News Ukrainians in Prague and Brno vote in Ukraine's presidential election

25-05-2014 16:17 | Jan Velinger

Hundreds of Ukrainian nationals waited calmly in lines in front of the Ukrainian embassy in Prague as well as the Ukrainian consulate in Brno on Sunday to cast their vote in Ukraine’s presidential election. The polls remain open until Sunday evening. Ukrainians are electing a new head-of-state following months of unrest after the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych. Pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country have reportedly managed to violently disrupt voting in areas.Ukrainians rank among the largest minorities in the Czech Republic: the number of eligible voters in the Czech capital is 14,437 and there are an additional 3,268 in the Czech Republic’s second-largest city.

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Football: Sparta Prague face Napoli

27-11-2014 09:52 | Jan Velinger

Czech football club Sparta Prague face Italy’s Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday evening in the Czech capital. The two clubs are tied in Group I on nine points, followed by the BSC Young Boys with six and Slovan Bratislava with zero. Napoli won their first match against Sparta 3:1. Sparta will be hoping for a win to try and get a stranglehold on qualification for the second half of the tournament in the spring. 

Assembly elects Krnáčová first female mayor in Prague

27-11-2014 09:16 | Jan Velinger

Members of Prague City Hall’s assembly on Wednesday elected ANO’s Adriana Krnáčová mayor, the first time the post will be held by a woman. Thirty-three members voted in favour and 22 against while seven abstained. In a short statement, the new mayor said it was time for Prague to “wake up” as numerous pressing issues needed attention. But she came under fire from two former predecessors for waiving a traditional three-minute address to introduce her policy programme. Three deputy mayors were also elected on Wednesday: Petr Dolínek of the Social Democrats, ANO’s Eva Kislingerová and the Green’s Matěj Stropnický. 

iDnes: Hockey defenceman Kabrle hopes to help hometown Kladno

26-11-2014 17:16 | Jan Velinger

Former NHL defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs and later the Montreal Canadiens Tomáš Kabrle will play for his hometown Kladno, in the Czech Republic’s second division, this season, after being invited to the New Jersey Devils training camp in September, iDnes reports. Kabrle, a veteran player of 36, told Czech news site iDnes it would be a challenge to help Kladno try and get back into the top league. His contract with the club the players says “taught him how to play hockey” is open-ended, allowing him to leave if he receives an attractive offer. To play for Kladno, he apparently declined offers from clubs in the top Czech league as well as elsewhere. 

International festival Prix Bohemia continues

26-11-2014 16:59 | Jan Velinger

Veteran conductor of the Czech Radio Orchestra, Vladimír Válek, and radio drama director Hana Kofránková have been inducted in the Prix Bohemia Festival’s Hall of Fame. Reporter Jan Macháček received the Jiřího Ješ award and Pavla Tomicová received a Thalia for best performance in a radio play. The international festival continues until Thursday. 

Council recommends Interviews from Lány not be broadcast live

26-11-2014 16:11 | Jan Velinger

The Council for Czech Radio has recommended the station should no longer broadcast live the long-running programme Interviews from Lány, reacting to a recent scandalous broadcast in which President Miloš Zeman used vulgar language on the air. According to the Council, both the law and the broadcaster's ethical codex were breached; at the same time, the council conceded that surprise had played a strong role. The head of Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, said that the situation had been “impossible to predict” and made clear that cutting off the president, without warning, had not been an option under the circumstances. He indicated that in the future if a similar situation arose, the station would react immediately. 

Czech Railways pays off loan for Pendolino trains

26-11-2014 15:33 | Jan Velinger

Czech Railways has paid off a massive loan for seven high-speed Pendolino trains it ordered back in 1996. The firm sent a final instalment of more than 110 million euros to a consortium of banks headed by ČSOB on Tuesday. The news was confirmed by Czech Railways’ spokesman Petr Stáhlavský. The Pendolino project is broadly-considered one of the least successful investments by Czech Railways: a single seat on the trains cost the company 1.9 million crowns, compared to Railjet, which cost roughly half, the Czech News Agency reported. 

Czech energy regulator: 2015 electricity prices to drop but gas costs to rise slightly

26-11-2014 14:55 | Jan Velinger

Electricity prices in the Czech Republic are set to drop slightly in 2015 while gas prices are expected to rise - the Energy Regulatory Authority has said. The authority announced it had succeeded in being able to cut regulated costs for electricity by an average 2.1% next year for the biggest consumers and predicts that wholesale electricity prices will fall by 5% over 2015. ERU chairwoman Alena Vitaskova said the costs of supporting renewable energy are expected to be cut by two billion crowns. Among the major changes next year are increased support for new capacity for electricity production from burning biomass with other fuels and cogeneration of heat and electricity. 

Dangerous convict escapes from hospital

26-11-2014 12:11 | Jan Velinger

Police are searching for convicted criminal Jan Novak who escaped from a hospital in Krč in Prague on Tuesday. The 44-year-old convict, who was due for release in 2017, was serving a sentence for a robbery. He is considered highly aggressive; although he was unarmed at the time of his escape, the police warn he is likely to obtain a weapon easily. Members of the public should under no circumstances try and apprehend the suspect themselves. Police conducting a search at the site of the hospital employed the use of sniffer dogs for tracking purposes. 

Czech and Tajik presidents discuss trade possibilities, international issues

26-11-2014 12:00 | Jan Velinger

Czech President Miloš Zeman has met with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, discussing trade opportunities, according to the Avesta news agency, as well as international issues including Islamic terrorism. Trade between the Czech Republic and Tajikistan is negligible; the presidents are launching a business seminar with the representation of 70 Czech firms. Cooperation in industry, energy, agriculture and other sectors are on the agenda, say sources. 

Independent: benched Čech had better stats than Courtois so far

26-11-2014 11:43 | Jan Velinger

According to The Independent, star football goalkeeper Petr Čech, who lost top spot with Chelsea this season to Belgian phenom Thibault Courtois, was better last season than the new No.1 has been so far. Analysing numbers compiled, the daily found that Čech edged Courtois in almost every category, including goals conceded per game. Courtois, 22, however, is ten years younger and is considered well part of the club’s future. In recent days there has been speculation that Čech could move to another Premier League team, possibly Arsenal or Liverpool. AC Milan, from Serie A, has also been mentioned. Other sources say that the keeper will stay until the summer, not opting to try for the earliest trade window in January. The player has less than 18 months left on his contract with Chelsea. He did not play in the Champions League on Tuesday – a 5-0 drubbing of Schalke. 

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