News Police raid offices of Prague City Hall

11-08-2014 11:39 | Daniela Lazarová

The police’s anti-organized crime squad on Monday raided the offices of Prague City Hall, the ctk news agency reported. Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček confirmed the report, saying that he had no information regarding what the police search related to. The present and past mayors as well as several high placed city hall officials have been charged in connection with dubious contracts linked to Prague’s Opencard, and the police have recently been checking out other tenders, in particular for those relating to the construction of Prague’s tunnel Blanka.

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Former close associate Šlouf launches attack on Zeman in new book

26-11-2014 09:18 | Ian Willoughby

A former close associate of President Miloš Zeman has launched an attack on the head of state in a new book. Miroslav Šlouf worked with Mr. Zeman while he was leader of the Social Democrats and is regarded as having masterminded his presidential campaign. In Jak se dobývá Hrad (How to Conquer the Castle), he says that Mr. Zeman’s behaviour is increasingly determined by three negative traits: unpredictable mood swings, dogged obstinacy and practically non-existent social intelligence. The president broke off contact with Mr. Šlouf after his election in January least year. 

Composer and singer Petr Hapka dies at 70

26-11-2014 09:05 | Ian Willoughby

The popular Czech composer and singer Petr Hapka has died at the age of 70. Hapka co-wrote a series of hits with lyricist Michal Horáček and other collaborators for artists such as Hana Hegerová, Karel Gott, Lucie Bilá, Michal Kocáb and Jana Kirschner. His own distinctive voice appeared on solo recordings and duets, while he also composed music for a great number of films, TV series and theatre productions. 

Zaorálek says Czech Republic should not tell Ukraine what direction to take, contradicting Zeman

25-11-2014 18:01 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic should not tell Ukraine what kind of future to choose, the former’s minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Tuesday, hours after Czech President Milos Zeman said Ukraine should remain neutral and not join NATO. Speaking after a meeting in Prague with his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevičius, Mr. Zaorálek said Ukraine should itself decide in a sovereign manner on its future direction. 

Minister: CR failed to draw on CZK 12 billion in EU subsidies last year

25-11-2014 16:17 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic failed to use some CZK 12 billion in available European Union subsidies in 2013, the minister of regional development, Karla Šlechtová, said on Tuesday. The figure is higher than an estimate made in the summer. Minister Šlechtová said her ministry expected the volume of EU funds not accessed this year to be up to CZK 30 billion, adding that a more accurate estimate would not be available until January. 

Ministry wants investigation of alleged defamation against Kiev embassy

25-11-2014 14:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning to ask the state attorney’s office to look into alleged defamation against the Czech Embassy in Ukraine’s Kiev. An internal ministry investigation found there was no truth in letters sent to the director of the Foreign Department of the Office of the President stating that employees at the embassy had pressured ethnic Czechs in Ukraine not to speak about their wish to move to the Czech Republic. Věra Doušová, who organised the repatriation of a wave of Volhynia Czechs in the early 1990s, said publicly that a number of ethnic Czechs in Ukraine had made such an accusation and handed a list of their names to President Miloš Zeman; he has expressed support for their wish to move to the Czech Republic. 

Czech Republic supports two-state solution in Middle East, Sobotka tells Netanyahu in Israel

25-11-2014 13:13 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic supports a solution to the Middle East peace process under which the Israelis and the Palestinians would each have an independent state, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said in Jerusalem on Tuesday. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he appreciated the fact that the Czech Republic, which he called a traditional ally of his country, did not support a unilateral solution. The Czech leader and several cabinet members held a joint session with Israeli ministers, at which they signed treaties on cooperation in fields such as research, defence, healthcare and culture. 

Zeman in favour of neutral, “Finlandised” Ukraine

25-11-2014 12:27 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says he is opposed to the idea of Ukraine joining the NATO military alliance. Speaking on Tuesday on a visit to Kazakhstan, he said Ukraine should be neutral and ought to undergo “Finlandisation”, meaning it should have a position analogous to Finland during the Soviet era, when it retained its sovereignty but subordinated its policies to those of its powerful neighbour. Mr. Zeman said he agreed with Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said at the weekend that he could accept NATO cooperation with Ukraine, but not membership. 

Press: UAE to open Prague embassy

25-11-2014 11:42 | Ian Willoughby

The United Arab Emirates is to open an embassy in Prague, E15 reported on Tuesday. The move has already been approved by the Gulf state’s president and government, the newspaper said, quoting a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The mission would primarily serve to foster economic ties and would make little practical difference to UAE visitors, who have not needed a visa to enter the Czech Republic since March. It is not known when the embassy will open. 

ANO’s Vokřál elected mayor of Brno

25-11-2014 11:35 | Ian Willoughby

Petr Vokřál of ANO has been elected mayor of the Czech Republic’s second city Brno. He replaces the Social Democrats’ Roman Onderka, who held the post for eight years. Mr. Vokřál’s party came first in local elections last month and he stood unopposed for mayor. ANO is in coalition at Brno City Hall with Žít Brno, the Christian Democrats, and the Green Party. The Social Democrats, the Civic Democrats, the Communists and TOP 09 make up the opposition. 

Czech consumers warned about Holle Baby Food product containing toxic substance

25-11-2014 10:09 | Daniela Lazarová

The German food safety authorities have warned consumers in the Czech Republic about a baby food product found to contain the toxic substance atropine. The respective batch of Alnatura oatmeal porridge made by Holle Baby Food is being withdrawn from the German DM drugstore market chain in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Not all items have been accounted for and the Czech food Inspection authorities have asked consumers to check their purchases and if in doubt return the baby food to their local drugstore. 



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