News Trial begins of close advisor to former prime minister accused of soliciting huge bribe

30-06-2014 06:15 | Ian Willoughby

The Prague Municipal Court will on Monday begin the trial of Marek Dalík, who is accused of soliciting a bribe of EUR 18 million in 2007 while he was a close advisor to then prime minister Mirek Topolánek. The so-called lobbyist stands accused of demanding the kickback from Austrian armaments firm Steyr to secure a Czech government deal to buy armoured vehicles. If found guilty of attempted fraud, Mr. Dalík, who had no formal state post, could face up to 10 years in prison.

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Cultural figures urge action in support of democracy

28-10-2016 18:26 | Daniela Lazarová

Leading cultural figures have called on the public to take part in protest gatherings in support of democracy. In a proclamation issued on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, several dozen actors, singers and writers criticized the president and government for its "submissive foreign policy" in relation to China saying that the country’s leaders do not have a mandate to turn the helm of the country eastward. They urge the head of state to stop spreading lies and apologize for his behavior. The signatories include the president of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Jiří Bartoška, singer Vojtěch Dyk, head of the drama ensemble at the National Theatre, Michal Dočekal, and journalist Karel Steigerwald, among others. 

Office of the President need not apologize for Peroutka comments for the time being

28-10-2016 16:16 | Daniela Lazarová

The Office of the President does not need to apologize for comments the president made about journalist Ferdinand Peroutka until the Supreme Court rules on the appellate complaint lodged by the Office of the President regarding the verdict. Czech Radio reported on Friday that the Supreme Court had postponed the deadline for an apology until it ruled on the complaint filed by Prague Castle. The ruling came shortly after the Office of the President was ordered to pay 100,000 crowns for failing to apologize. 

Ex-president Klaus says mass migration presents serious threat

28-10-2016 15:58 | Daniela Lazarová

In an address on Czechoslovak Independence Day, the former president Václav Klaus stressed the need to defend and protect the sovereign Czech state in connection with the migrant crisis, which he said presented a threat to the whole European Continent. Uncontrolled mass migration threatens the existence of Europe such as we know it and want it, Mr. Klaus said, adding that mass migration would radically alter the national, ethnic, and cultural character of Europe and threaten the traditional values it is built on. 

Celebrations of Czechoslovak Independence Day overshadowed by scandal

28-10-2016 15:26 updated | Daniela Lazarová

People around the country are marking Czechoslovak Independence Day, the founding of an independent state of Czechs and Slovaks in 1918. Official celebrations of the anniversary in Prague have been taking place throughout the day; politicians, cultural figures and members of the public laid wreaths at the statue of T. G Masaryk, Czechoslovakia’s first president on Hradčany Square, President Zeman, political leaders, war veterans and cultural figures attended the traditional ceremony at Vitkov National Memorial and shortly after midday the president appointed new generals at Prague Castle.

This year the celebrations are taking place in a tense political atmosphere due to a scandal surrounding the state awards which are traditionally presented on the day. Allegations that Holocaust survivor George Brady had been crossed off the list on nominees because his nephew, Culture Minister Daniel Herman had angered the president by meeting with the Dalai Lama, has evoked outrage and many politicians will not be attending the traditional award giving ceremony at Prague Castle on Friday evening. An alternate event, to be attended by politicians, academics, cultural figures and religious leaders critical of president Zeman, is to take place on Old Town Square.

According to a poll conducted by the Median agency 48 percent of Czechs do not approve of the boycott of Prague Castle celebrations; 38 percent support it. 

Institutions open their doors to visitors

28-10-2016 15:12 | Daniela Lazarová

A number of institutions opened their doors to the public on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The Karel Kramář villa, the official residence of Czech prime ministers, offered guided tours of the villa with its 56 rooms built in 1915. The villa was home to the first Czechoslovak prime minister Karel Kramář and his wife Naděžda. People could also visit the premises of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate including the assembly halls which are usually off limits. 

Weather forecast

28-10-2016 12:54 | Daniela Lazarová

Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius. 

Rectors and students mark Czechoslovak Independence Day at Masaryk statue

28-10-2016 12:52 | Daniela Lazarová

Rectors and students from universities around the country assembled at the statue of T.G. Masaryk on Hradčany Square on Friday to mark the 98th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia and pay their respects to the country’s first president. The Czech Association of Rectors has said its members would not be attending the official celebrations at Prague Castle on Friday evening in protest against President Zeman’s policies. Representatives of student organizations expressed support for the decision. The ceremony was also attended by the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jiří Drahoš, who said the academic world must stick together and confirmed that academics would also stay away from the event. Many students and academics are expected to take part in the alternate celebrations which are to be held on Old Town Square. 

Prima TV screens original version of Kraus show following accusations of censorship

28-10-2016 12:33 | Daniela Lazarová

Commercial TV broadcaster Prima screened the original version of Jan Kraus’ talk show on Thursday evening following accusations of censorship. The program, which was originally scheduled to go out on Wednesday night, was pulled by managers who cited fears of a possible fine from the state-appointed radio and television watchdog for breaking the set standards of objectivity. The argument was later brushed off by the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting which said it had ruled earlier that entertainment programs featuring subjective views of guests did not keep to the highest standards of objectivity and balance that might be demanded elsewhere. This particular episode of the Kraus show contained many critical references to the head of state, President Miloš Zeman. 

Big stores forced to close their doors to customers

28-10-2016 11:13 | Daniela Lazarová

Big stores and supermarkets have been forced to close their doors on the public holiday for the first time this year due to a new law according to which outlets bigger than 200 square meters must remain closed on all big public holidays. According to a poll conducted by the Median agency 65 percent of Czechs do not have a problem with this. The new law means that big stores will no longer be able to serve customers on New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, May 8, September 28, October 28, December 25 or December 26. On December 24 – on the eve of which Czechs traditionally celebrate Christmas – large retailers will have to shut at noon. 

Broadcasting watchdog slams Prima for claims that show was pulled for fears of regulator

27-10-2016 17:26 updated | Chris Johnstone

The Czech state appointed radio and tv watchdog, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, bluntly brushed off claims from commercial broadcaster Prima that it did not originally screen the episode of Jan Kraus’s talk show featuring George Brady and culture minister Daniel Herman because of fears how the council would react. Managers at the broadcaster already knew that the council had ruled that entertainment programmes featuring subjective views of guests did not keep to the highest standards of objectivity and balance that might be demanded elsewhere, the council said in a statement late Thursday. Prima was trying to shift blame for its decision and put it on the regulator if it tried to maintain that it was not aware of this, it added. The episode of the show reportedly contained many critical references to Czech head of state, president Miloš Zeman, and his staff. 


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