News Sixteen firms bidding for medical marihuana deal

11-07-2014 17:09 | Jan Richter

Sixteen Czech firms have presented their bids for licences to grow and sell medical marihuana to pharmacies, the State Institute for Drug Control said on Friday. In the first phase of the two-round tender, the institute will review technical conditions while price will be the decisive factor in the second round. The winner will receive a licence to supply 40 kilos of medical marihuana. The drug is now legally imported from the Netherlands but no patients have been prescribed medical marihuana so far due to issues with prescription procedures, the news agency ČTK reported.

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President discusses approach at September NATO summit with foreign affairs and defence ministers

23-08-2014 17:46 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, discussed a NATO summit planned for next month with the country’s minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, and minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, at his Lány summer residence near Prague on Saturday. All three will be attending the conference in Wales on September 4 and 5. Mr. Stropnický told reporters that the main aim of Saturday’s meeting was to ensure the Czech delegation spoke with one voice at the summit, which is expected to discuss NATO’s future and financing, as well as the situations in Ukraine and Iraq. 

Czech Republic gets “first Švejk statue”

23-08-2014 17:10 | Ian Willoughby

The first statue of the literary character Josef Švejk in the Czech Republic was unveiled in Putim on Saturday, the Czech News Agency reported. Švejk’s wanderings took him through the south Bohemian town in Jaroslav Hašek’s classic 1923 novel The Good Soldier Švejk. There are 12 statues of the literary character, famously illustrated in the book by Josef Lada, in other parts of the world. The South Bohemian regional authority and CzechTourism helped finance the bronze statue in Putim, which holds a Švejk festival every year. 

Doctor quits hospital after nurse charged with murder in suspected euthanasia case

23-08-2014 16:45 | Ian Willoughby

A doctor responsible for a patient who died of a suspected overdose of potassium has quit working at the hospital in Rumburk in North Bohemia where the death took place, the news site Aktuálně.cz reported. On Friday police charged a former nurse at the hospital with murder in connection with the case. Petr Vondráček said he was leaving the hospital after its director, Darek Šváb, said the doctor had given liver failure as the cause of death, failed to order a post mortem and did not contact the police despite the suspicion that a crime had been committed. Dr. Vondráček denied these accusations at a hastily arranged news conference. Police suspect the nurse of euthanising a 70-year-old cancer patient out of sympathy for the woman’s critical condition. 

Government to discuss bid to host UN housing conference in 2016

23-08-2014 13:19 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech government will next week discuss whether the country should bid to host a United Nations Habitat III conference on housing and sustainable development planned for 2016. The Czech Ministry of Regional Development has put forward a proposal to host the conference, which is held once every two decades. Around 20,000 delegates are expected to attend the conference, including the secretary general of the UN. Prague’s Congress Centrum would be the main venue in any Czech bid. A decision on what city will host the event will be made by the end of this year. 

Prague Castle Administration planning significant outlay on renovations

23-08-2014 13:13 | Ian Willoughby

The Prague Castle Administration is planning renovation work priced at CZK 260 million, Lidové Noviny reported on Saturday. The Prague Castle Administration has engaged contractors to renovate the riding school at Pohořelec, the Castle’s Ludwig Wing and a greenhouse for palm trees at the presidential summer residence at Lány near Prague, among other sites, the newspaper said. The work is being to be carried out this year and in 2015, the president’s spokesman said. 

Kvitová reaches final in New Haven for third time in succession

23-08-2014 13:02 | Ian Willoughby

Czech women’s tennis number one Petra Kvitová has reached the final at the Connecticut Open in New Haven for the third time in a row. The two-time Wimbledon winner will face Slovakia’s Magdaléna Rybáriková for the title after dispatching Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-3 6-1 on Saturday. The competition is regarded as a warm-up for the US Open, which begins on Monday and in which Kvitová has never got past the fourth round. 

Poet and translator Bohumila Grögerová dies at 93

23-08-2014 13:01 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech poet and translator Bohumila Grögerová has died at the age of 93. Her collection Rukopis (Manuscript) picked up the best poetry book and best book prizes at the Magnesia Litera awards in 2009, when she also received a lifetime achievement award from the Czech PEN Club. Grögerová translated over 180 titles in tandem with her life partner Josef Hiršal, who was also a poet and died in 2003. 

South Moravian governor makes Buy Czech appeal

22-08-2014 17:24 | Daniela Lazarová

The governor of South Moravia Michal Hašek is proposing that schools, hospitals and social service institutions in the region buy exclusively Czech food products in order to support local farmers who may be hit by the Russian sanctions. The proposal has been eagerly welcomed by the President of the South-Moravian Agrarian Chamber Václav Hlaváček who said the chamber had been pushing the idea for some time without marked success. Hlaváček said the present political situation might paradoxically help Czech farmers and producers establish a stronger footing on the home market. 

Central bank accepting old banknotes for another week

22-08-2014 17:04 | Daniela Lazarová

People have just one more week in which to exchange any 20 and 50 crown banknotes still in their possession. The banknotes were taken out of circulation several years ago but according to the central bank people still have over a quarter of a billion crowns of them in their possession. They can be exchanged at Central Bank outlets until next Friday. 

National soccer team coach accepts Ice Bucket Challenge

22-08-2014 15:14 | Daniela Lazarová

The coach of the Czech national soccer team Pavel Vrba is the latest Czech “celebrity” to join the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of ALS Research, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Vrba had two players douse him with a bucket of ice cold water and nominated Education Minister Marcel Chladek. 

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