News Office of Government faces large fine over EU presidency contract

09-04-2014 12:44 | Ian Willoughby

The tax authorities have fined the Office of the Government more than half a billion crowns for paying an excessively high sum to a company for audiovisual services during the Czech presidency of the EU in 2009, Právo reported on Wednesday. The Office of the Government is considering appealing, the newspaper said. An official told Czech Television the fine could prove fatal to the institution, as it was many times its annual budget. Investigators said the company ProMoPro had received over CZK 380 million more than it should have for the provision of audiovisual services. No tender was held for the contract. Twelve people have been charged in connection with the matter.

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Nedvěd could receive state honour, ČTK reports

02-09-2015 12:20 | Jan Velinger

Former footballer Pavel Nedvěd, a runner-up at Euro 96 and player who made his name with Italian clubs Lazio and Juventus Turin appears likely to be honoured by the Czech state. Nedvěd, nicknamed Furia Ceca by Italian fans, flew to China with Czech President Zeman on Tuesday; the Czech News Agency reported that Mr Zeman told the former player to leave October 28th open – the day the nation’s highest honours are awarded. Nedvěd, who was European footballer of the year in 2003, has been routinely nominated for state honours by the Czech Senate. 

Survey suggests majority of Czechs see migrant crisis as major problem

02-09-2015 11:42 | Jan Velinger

Almost three-fifths of Czechs are unhappy with the way the Czech government has so far handled the migrant crisis, a new poll by Focus suggests. According to the survey, 87 percent said that refugees in the Czech Republic were a major problem while 93 percent were in favour of refugees being sent back. The migrant wave and government response is seen as most problematic, the poll suggests, by Czechs with high school educations, small-business owners but also some top managers, residents of smaller and medium-sized towns, pensioners and seniors. More than 1,000 people over the age of 18 tool part in the poll in the second half of August. 

Kalenda expelled from Christian Democrats

02-09-2015 11:21 | Jan Velinger

The Liberec branch of the Christian Democratic Party expelled prominent local politician Daniel Kalenda from its ranks on Monday evening in response to a recent post he made on Facebook; in it he referred to the recent tragedy in Austria where 71 refugees were found dead in abandoned transport truck, calling the migrants “dirt” that did not belong in Europe. He added that they should have known better than to get into an enclosed van in the first place. Hours later he deleted the entry saying he had been heavily drunk when he posted it. Eighteen of 19 members of the committee on Monday voted for Kalenda’s expulsion. The head of the committee, Kamil Jan Svoboda, expressed shock over his words, calling them unheard of. 

Zeman arrives in China for events commemorating end of WWII

02-09-2015 09:48 | Ian Willoughby

Czech President Miloš Zeman has arrived in China, where he will take part in events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia. On Thursday he will attend a huge military parade in the centre of Beijing while his visit will also include talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. Mr. Zeman is the only European Union head of state or government taking part in the Chinese war commemorations. 

Football association deputy head to sue ex-referee over "mafia" charge

02-09-2015 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

The deputy chairman of the Czech Football Association, Roman Berbr, and the chairwoman of the referees commission, Dagmar Damková, say they will take legal action against former referee Libor Kovařík. In an interview for the newspaper Sport Mr. Kovařík said that Mr. Berbr – who is Ms. Damková’s life partner – controlled the country’s referees using mafia practices. Mr. Berbr said the pair had decided to turn the matter over to their lawyers as they had recently become the target of defamation and lies that harmed not only them but the Czech FA. Mr. Kovařík said he had retired because of Mr. Berbr’s alleged control of referees. 

Czech PM offers Serbian counterpart aid to help deal with refugees

01-09-2015 19:45 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has offered Serbia CZK 10 million in financial aid to help deal with a wave of refugees. Speaking on a visit to Belgrade on Tuesday, Mr. Sobotka also said he supported Serbia’s accession talks with the European Union, which he described as great progress. He offered his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic the help of Czech experts on both migration and EU accession. The two delegations at Tuesday’s talks also discussed mutual trade and investment opportunities. 

Watford loan Czech striker Vydra to Reading

01-09-2015 16:50 | Ian Willoughby

Czech striker Matěj Vydra has gone on a season-long loan from the English Premier League club Watford to Reading, who are in the second tier of English football, Sky Sports reported. Vydra scored 16 times for Watford last season as the club won promotion to the top flight. He had been at Watford on loan and only signed a permanent contract in July. The 23-year-old has scored four goals in 15 appearances for the Czech national team. 

Dalhgren unlikely to win release from custody, says lawyer

01-09-2015 16:44 | Ian Willoughby

A lawyer for Kevin Dahlgren says his client’s legal action against being remanded in custody on four counts of murder is unlikely to succeed, Czech Television reported. Attorney Richard Špíšek said the Regional Court in Brno was likely to issue a ruling on his client’s action within three weeks. Dahlgren on Monday became the first US citizen extradited to the Czech Republic, where the 23-year-old was wanted over the killing of four relatives of his in Brno in 2013. 

Chramostová becomes first inductee into National Theatre Hall of Fame

01-09-2015 13:32 | Ian Willoughby

The actress Vlasta Chramostová has been inducted into a new Hall of Fame at the National Theatre in Prague. Chramostová, who is 88 years old, was the first person honoured in this way. A signatory of the Charter 77 protest document, she was active in the Velvet Revolution. Speaking at Tuesday’s induction ceremony, Culture Minister Daniel Herman described her as a great moral paragon. 

Eurostat: Czech Republic among three EU states with lowest unemployment

01-09-2015 13:25 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is among the three European Union countries with the lowest unemployment, according to figures released by Eurostat on Tuesday. The Czech Republic, like Malta, had a jobless rate of 5.1 percent in July, with both behind Germany, which had an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. The EU average was 9.5 percent. 

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