News Václav Havel given rare honour by US House of Representatives

12-03-2014 08:36 | Chris Johnstone

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution recognising former Czech president Václav Havel’s contribution to the fight against communism, to the Velvet Revolution of November 1989, and entry of the Czech Republic into NATO. The resolution will also result in a bust of Havel joining those of a select few foreign and US leaders in the Congress building. Only three foreign statesmen have previously received such recognition. Havel was already awarded the US’ highest civil award, the medal for freedom, in 2003.

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Rath, on trial for corruption, reportedly in hospital following bike accident

27-04-2015 13:56 | Jan Velinger

Former Social Democrat lawmaker and governor David Rath, on trial for corruption, failed to appear in court on Monday. The Czech News Agency reported it had received a text message from Mr Rath saying he was in hospital after suffering a fall while biking on Sunday. He wrote the agency that he had lost consciousness in the accident and was recovering in hospital. Mr Rath’s lawyer, Adam Černý, explained he was trying to gather details including whether his client would appear in court in the coming days. But he said getting a clearer overview was difficult as his client was on the painkiller morphine. The judge has adjourned the trial until Wednesday. 

Czech medical trauma team to help earthquake victims in Nepal

27-04-2015 13:31 | Jan Velinger

The Czech government on Monday approved the sending of a special medical team to help Nepal earthquake victims, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka posted on Twitter without elaborating. The government also approved an aid of 20 million crowns for Nepal, where the Saturday powerful disaster claimed 3617 dead and many other people were injured, according to the latest information. Public broadcaster Czech TV reported that 36 physicians and firefighters will fly to Nepal. Already, Czechs have sent the first one million crowns to special accounts of Czech charity organisations in aid of Nepal and the first Czech help coordinators have arrived in the country. 

Czech charities send financial aid, people on the ground to help survivors

27-04-2015 13:27 | Jan Velinger

Czech charities responded at the weekend to the tragedy in Nepal, donating or beginning to gather funds for survivors and families in need. Some coordinators from the Czech Republic are already on the ground; the charity People in Need is sending several personnel, estimating that up to 90 percent of buildings in rural areas were likely destroyed. The Czech Red Cross donated 13 million crowns to help, while ADRA is sending a team of five to the region. The charity is cooperating with other aid organisations to get food, water, clothes, and temporary shelter to those who need it most. 

Twenty-six Czechs remain unaccounted for in Nepal

27-04-2015 12:05 | Jan Velinger

Twenty-six Czech citizens remain unaccounted for in earthquake-stricken Nepal, according to the Czech News Agency. There were more than 150 Czech nationals in the country at the time of the disaster at the weekend. No Czechs have been reported dead or registered as injured. The Czech consul general from New Delhi in neighbouring India and the honorary consul general in Nepal have been helping nationals at the airport and to otherwise be able to leave for home, the Czech ambassador to India, Miloslav Stašek, confirmed. Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and claimed more than 3,300 lives. Two Czech humanitarian organisations immediately released 600,000 crowns in aid; the European Commission has ordered the release of three million euros to help. 

Lucie Šafářová wins women’s doubles final at Stuttgart

27-04-2015 09:42 | Ruth Fraňková

Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has clinched a sixth doubles title in her carrier. With US partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, she beat the French-Slovenian pair of Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik in straight sets 6:4 and 6:3 in the women’s doubles final in Stuttgart on Sunday. In the singles, the 29-year old Czech was knocked out in the second round by Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki. 

Some 70 percent of Czechs support national hockey team coach Růžička

27-04-2015 09:41 | Ruth Fraňková

Some 70 percent of Czechs want Vladimír Růžička to remain in the post of national squad coach ahead of the Ice Hockey World Championships despite an allegation that he has accepted a bribe, according to a survey carried out by the Median agency for the Czech Radio. According to the allegations, the coach accepted a sum of 500,000 crowns from a businessman to allow his son to play for Slavia Prague, where he also coaches. Most of the respondents said Růžička shouldn’t be dismissed if the allegation hasn’t been proved. People have also said his dismissal could threaten the team’s performance. The world championships will be played in Prague and Ostrava from May 1. 

Drtikol photo auctioned off for 1.85 million crowns

26-04-2015 17:47 | Ruth Fraňková

A picture by famous Czech 20th century photographer František Drtikol was sold at an auction at Prague's Mánes on Sunday for 1.85 million crowns (approximately 74,000 US dollars). The sale makes Drtikol's "The Bow" the most expensive photography ever to be sold at a Czech auction. The starting price of the picture was 500,000 crowns. A Portrait of Marguerite Neveux by Josef Šíma also went under the hammer on Sunday. The Ministry of Culture bought it for the National Gallery for 4.45 million crowns. 

Tennis: Veselý loses to Garcia-Lopez in Bucharest final

26-04-2015 16:13 | Ruth Fraňková

The Czech tennis player Jiří Veselý has failed to claim the second ATP title of his career. The seventh-seeded Czech lost the men's singles final in Bucharest on Sunday to Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6:7, 6:7. The 21-year old player won the first ATP title of his carrer in January this year at the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand. 

Remains of WWII soldier laid to rest in Hlučín

26-04-2015 15:15 | Ruth Fraňková

The remains of a Second World War Ukrainian soldier serving in the Red Army were laid to rest on Sunday in the Russian military cemetery in the town of Hlučín, North Moravia. The 22-year old Vasily Alexeyevich Stasko was killed on April 23, 1945 during the liberation fights, when his plane was shot down at Klimkovice, near Ostrava. His remains were only found last year. The ceremony was attended by the soldier's 72-year-old niece and her family. 

Fifty Czechs still unaccounted for in Nepal

26-04-2015 14:50 updated | Ruth Fraňková

The number of Czech citizens still unaccounted for in earthquake stricken Nepal has is fifty, according to the information from the Czech embassy in India. There were around 166 Czechs travelling in the area at the time of the disaster, the ambassador to India, Miloslav Stašek, said on Sunday. No Czech national has been reported dead. Foreign ministry officials believe that those unaccounted for are unable to reach due to damaged telephone lines and infrastructure. The ministry has set up a special hotline for tourists who are in the affected areas and has advised Czechs not to travel to Nepal. The Czech ambassador also said the authorities were ready to assist the Czech tourists in their evacuation. 

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