News Sir Nicholas Winton not to visit Prague in the autumn

22-05-2014 12:39 | Daniela Lazarová

Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved close to 700 Czech Jewish children by getting them out of German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War Two, will not be able to attend the ceremony of his decoration with the Order of White Lion at Prague Castle for health reasons, the daily Lidové noviny reports citing his daughter Barbara. President Miloš Zeman is to bestow the highest state distinction on Sir Nicholas on October 28, a national holiday marking the anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Sir Nicolas Winton turned 105 on Monday.

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Czech Aeroholding’s operating profit down in 2013

30-07-2014 16:48 | Jan Richter

The state-owned Czech Aeroholding’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or EBITDA, reached 2.2 billion crowns last year, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. That is 0.4 billion less than in 2012. The company took in 16.3 billion crowns in revenues last year. The company said the results were affected by the incorporation of the carrier Czech Airlines and Prague’s Václav Havel Airport into the firm. 

Opposition slams government for not backing Israel in UN vote

30-07-2014 16:32 | Jan Richter

The opposition Civic Democrats have slammed the centre-left Czech government over what they called a diversion from the country’s police of supporting Israel. The party criticized the fact that last week, the Czech Republic was one 17 countries that abstained from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s actions in Gaza. Civic Democrat chair Petr Fiala demanded explanation from Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, and said Israel deserved the Czech Republic’s full support. In a reaction, Minister Zaorálek said the Czech position on the UN vote was coordinated with other EU member states. 

Social Watch criticizes Czech Republic over social housing, anti-Romany riots

30-07-2014 14:23 | Jan Richter

Social Watch, an international anti-poverty advocacy group, has criticized the Czech Republic over increasing numbers of overpriced and substandard accommodation facilities and continuing anti-Romany riots. In its annual report for 2013 released on Wednesday, the group says the country was affected by chaos, incompetence, record-high unemployment and decreasing living standards for a majority of the population. The group has also criticized a lack of women in the lower house of Parliament and other top political positions. 

Czech PM: EU’s sanctions on Russia won’t hurt Czech economy

30-07-2014 13:56 | Jan Richter

New EU sanctions against Russia adopted over Moscow’s support for the rebels in Ukraine will not have any significant impact on the Czech economy, the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said in a statement on Wednesday. The sanctions are targeting Russia’s oil sector, defence equipment and sensitive technologies. However, the Czech Republic’s trade ties to Russia are based on civilian goods, Mr Sobotka said. The opposition Civic Democrats have meanwhile question the prime minister’s claim, and said any effective sanctions must also logically hurt those who impose them. 

Report: Student allowed to retake exit test after accusing teacher of anti-Islamism

30-07-2014 13:44 updated | Jan Richter

The regional authorities in Ústí nad Labem have allowed a Muslim student to repeat her school-leaving exams at a local secondary medical school after she accused one of the teachers on the examination board of anti-Islamism, the news website idnes.cz reported on Wednesday. The student reportedly failed the Czech language exam in May; she claimed she was deliberately failed because she had objected to the teacher showing students anti-Muslim videos during his classes. The teacher, who also serves as an evangelical pastor in the city, has denied the claims but the regional authorities have approved the student’s request to resit the exams. 

Heavy storms with hail to hit Czech Republic

30-07-2014 12:30 | Jan Richter

Meteorologists have warned of heavy storms with hail that are to hit the Czech Republic on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. The storms are expected to move in from Germany to western Bohemia before advancing to the east of the country. The warning is in place until Thursday evening. Meteorologists have also warned that torrential rain could flood roads and buildings in low-lying areas. 

Anti-corruption police raid Prague’s municipal services firm

30-07-2014 12:24 | Jan Richter

Detectives from the anti-corruption unit of the Czech police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of Pražské služby, a city-run firm providing municipal services in the capital, the news website lidovky.cz reported. A spokesman for the unit did not comment on the operation but the website said the police were searching for documents possibly related to the firm’s multi-billion deals on waste collection as a planned acquisition of an additional stake in the company by Prague City Hall. 

Top court strikes down legislation denying tax breaks to working pensioners

30-07-2014 12:13 | Jan Richter

The Czech Constitutional Court has struck down legislation that denies tax breaks to working pensioners. Acting on a motion filed by a group of senators, the court said the legislation created inequality by only denying tax breaks of some 25,000 crowns to people who were receiving pensions on January 1 of the given year but not to others who might began receiving pensions on any other day. The legislation was introduced in 2013 as part of the then centre-right government’s austerity measures. However, the lower house of Parliament is set to vote on a bill that would re-introduce tax breaks for working pensioners regardless of the Constitutional Court’s verdict. 

Attack victim Hrůza brought out of induced coma

30-07-2014 09:30 | Ian Willoughby

Doctors have brought musician Michal Hrůza out of an induced coma, his manager told reporters. The singer and songwriter, who is 43, suffered brain injuries as a result of being attacked in Ostrava nearly two weeks ago after reportedly attempting to calm an altercation on the city’s bar-filled Stodolní Street. Hrůza was in the city to perform at the Colours of Ostrava music festival. 

Sparta beat Malmo 4:2 in Champions League third qualifying round first leg

30-07-2014 09:23 | Ian Willoughby

Sparta Prague beat the Swedish club Malmo 4:2 in the first leg of their third round qualification tie for European soccer’s Champions League on Tuesday night. Sparta twice fell behind but recovered thanks to a hat-trick from captain David Lafata. The away leg takes place in Sweden next Wednesday. If the Czech title-holders capitalise on their advantage they will enter the final qualifying round for the lucrative competition. 

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