News One injured in gas explosion in Plzeň apartment building

17-03-2014 08:17 | Ian Willoughby

Residents were evacuated from an apartment building in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň on Sunday night following a gas explosion, a spokesperson for the local fire service told the Czech News Agency. One person was hospitalised after being injured in the blast, the cause of which is as yet unknown. Local authorities have organised temporary housing for 14 people who were forced to leave their homes and are now awaiting the result of an examination of the building by engineers.

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Bill on electronic cash registers finally clears first barrier in lower house

10-02-2016 13:34 | Chris Johnstone

One of the flagship measures of Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has finally been passed by the lower house of parliament. The proposal on electronic cash registers, which would become obligatory for nearly all transactions, was passed after most opposition members from the centre-right Civic Democrats and TOP 09 quit the chamber in protest. The protest had been held up by stalling tactics for much of the last year by the opposition. They say the move amounts to a flawed extra burden on small business. The government argues it will dramatically curb tax evasion and the gray economy. 

Ukrainian ambassador complains about Crimea map error

10-02-2016 12:20 | Chris Johnstone

The Ukrainian ambassador in Prague has complained about the publication of a Czech map showing Crimea as part of Russia, according to a local news agency in Kiev. The offending map forms part of an Atlas of World Football published by the Ottovo publishing house last Autumn. The ambassador has pointed out Prague’s official stand is that Crimea has been illegally annexed and he reportedly called for the book to be withdrawn or corrected. The publisher has said the map was the result of human error. 

Court declares significant manufacturer Motorpal unable to meet debts

10-02-2016 12:20 | Chris Johnstone

Brno regional court has declared the Jihlava-based diesel engine and auto parts producer Motorpal unable to meet its debts. The company is a player on world markets and employs around 1,300 in Jihlava and more at other plants in the Czech Republic. It is a world player on the market for fuel injection systems for diesel engines. A restructuring plan, which was reported to have the backing of most of the banks and companies owed money, was not accepted by the court. Motorpal is reported to owe around 800 million crowns. It’s annual turnover in 2014 was around 1.3 billion crowns. 

Czech-Slovak football club clash prepared for close of season

10-02-2016 12:19 | Chris Johnstone

A deal paving the way for a clash between Czech-Slovak football clubs at the end of this season is ready to be signed, the head of the Czech Football Association Miroslav Pelta announced on Wednesday. The clash should take place at the end of the season between the cup winning clubs from each country. Pelta said full details would be unveiled in May. Associations in both countries have been seeking ways of boosting their cooperation sundered with the split of former Czechoslovakia in 1993. 

NHL action: Plekanec gets double against Tampa Bay, Jágr scores 739th

10-02-2016 09:24 | Chris Johnstone

In the National Hockey League on Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens won their third straight game, downing Tampa Bay by a score of 4:2. The Habs are inching towards a final wild card berth for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Tomáš Plekanec played a key role in the match, scoring twice and earning two assists. Afterwards, Plekanec was named the first star; the Czech forward has picked up a total of seven points in three games.

In other action, Jaromír Jágr scored for Florida against Buffalo, putting him two points off third-place Brett Hull (retired) for all-time NHL career goals. The Panthers beat the Sabres by a score of 7:4. 

15,000 drivers flee scene of accident in Czech Republic in 2015

10-02-2016 08:38 | Ian Willoughby

Fifteen thousand people involved in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic last year fled the scene, Czech Television reported on Wednesday. Police say one in six motorists implicated in collisions drove away. There were 14 hit-and-run incidents involving death and 58 involving serious injury. Motorists caught fleeing the scene receive a seven-point penalty on their licence; however, driving away from an injured person is regarded as a crime and can result in a five-year jail term. 

Eleven prisoners taken to hospital after poisoning

10-02-2016 08:29 | Ian Willoughby

Eleven prisoners at a jail in Pardubice, east Bohemia were taken to hospital on Tuesday after being poisoned. A spokesperson for the regional emergency services said two of the prisoners, who are under guard at the hospital, were in a serious condition. Czech Television reported that the inmates had apparently deliberately overdosed on medication intended for heart arrhythmia. Two of them had to be resuscitated. 

Zaorálek: Halting of flow of refugees through Turkey into Europe unlikely

09-02-2016 19:11 updated | Ian Willoughby

It seems unlikely that the flow of refugees from Turkey can be halted completely, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Tuesday. Speaking in the Turkish city of Izmir, the minister said most refugees currently in the country were willing to try to reach Europe at virtually any cost. Mr. Zaorálek said, however, that conditions could be created in Turkey that would deter migrants from attempting a dangerous crossing of the Aegean Sea. The Czech Republic is donating CZK 10 million to Turkey to help its refugee aid programme. 

Civic Democrats want Stropnický’s head over exchange admission

09-02-2016 16:32 | Ian Willoughby

The opposition Civic Democrats have called for the sacking of the minister of defence, Martin Stropnický of ANO, in connection with the leak of classified information over five Czechs abducted in Lebanon who were released last week. Civic Democrats party chief Petr Fiala said Mr. Stropnický had to go as he recently publicly admitted that the Czechs had been exchanged for Lebanese citizens wanted in the US on terrorism charges. Another opposition party, TOP 09, said the government’s poor handling of kidnappings would threaten Czech citizens’ safety for some years. 

Gap between amount Prague pays into and draws from EU highest ever last year

09-02-2016 14:13 | Ian Willoughby

Last year the Czech Republic drew nearly CZK 152 billion more from the European Union than it paid into the bloc, according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday. It was the highest such gap since the country joined the EU in May 2004. The Czech Republic drew a total of CZK 157 billion from the union’s Structural and Cohesion Funds, as well as receiving CZK 31 billion under the Common Agricultural Policy. Since its accession the Czech Republic has contributed CZK 429 billion to the EU’s coffers and received CZK 990 billion. 

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