News President slams human rights minister

23-06-2014 17:48 | Jan Richter

Czech President Miloš Zeman has criticized the human rights minister, Social Democrat Jiří Dienstbier over his refusal to lead his party’s ballot in the European elections. Mr Dienstbier’s decision hurt the party’s showing at the polls, according to the president’s spokesman who hinted the head of state considered the minister a coward. Jiří Dienstbier, who is one of the president’s most vocal critics in the ruling Social Democrat party, said Mr Zeman’s criticism was silly and unffair; the remarks were also rejected by Prime Minister, and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka.

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Czech exports to Russia drop by 35.8 percent in first quarter of 2014

28-05-2015 14:36 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech exports to Russia dropped by 35.8 percent in the first quarter of 2015, the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced on Thursday. In that period Czech companies exported goods to Russia worth nearly 18 billion crowns. The decline was mainly due to EU sanctions against Russia but also due several large contracts being completed by the end of 2014. According to the expectations of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the overall result for 2015 should not be so dramatic, although it is likely to exceed last year’s figure. In 2014, Czech exports to Russia dropped by 2.7 percent. 

Twenty people evacuated in Pilsen over unexploded anti-tank missile

28-05-2015 14:18 | Ruth Fraňková

A man died on Thursday morning after jumping out of a window of an apartment house in Pilsen. Some twenty people subsequently had to be evacuated from the house after the police found an anti-tank missile in the man’s apartment. According to a Pilsen police spokeswoman, the 42-year-old man, who allegedly suffered from mental problems, committed suicide. 

Study: Czech families with three or more children most threatened by poverty

28-05-2015 13:22 | Ruth Fraňková

Around a third of Czech families with children have serious problems making ends meet, according to data released by the Czech Statistical office on Thursday. Some 45 percent of families with three or more children and 55 percent of one-parent families have insufficient income and are threatened by poverty, the study suggests. At the same time, the real earnings of Czech households have gone up. In 2013, the average income per person reached 153,300 crowns, increasing for the first time since 2009. 

Number of road deaths in Czech Republic up year-on-year

28-05-2015 12:10 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech Republic, along with Lithuania, Poland, Greece and Luxembourg, ranks among the EU countries with the highest number of road fatalities, according to the data released by the International Transport Forum organisation. The risk of dying on the road in the Czech Republic is twice as high as in the neighbouring Germany. While the number of road deaths has been decreasing in the long term, the Czech Republic in 2014 ranked among other 13 EU countries, where the number of fatalities increased year-by-year. According to experts, most of the accidents were caused by speeding and inattentive driving. 

Radek Jiránek to head Czech government Agency for Social Inclusion

28-05-2015 12:10 | Ruth Fraňková

Radek Jiránek, head of the crime prevention department at the Czech Interior Ministry, has been named the new head of the Czech government Agency for Social Inclusion, which is aimed at helping integrate Roma and other deprived groups, into mainstream society. He is to take up the post on June 5. Mr Jiránek, will replace the agency’s long-time head Martin Šimáček, who was recently sacked by the Minister for Human Right, Jiří Dientsbier, who cited poor communication and the fact that Mr. Šimáček had refused to discuss a planned reorganization. 

Press: Defence Ministry to acquire 3D radars from Israel

28-05-2015 08:33 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Ministry of Defence is planning to acquire mobile 3D radars from Israeli company Elta Systems, E15 reported on Thursday. The ministry plans to sign a contract for the devices without holding a tender process, going back on an earlier plan, the business daily said. The deal would go through at government level, as in the case of the leasing of Gripen fighter jets from Sweden. Almost CZK 6 billion has been earmarked for the 3D radars in a recently approved plan, four times more than previously announced. 

Liberec lift Czech soccer cup after beating Jablonec on penalties

28-05-2015 08:26 | Ian Willoughby

Slovan Liberec have won the Czech soccer cup for the second time in the club’s history. They were trailing regional rivals Jablonec 1:0 until four minutes from the end of normal time but managed to keep the game alive with a late equaliser before eventually winning a penalty shootout. Wednesday night’s victory gives the North Bohemian side a place in the third qualifying round of next season's Europa League. 

Bělobrádek: Top Communists should face justice for pre-1989 killings on border

27-05-2015 18:35 | Ian Willoughby

Former senior Communists such as one-time party general secretary Milouš Jakeš and prime minister Lubomír Štrougal should face justice for the deaths of people killed trying to cross the Iron Curtain from Czechoslovakia to the West, says deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobrádek. The chairman of the Christian Democrats said they had committed crimes against humanity that were not bound by a statute of limitations. Mr. Bělobrádek made the comments in the lower house, where he was supporting the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, a group that pushes for the punishment of perpetrators of communist-era crimes. 

Russia could occupy Baltics in days, says Czech general Pavel

27-05-2015 14:56 | Ian Willoughby

Russia could occupy the Baltic States within just two days, according to Czech Army general Petr Pavel. General Pavel, who is due to become chairman of the NATO Military Committee next month, made the comment at a security conference in Prague on Wednesday. He said NATO’s political leaders were not capable of reacting with sufficient speed to altered situations, adding that measures adopted by Europe in connection with the threats of Russia and Islamic State were glaringly ineffective. 

Brussels calls on Czech Republic to take in 1,300 refugees on top of previous proposed allocation

27-05-2015 14:03 | Ian Willoughby

The European Commission has asked the Czech Republic to take in over 1,300 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea who are already in Italy and Greece. Under the plan unveiled on Wednesday, EU states would take in a total of 40,000 such refugees in the next two years. EU officials also repeated a recently announced call for members to take in 20,000 refugees, of which over 500 would go to the Czech Republic. Prague is opposed to such quotas and argues that asylum seekers should only be accepted on a voluntary basis. However, the Czech government cannot block the plan alone as it will be voted on using the qualified majority system. 



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