News TOP 09 and Civic Democrats to cooperate in Senate elections

18-05-2014 12:00 | Daniela Lazarová

The centre-right TOP 09 party and the Civic Democrats have agreed on close cooperation in the autumn elections to the Senate. While the parties will maintain separate ballots, they have established a strategy to bolster the chances of right-wing candidates in traditionally left-oriented regions by only fielding one candidate –either from the Civic Democrats or TOP 09 - in these electorates. The left-wing Social Democrats will be defending two dozen seats in the Senate elections and by this selective strategy the center-right parties are hoping to change the balance of power in the currently left-dominated Senate.

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TOP 09 files criminal complaint against Prague mayor

31-03-2015 12:17 | Daniela Lazarová

Members of TOP 09’s Prague branch have said they are filing a criminal complaint against ANO representative and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. They claim that the mayor broke the law and hurt the interests of the city by opting for a new legal team to represent Prague in a legal dispute over the rental of Škodova Palace, owned by Copa Retail. TOP 09 leaders allege the mayor hired lawyers at the recommendation of the other party and went behind the backs of other city councilors. The mayor has denied the allegations saying the law firm in question was chosen according to rules on public tenders.However Prague City Hall announced on Tuesday that it had cancelled the contract with the said firm and would be selecting a new team of lawyers. 

So-called “fast communication roads” to become highways

31-03-2015 11:43 | Daniela Lazarová

All of the country’s so-called “fast communication roads” marked with an R should be transformed into highways as of 2016, according to a proposal by the Czech Transport Ministry. According to Transport Minister Dan Tok, 80 to 90 percent of these roads already fulfill the required criteria for international highways and the remainder will be brought up to the required standard by next year. This would see the country’s highway network which now measures 750km extended to 1,200km and the speed limit on fast communication roads would be increased to 130km per hour. 

Eight injured in bus crash

31-03-2015 11:21 | Daniela Lazarová

Eight people, including one child, were injured in a bus crash in the Zdár region in Moravia early on Tuesday, the ctk news agency reported. None of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening. The intercity bus which was taking commuters to work swerved off the road and crashed into a tree. The cause of the accident is being investigated. 

Heavy snowfall slows traffic

31-03-2015 09:39 | Jan Velinger

Strong winds and unexpectedly heavy snowfall in parts of the Czech Republic caught motorists off guard on Tuesday morning. Snow drifts led to closure of a part of the D8 highway to Germany, 76 kilometres from the capital, where sections were impassable. Visibility was reported as being a maximum of 30 metres. Traffic slowed on the D1 connecting Prague and Brno; a number of traffic accidents led to traffic jams in places. The capital also saw snowfall and rain early in the day. 

Man detained by police after drawing gas pistol in Prague metro

31-03-2015 09:28 | Jan Velinger

One man was sent to a hospital and treated for a head injury and another detained after a fracas between the two in the Prague metro on Tuesday morning. The police were called after the two fought and one drew a gas pistol and allegedly threatened passers-by. The incident took place at the Národní třída station on the metro’s “B” line. 

E15: Kmoníček will replace Gandalovič as ambassador to US

30-03-2015 18:08 | Jan Velinger

Close aide to the president Hynek Kmoníček will replace Petr Gandalovič as the next ambassador to Washington, the daily E15 reports. It is not the first time the story has surfaced. Mr Gandalovič’s term is to end this year. Mr Kmoníček is a former ambassador himself, having served in five countries including India. The decision is now up to the government, E15 writes. 

Football: national squad faces Slovakia in friendly

30-03-2015 18:00 | Jan Velinger

Czech national football team coach Pavel Vrba will test newer players in Tuesday’s friendly against Slovakia, news website idnes reports, a line-up which will not include top names including Tomáš Rosický, Petr Čech, or David Lafata. Goalkeeper Tomáš Vaculík will step in for the team’s No.1 in the friendly; at least three other changes in the lineup are expected. The Czech squad has 13 points in five qualification games for Euro 2016, most recently tying unexpectedly with Latvia. Slovakia’s national team is five-for-five in a group which includes Spain and Ukraine. 

Virtual tour of Havel’s office to go online

30-03-2015 17:35 | Jan Velinger

A virtual tour of the Prague office that the late former president Václav Havel used after leaving office in 2003 will be available for viewing as part of a virtual tour online in early April, the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation Vision 97 announced on Monday. The premises in the centre of Prague were furnished and decorated after a design by Havel made in cooperation with architect Bořek Šípek. The rooms remained untouched since Havel´s last stay there, his widow and former First Lady Dagmar Havlová told journalists. The office "witnessed" a number of important meetings and events, she said, “visited by [former] U.S. president Bill Clinton, by the Tibetan spiritual lader, his Holiness Dalai Lama..., Joan Baez, Tom Stoppard, Suzanne Vega, Kofi Annan, Lou Reed, the Škvoreckys and others. There are many valuable objects and presents from our friends from all over the world," the former First Lady said. The virtual entry into the first room will be free, while the tour of the rest of the office will be available for a small fee. The proceeds will be used to finance further development of the project. 

Amendment promises changes at Czech universities

30-03-2015 17:29 | Jan Velinger

How Czech universities are run could change substantially in the future. On Monday, the cabinet agreed on an amendment which would introduce new rules for accreditation and a new system for judging the quality of existing schools. The overall aim, Education Minister Marcel Chládek said, was to improve the overall quality of Czech universities. The amendment would also make it possible to revoke academic titles earned in a questionable manner. The bill now has to be debated in Parliament. 

Families of abducted girls release statement of thanks and relief

30-03-2015 17:23 | Jan Velinger

Two Czech women released by kidnappers after two years are reportedly healthy but need rest to recover from the ordeal, their families told the Czech News Agency on Monday. Their families thanked the Turkish IHH humanitarian organisation for its help, the Czech cabinet for support, and all those who expressed solidarity. “For us, it is beyond words to express our feeling of happiness and relief at having the girls back at home,” the families of Hana Humpalová and Antonie Chrastecká wrote in a statement released to ČTK. They thanked all who contributed to the young women´s release. Unknown gunmen abducted the young women, then aged 24, in southwestern Pakistan in March 2013 when they were travelling by bus from Iran to India. Two videos of the girls appeared on the internet in June and October 2013. Czech diplomacy did not comment on the case for fear it could jeopardize the chances of their being safely released. 

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