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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Christian Democrat legislators to stay away from October 28 ceremony

25-10-2016 13:26 | Ian Willoughby

Christian Democrat deputies and senators are to stay away from a state honours ceremony at Prague Castle on October 28. Party leader Pavel Bělobrádek said the event had degenerated into undignified politicking and the settling of personal scores. The announcement follows a scandal linked to the alleged removal of George Brady from a list of recipients of honours after his nephew, Christian Democrat arts minister Daniel Herman, received the Dalai Lama. However, Mr. Bělobrádek welcomed a suggestion that the president’s office could present Mr. Brady with an award on a different occasion. Many legislators from other parties will also boycott Friday’s ceremony. 

Police recommend charges for man who threw egg at Zeman

25-10-2016 12:32 | Ian Willoughby

Police have proposed that a man accused of throwing an egg at President Miloš Zeman face charges. The man faces up to two years in prison for disorderly conduct over the incident, which took place on the November 17 state holiday last year. A number of missiles were thrown at a stage at Prague’s Albertov, where Mr. Zeman appeared at an event alongside the leader of an anti-Muslim group. A state attorney will now consider whether to file charges against the man, who was not arrested on the spot. 

Zeman considering presenting award to Brady as “good will gesture”

25-10-2016 12:14 | Ian Willoughby

President Miloš Zeman says he is considering presenting an award to George Brady at an appropriate occasion. Speaking via his spokesman, Mr. Zeman said this would be a “gesture of good will”. The president’s office is accused of removing Mr. Brady – a Czech-born Holocaust survivor – from a list of recipients of state honours on October 28 after his nephew, arts minister Daniel Herman, received the Dalai Lama. Mr. Herman says the president made the honour conditional on the meeting with the Tibetan not going ahead. Mr. Zeman’s office denies this. Mr. Brady, who is 88, says he is not interested in receiving an honour from the president. 

20th Jihlava documentary festival underway

25-10-2016 12:06 | Ian Willoughby

The 20th edition of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has got underway in the Vysočina town. Among the guests this year at the country’s most important documentary event will be US experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison and Mike Bonanno of activist duo the Yes Men. American psychologist Philip Zimbardo, well-known for a 1970s “prison experiment”, will appear at Jihlava’s Inspiration Forum. The festival runs until Monday. 

Babiš: State budget to show highest surplus ever this year

25-10-2016 11:57 | Ian Willoughby

The state budget will end in surplus this year, the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said on Tuesday. Mr. Babiš said that would be the best budget result since the Czech Republic was founded in 1993. In addition, state debt has fallen for the first time since 2011. The minister chiefly attributed the positive figures to more effective tax collection. 

Tennis: Plíšková downs Muguruza in hard-fought WTA Finals debut

25-10-2016 09:20 | Jan Velinger

Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková got off to a winning start at her debut at the WTA Finals in Singapore, defeating Spanish-Venezuelan opponent Garbine Muguruza. The match was a dramatic one: Plíšková, ranked fifth in the the world, came back from 4-0 in the third set and saved a match point. The final score was 6-2, 6-7,7-5. 

Government approves bill on second-parent adoption for same-sex couples

25-10-2016 09:01 | Jan Velinger

The government has approved a bill which will allow ‘second-parent adoption’ in the Czech Republic, granting the non-biological partner in registered same-sex partnerships the same legal rights to the child. The issue has been discussed for several years and earlier proposals were tabled in the past. A recent poll by the CVVM agency suggested that more than three-fifths of Czechs were in favour. 

Presence of coliform bacteria in Brno tap water could be result of combination of factors

24-10-2016 16:49 | Jan Velinger

The presence of coliform bacteria in tap water in Brno could be a combination of different factors, an official revealed on Monday, among them a weaker dose of a disinfection agent than usual or a higher water temperature. Petr Šindler of Brno Waterworks and Canalization confirmed the news, saying it was not possible to determine which factor had been dominant. The city has since quadrupled the amount of chlorine in the water supply. Coliform bacteria was found in Brno tap water in September. 

Head of lower house calls on Castle to clarify situation, backs Brady for state honour

24-10-2016 16:28 updated | Jan Velinger

The chairman of the lower house Jan Hamáček has backed the prime minister’s call on the head of state for Auschwitz survivor George Brady to be given a state award in recognition of his life’s work. The politician said that he hoped President Miloš Zeman would heed the call but made clear that if he did not, there were other means by which the Chamber of Deputies could honour the 88-year-old. In addition, the head of the lower house stated that he felt that Prague Castle needed to do more to clear the matter up. The culture minister, Daniel Herman, has claimed that he warned by the president that if he met with the Dalai Lama (as happened last week) his uncle George Brady would not receive the state award.

In related news, George Brady has accepted an invitation from Palácký University Olomouc which wants to recognise his life’s work with an award of its own. The news was confirmed on Monday for the Czech News Agency by the school’s rector, Jaroslav Miller and by Mr Brady’s wife, Tereza. The ceremony is likely to be scheduled for October 28th – the same day state honours will be awarded by the head of state. 

Office of the President ordered to pay 100,000 crown fine for failure to apologise in Peroutka case

24-10-2016 15:34 | Jan Velinger

A bailiff ordered the Office of the President to pay a 100,000 crown fine on Monday for failing to respect a court decision ordering the president to apologise for comments made about journalist Ferdinand Peroutka; the news was confirmed by Czech TV. In a past speech, President Milos Zeman maintained the journalist once wrote an article referring to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as “a gentleman”. The late Mr Peroutka’s granddaughter took the matter to court and followed up with a distraint order when no apology was issued. Unless Prague Castle complies, the bailiff could freeze its account; the fine given is the highest possible in such cases. 


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