News US vice president, PM Sobotka, discuss NATO and situation in Ukraine

27-04-2014 14:49 | Jan Velinger

American Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday spoke to the premiers of the Czech Republic and Hungary about developments in Ukraine, assuring them of the United States’ commitment to collective defense under NATO’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack against one member of the alliance is an attack against all. The Czech News Agency reported that Mr Biden spoke for 45 minutes over the phone with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, discussing new sanctions against Russia for failing to withdraw troops on Ukraine’s border and for failing to de-escalate tension in the area as agreed in talks in Geneva. The two also discussed the situation of OSCE observers - including a Czech national - being held captive by pro-Russian separatists. The Czech Foreign and Defence Ministries are working with partners to try and secure the observers’ release. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999; Article 5 was first invoked in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

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Security stepped up in Czech Republic following Munich shootings

23-07-2016 18:36 updated | Chris Johnstone

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said no Czechs are believed to be among the victims of a shooting spree at a shopping centre in Munich, Germany, on Friday evening. Nine people were killed and the gunman, believed to be a 19-year-old German-Iranian, then turned the gun on himself. Around 21 people were injured. Czech police stepped up police patrols in shopping centres and increased border security after the incident. The motive for the attack is not yet known. The increased Czech border checks were cancelled Saturday. 

Ceasefire ending Austro-Prussian war commemorated at Mikulov

23-07-2016 16:30 | Chris Johnstone

A ceremony and commemorative events marked the 150th anniversary on Saturday of the ceasefire between the Austrian Empire and Prussia at Mikulov castle in South Moravia. The ceasefire signed at the castle in the presence of the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck brought to an end the short lived but bloody conflict between the two powers. The decisive battle was fought at Hradec Králové. An exhibition at the castle includes the table where the ceasefire was signed. The war established Prussia as the leading Germanic power in Europe. 

No specific threat to Czech Republic: interior minister

23-07-2016 13:38 | Chris Johnstone

Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec said on his Twitter account Saturday that there is no suggestion that a specific terrorist or other threat applies to the Czech Republic at the moment. He added that the latest information from Germany was awaited after the Munich shootings on Friday evening. A meeting of Czech interior ministry, police, and security service officials is scheduled on Saturday afternoon to evaluate the security situation. At the moment a level one security alert applies to the country. That has been in place since the Brussels attacks in March. A one to four, with four the highest, security evaluation is in place. 

Selective ban on water craft sought by ministry

23-07-2016 11:55 | Chris Johnstone

Minister of Transport Dan Tok has called for a ban on motor vessels at 16 locations on the Slapy and Orlík reservoirs. He also wants to recommended a 10 km/hour speed limit be put in place in adjoining areas. The move follows an incident at the start of the month where two craft collided with a young girl later dying from her injuries. Rules for craft on rivers and lakes were relaxed last year but this has resulted in criticism of reckless behaviour and the greater risk of accidents and deaths as a result. 

Czech debt climbs after bond issues

23-07-2016 11:54 | Chris Johnstone

The total Czech state debt has climbed by around 18 billion crowns in the first half of the year according to the Ministry of Finance. That means the total debt now stands at 1.691 trillion crowns or around 160,000 crowns for every single Czech citizen. The Ministry of Finance said the debt total had climbed as the result of more state bonds being issued because of the favourable financial situation. 

EU Commission takes Czech Republic to court over waste

23-07-2016 08:59 | Chris Johnstone

The European Commission has warned the Czech Republic that it will take the country before the European Court of Justice over its alleged refusal to take back waste sent to Poland. The Commission made its announcement Friday, saying that the Czech Republic is obliged to take back dangerous waste. But the Czech Republic has and says it will continue to contend the description of the waste, arguing that it is a fuel mix and not dangerous. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment said that Prague is fully prepared to defend itself in court. The Commission has been dealing with the case since November 2014. 

Javelin’s Jakub Vadlejch wins Diamond League event

23-07-2016 08:58 | Chris Johnstone

Czech javelin thrower Jakub Vadlejch has won his first Diamond League event. He threw 85.72 metres at the event in London in his second series of throws, ending up more than two metres ahead of reigning Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Previously, a second place was Vadlejch’s best placing in the top athletic series of competitions. 

Woman charged over Prague shopping centre killing

22-07-2016 16:52 | Chris Johnstone

Police say they have charged a 33-year-old woman in connection with the murder in a Prague shopping centre of another woman on Thursday. The woman was reportedly stabbed to death with a weapon found in the Tesco store in the Smichov district. Police said the murder suspect had been released earlier in the day from a Prague psychiatric hospital where she had been undergoing treatment. The Ministry of Health has demanded to be informed about the results of the investigation being carried out by the hospital. The woman is currently being held in police custody. 

Martina Sábliková to await arbitration verdict on Olympic place in Rio

22-07-2016 14:38 | Chris Johnstone

In athletics, Martina Sábliková has announced that she will fly out to Rio at the end of next week ahead of the Olympics. Sábliková, a three-time speed skating medal winner in the Winter Olympics, will await a decision in Brazil on whether she can take part in the road cycling competition. The Czech thought she had booked a place in the Olympics with a ninth place in a speed trial in the World Championships last year but was stunned to learn just a few months ago that that no places had been earmarked for the Czech Republic on the basis of those times. Her last hope is the verdict from an appeal to an international sporting arbitration. 

Change of hands looms for Prague’s tallest office bloc

22-07-2016 11:53 | Chris Johnstone

The REICO investment company, owned by one of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks Česká Spořitelna, is poised to buy the tallest office block in Prague, the City Tower. The pending purchase, with an estimated value of around 4.9 billion crowns, is being examined by the country’s competition office. The current owner is the PPF company of the country’s richest man, Petr Kellner. City Tower, at 109 metres, is the second tallest building in the country. 


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