News PM says justice minister must improve performance or face chop

18-06-2014 08:22 | Ian Willoughby

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says that the minister of justice Helena Válková has one last chance to prove she is capable of doing her job. The Social Democrat PM made the comment on Tuesday evening after Ms. Válková, appointed by ANO, dismissed the deputy justice minister for prisons, Pavel Štern, a Social Democrats’ appointee, over his handling of a contract to buy electronic tags. Mr. Sobotka said if the minister’s performance did not improve she would have to go. Ms. Válková’s disputes with subordinates have been in the news since Hana Marvanová quit as first deputy justice minister in early June.

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Petr Čech trains with Chelsea after shoulder recovery

24-07-2014 09:01 | Chris Johnstone

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech has recovered from his injured shoulder and for the first time since April has taken part in a full training session with his club, Chelsea. He has been recovering since the injury in the semi-final of the Champions League against Atlético Madrid and surgery which took place in May. Chelsea are making a pre-season tour in Europe as key members of the squad return after world cup duty. 

Sparta Prague to face Swedish league leaders Malmo in Champions League qualifier

24-07-2014 08:51 | Chris Johnstone

In football, Sparta Prague will face current Swedish league leaders Malmo in the third round of the Champions League. The Swedes secured their place in the next round after a 1:0 win at home. The first round of the two round tie against Sparta takes place next Tuesday in Prague. Elsewhere, Czech clubs Mladá Boleslav and Slovan Liberec play Thursday night in the qualifying stage of the Europa League. Slovan have a 1:0 lead against Slovak club Kosice from the away leg while Mladá Boleslav take a 2:1 victory at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina club Široki Brijeg. 

New US ambassador to Czech Republic approved by Senate

24-07-2014 08:38 | Chris Johnstone

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the US president’s proposal for top lawyer with Czech roots, Andrew Schapiro, to be the country’s ambassador in the Czech Republic. The current ambassador, Norman Eisen, is due to quit the Prague post in August. Schapiro is said to be close to the president, having been a fellow student of law at Harvard University and later going on to help with the financing of Obama’s political campaigns. He is currently a practicing lawyer at the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, known for its business litigation. Schapiro’s mother left Prague in 1939 in fear of Nazi persecution. 

Czech president rallies in support of Petra Kvitová

23-07-2014 17:40 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech president Miloš Zeman defended Czech Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová when she was received at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Zeman told the fourth ranked singles player that the successful are often subject to envy from those who couldn’t do anything better. The president was referring to the comments of a Social Democrat member of parliament, Stanislav Haml, who suggested that Kvitová lose her Czech citizenship for locating to the tax haven of Monaco. Zeman apologized for not being present at Kvitová’s second Wimbledon singles win earlier this month but said that he disliked politicians’ habit of try to get a share of other people’s triumph. He was presented with a ticket for the Fed Cup finals in Prague in November when the Czech Republic faces Germany. 

Český Aeroholding boss Miroslav Dvořák steps down

23-07-2014 14:52 | Chris Johnstone

The head of state aviation holding company Český Aeroholding has resigned from his post. Miroslav Dvořák’s departure as board chairman was announced in a press release on Wednesday. He has been under pressure from finance minister and ANO party boss Andrej Babiš to step down. The post will be filled by his former deputy, Václav Řehoř. The change must still be approved by Korean Air, which has a minority shareholding in Czech Airlines. Český Aeroholding’s main asset is its ownership of Prague’s main Václav Havel airport. 

Prague and National Geographic reach settlement

23-07-2014 11:37 | Jan Velinger

Prague and National Geographic have reached a written agreement putting to bed a case concerning a controversial episode of a TV series broadcast by the National Geographic Channel in 2012. The city maintained that the show Scam City, focusing on the darker side of tourism, had hurt Prague’s reputation, faking some sequences which consequently cast the city in a poor light. Criminal investigators later confirmed some scenes had been staged. Scenes that were reportedly faked included tourists being ripped off by a taxi service or by workers at a sex club (which in reality had long been closed). In the agreement, National Geographic admitted some scenes were staged and agreed to block the episode’s further dissemination. A formal apology, which the city previously sought, was not part of the deal, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Committee backs Jourová for commissioner

23-07-2014 10:46 | Jan Velinger

The Chamber of Deputies’ Committee for European Affairs on Wednesday backed Minister for Regional Affairs Věra Jourová’s nomination for EU commissioner. Out of 19 members on the board, coalition members from the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats voted in favor; members of the opposition abstained. Jourová’s candidacy is to be officially confirmed by the government on Thursday. Leaders of the coalition parties agreed on the candidate after it became apparent that the next president of the EC, Jean-Claude Juncker, favored having at least nine women on the commission. It is thought that a female candidate will have a better chance at gaining one of the more important portfolios. 

Report: 98 percent of Czech primary school teachers female

23-07-2014 10:11 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic has the highest percentage of female teachers in primary schools in Europe, according to a Eurostat report published by the Czech Statistics Office. Close to 98 percent of Czech teachers at primary level are women, the report found. However, the Czech Ministry of Education questions the figure of 2 percent male teachers, saying around 15 percent of teachers of first to ninth grade pupils are men. According to the Eurostat report, Denmark has the highest percentage of male teachers, with almost a third of educators in its primary schools being men. 

Sparta reach third qualifying round of Champions League

23-07-2014 10:03 | Ian Willoughby

Sparta Prague have qualified for the third qualifying round of the Champions League. After beating Levadia Tallinn 7:0 in Prague last week the Czech title holders fielded a side largely composed of reserves in the away leg on Tuesday evening, which ended in a 1:1 draw. Sparta will face either Sweden’s Malmo or the Latvian club Ventspils in the next round. That will be followed by a play-off round to decide spots in the group stage of the lucrative competition. 

Czech Airlines continues flights to Tel Aviv

23-07-2014 09:59 | Chris Johnstone

Czech Airlines said that its two flights linking Prague and Tel Aviv took off as normal on Tuesday night and were due to arrive in the early morning of Wednesday at each destination. The Czech airline said that it had consulted with security experts at home and in Israel before giving approving for the flights. Many airlines have cancelled flights to Tel Aviv because of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip with the US Federal Aviation Agency imposing a 24-hour ban on flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. Many European airlines have suspended flights. Rockets fired from Gaza landed near the airport on Tuesday. 

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