News PM praises EU funding system as key solidarity component

25-06-2014 09:48 | Jan Velinger

European funds aimed at reducing differences among regions in Europe fulfilled European integration goals in terms of solidarity and coherence in the EU, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at a meeting of Visegrad Four prime ministers on Tuesday. The conference, staged by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and focusing on the V4 (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), was also attended by outgoing EC President Jose Manuel Barroso. For citizens, the use of the European funds meant a concrete contribution to integration smoothing economic differences between individual EU member countries, Mr Sobotka added. According to the Czech premier, the Czech Republic and the EU will soon sign a partnership agreement enabling the Czech Republic to draw money within the EU´s new budget period.

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Refugee camp goes up in Břeclav-Poštorná

02-09-2015 15:12 | Jan Velinger

Some 90 firefighters have completed putting up a refugee camp, comprising of 25 tents, in Břeclav-Poštorná to house an eventual 300 inhabitants. The camp is located at a monitored site; locals have also asked for increased security on town streets by the local police. Mayor Pavel Dominik and South Moravian governor Michal Hašek, spoke journalists, with the mayor saying that while locals were not happy about the centre it was better than migrants moving freely through the town and causing a fuss. He added the situation was “complicated but not tragic”. The town on Tuesday filed charges against an individual who tried to cause a stir by posting falsely on the internet that the camp was full with 4,000 people. The mayor stressed that it is empty at this time. 

Czech model involved in mid-air cat flap

02-09-2015 14:54 | Jan Velinger

Czech model Žaneta Hučíková was detained in Colorado recently after a mid-air flap on a flight from Las Vegas to Frankfurt, Germany. Flight attendants were alerted to the fact Ms Hučíková has smuggled a cat on board; the model reportedly interfered when the animal was locked in the restroom. The flight was subsequently diverted to Denver, escorted by F-16 fighter jets from Buckley Air Force Base. Ms Hučíková was detained after the authorities learned her visitor’s visa had expired and was ordered to appear in court. 

Number of fires in Czech Republic during summer hit record high

02-09-2015 13:39 | Jan Velinger

Firefighters were called to assist in more than 5,800 over the course of the driest summer in the Czech Republic since 2003. In fires in July and August, 27 people lost their lives while 253 were injured, Nicole Zaoralová, spokeswoman for the Czech fire corps general directorate, confirmed. Fires in fields and forests were fairly frequent due to the extreme drought. But the blaze which caused the greatest damage, estimated at 285 million crowns, broke out at a storage facility in Prague. 

Heraldist, WWII vet, Jiří Louda dies at 94

02-09-2015 13:21 | Jan Velinger

Jiří Louda, WWII veteran and one of the country’s top heraldists, has died at the age of 94. Mr Louda designed around 200 town and municipality coat-of-arms as well as the Large State Emblem of the Czech Republic, based on heraldic symbols going back centuries. In WWII, Mr Louda made his way to Great Britain where he signed up as a paratrooper; he was later imprisoned by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and released in 1950. 

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 took 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. 

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