News 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.

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Škoda Auto boosts turnover, profit, and car sales in first six months

29-07-2015 13:13 | Chris Johnstone

Škoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s biggest car maker and one of the main industrial motors of the economy, has boosted first half operating profits by around 23 percent to 522 million euros compared with the same period in 2014. Overall turnover rose 7.5 percent to 6.4 billion crowns. The manufacturer, part of the Volkswagen Group, said favourable currency rates and lower prices for raw materials helped the improvement. Car deliveries in the first half topped 544,000, a rise of 4.2 percent. 

Almost 40 illegal immigrants detained Tuesday night by Czech police

29-07-2015 12:05 | Chris Johnstone

Czech police detained almost 40 illegal immigrants, of which 13 were children, on Tuesday night, Minister of Interior Milan Chovanec announced on Wednesday. He warned that the increasing trend is set to be long term. So far in the first six months of the year police have detained around 3,000 illegal immigrants. Next year the total is expected to be between 5,000 and 7,000. The minister said an extra 1,200 beds in detention centres for illegal immigrants by the end of this year should be sufficient if the situation did not dramatically worsen and as long as it was possible to return some of the immigrants back to Austria and Hungary. 

Czech Post prepares special edition of stamps to honour Sir Nicholas Winton

29-07-2015 12:04 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Post office is preparing to rush out a special edition of stamps in honour of Sir Nicholas Winton, who organised transports of 669, mostly Jewish children, out of Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of WWII. The move almost certainly saved their lives. Sir Nicholas died at the age of 106 on July 1. The special edition of stamps, in a limited edition of 750,000, should go on sale on September 2. Czech Post said the special edition is intended as a tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton. 

Foreign minister’s Lebanon mission seen clarified by end of week

29-07-2015 11:07 | Chris Johnstone

It should be clear by the end of the week when Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek will go to Lebanon in connection with the five missing Czechs. Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronová gave the details Wednesday after a meeting of the crisis committee dealing with the case, the CTK news agency reported. Foreign ministry and intelligence experts are still assessing the latest details of the Czechs who went missing more than a week ago near the Syrian border, she said. Two Czech intelligence staff are already in Lebanon tracking the efforts of their local counterparts. The foreign minister admitted last week that no approaches from possible kidnappers had been received. 

Ministry bonuses for top staff rise in first six months compared with same period in 2014

29-07-2015 11:07 | Chris Johnstone

Bonus payments to top ministry officials have risen sharply in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period a year earlier, Czech Radio reported on Wednesday. Total bonuses rose by around 65 million crowns to reach almost 220 million crowns. The figure for the first half of 2014 was 155 million. Among the year on year increased spenders with total budgets almost doubled include the ministries of agriculture, foreign affairs, industry and trade, environment, and regional development. Ministers argue that the need to offer bonuses to motivate top staff and the bonuses are small compared with those in the private sector. 

Kuwaiti guests evacuated from Teplice hotel

29-07-2015 11:06 | Chris Johnstone

Firemen evacuated 87 people, mostly Kuwaiti guests, from the Plaza Hotel in Teplice, North Bohemia, after a fire broke out on Tuesday night. The guests were treated for smoke inhalation but were later allowed back on the premises. The fire was apparently caused by electrical equipment with the damage estimated at around 100,000 crowns. Another fire in the same district broke out two weeks ago when excavation work in the street damaged wires and sparked a fire. The worker was treated for burns in hospital. 

ANO considering psychological tests to forestall rebellions

29-07-2015 07:58 | Ian Willoughby

ANO are considering having their electoral candidates undergo psychological tests in order to prevent members winning election and then rebelling, the news website iHned.cz reported. The party’s number two Jaroslav Faltýnek said he envisaged the first 10 people on ANO’s candidate list in regional elections next year taking the four-hour test. Mr. Faltýnek presented the idea at a meeting after ANO’s representatives on two local councils went against the policies of the relatively new and small party. Chairman Andrej Babiš refused to comment on the idea, iHned.cz said. 

Plzeň and Sparta achieve positive results in Champions League qualifiers

29-07-2015 07:45 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech title-holders Viktoria Plzeň beat Maccabi TelAviv 2:1 away on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie. The result leaves Plzeň in a good position ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg to decide a place in the final qualifying round of the prestigious competition. Sparta Prague were also in Champions League qualifying action and also scored two valuable away goals in their clash with CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital, which ended 2:2. 

PM calls on president not to spread animosity towards refugees

28-07-2015 16:53 | Ian Willoughby

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says President Miloš Zeman should not pander to people’s worst instincts and spread animosity towards refugees. He made the comments after his spokesman said on Tuesday that the president regretted that money could not be found for children’s homes while the amount that will go to help immigrants will be far higher. Mr. Sobotka said Mr. Zeman well knew that there was no connection between the indebted Klokánek children’s homes and the Czech Republic’s part in dealing with the worst refugee crisis since the end of WWII. 

Court rejects appeal in case of influential businessman Janoušek

28-07-2015 16:44 | Ian Willoughby

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal in the case of influential Prague businessman Roman Janoušek, who is serving a four and a half-year term for hit and run, the news website iDnes said on Tuesday, quoting a spokesperson for the Prague Municipal Court. The court said appeals applications from both the entrepreneur’s lawyer and the supreme state attorney were unjustified. Mr. Janoušek was found guilty of a hit and run incident in 2012. Wiretaps published in the Czech media created the impression that he had held considerable influence over politicians in the capital. 

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