News Tuesday is 45th anniversary of self-immolation of Jan Zajíc

25-02-2014 19:55 | Ian Willoughby

Tuesday marks the 45th anniversary of the self-immolation of Jan Zajíc in response to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops and the “normalization” period that followed. Aged 18, Zajíc set himself on fire on 25 February 1969 as he felt a similar move by Jan Palach the previous month had failed to shake the indifference and apathy of Czechoslovak society in the wake of the occupation.

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Khamoro festival starts in Prague

30-05-2016 08:26 | Jan Velinger

The 18th Khamoro World Roma Festival, showcasing Roma musicians from all over the world, opened with an open-air oncert at the embankment in Prague centre at the weekend. The event runs through June 4. Apart from concerts, the festival programme offers a number of accompanying events, including expert seminars on current topics. Sunday's opening concert started with Le Chavendar Czech band from Rokycany, west Bohemia, whose music is based on Roma folklore enriched by jazz, Latin and flamenco motives. It was followed by Slovak singer Maros Bango along with the dulcimer band of Ladislav Rigo and DJ Shantel mixing electronic music with Balkan rhythms. He is the first DJ to remix songs of Romanies, Serbian and Macedonian bands, organizers said. During its 18-year history, the festival has welcomed a total of 184 bands from 33 countries, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Trial of Czechs - charged with smuggling pervetin - set to continue in New Zealand

30-05-2016 07:53 | Jan Velinger

The trial of two Czechs charged in New Zealand with smuggling some 20 kilos of the illegal drug pervetin (methamphetamine) is set to continue on Monday. The amount of drugs was the largest ever uncovered at the airport in Aukland, and has an estimated value of 320 million crowns. New Zealand has strict drug laws and the Czechs could face life sentences if found guilty. In a similar case recently, two gang members producing the drug locally were given sentences of 15 and 19 years in jail. 

French Open: Czechs to clash in women's doubles quarterfinal

30-05-2016 07:40 | Jan Velinger

Doubles partners Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká advanced on Sunday to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros by defeating Slovak duo Andreja Klepačová and Katarina Srebotniková. Hlaváčková and Hradecká, who won the women's doubles title at the French Open in 2011, will face compatriots Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková who stunned Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza to advance to the next round. 

Czech mountaineer Pavel Michut dies on Denali

29-05-2016 16:40 | Jan Velinger

Czech mountaineer Pavel Michut died on the Messner Couloir on Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) in Alaska on Sunday, fellow climber Radek Jaroš confirmed on facebook. In his message, Jaroš wrote that the other members of the Czech group of climbers were safe. Jaroš set out to Denali with a group of ten after having completed the Crown of the Himalayas. 

Newly-named governor says central bank should be less euro skeptical in outlook

29-05-2016 13:59 | Jan Velinger

The newly-named governor of the Czech National Bank, Jiří Rusnok, has said that the central bank should be less euro skeptical while at the same time remaining critical regarding the eurozone. He made the comment on a popular Czech TV political debate programme on Sunday. He said that while he felt the Czech Republic belonged in the eurozone, the time was "not yet mentally or politically ripe". Mr Rusnok, who officially takes up the post of governor in July, said also that the Czech National Bank would announce in advance when the time came to lift measures in its low crown policy, keeping the Czech currency at 27 crowns to the euro. The measures have been in place for some two-and-a-half years. 

Health minister to table reworked anti-smoking legislation

29-05-2016 13:40 | Jan Velinger

Reworked anti-smoking legislation - taking into account a number of changes suggested by MPs in the lower house last week - is to be put forward at the cabinet meeting on Monday by Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček. The ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, similarly to last week's rejected bill, will apply to cigarettes and cigars but not, for example, electronic cigarettes or hookahs. The new legislation would also newly ban smoking at public bus and tram stops and at the zoo, with the exception of designated exterior areas. The reworked law does not include a proposal put forward last week by Civic Democrat MP Marek Benda for restaurants to have special rooms for smokers, service-free, to protect restaurant personnel from second-hand smoke. That was a sticking point for eight MPs from the ruling coalition's ANO Party, and led to the bill's rejection. If approved by the government and passed by Parliament, the new legislation could come into effect in January 2017 - half a year later than originally intended. 

Livestock numbers fell significantly over last 30 years

29-05-2016 09:53 | Jan Velinger

Livestock numbers in the Czech Republic fell by more than half over the last 30 years, according to information released by the Czech Statistics Office. The number of cattle fell to just 40 percent of 1987 levels and pigs to around 36 percent. Farmers have warned that more breeding farms could close unless they receive broader support. The government recently outlined in its agriculture road map until 2030 plans to improve the situation. 

Czech Radio: Czechs spending more on sport

29-05-2016 09:37 | Jan Velinger

Czechs are spending more each year on sports equipment and sport events, Czech Radio reports citing numbers by Eurostat. According to the broadcaster, they spend around 2,500 crowns per year on sport items, events or fitness club memberships. That is roughly twice the amount spent in 2012. Some spend considerably more, not least in areas of organized team sports such as ice hockey or football, where the numbers can go as high as 30,000 crowns. One interviewee told the broadcaster that ice hockey equipment for each of his sons cost 2,500 crowns alone - not including skates or helmets. 

Children evacuated from playing field in face of local floods

29-05-2016 09:18 | Jan Velinger

Firefighters intervened on Saturday as local flooding and thunderstorms threatened more than 400 children at an organized event on a playing field in Jílovice in the region of Hradec Králové. The children were evacuated from the area, many of them carried to awaiting vehicles in firemens' arms. No persons were hurt in the incident. Flooding affected a number of buildings in local municipalities including Výrava and Librantice. 

French Open: Berdych rebounds to defeat Uruguay's Cuevas in four sets

29-05-2016 08:06 | Jan Velinger

Czech men's tennis number one Tomáš Berdych rebounded after losing the first set in his Roland Garros third round match against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas, winning three straight to reach the next round. Berdych turned the game around with precision play and relatively few unforced errors.The final score was 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Berdych faces Spain's David Ferrer next. 


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