News President backs Citizens’ Rights

30-03-2014 14:56 | Jan Velinger

Czech President Miloš Zeman gave full backing to the extra-parliamentary Citizens’ Rights on Saturday, saying the party was a due a restart after last year’s poor result in the general election. He made clear he favored the party dropping the word ‘Zemanites’ from its name, to focus on a new programme, new leaders and new ideas ahead of communal, and later parliamentary, elections. He also said he would be happy to stay on as honorary chairman. Citizens’ Rights elected former head of the Agrarian Chamber, Jan Veleba, party leader, on Saturday. Mr Veleba has taken a page politically from Mr Zeman, drawing inspiration from the so-called Scandinavian model ie. social state.

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Czech finance minister’s massive earnings outlined in assets declaration

02-07-2015 13:16 | Ruth Fraňková

Minister of Finance and founder and owner of the Agrofert agro-chemical group, Andrej Babiš, earned just under 201 million crowns from the company after tax last year and acquired bonds worth 230 million crowns. The details were made public from his assets declaration which was made available from July 2 on the register of the lower house of parliament. The ANO leader also earned around 76 million crowns from existing Agrofert bonds and 8.2 million was repaid from a personal loan, the details of which were not made public. Babiš also earned around 115,000 crowns from his position with Germany biggest ammonia producer, SKW Piesteritz, and around 350,000 from rental income. 

Severe heatwave to hit Czech Republic

02-07-2015 12:23 | Ruth Fraňková

The public has been warned to brace for a severe heat wave in the coming days. Currents of hot air moving from Africa, which have driven up temperatures in Spain, Portugal, France and parts of Great Britain, are expected to hit the Czech Republic on Friday. Meteorologists have forecast temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius over the weekend and people have been warned to increase their intake of liquids and children, chronically ill people and the elderly have been warned to stay out of the sun. The authorities have also issued a high fire danger warning. 

Hundreds of films fans queue for tickets to Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

02-07-2015 12:23 | Ruth Fraňková

Hundreds of films fans have been queuing up for tickets to the 50th Karlovy Vary International Film festival, which is due to kick off on Friday. The festival will open with a screening of Time Out of Mind, which will be personally presented by the films lead actor Richard Gere. The American actor will receive a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to world cinematography. Among other guests of the 50th Karlovy Vary International Film festival will be Harvey Keitel and Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan, who will present the new co-production film Anthropoid which begins filming in Czech Republic in mid-July. 

Police detain six at anti-immigration rally in Wenceslas Square

02-07-2015 08:38 | Chris Johnstone

Police detained six people at an anti-immigration rally on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Wednesday night. Around 500 people attended the demonstration with a handful of opponents of the action also in place but kept apart by the police. Speeches were delivered by Tomio Okamura, the former leader of the Dawn Party elected to the lower house at the last elections, and right-wing journalist Adam Bartoš. Some opponents pelted Okamura with eggs but their aim was awry. Calls were made for the Czech Republic to be reserved for Czechs, for the closure of borders, and departure from the EU. Fake gallows were erected for ‘traitors’and calls made for the country to be saved from ‘hordes of horny blacks.’ 

Czech holiday bookings for Tunisia tumble

02-07-2015 08:25 | Chris Johnstone

Czech interest in booking holidays in Tunisia has collapsed to almost zero following the latest terrorist attack in the country, the daily Lidové Noviny reported. Czech tour operators said that bookings had fallen by between 80-95 percent compared with the levels before last Friday’s attack. Greece was one of the alternative destinations now favoured in spite of the economic turbulence there, it added. A gunman killed 39 people, mostly British, when he opened fire at a beach at the resort of Sousse last Friday. Czechs witnessed the attack but none were injured. 

Tributes from Czech and world leaders made to Sir Nicholas Winton

01-07-2015 20:46 | Chris Johnstone

Tributes quickly poured out for Sir Nicholas Winton on news of his death. Czech president Miloš Zeman said he had always admired Sir Nicholas’ 'personal bravery.' Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka described him as ‘a symbol of courage and deep humanity.’ The Czech ambassador to Britain, Michael Žantovský described him as ‘a positive man who radiated good.’ British prime minister David Cameron said ‘the world had lost a great man.’ Many British papers described Sir Nicholas as ‘the British Schindler’, a reference to Oscar Schindler, although Nicholas Winton himself rejected the comparison and said they had nothing in common. 

Czech foreign minister backs creation of asylum camps in Africa

01-07-2015 17:33 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek has said he would support the creation of camps in North Africa where the European Union could process asylum applications. Zaorálek said that siting such camps in Libya would be the most logical solution but that the EU does not have a real partner to negotiate with there. Libya is currently in the midst of a power battle with different factions having control over different parts of the country. The Czech foreign minister said that other African countries showed little interest in such camps either. The idea of such camps is backed by Czech prime minster Bohuslav Sobotka and finance minister Andrej Babiš. 

Sir Nicholas Winton dies at age of 106

01-07-2015 17:10 | Chris Johnstone

Sir Nicholas Winton, the Briton who helped save the lives of 669 children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia has died at the age of 106, the AP agency announced. Sir Nicholas’ exploit in saving the mostly Jewish children in 1939 were largely unknown until 1988 when it featured on a popular BBC programme. The former stockbroker and businessman remained modest about his achievements nonetheless. He was awarded the Czech Republic’s highest civil honour, the order of the White Lion in 2014. Some of the rescued children later went on to become famous, such as the Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger, British politician Alf Dubs, and British writer Vera Gissing. The last evacuation train with 250 children left on September 1, 1939, the same day Hitler invaded Poland. The borders closed, those children never made it; they are believed to have all perished in concentration camps. 

Study finds same food brands with different content in Czech Republic and Germany

01-07-2015 16:51 | Chris Johnstone

A study by Prague’s University of Technology and Chemistry has found that the same branded foods and drinks in Germany and the Czech Republic often have a dramatically different composition. The study took 24 brands sold in the two countries and found around a third had a significantly different composition. Margarine in Germany had a 70 percent fat content whereas it was only 60% in the Czech Republic. Pepsi-Cola was sweetened with sugar in Germany and a syrup in the Czech Republic. And a brand of fish finger had seven percent less fish in the Czech Republic than Germany. Some producers said the different content was a response to different national tastes but the overwhelming impression was that costs were cut when selling to the Czech market. 

Czech asylum applications rise in 2014

01-07-2015 14:44 updated | Chris Johnstone

Applications for asylum in the Czech Republic rose in 2014 to total 1,154 but most of those making demands were from Eastern Europe, overwhelmingly from Ukraine. Applications from European countries accounted for just over 57 percent of the demands, those from Asian countries 31 percent, and African countries just under eight percent. The total number of asylum applications is a fifth of the total made in 2004. With the latest wave of immigration to Europe and a doubling the number of illegal immigrants found on Czech territory this year the number of asylum applications is expected to rise. 


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