News Tomáš Pitr has remainder of prison sentence suspended

27-02-2014 16:09 | Chris Johnstone

One time fugitive businessman Tomáš Pitr has had the remainder of his four year jail sentence overturned by a Prague 6 district court on Thursday. The court ruled that Pitr’s outstanding two year prison sentence be suspended on condition that he does not break the law over the next four years. Pitr was sentenced to five years for tax evasion in June 2013 with the sentence cut later by one year following an appeal. He fled the Czech Republic following an earlier sentence but was eventually apprehended in Switzerland in 2010. Pitr was linked to a series of major share and tax evasion cases over the last decades after making his first money in the early 1990’s from the resale of Tuzex duty free rum.

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Czech Army wants to boost number of soldiers to pre-crisis level

29-07-2016 15:28 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Army wants to raise the number of soldiers in its ranks to 24,500, the level it stood at prior the global economic crisis in 2008, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Jaroslav Kocián has said. He made the statement on Friday at a ceremony for graduates from the University of Defence in Brno. The Czech Army currently has some 19,000 soldiers. 

ČEZ seeks prolongation of Dukovany second unit operating license

29-07-2016 15:16 | Jan Velinger

Czech electricity giant ČEZ has applied for a prolongation of its existing operating license for the second unit at its Dukovany power plant until July 10, 2017, spokesman Jiří Bezděk told ČTK. The current license is due to expire at the end of this year. Mr Bezděk said the application to the State Office for Nuclear Safety was made because of a prolonged shutdown at the reactor to check on pipe welds at the unit. ČEZ filed and a similar request by the regulator for Dukovany’s first unit earlier this year, which was granted. ČEZ has over the last year stepped up its X-ray checks on pipe welds at all four of the Dukovany units after it was found that previous checks by a sub-contractor were flawed. 

Foreign national to appeal court decision in flag theft case

29-07-2016 14:11 | Jan Velinger

A Chinese citizen found guilty of stealing Tibetan flag from a protestor during the Prague visit earlier this year of China’s president, has filed an appeal. The foreign national was arrested during a scuffle between supporters and opponents of Xi Jinping in March of this year; he was fined 15,000 crowns for his role in the incident. 

Social Democrats outline priorities ahead of budget debate

29-07-2016 13:40 | Jan Velinger

The Social Democrats have said in the debate on the draft state budget for next year they will be emphasising as priorities increases in funds for national security, social services, and education. The statement was made on Friday by the party’s leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will alone be seeking an additional three billion crowns to increase police numbers and to improve not only cyber-security but also anti-terrorism measures. 

Football: Mixed results in qualifying for Europa League

29-07-2016 12:17 | Jan Velinger

Austrian club Admira drew first blood against Slovan Liberec on Thursday evening in their third round qualifying match for the Europa League but the Czech club got two goals from Vuch to win 2-1. The second leg against Admira will be on August 3.

In other qualifying matches, Macedonia’s Shkëndija defeated Mladá Boleslav 2-0, while Slavia Prague drew with Portuguese club Rio Ave. 

Finance minister opens talks on draft state budget

29-07-2016 12:05 | Jan Velinger

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has opened negotiations with fellow members of the Cabinet on the state budget for 2017, meeting with the justice, environment and culture ministers. The draft budget is counting on a deficit of 60 billion crowns next year. The bill includes pay rise for teachers, nurses and doctors, higher pensions and higher health insurance payments that the state pays on behalf of children, pensioners and the unemployed. Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told journalists after talks with Mr Babiš that his ministry would get additional 650 million crowns that would be used for increased salaries of court personnel and the hiring of new staff in the judicial sector and the Prison Service. Pelikán originally wanted two billion crowns more in the budget.

The government must approve the budget bill and send it to the lower house of parliament by the end of September. 

Strike at Air France continues to disrupt traffic

29-07-2016 10:01 | Daniela Lazarová

A strike by cabin crew at Air France continues to disrupt traffic. Two flights between Prague and Paris were cancelled on Friday morning. The afternoon and evening flights remain on schedule for the time being. The strike, over a new contract for flight attendants, is expected to last all week. 

People signing petition against giant wheel in Prague

29-07-2016 09:48 | Daniela Lazarová

The inhabitants of Prague are signing a petition against plans to build a 60-metre wheel on the bank of the Vltava River. The Prague 5 district authority has already approved the project and signed a contract with an investor, but the plans have met with opposition from conservationists, members of the public and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. Since Prague is on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list the wheel cannot be built without approval from conservationists. Over 600 people have signed the petition against the wheel so far. 

PM says doctors and nurses should see salary increases for three successive years

28-07-2016 18:55 | Daniela Lazarová

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said his government was planning to raise doctors and nurses salaries by 10 percent for three successive years in order to stabilize the sector and put an end to the ongoing brain drain. The head of government made the announcement during a visit to a hospital in the town of Znojmo. He said the pay hike for next year had already been settled and the government would seek to secure in money in 2018 and 2019 as well, if it won another term in office. 

European Values think tank likens President Zeman to Russian Trojan horse

28-07-2016 17:30 | Daniela Lazarová

The Prague-based European Values think tank has likened President Miloš Zeman to a Russian Trojan horse in an information war. The comparison was made by the think tank’s Jakub Janda within the presentation of a study on Czech websites that serve disinformation purposes. "In the Czech space, Miloš Zeman plays the role of a Russian Trojan horse, systematically embracing and repeating Kremlin’s position on various issues," Jakub Janda, one of the authors of the study, said. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček dismissed the allegations as nonsensical saying they were part of an ongoing campaign against the head of state. He further questioned the independence and financing of the European Values think tank. 

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