News Police uncover major pervetin lab

17-04-2014 12:31 | Jan Velinger

A lab for the production of the illicit drug pervetin, uncovered by the police on Wednesday in the region of Karlovy Vary, was capable of producing dozens of kilos of the methamphetamine worth tens of millions of crowns. The police commented it was not often they saw a facility of comparable size. Three people, reportedly of Vietnamese descent, were arrested and several kilos of the drug were seized. The Czech News Agency reported it took officers equipped with gasmasks two trips with a transport vehicle to remove chemicals from the facility. Early estimates suggest that more than 50 kilos of pervetin were produced at the site.

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Tax authorities raid two Czech casinos over tax debts

26-07-2014 13:10 updated | Jan Richter

The Czech Tax Administration raided two casinos over their tax debts on Saturday, a spokeswoman for the agency said. One of the casinos is reportedly located in Prague’s Wenceslas Square, the other in Jablonec, in noerth Bohemia. The owners of the establishments owe some 20 million crowns in direct and indirect taxes, the spokeswoman said, adding that cash, lottery machines, cars and other objects were confiscated during the raid. 

Air conditioning blamed for 20 percent of illnesses in summer

26-07-2014 13:09 | Jan Richter

Too cold air conditioning is responsible for 20 percent of all illnesses registered in the Czech Republic during the summer months, Jakub Nožička of the Česká pojišťovna insurance firm told the news website novinky.cz on Saturday. Block vertebrae, headaches and joint pain are among the most common problems caused by big differences in temperatures between in- and outdoors, doctors say; they warn that the difference between temperatures in air-conditioned spaces and outside should not be higher than five degrees Celsius. 

Football: Sparta Prague beats Bohemians in season opener

26-07-2014 12:12 | Jan Richter

Sparta Prague defeated city rivals Bohemians 1905 2:1 in the season-opening match on Friday night. Defending champions Sparta went ahead in the 25th minute after an error by Bohemians goalkeeper, and added another hit some ten minutes after the break. Shortly thereafter, Bohemians narrowed the gap but were unable to equalize. In another league game on Friday, Dukla Prague drew 0:0 against Baník Ostrava. 

Former Prague mayor in EU drug agency bid

26-07-2014 11:07 | Jan Richter

Former Prague mayor Pavel Bém would like to head the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, according to a report by the daily Lidové Noviny. Mr Bém has reportedly passed the first selection round and is now one of five candidates for the job, with another four selection rounds to be held in the coming months. Pavel Bém served as Prague mayor between 2002 and 2010. He was involved in several controversial projects including the overpriced construction of a tunnel complex in the capital and a transit pass system for the city’s public transport. A physician by education, he was one of the Czech Republic’s leading experts on drugs before taking over Prague City Hall. 

Press: Police tapped two journalists’ phones in army corruption case

26-07-2014 09:39 | Jan Richter

The Czech police tapped the phones of two journalists as part of their investigation of the 2009 purchase of the Austrian-made Pandur armoured vehicles for the Czech military, the daily Právo reported on Saturday. The investigators tapped the phones of reporters for the newspapers Právo and Mladá fronta Dnes in 2011 in an effort to determine the origin of leaked documents in the case, the daily said. The police, which acted with the consent of the court, also tapped the phones of several top police officers and prosecutors, according to the report. The Czech army in 2009 bought 107 Pandur APCs for 14.4 billion crowns. Marek Dalík, a former aide to then prime minister Mirek Topolánek, faces criminal charges over allegedly demanding a bribe from the producer of the vehicles. 

Deputy expresses interest in top ministerial post

25-07-2014 16:55 | Jan Velinger

The deputy minister for regional affairs, Klára Dostalová, confirmed on Friday her interest in the post of minister for regional development following the departure of Věra Jourová to the European Commission. Ms Jourová has backed the deputy for the job but Dostálová otherwise had not been contacted. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who reviewed the Ministry for Regional Development on Friday, said it was up to coalition partners in ANO to propose a nominee. 

Finance minister calls steps taken by MPs in lower house "an embarrassment"

25-07-2014 16:09 | Jan Velinger

The head of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, vented disgust in the media on Friday over the recent behavior of some in the lower house, saying he would prefer to resign as an MP if he had a capable successor. The finance minister was reacting to the handling of a fuel tax reduction bill for farmers on Wednesday, which was modified by a fellow coalition MP and former minister for industry and trade to be across the board. The bill, which initially passed but was subjected to a new vote on Friday following a complaint, would have thrown a spanner in government plans. The opposition Civic Democrats say they will petition the Constitutional Court over the matter. 

New football season begins with Sparta vs Bohemians

25-07-2014 15:56 | Jan Velinger

This Friday sees tthe start of the new football season, with Sparta facing Bohemians 1905. There will be two matches on Saturday in the top flight. Saturday will see Příbram face off against Plzeň while Jablonec will face Slavia. Last season, Příbram long had to stave off possible relegation before improving to a solid overall 34 points. Plzeň finished second behind season champions Sparta. 

Customs officers detain foreign national for ivory smuggling

25-07-2014 15:47 | Jan Velinger

Customs officers detained a foreign national at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport earlier this week, who had tried to smuggle 24 kilos of ivory on the Prague – Seoul route. The information was released on Friday by the spokeswoman for the Czech Environment Inspection office. The ivory, tusks from the protected African elephant, had been sawed down to size: fifteen pieces which had been wrapped individually and hidden in two pieces of luggage. It is the third time this year that an ivory smuggler at Václav Havel Airport has been caught. 

Political parties with fewer female candidates could lose out

25-07-2014 15:33 | Jan Velinger

Political parties fielding fewer female candidates in communal and regional elections this autumn could receive less money from the state per mandate gained, according to a draft amendment to the election law, the daily Právo reports. According to the newspaper, 30 percent of women candidates could be the minimal requirement to avoid the consequences of the provision initiated by Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier of the Social Democrats. Právo writes that government coalition partners, ANO as well as the centre-right opposition parties and the Communists, are not in favour of the legislation which the Interior Ministry has now sent to ministries and other institutions for feedback. A Czech NGO backing equal representation for women in politics, by contrast, has strongly welcomed the initiative, saying the number of women in politics in the Czech Republic has long been low. 

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