News Thursday roads death toll worst so far this year

01-08-2014 11:01 | Chris Johnstone

Thursday’s death toll on Czech roads was the worst so far this year with seven people killed. The total death toll for July came to 68, one more than in June. Even so, last month was still an improvement on the 72 people who died on the roads in July 2013. In the first sixth months of this year 266 people died on Czech roads, 26 more than during the same period a year earlier.

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Mynář to appeal vetting rejection Wednesday, says Zeman

06-10-2015 19:08 updated | Ian Willoughby

The president’s chancellor Vratislav Mynář will file an appeal at the National Security Authority on Wednesday against its rejection of his application for top level security clearance, President Miloš Zeman told the Czech News Agency. The head of state indicated that Mr. Mynář was minded to try all avenues of appeal, including at the Supreme Administrative Court. He said that the BIS secret police had previously given the head of his office the security all-clear. Mr. Zeman has in the past said that Mr. Mynář cannot remain in the post if he fails to pass the National Security Authority vetting process. 

Czech ambassador to Norway should be recalled for consultations over Michalák brothers decision, says Zeman

06-10-2015 17:57 updated | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says the Czech ambassador to Norway should be recalled to Prague for consultations, after a decision under which Czech woman Eva Michaláková will no longer be able to see her two boys taken into care four years ago. Earlier the president had said that expelling the Norwegian ambassador to Prague over the matter – as suggested by Christian Democrat MEP Tomáš Zdechovský – was not a bad idea. The head of state also backed Mrs. Michaláková’s planned appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said the decision of the Norwegian authorities had been reckless. 

Lasers and single barriers aimed at improving safety at level crossings

06-10-2015 17:35 | Ian Willoughby

New laser detectors are to be installed at dangerous railway crossings in the Czech Republic, the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, said on Tuesday. The lasers will monitor the crossings, with information about potential obstructions being instantly relayed to train drivers, the minister told journalists. In another move to improve safety, barriers at level crossings will only be in place at the entrance to such crossings in future, meaning there will be nothing preventing drivers exiting the space. Three people died recently when a high speed train collided with a truck at a railway crossing in North Moravia. 

Zaorálek protests to Norway's ambassador after ruling under which Czech woman may not see children again

06-10-2015 17:20 updated | Ian Willoughby

The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, summoned Norway’s ambassador to Prague, Siri Ellen Sletner, for a meeting on Tuesday to protest at what he called an egregious breach of a previous agreement after the Norwegian authorities ruled that the six-year-old son of Czech woman Eva Michaláková can be adopted by his current foster parents. Mrs. Michaláková has also been barred from having any contact with her second son, who is 10. Norwegian social services took the two children into care in 2011 over suspicions of sexual abuse and neglect. The Czech side had been told that adoption would not take place if a biological parent expressed interest in a child, Mr. Zaorálek said. Mrs. Michaláková is planning to appeal the decisions at the European Court of Human Rights, though a previous petition to hear the case was rejected by the court. 

Hockey legend Jágr to revive 1990s mullet hairstyle

06-10-2015 13:55 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr says he is bringing back the mullet hairstyle that he was famous for in the 1990s. Jágr, who is 43, told a reporter from the Miami Herald that he was reviving the long-at-the-back style after lobbying from Florida Panthers teammate Roberto Luongo. He had tweeted prior to a pre-season training camp that he was going to make it his mission to get the Czech to go back to the look with which he is most closely associated. “Guys we did it!!!!!,” Luongo wrote on Monday. 

Czechs to send more than approved 25 soldiers to Hungary

06-10-2015 12:03 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic will send more than the 25 soldiers approved by the government on Monday to Hungary to help guard the country’s borders, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka says. He made the comment after a visit to the General Staff of the Czech Army on Tuesday. The concrete number to be sent in the second such deployment in December will be discussed at a meeting of Visegrad Four interior ministers later this week, Mr. Sobotka said. On Monday the Czech interior minister, Milan Chovanec, said that over 100 soldiers and police officers could be deployed to Hungary, which has this year seen an unprecedented number of illegal migrants. 

Šípek retrospective underway at Dancing House

06-10-2015 10:50 | Ian Willoughby

A retrospective exhibition of work by the Czech designer and architect Bořek Šípek has got underway at the Art Salon gallery in Prague’s Dancing House. The show includes almost 200 items created by the artist over the last two decades, including a vase he designed for Václav Havel. Mr. Šípek worked closely with the late president in his time at Prague Castle and the exhibition’s opening coincided with what would have been his 79th birthday on Monday. 

Education minister defends school head over slap

06-10-2015 10:49 | Ian Willoughby

The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, has defended the director of a Prague elementary school who slapped a pupil, reported. The minister said she did not know all the details of the case but said that it raised issues of whether teachers received sufficient support in their psychologically demanding work. School head Miroslav Kovanda slapped a seventh grade pupil who made a cheeky remark at a Prague 8 elementary school in April. Speaking at a Teacher of the Year awards ceremony, Ms. Valachová said the principal regretted his action, which occurred in a heated situation that had escalated, and would not have reacted like that in normal circumstances. 

Trades unions demand equal conditions for immigrant workers

06-10-2015 09:03 | Chris Johnstone

Czech trades unionists have insisted that asylum seekers and foreigners with work permits be offered the same conditions as locals. The issue was discussed at Monday’s five hour long three-way meeting between the government, unions, and employers. Czech employers previously said around 5,000 jobs could easily be filled by immigrants. But some employers have talked about work for immigrants, with the implication that special conditions might be attached. Head of the Association of Industry and Transport, Jaroslav Hanák, said that the immigration issue was now likely to crop up regularly at tripartite meetings. 

Police to launch nationwide clampdown on under age drinking

06-10-2015 09:02 | Chris Johnstone

Czech police are to launch what they describe as one of their biggest clampdowns ever on under age drinking in bars and restaurants. Details of the clampdown to be launched Friday were outlined on Monday. Several thousand police will take part in the nationwide checks against a background of increasing alcohol consumption by under age Czechs. Surveys suggest that Czech teenagers are some of the biggest alcohol drinkers across Europe. Business found to be breaking the law by serving the under aged with alcohol can be fined 5,000 crowns on the spot with further penalties to follow. 


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