News Sobotka: Justice minister’s disputes bad for government’s image

17-06-2014 18:17 updated | Ian Willoughby

Disputes between the minister of justice, Helena Válková, and her subordinates are causing negative publicity for the government, Prime Minister Bohoslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. The Social Democrat premiere said neither Ms. Válková nor her ANO party chief Andrej Babiš had delivered on recent pledges to calm the situation at the Ministry of Justice. Hana Marvanová quit as first deputy justice minister in early June after a dispute with the minister, while on Tuesday (after Mr. Sobotka’s comments) Ms. Válková dismissed the deputy minister for prisons, Pavel Štern, a Social Democrats’ appointee, over his handling of a contract to buy electronic tags.

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Czech politicians congratulate Van der Bellen on Austria presidency win

05-12-2016 08:27 | Ian Willoughby

Senior Czech politicians have congratulated Alexander Van der Bellen on winning the presidential election in neighbouring Austria. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický and opposition TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek were among those who wished Mr. Van der Bellen well following his victory on Sunday over the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer. 

Fans filmed making Seig Heil gesture at Ortel concert

05-12-2016 07:38 | Ian Willoughby

Fans have been filmed making the Seig Heil gesture at a concert of the controversial Czech rock band Ortel. The scene was caught in March this year by documentary maker Vít Klusák and was shown on Czech Television’s 168 Hodin programme on Sunday evening. The material appeared in a report about rapper Radek “Gipsy” Banga, who walked out of an awards show in protest at the presence of Ortel, who are known for their hate-filled lyrics. Mr. Banga was later subject to virulent racism on the internet. Ortel’s leader also founded the neo-Nazi band Conflict 88 and the group’s song Hadr (Rag) was once the anthem of the now banned neo-Nazi Workers' Party. 

ANO would garner more than double votes of Social Democrats, poll suggests

04-12-2016 15:58 | Ian Willoughby

ANO would come first in general elections with 33.5 percent of the vote, suggests an opinion poll conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television. Coalition leaders the Social Democrats would come second with 14 percent, indicates the survey conducted last month. The Civic Democrats placed third in the poll, with 9 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the right-wing party. They were followed by the Communists on 8.5 percent and the Christian Democrats with 7.5 percent. 

Koukalová wins pursuit at Biathlon World Cup in Sweden

04-12-2016 12:36 | Ian Willoughby

Gabriela Koukalová came first in a pursuit event in the Biathlon World Cup in Sweden’s Oestersund on Sunday. Koukalová, who is 27, took the lead after her first shooting round and finished eight seconds ahead of second-placed Laura Dahlmeier of Germany. The Czech lifted the Crystal Globe for overall first place in the Biathlon World Cup last year under her maiden name of Soukalová. 

Great Czech guitarist Radim Hladík dies at 69

04-12-2016 12:12 | Ian Willoughby

The great Czech rock guitarist Radim Hladík has died at the age of 69. The one-time Prague Conservatory student was a member of the mid-1960s Prague band The Matadors with his friend Vladimír Mišík before the two later founded their best-known group, the jazz-influenced Blue (later Modrý) Effect, which Hladík led following Mišík’s departure. Radim Hladík relaunched Blue Effect in 2004 with younger musicians in 2004 and the group continued to perform until recently. 

Czech train to be named after Closely Observed Trains maker Menzel

04-12-2016 09:28 | Ian Willoughby

A Czech Railways train is to be named after Jiří Menzel, director of the Oscar-winning film Closely Observed Trains. The Prague to Beroun line will bear the filmmaker’s name from December 11, when a new annual timetable is published. Mr. Menzel is the first living person to receive such an honour, a spokesperson for Czech Railways said. At present 169 train lines are named after famous people or geographical phenomena, such as composer Antonínem Dvořákem or Mount Říp, and the list will be expanded by around 30 with the new timetable. 

Weather forecast

04-12-2016 07:37 | Ian Willoughby

It should be partly fair on Monday with temperatures of around 0 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will rise toward the end of the week, when rain and snow are expected. 

Study: 40 percent of Czech Republic experienced poor air quality in 2015

04-12-2016 07:34 | Ian Willoughby

Air pollutant emissions levels were breached on around 40 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic last year, in large part due to extremely warm weather that led to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and particulate benzo(a)pyrene, reported on Sunday, citing an annual Ministry of the Environment report. However, the study found that the environment had not deteriorated, despite economic growth that led to increased construction work and energy consumption. 

Zrzavý painting goes for CZK 13 million at auction

04-12-2016 07:12 | Ian Willoughby

A painting by Czech 20th century painter Jan Zrzavý has sold at auction in Prague for almost CZK 13 million. Field on Ile de Sein II became the second most expensive work by the artist in the sale held by the Dorotheum auction house. Zrzavý’s painting was well received at a 1934 exhibition organised by Czechoslovak arts association Umělecká beseda before also finding success at an international show in Brussels the following year. 

Cabinet to discuss parties ministry says should be barred

03-12-2016 17:04 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech cabinet will on Monday consider a list of 29 political parties that the Ministry of the Interior has said should be barred. The government may call on the Supreme Administrative Court to halt the activities of such groupings as National Democracy, Alternative for the CR and The court could also order the dissolution of 13 parties whose activities it has currently suspended. In May the Chamber of Deputies proposed that 81 parties that had not made public full financial reports for the previous year be ordered to cease operations. 


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