News Prague takes part in Earth Hour

30-03-2014 15:26 | Jan Velinger

The Czech capital Prague joined other major capitals and cities around the world in Earth Hour on Saturday night, turning off lights at major sites. Paris, for example, switched off lighting for one hour at the landmark Eiffel Tower, New York at the Empire State Building, and Rio de Janeiro at the world-famous statue Christ the Redeemer. In Prague, lights were turned off at the Castle and the Žižkov TV Tower. Earth Hour was launched in 2007 as a symbol of renewed commitment to the planet.

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Transparency International to monitor financing of Senate, local elections

20-08-2014 14:12 | Jan Richter

The Czech branch of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International will monitor the financing of October’s local and Senate elections, members of the group told a news conference on Wednesday. The NGO will keep track of the finance accounts of candidates running for the Senate; it will also monitor any abuse of municipally-owned media by political parties controlling local city and town halls. The group has voiced concerns of voter fraud and vote buying that is likely to appear in some of the country’s most depressed regions including north Bohemia and north Moravia. A report is to be released in late September, two weeks before the voting. 

Former Soviet leader Gorbachev among Forum 2000 guests this year

20-08-2014 13:08 | Jan Richter

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Belarusian dissident Ales Bialiatski will be among the guests of this year’s Forum 2000 conference, the organizers told a news conference in Prague on Wednesday. The event, founded by then Czech president Václav Havel in 1996 as a venue for bringing together world leaders, intellectuals and civic activists, will this year reflect on the 25 years since the fall of communism in central and Eastern Europe. The Forum 2000 conference will take place in the Czech capital between October 12 and 15. 

Škoda hires 800 workers to produce new Fabia model

20-08-2014 12:50 | Jan Richter

The German-owned Czech-based car manufacturer Škoda Auto announced it would hire some 800 workers for its main plant in Mladá Boleslav within the next three months to produce its new Fabia model, a spokesman for the firm said. Škoda, which employs around 19,500 people at Mladá Boleslav, is to start producing the third-generation Fabia in the coming days with the official premiere scheduled for the Paris auto show in October. The producer sold 522,500 cars in the first half of the year, 12.5 percent more than in the same period last year. 

Top court orders review of former bankruptcy judge case

20-08-2014 12:24 | Jan Richter

The Czech Supreme Court has ordered the review of a case involving a former bankruptcy judge, Jiří Berka that was partially covered by a presidential amnesty, Czech TV reported on Wednesday. Mr Berka along with two associates faced accusations of sending up to 10 firms into bankruptcy on using counterfeit documents, causing damages worth 264 million crowns. Some of the charges were dropped due to an amnesty declared by then president Václav Klaus in January 2013. The Supreme Court has now ordered the case be heard again by a lower court. 

Industry group: Czech firms to lose dozens of billions over EU-Russia sanctions

20-08-2014 12:01 | Jan Richter

Czech industrial firm could lose tens of billions of crowns over the short term due to sanctions between Russia and the EU, according to a survey by the country’s Confederation of Industry among their member companies. In the long run, the losses could amount to hundreds of billions, the group said. The machinery, energy, chemical and petrochemical sectors as well as agriculture technology and food industry are likely to suffer most due to the sanctions, according to the survey. The Czech government’s estimate of potential losses is much lower, of around 2.1 billion crowns but the industry group says Czech companies’ sales to partners in Western Europe could also be affected by the sanctions. 

Archaeologists discover foundations of possible Byzantine-era church at Prague’s Vyšehrad

20-08-2014 08:18 | Ian Willoughby

Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of the oldest church yet found at Prague’s Vyšehrad, Czech Television reported. It would have been one of the largest churches in Central Europe in its day. Ladislav Varadzin of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences told Czech TV that its shape indicated it probably originated during the Byzantium Empire. The foundations were discovered around 150 metres from the main basilica at Vyšehrad, a historical fort probably built in the 10th century. The complex’s St. Martin’s Rotunda was previously believed to have been the first church there. 

Communist MP criticised by supporters for liking Plastic People

20-08-2014 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš has come in for criticism from some supporters for posting a photo of the band The Plastic People of the Universe on his Facebook page, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Members of the then underground group were imprisoned under the communist regime and they had strong links to the dissident movement. The MP shared a picture of the Plastic People on the social networking site, adding the word “legend”. Beneath this followers wrote comments such as “Why are you a Communist MP? Your legend was against socialism” and “junkies with unmelodic lyrics”. 

Man charged with acid attack on reported ex-girlfriend

19-08-2014 19:00 | Ian Willoughby

The police have charged a man with pouring acid on a woman in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň in November last year. The women suffered chemical burns on her face, including her eyes, arms and legs, while she also apparently swallowed some of the liquid. The man, who the Czech News Agency reported had been the victim’s boyfriend, was arrested on Monday. He faces 15 to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempted murder. 

Government to discuss munitions donation to Iraqi Kurds next week

19-08-2014 16:56 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech government will next week discuss an intergovernmental donation of small arms munitions to the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting representatives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries on Tuesday. At the same time, the cabinet is supporting Czech firms that wish to sell weapons to the Iraqi Kurds, who have been facing an offensive from Islamic State, or ISIS, radicals. Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák said last week that Czech armaments could be on their way to Iraq by the end of this month. Talks between Prague and Kurdish representatives are ongoing. 

German police arrest Czech man on arrest warrant issued in 1976

19-08-2014 14:23 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Germany have detained a Czech man on an arrest warrant issued in 1976, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The man, who is 67, was picked up at the airport in Frankfurt, where he had just landed on a flight from Brazil. Accused of committing sex crimes, he spent some time in custody in Germany almost four decades ago before fleeing to South America. Police in Frankfurt said he may have returned to the country because of home sickness. 

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