News Social Democrat leader: Party damaged by low voter turnout

26-05-2014 12:15 | Daniela Lazarová

Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said the low turnout had reflected on the party’s performance in the elections. The Social Democrats defended 7 seats in the elections but only won four. Mr. Sobotka said his party has had a long term problem in convincing its supporters to vote in European elections and it was clear that the party’s sympathises had seen no reason to go to the polls. At the same time, the prime minister said he was pleased that all three ruling parties had won seats in the European Parliament and that according to his calculations 15 of the country’s 21 MEPs would be pro-European.

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President Zeman warns migrant influx will escalate

31-08-2015 14:37 | Daniela Lazarová

President Milos Zeman has said that unless the EU takes more effective steps to secure its borders against the growing influx of migrants, the Czech Republic should take unilateral action in this respect. At a press briefing in Prague the president said that he expected the migrant wave to escalate due to the continuing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East and predicted a tsunami effect since families and relatives would join those who had already been granted asylum in Europe. Mr. Zeman has previously stressed that Europe should not accommodate economic migrants. Mr. Zeman also took a swipe at the academics who signed a petition against xenophobia, saying they should take a migrant family into their own home before preaching to the public. 

Višegrad Group to debate migrant crisis

31-08-2015 14:22 | Daniela Lazarová

The prime ministers of the Višegrad Group countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet in the coming days to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, the ctk news agency reports citing Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. The Višegrad Four are increasingly concerned about the flow of migrants via the so-called west Balkans route. The Czech Republic has repeatedly called for joint EU action in protecting its outer borders and has offered countries along the Balkans route technical and material assistance to better secure their borders. Slovakia now fears that due to tightened checks along the Austrian border people smugglers will attempt to transport more refugees across Slovak territory. 

Christian Democrats to decide on Kalenda’s expulsion

31-08-2015 13:28 | Daniela Lazarová

The Liberec branch of the ruling Christian Democrats will meet later this week to decide on the possible expulsion from the party of its former chairman, Daniela Kalenda, who welcomed the deaths of the 71 refugees found in a van in Austria. In an entry on Facebook Kalenda spoke about the refugees as “dirt” that does not belong in Europe saying that they should have known better than to get into an enclosed van in the first place. Hours later he deleted the entry saying he had been heavily drunk when he posted it. He has resigned from all party posts. 

Murder suspect Dahlgren extradited to the Czech Republic

31-08-2015 13:02 updated | Ruth Fraňková

Kevin Dahlgren a 21-year-old U.S. citizen wanted for the murder of four of his Czech relatives in Brno has been extradited to the Czech Republic to face murder charges. According to the Czech Justice Ministry Dahlgren arrived at Prague’s international Airport on Monday and a court will now rule on whether he will be placed in custody. Dahlgren is suspected of stabbing to death four Czech relatives with whom he was staying at the time. He fled the country just hours before the crime was uncovered. The United States is known to only extradite its citizens for prosecution abroad in exceptional cases. This is the first case ever in which a U.S. citizen has been extradited to the Czech Republic. If he is convicted he could face a life sentence. 

Man gets suspended sentence for praising bomb attack that killed five Czech soldiers in Afghanistan

31-08-2015 11:34 | Daniela Lazarová

A Prague court has passed a guilty verdict on a man who expressed approval of the suicide bomb attack that killed five Czech soldiers serving in NATO’s ISAF mission in eastern in Afghanistan in July of last year. The man, who praised the terrorist for “doing away with at least a few Czech mercenaries” on Facebook received a year long suspended sentence for publicly supporting a crime, inciting violence towards a group and insulting the memory of Czech soldiers who died in action on a foreign mission. Neither side has appealed the verdict. 

Prague taxi drivers to protest against tough new tests

31-08-2015 11:16 | Daniela Lazarová

Prague taxi drivers have announced a planned blockade of streets in the city centre on Tuesday. The precise route of the protest has not been disclosed. They are protesting against Prague City Hall’s plans to tighten regulations governing the service in the wake of numerous complaints from the public and tourists. According to City Halls plans all taxi drivers in Prague should gradually undergo tough new street knowledge and language tests. Prague City Hall has announced that it will boost public transport on the day of the protest. 

President Zeman: most immigrants should be promptly returned

31-08-2015 09:35 | Ruth Fraňková

Most immigrants are in the Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated law, they should be promptly returned, rather than placed into various accommodation facilities, President Miloš Zeman said in an interview for Radio Frekvence 1 on Sunday. According to the Czech head of state, the government decided to voluntarily accept 1,500 refugees, and therefore all the other immigrants were in the country illegally. Mr Zeman said that a crushing majority of migrants came for economic reasons, arguing that they also came from poor countries that were not hit by war, such as Eritrea, Senegal, Kosovo and Pakistan. 

Czech motorcycle racer Jakub Kornfeil takes silver at British Grand Prix

30-08-2015 17:52 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech Grand Prix motorcycle racer Jakub Kornfeil has reached the World Championship podium for the first time in his career. The 22-year-old Czech finished second in the Moto 3 race at British Grand Prix in Silverstone on Sunday, behind Britain's Danny Kent. Kornfeil started his 103rd race from the fifth row after qualifying in 13th place. Another Czech, Karel Hanika, failed to finish the 17-lap race. 

Lower VAT has not reduced prices for end consumers: study

30-08-2015 16:51 | Ruth Fraňková

The introduction of a reduced, 10-percent value added tax rate for selected products in January this year has not resulted in lower prices for end consumers, according to a survey caried out by TaxVision consulting agency. On the otehr hand, some enterpreneurs recorded a slight increase in profits. For some producers, sellers and exporters of goods that are subject to the lower VAT, the change brought more paperworks and more expenses, the survey suggests. The reducedd VAT applies to books, baby food and medicines. 

Javelin thrower Špotáková fails to reach podium in Beijing

30-08-2015 15:56 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech Olympic champion javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková has failed to reach the podium at the World Championships in Beijing. She finished in the ninth place in Friday's final in the Bird's Nest Stadium, after she threw 60.08 metres. The 34-year-old athlete, who split from long-time trainter Jan Železný last year, said she planned to engage a new coach before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

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