News Official calls for removal of new memorial to fallen Russian soldiers at Prague graveyard

18-03-2014 15:22 updated | Ian Willoughby

A Czech official has called for the removal of a memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers that was unveiled at Prague’s Olšany Cemetery last month, the news website echo24.cz reported on Tuesday. Igor Zolotarev, who is deputy chair of the government’s council for national minorities, said the sign, which is in Cyrillic script, was a mockery and a desecration of the nearby graves of those who had fled the Bolsheviks. The memorial pays tribute to fallen “internationalists”, which Mr. Zolotarev said was a term that also included Russian soldiers who had provided “international brotherly assistance” to Czechoslovakia by invading the country in 1968. The Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Prague, which is behind the sign, says it was supported by the Czech Defence Ministry, the Senate and Prague Town Hall, but all three have distanced themselves from this claim.

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Petr Čech completes move to Arsenal

29-06-2015 17:58 | Jan Velinger

London football club Arsenal confirmed on Monday it has signed a four-year contract for an undisclosed amount with Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, posting photos of the acclaimed player with an Arsenal jersey. Arsenal are thought to have acquired the player for around £10m. Čech played 11 seasons with Chelsea, making more than 400 appearances. Čech said he was thrilled with the move and couldn't wait for pre-season training. The BBC reported that Čech also wrote in an open letter to Chelsea fans saying that he always expected to retire at Stamford Bridge but that he opted to leave after being replaced by Thibaut Courtois, playing only six matches for the Blues last year. According to sources, the Czech keeper was allowed to go to a Premier League rival in return for his many successful years of service which include a Champions League title and other honours. 

Cycling: König looks forward to Tour de France

29-06-2015 14:45 | Jan Velinger

Czech cyclist Leopold König has been named as one of nine riders for Sky who will compete in this year’s Tour de France. According to reports, the team leader is the UK’s Chris Froome, who last year was forced to withdraw from the competition early. This year’s Tour will be Czech racer König’s fourth; last year, the rider finished seventh in the overall standings. 

Project to teach about issues concerning LGBT community

29-06-2015 14:21 | Jan Velinger

A one-year project entitled “Invisible Minorities” being organised by the Czech NGO Proud, is aiming to teach about some of the issues faced by gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals at the elementary and secondary school levels as well as offering seminars for experts, the coordinator of the project Rut Dvořáková revealed to journalists on Monday. The project began in April and will cost less than one million crowns, most of which will come from Norwegian funding. Around 800 students from elementary and high schools are expected to take part in the seminar; a second part will focus on the lives and problems of seniors. 

Legendary Czech footballer Josef Masopust dies at the age of 84

29-06-2015 14:01 | Jan Velinger

Josef Masopust, the Czech football legend who led Czechoslovakia to the final of the 1962 World Cup, has died at the age of 84. The Club of Josef Masopust's Friends revealed that Masopust died in his home on Monday. The former midfielder, who was named best European player in 1962, is best remembered for his opening goal in the 1962 World Cup final against favourites Brazil. Brazil won the match 3:1. As a player Masopust made 63 international appearances and was named the best Czech footballer of the century in 2000. 

Kramný trial begins

29-06-2015 12:29 | Jan Velinger

The trial of Petr Kramný, accused of murdering his wife and daughter during their vacation in Hurghada, Egypt, two years ago, began on Monday at the regional court in Ostrava. Earlier, two versions of how the Czech husband could have killed his wife and daughter were outlined in expert analysis, according to Právo. Either, that he killed his wife Monika and eight-year-old daughter using a live electric cable when they were both talking a shower in the hotel room or that they were electrocuted as they slept in their beds. The deaths were initially put down to poisoning. Mr Kramný, who has denied the charges, could face a life sentence if found guilty. 

Tragic weekend on Czech roads

29-06-2015 12:19 | Jan Velinger

The first weekend of the summer holidays was a tragic one on Czech roads: 12 people were killed in traffic accidents. The number is higher by five than the same period last year. Accidents involved not only cars but also other motor vehicles: a 46-year-old died from injuries suffered when he was thrown over the handlebars of his electric bike after skidding on gravel in a turn. 

Greek crisis will not directly influence Czech Republic, says central bank governing board member

29-06-2015 12:09 | Jan Velinger

The Greek financial crisis will not have a direct impact on the Czech Republic, Czech central bank governing board member Lubomír Lízal has said. According to Lízal, stress tests have shown that the Czech financial sector is resilient to adverse shocks. The statement was made at the annual General Assembly of the Bank for International Settlements. Indirect impacts via the euro zone are likely but the euro area officials have made efforts to settle the crisis, Mr Lízal explained. Last week, talks between Greece and eurozone countries over bailout terms ended without an agreement, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras then called for a referendum on the issue to be held at the end of this week. 

PM says he has no knowledge of terrorist recruitment on Czech territory

29-06-2015 10:37 | Jan Velinger

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said he has no knowledge of of recruitment on Czech territory by the terrorist organisation IS, or Isil as it is also known, which holds large parts of Syria and Iraq. He made the statement on a Sunday TV debate programme in response to earlier words by the president which suggested that some on Czech territory had been recruited but had already departed for Syria. The country's BIS counter-intelligence organisation responded by saying it had no such information. The country's police president, Tomáš Tuhý, meanwhile, backed up the prime minister. He said the police knew of only foreign nationals who had left the Czech Republic for what he called "problematic destinations", adding that the authorities did not have information about why they were traveling to those areas. 

Zeman says acceptance of illegal migrants will open door for terrorist organisation to more easily enter Europe

29-06-2015 10:17 | Jan Velinger

President Miloš Zeman has said that the acceptance of illegal migrants in the EU will open the door for the terrorist organisation Isil to far more easily enter Europe. He made the statement for the news website palamentnilisty.cz. According to the president, a more substantial military operation against organisation will be required to stop IS, echoing an earlier statement in which he said that current operations by the Arab world combined with US airstrikes would not be enough. Mr Zeman has said he will raise the issue at the UN General Assembly meeting this year; he added that Russia's Vladimir Putin was in favour and that it was a matter of convincing other members on the UN Security Council of the need to act. President Zeman on facebook, meanwhile, backed an initiative titled "We don't want Islam in the Czech Republic" - and rejected recent criticism regarding his past statements and Islam by the US State Department. 

Heightened security measures to remain in place

29-06-2015 09:54 | Jan Velinger

Heightened security at key sites in the Czech Republic will remain largely in place following terrorist attacks last Friday which killed dozens of people in Tunisia, Kuwait and France. The decision was taken after a roughly two hour meeting of the country's National Security Council on Sunday evening. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the one exception where extra measures would be lifted would be at Czech branches of the American firm Air Products. The company's factory in Lyon, France was targeted on Friday (and one person murdered) but it is thought the attacker was acting alone and not within a broader network. In the Czech Republic, heightened security will remain in place "as long as required", the interior minister said. 

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