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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Europe must intensify cooperation in response to terrorism, says Czech PM after Turkey attacks

29-06-2016 06:42 | Ian Willoughby

Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Turkey is a fresh reminder of the dangers of terrorism, which cannot be underestimated or forgotten about in the shadow of debates surrounding Brexit, says the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Speaking in Brussels where he is attending EU meetings focused on the UK’s decision to quit the bloc, Mr. Sobotka said the European Union needed to intensify cooperation among member states in the battle against terrorism. A suicide and gun attack on Istanbul’s airport left at least 36 dead and more than 140 injured. 

New bill means large retail outlets must close on state holidays

29-06-2016 06:36 | Ian Willoughby

Large retail outlets in the Czech Republic will have to close on seven state holidays every year after the Chamber of Deputies approved a Senate bill implementing the change. The lower house was voting for the second time on the matter; it had originally voted that big shops be closed only on three state holidays but the Senate insisted that it reconsider its original wording. It must now be signed by the president. The ban – which applies to stores with floor space of 200 m2 or more – has been condemned by the Chamber of Commerce and was rejected by the right-wing parties in the lower house. 

Sobotka: No need to accelerate euro adoption over Brexit vote outcome

28-06-2016 17:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic does not need to accelerate adoption of the euro because of the UK’s decision last week to quit the European Union, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in Brussels on Tuesday. Older EU members have been pushing for increased integration in a 27-member bloc, including closer ties within a currency union. Mr. Sobotka told journalists that nobody would be pressured into anything, adding that it was in Czech interests for contact to be maintained between eurozone states and those that have not adopted the common European currency. 

V4 states say EU must emerge stronger from challenges posed by Brexit

28-06-2016 17:16 | Ian Willoughby

The Visegrad Four states issued a joint statement in Brussels on Tuesday expressing deep regret for the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and saying that the EU must emerge stronger from the challenges that poses. The Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary said talks on a way forward should focus on protecting the bloc’s interests. They also outlined a need to renew credibility in an EU that better reflects the concerns of citizens. 

Court ruling allows homosexuals to adopt

28-06-2016 16:30 updated | Ian Willoughby

Homosexuals in registered partnerships in the Czech Republic have the right to adopt children, according to a ruling issued on Tuesday by the Constitutional Court. The court’s justices overturned a provision in the law on registered partnerships barring such adoptions, which they said was discriminatory. The Civic Code only allows married couples to conduct joint adoptions, so only one member of a pair in a registered partnership will be the adoptive parent under the new ruling unless the legislation is changed. There are around 1,800 registered partnerships in the Czech Republic. 

Segway operators may sue if Prague centre ban goes ahead

28-06-2016 13:45 | Ian Willoughby

Segway operators in Prague are considering legal action if the city’s authorities go ahead with a planned ban on the two-wheeled electric vehicles. A spokesperson for the Segway Association of the Czech Republic, which comprises 25 operators, said it would sue the city for losses incurred. From mid-August Segways should be barred from city centre pavements, cycle paths and pedestrian zones, where they have become a familiar sight in recent years. 

Czech arms makers see healthy growth in exports

28-06-2016 13:14 | Ian Willoughby

Czech arms manufacturers increased their exports last year to CZK 15 billion, according to figures released on Tuesday by the head of the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic, Jiří Hynek. In 2014 the industry’s exports totalled CZK 11.8 billion. Mr. Hynek attributed the jump to a marked increase in sales to the United States and the European Union. Czech arms makers export 90 percent of their products. 

Prague not calling for Juncker to step down as EC chief, says PM Sobotka

28-06-2016 12:23 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is not demanding the resignation of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, says the country’s prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Sobotka made the comment in Brussels on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of EU leaders to discuss the UK’s plans to quit the bloc. On Sunday the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, indirectly called for Mr. Juncker to step down over his responsibility for the UK’s Brexit vote. But Mr. Sobotka said it was not about one person; rather the European Commission needs to change how it operates as an institution. 

New exhibition shows previously unseen Sudek photos of St. Vitus Cathedral

28-06-2016 11:59 | Ian Willoughby

A new exhibition in Prague is set to display previously unseen pictures of St. Vitus Cathedral by the great Czech photographer Josef Sudek. While Sudek’s photos of the cathedral taken in the 1920s during construction are well-known, the works on show date from the Nazi occupation of the city. The exhibition In the Shadows of the Cathedral runs from Wednesday until August 30. 

Czech and Dutch police arrest 58 after series of drugs raids

28-06-2016 11:48 | Ian Willoughby

Czech and Dutch police have arrested 58 people in connection with the large-scale production and distribution of illegal drugs, police spokespersons in both states announced on Tuesday. Coordinated raids uncovered six laboratories, eight cannabis factories, 32 kilos of synthetic drugs, 54 kilos of marijuana and a host of other illicit materials. Police said they had been monitoring the gang, which was also active in other countries, for three years. 


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