News Top court upholds prison term for ex-boss of EU funds distribution agency

02-05-2014 12:03 | Jan Richter

The Czech Supreme Court has upheld a sentence of five years in prison for Petr Kušnierz, the former head of the country’s regional operational programme North-West, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday. Along with two accomplices, Mr Kusnierz was in 2012 found guilty of demanding bribes from applicants for EU funding, and sentenced to 7.5 years in jail. An appellate court later lowered his sentence to 5 years. His two accomplices landed suspended sentences. Pertr Kušnier also faces charges of manipulating the selection procedures of projects to receive EU funding; prosecution claims he and his collaborators manipulated funding of around 1.4 billion crowns.

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Fire officers called out three times more often than usual after storms

26-06-2016 09:51 | Ian Willoughby

Fire officers in the Czech Republic were called out three times more often than usual on Saturday to deal with the affects of heavy storms that hit large parts of the country. The worst-affected areas were south and central Bohemia and the Plzeň and Liberec regions. While average call-outs for fire brigades number just under 300 a day, on Saturday there were over 1,000, a spokesperson said. They have mainly been removing fallen trees, pumping water out of underground spaces and clearing drains. 

Jágr, 44, wins Golden Hockey Stick for player of year for 12th time

26-06-2016 07:09 | Ian Willoughby

Veteran star Jaromír Jágr has crowned a successful season with victory in the Golden Hockey Stick poll of Czech ice hockey player of the year. The third most productive player in NHL history, who is 44, picked up the prize for the 12th time in a ceremony in Karlovy Vary on Saturday night. Jágr said that he had first been in the 10 best in the Golden Hockey Stick way back in 1990 and that it remained a huge honour for him. 

Iggy Pop performs at maiden Metronome festival in Prague

26-06-2016 07:03 | Ian Willoughby

US singer Iggy Pop headlined the first edition of the Metronome music festival in Prague on Saturday. The punk pioneer, who is now 69, performed a 90-minute featuring many of his best-known songs as well as tracks from his most recent album Post Pop Depression. The two-day Metronome is taking place in parallel to United Islands of Prague, a long-running free festival that is held at various venues in the Czech capital. 

Social Democrats buy debt of lawyer they owe enormous sum

25-06-2016 19:17 | Ian Willoughby

The Social Democrats have bought a CZK 5 million debt of lawyer Zdeněk Altner, with whom they are locked in a legal dispute, and launched distraint proceedings against him. A spokesperson for the party said this would improve their position with regard to Mr. Altner, to whom they have been ordered to pay a huge sum. Mr. Altner’s legal representative said the move would not impact the case between his client and the Social Democrats, while the lawyer himself described the move as base. Earlier this year the Social Democrats were ordered to pay Mr. Altner CZK 377 million in connection with his representation in a case surrounding the party’s headquarters. 

Plíšková loses Czech-Slovak Eastbourne final to Cibulková

25-06-2016 16:48 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková was beaten in the final of the UK’s Eastbourne tournament on Saturday by Dominika Cibulková of Slovakia. The 5-7 3-6 defeat denied Plíšková her second WTA title of the season and despite reaching the final at Eastbourne she is set to remain at 17th in the world rankings. 

Sobotka: Europe may pay high price for Cameron’s Brexit vote pledge

25-06-2016 15:56 | Ian Willoughby

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says Europe may pay an excessively high price for his UK counterpart David Cameron’s pledge to hold an EU referendum in order to unify his Conservative Party prior to elections. Speaking a day after the UK’s vote to leave sent shockwaves around the bloc, Mr. Sobotka said that would had happened was not the end of European integration – just the end of the UK in the EU. The Czech leader said the main thing now was agreeing co-existence with Great Britain under conditions advantageous to the Czech Republic; the priority is ensuring the maintenance of smooth exports and good conditions for Czechs working in the UK, he said. 

Czech Republic in line to join European Space Agency programme

25-06-2016 15:45 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is likely to join the prestigious Ariane and Vega space programme run by the European Space Agency at the start of July, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has pledged to provide financial backing, saying he wished to support the country’s orientation in the aviation and space industries. Czech firms and researchers are expected to take part in the development, testing and production of parts for the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, whose first test flight is scheduled for 2020. A spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Transport said the country would come on board once the move had been approved by existing ESA members. 

Passenger-less train crashes at Brno station

25-06-2016 09:31 | Ian Willoughby

An express train crashed into a shunting locomotive at Brno’s Main Train Station on Saturday morning. The train was not carrying passengers at the time. The train’s locomotive derailed after the driver went through a signal, crashing into the shunting locomotive and causing injuries to its driver. Czech Railways officials put the damage at around CZK 3 million. 

High temperatures due to end with storms on Saturday

25-06-2016 08:24 | Ian Willoughby

Forecasters have warned of major storms in the Czech Republic on Saturday. After record-breaking temperatures on Thursday and Friday, heavy downpours, hailstones and wind storms are expected to hit between 3 PM and 3 AM. Bohemia will be most affected with storms also likely in parts of Moravia and Silesia slightly later. Temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius should then fall to between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, meteorologist Štefan Handžák told Czech Radio. 

Parts of Prague Castle closed off for Zeman advisor’s party

25-06-2016 08:12 | Ian Willoughby

Parts of Prague Castle were closed on Friday evening for the birthday party of Martin Nejedlý, chief advisor to President Miloš Zeman. The head of state was among the well-wishers at the event hosted by Mr. Nejedlý, who headed a Czech branch of Lukoil, at the Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and adjacent Royal Gardens. They had never previously been rented out for a private or commercial event, Novinky.cz reported. Also in attendance at the party were cabinet ministers, two former prime ministers and the Russian ambassador. 

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