News Šumava National Park head puts brakes on planned projects

06-06-2014 14:15 | Jan Velinger

The interim director of Šumava National Park, Pavel Hubený, has halted a number of projects greenlighted by his predecessor Jiří Mánek, writes Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes. According to the newspaper, the projects in question could clash with protection of the environment aims. Projects shelved included the construction of a cabin at Plešné Lake for tourism purposes or the construction of a new observation tower at Polom. In all, the shelved projects would have cost a total of 400 million crowns. The interim head of the national park said some of the projects lacked construction permits or had not been assessed for potential impact on the environment. Some projects will go ahead such as the repair of the lookout tower at Poledník.

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Annual report: 2014 saw jump in anti-Semitic behaviour

04-05-2015 12:56 | Jan Velinger

An annual report released by the Czech Jewish community suggests that cases of anti-Semitism in the Czech Republic grew last year, registering a jump in cases compared to 2013. While physical attacks remain uncommon in the Czech Republic and anti-Semitic sentiments are not mainstream within the majority population, there were cases of vandalism, verbal attacks as well as email threats, the Czech News Agency reported. The community registered five cases of vandalism, mostly of Jewish cemeteries, in 2014 – two higher than the previous year. It also registered 29 cases of harassment and nine threat cases, compared to six and three, respectively, in 2013. The community noted that increasingly individuals were harassed as “ambassadors” of the state of Israel. 

Police detain nine Somali refugees

04-05-2015 10:09 | Daniela Lazarová

Police are reported to have detained nine refugees from Somalia travelling with fake Italian passports. A police spokeswoman said the group consisting of three women and six men was travelling on a bus bound for Italy. Police are ascertaining their identity and whether they have already filed for asylum in another country of the Schengen border-free zone. 

President Zeman to appoint Josef Bečvář as Czech army’s chief

04-05-2015 09:44 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech President Miloš Zeman is to appoint Josef Bečvář as Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. The ceremony will take place at Prague’s Vítkov Hill on Monday. Mr Bečvář is to succeed General Petr Pavel who is leaving to head the oldest permanent body in NATO, the Military Committee. Until now he served as General Pavel’s deputy. Mr Bečvář, who is 56 years old, previously worked as head of the Czech military police and military attaché in France. He said his main goal as army chief was to complete the new conception of the Czech army. 

Czech tourists gradually returning home from Nepal

03-05-2015 18:10 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Foreign Ministry on Sunday reiterated that no Czechs were injured in the devastating earthquake in Nepaland said the vast majority of them had now returned home on commercial flights. A group of seven Czechs who were stranded in the mountains following the quake were airlifted from the Lho region by a Nepalese army helicopter on Saturday. Meanwhile a Czech trauma team has started providing first aid in the town of Melamchi where they are attending to the injured from several mountain villages which were cut off after the quake. 

Prague hosts 2015 Volkswagen Marathon

03-05-2015 17:07 | Daniela Lazarová

Runners from Kenya and Ethiopia traditionally dominated the 2015 Volkswagen Marathon in Prague on Sunday. First through the finishing line was Kenyan runner Felix Kandie with a personal record of 2:08:32. The fastest woman in the race was Ethiopian runner Yebrgual Melese with a time of 2:23:49. The first Czech to cross the finishing line was Vít Pavlišta with a personal record of 2:17:51. The race track is over 42 km long and winds through the city center. The winner in both the male and female category gets 15,000 euros. 

More than half of Czechs think minister Babiš has conflict of interests

03-05-2015 16:39 | Daniela Lazarová

More than half of Czechs think that Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, who owns the Agrofert business empire, has a conflict of interests. According to the results of a survey conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television 52 percent of respondents said there is a definite conflict of interests, while 39 percent of respondents came to the opposite conclusion. It also emerged that 26 percent of those who said Mr. Babiš had a conflict of interests voted for his party in the general elections. 

Freedom Celebrations continue in Plzeň

03-05-2015 15:20 | Daniela Lazarová

Freedom Celebrations continued in the west Bohemia city of Plzeň on Sunday. Thousands of people turned up to greet the Convoy of Liberty, made up of historical military vehicles carrying around twenty US and Belgian war veterans who helped liberate Plzeň 70 years ago. Although the group of veterans, who are now over 90, have a packed agenda throughout the celebrations, manz of them made the trip through the city center standing in their jeeps saluting and waving as the enthusiastic crowd cheered and threw lilac at the vehicles as people did 70 years ago. Live street bands helped create a festive atmosphere reminiscent of the liberation and there was a fly-over of Gripen fighter jets to mark the occasion. 

Czech Foreign Ministry proposes study grants for Syrian students

03-05-2015 14:10 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Foreign Ministry has proposed giving Syrian students grants to study at Czech universities as a way of helping to build intellectual elite in the war-racked country. The proposal, which is to be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday, envisages offering grants to 20 students for the next six years which would cost the state five million crowns a year. The first year would be devoted to learning Czech after which the students could study in Czech or English. Applicants would be processed by the Czech embassy in Amman in cooperation with UNHCR. The final selection would be made by the Czech Education Ministry. 

Czech prime minister to meet with German Chancellor Merkel

03-05-2015 10:42 | Daniela Lazarová

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to pay a one-day working visit to Berlin on Monday. He will be meeting for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel and the country’s business leaders. The Czech prime minister is also scheduled to speak on the subject of European integration at Humboldt University. One of the issues on the agenda is a dispute over whether the Czech state is the rightful owner of 1.2 billion crowns worth of diesel that was being held by Viktoriagruppe, a company that administered some of the country’s strategic oil reserves in Germany but went bankrupt last September. The Czech Republic which stands to lose the reserves has threatened legal action over the matter. 

IHWC: Czechs beat Latvia 4:2

03-05-2015 08:59 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech Republic beat Latvia 4:2 in their second game at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Sunday night to take the top spot in Group A. Latvia took a lead twice and their second goal forced a change in the Czech goal where Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondřej Pavelec replaced Alexander Salak. The Czechs then scored three power play goals, the second of them by Jaromír Jágr. 



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