision at the weekend, the newspaper Sport reported on Tuesday. Though Jágr officially retired from international hockey last year Ručinský and new trainer Josef Jandač hoped to persuade him to take part in the tournament in Toronto. 

Rail services to Dresden disrupted by landslide

24-05-2016 08:12 | Chris Johnstone

Trains between Prague and Dresden, Germany, have been disrupted by a landslide just across the joint border in Germany. A goods which collided with the debris was partially derailed on Monday night. Nobody was injured. The landslide is believed to have been caused by heavy rain. Train services could be resumed on Tuesday. In the meantime, an emergency bus service will be in place. 

Joint police, army patrols to end although terror alert remains unchanged

24-05-2016 08:11 | Chris Johnstone

Joint patrols of soldiers and police will end, the government decided on Monday. The joint patrols were introduced in the immediate aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22. Stepped up police surveillance will continue with the security alert remaining at the post-Brussels level of one, defense minister Martin Stropnický said. The joint patrols have come under fire from the centre-right opposition party, the Civic Democrats, as excessive. A video of how police and soldiers used excessive force on a Prague citizen who refused to hand over identity documents also stirred criticism of the patrols. 

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