News Police crack down on large-scale supplier of materials for illicit drug-production

28-08-2014 11:52 | Daniela Lazarová

Detectives from the national anti-drugs squad have cracked down on a large scale-supplier of materials for the illicit production of drugs. The forty-one year old owner of a chain of shops selling chemical supplies was arrested at the end of July, but the police have only now revealed details of the case which is unprecedented on Czech scale. The chain of shops around the country served as a smoke screen and all contained large quantities of chemicals needed for the illegal production of crystal methamphetamine. According to a police spokesman the chemicals confiscated during the police raids could have made drugs with a street value of two and a half billion crowns.

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Czech crime levels declining since their peak in 1999

26-10-2014 09:49 | Jan Richter

The transition from communism in 1989 saw crime rates quadruple and peak in 1999 when over 426,000 criminal acts were registered. Since then, crime has been steadily declining, following a global trend, the head of the Institute for Criminology and Social Prevention, Miroslav Scheinost said. Last year, the police recorded 325,000 crimes. Repeated offenders have however become a serious issue in the Czech Republic; while in 2000, some 30 percent of criminal acts was committed by repeated offenders, the figure rose to over 52 percent last year, Mr Scheinost said. 

Civic Democrats to boycott Czech MPs' trip to Moscow

26-10-2014 09:12 | Jan Richter

The opposition Civic Democrats are the only party in the lower house of the Czech Parliament that will boycott a planned trip of Czech MPs to Moscow, the news website novinky.cz reported on Sunday. A five-member delegation of Czech deputies is set to visit the Russian Duma in early November, on the invitation of its deputy chair Sergei Zheleznyak. Most other parties in the Czech lower house said they would back the trip depending on its agenda. 

Report: Women make up 15 percent of Prague tram drivers

26-10-2014 09:02 | Jan Richter

Women make up around 15 percent of tram drivers in the Czech capital, according to a report by news website novinky.cz. In August, there were 198 women drivers, compared to 1146 men. There are only about 30 women bus drivers in Prague, or 1 percent of the total number, and no women metro drivers. There are also three women train drivers working for Czech Railways, the report said. 

President Zeman backs lifting of visas for Chinese citizens

26-10-2014 08:47 | Jan Richter

During his official visit to China, Czech President Miloš Zeman has backed the idea of lifting the visa requirement for Chinese citizens. Speaking at a Czech-Chinese business forum in Beijing, Mr Zeman said the Czech Republic would consider lifting visas for Chinese diplomats, and would propose the move be taken by the EU with the ultimate goal of lifting the visa requirement for all Chinese nationals. The Czech president also said the Bank of China, one of the biggest state-owned banks in the country, would open its branch in the Czech Republic next year. Mr Zeman is in China on a four-day official visit; he is scheduled to meet with the Chinese president and premier on Monday, the last day of his trip. 

D8 motorway tunnels closed over lighting issues

25-10-2014 18:34 | Jan Richter

Two tunnels on the north Bohemian D8 motorway between Prague and the German border have been closed over problems with their lighting systems, the Czech road directorate said. The Panenská and Libouchec tunnels near Ústí nad Labem were closed at 5:30 PM on Saturday, and traffic in both directions is being diverted to alternate routes. It’s not clear when the tunnels will reopen. 

ANO to head České Budějovice city hall

25-10-2014 16:36 | Jan Richter

The ANO party in the southern city of České Budějovice has struck a deal with TOP 09, the Christian Democrats and the local grouping Citizens for Budějovice to form a coalition at the city hall, the local ANO party leader, Jiří Svoboda said. ANO won the local elections there two weeks ago; the Social Democrats, who came in second, were excluded from the coalition over their exaggerated demands, according to Mr Svoboda. 

Report: more than half of Czech population affected by air pollution

25-10-2014 14:22 | Jan Richter

Despite an overall improvement in the quality of air in the Czech Republic, more than half of the country’s population is affected by air pollution, according to a report on air pollution in 2013 released by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. The report says that at least one emission limit is regularly exceed on 17.5 percent of the country’s territory, an area inhabited by over 54 percent of the population. The north-eastern Ostrava region is worst affected, followed by the urban agglomerations of Prague and Brno. 

PM Sobotka: Government’s stability allows it to undertake unpopular steps

25-10-2014 13:03 | Jan Richter

Nine months after its appointment, the Czech government is stable and can rely on sufficient support in Parliament, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in a statement marking a year since a snap general election. The government’s stability allows it to undertake unpopular measures including labour market and education reforms, the prime minister said. The government has successfully launched a public administration reform but should improve tax collecting and curb crime, according to Mr Sobotka. 

Czech TV drama wins Prix Europa award

25-10-2014 12:43 | Jan Richter

The television film Osmy (Wisdom Teeth or Eights), produced by Czech Television, has won the Prix Europa 2014 award for best TV drama. The film, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1980, follows the main character’s personal as well as political misfortunes. The jury said it was hilarious, and created black but warm-hearted absurd humour. The film is to premiere on Czech TV in December. 

Daylight saving time ends on Sunday morning

25-10-2014 11:58 | Jan Richter

Daylight saving time in the Czech Republic and other European countries ends at 3 AM on Sunday when clocks go back 60 minutes. The change will affect 13 night trains which will stop and wait for an hour at the stations to depart according to their regular schedules. Night public transport connections in Prague will not be affected by the change as they will complete their routes according to daylight saving time. 

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