News Official: Increase in number killed by trains may be due to mild winter

25-03-2014 12:54 | Ian Willoughby

Some 59 people have died after being hit by trains in the Czech Republic so far in 2014. The figure is 20 higher than that registered at this time last year. The latest victims were recorded on Monday, one in the Frýdek Místek area in North Moravia and one in Blansko, north of Brno. A spokesperson for the Czech railways inspection body, Martin Drápal, said the increased number of deaths may be because a relatively mild winter has led more people to walk on tracks. Mr. Drápal said in the vast majority of cases those killed had been trespassing illegally on ground closed to the public.

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Court upholds 12-year sentence for drug overdose

28-07-2014 12:08 | Daniela Lazarová

The Supreme Court in Olomouc has upheld a 12-year sentence for a man who gave a young woman a lethal amount of crystal methamphetamine. The nineteen-year-old died within hours of taking the drug which she and her friend were given as a reward for cleaning the man’s house. Another man who was involved in the incident got a two year suspended sentence. An autopsy confirmed that the young woman died of a massive overdose of the home-made drug. 

PM rejects criticism from president regarding the selection of the country’s nominee to the EU Commission

28-07-2014 11:54 | Daniela Lazarová

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has rejected criticism from the head of state relating to the manner in which the Czech government selected its nominee for the European Commission. President Zeman said in an interview for the weekly Tyden that the prime minister had humiliated the country by letting the commission’s president-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, hand-pick one of the Czech nominees himself. Prime Minister Sobotka on Monday issued a statement saying that he considered the president’s criticism unjustified and unnecessary and said the head of state was clearly ill-informed. Mr. Sobotka said that his meeting with Mr. Junker had revolved mainly around the portfolio which the Czech Republic would like to manage and noted that all EU member states had held similar talks with the commission’s president-elect. After lengthy negotiations the Czech government named regional development minister Věra Jourová as the country’s nominee for EU commissioner. 

Press: Czech Republic to pay millions to Volkswagen in lost dispute

28-07-2014 06:56 | Jan Richter

The Czech government will pay the German carmaker Volkswagen 301 million crowns after losing a dispute with the firm over settling debts following the privatization of Škoda Auto, the daily Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Volkswagen acquired Škoda in 1991 but claimed then Czech government siphoned off hundreds of millions of crowns. Earlier this year, the Czech government lost an international arbitration in the case as well as a court case heard by an Austrian court. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš had released the funds, and said he would determine who was responsible in the case, the daily said. 

Accident halts traffic on major Czech railway route

27-07-2014 19:26 | Jan Richter

An accident on the railway line between Prague and Kolín in central Bohemia has halted traffic on the route used by international express trains with destinations in Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. The accident occurred when a train ran onto a wrong track and damaged a switch. Local trains have been cancelled and replaced with buses while international expresses have been diverted to an alternate route. The authorities expect traffic on the route to resume at 8 PM on Sunday. 

South Moravian communities commemorate soldiers killed in WWI

27-07-2014 19:18 | Jan Richter

Several towns and villages in South Moravia on Sunday commemorated their men who were killed on the battlefields of the First World War, the news agency ČTK reported. A plaque dedicated to their memory was unveiled in Hustopeče while in Valtice, a memorial cross was erected. In Olešnice and several other places, gatherings were held to remember the fallen soldiers on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the war’s outbreak. 

Light airplane crashes during take-off in western Bohemia

27-07-2014 16:43 | Jan Richter

A light airplane crashed during take-off at an airfield in Plasy, western Bohemia, on Sunday. The plane was carrying two people but no one suffered any injuries in the accident, a spokesman for the local fire brigade said. The news agency ČTK reported the plane’s engine lost power during take-off and the pilot ended the manoeuvre. The plane then crashed some 50 metres away from the runway. Causes of the accident are under investigation. 

PORG school most successful among eight-year secondary schools in exit exams

27-07-2014 15:19 | Jan Richter

The privately-owned PORG school was the most successful of all Czech secondary schools in this year’s state leaving exams, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday quoting an analysis by the educational consultancy firm CERMAT. Students at PORG, which has branches in Prague and Ostrava, did best in the Czech and English languages, and scored second in math nationwide. The Czech Education Ministry does not officially release rankings of secondary schools based on their students’ performance in the leaving exams. 

Exhibition of drawings by UK director Peter Greenaway held at Czech film festival

27-07-2014 14:00 | Jan Richter

The British film director Peter Greenaway opened an exhibition of his drawings at the Summer Film School festival in Uherské Hradiště, eastern Czech Republic, on Sunday. The exhibit, entitled Eisenstein in Guanajuato, includes some 50 drawings the director made during work on a film of the same name dedicated to the Russian film pioneer Sergei Eisenstein that is to premiere next year. Peter Greenaway received an award at the festival whose 40th edition started on Friday. 

Health Ministry claims victory in Diag Human arbitration

27-07-2014 12:42 updated | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic has won an international arbitration against the firm Diag Human, Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said. The company took the country to arbitration in 2008 over its allegedly thwarted blood plasma business int eh coutnry. The Czech Republic was originally ordered to pay eight billion crowns in compensation to the firm but the Czech government appealed the decision and the final ruling, delivered to both parties last week, awards victory to the Czech Republic, according to the Health Ministry. However, the firm disputes the minitry's claims, arguing the ruling in fact confirmed the original verdict. The Health Ministry said it would release details on the case next week. 

Report: Romany elite rising due to increasing numbers of university graduates

27-07-2014 12:36 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic’s new Romany elite is rising due to increasing numbers of Romanies with university degrees, the news website idnes.cz reported on Sunday. While only around 100 of the country’s 250,000-strong Romany community are currently studying at Czech universities, the number of those receiving some type of scholarships has tripled over the last nine years, from 59 to 151, according to figures by Romea, an advocacy group. Romany leaders quoted in the report say the rising number of university students has a big impact both on the Romany community and the majority society but note their overall number is still very small. 

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