News Woman gets 12 years for attempting to poison child with anti-freeze

13-05-2014 12:10 | Ian Willoughby

A court in České Budějovice has sentenced a woman to 12 years in jail for the attempted murder of her three-year-old daughter. The woman, who is 23, tried to poison the child in January this year by putting anti-freeze into her food and drink. Doctors saved the girl’s life after being called by the woman’s husband. The case is not without precedent in the Czech Republic; a woman in Karlovy Vary received a 17-year sentence for the attempted poisoning of her daughter in 2010.

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Sixty-two people die on Czech roads

31-07-2014 15:25 | Jan Velinger

Sixty-two people died in accidents on Czech roads up to July 31st, the Czech News Agency reports. The month was the second-worst so far this year. The worst was June, during which 67 people died in traffic accidents. The first half of the year saw just over 40,000 road accidents resulting in 266 deaths and more than 1,200 suffering serious injuries. The number of road deaths in 2014 overall has increased by 26 compared to the same period last year. 

Coalition to discuss civil service law with opposition

31-07-2014 14:25 | Jan Velinger

The three parties in government have agreed to hold talks with the opposition on the final framework of a civil service amendment. According to the Czech News Agency, two representatives from all the parties in the lower house will meet on Friday. A number of alternatives regarding parts of the legislation have been proposed for debate; critics have charged quality legislation was needed rather than just meeting the deadline of January 1. The centre-right opposition of the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 have said they will block the bill unless the proposal sees changes. 

Czech TV: Former head of Pražské služby charged

31-07-2014 13:54 | Jan Velinger

According to Czech TV, police have pressed charges against Tomáš Kolinger, the former head of Pražské služby (overseeing waste management in the capital), two days after detectives raided the firm’s headquarters and confiscated material. Police were allegedly searching for documents possibly related to the firm’s multi-billion deals on waste collection as well as a planned acquisition of an additional stake in the company by Prague City Hall. Kolinger faced questioning by the police, his lawyer revealed. The spokeswoman for the state prosecutors’ office in Prague, along with the spokesman for the anti-corruption police unit, said they would not be revealing additional information at present. 

EC candidate: Talks on postponement of Czech civil service bill possible

31-07-2014 13:29 | Jan Velinger

The introduction of new civil service legislation by January 1, 2015 is not an ultimatum set by the European Union and a postponing of the deadline could still be negotiated, the Czech candidate for European commissioner Věra Jourová said on Thursday in an interview for Czech TV. She made the statement as it remains unclear whether the coalition government will succeed in pushing through its amendment in the lower house, even though it has a majority, due to the right-wing opposition doing its utmost to preventing a vote on the amendment from taking place. The opposition TOP 09 and Civic Democrats say they will not stop blocking the session unless the coalition accepts a number of changes to the amendment. The ruling coalition Social Democrats, ANO and Christian Democrats discussed the matter on Thursday. 

Czech PM meets with Austrian chancellor

31-07-2014 13:04 updated | Jan Richter

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann arrived in Prague on Thursday for talks with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Their agenda included plans to improve cross-border transport infrastructure including the modernization of railway connections between Vienna and Prague. Also on the agenda were candidacies for the European Commission as both the Czech Republic and Austria are hoping to clinch the post of commissioner for regional policy. On Thursday, Prime Minister Sobotka and his Austrian counterpart agreed to meet in the future on a regular basis, also incuding Slovakia's prime minister; the next meeting is expected to take place next spring. 

Daily: Czech-owned military helicopters dependent on Russian supplies

31-07-2014 12:54 | Jan Velinger

A decision by Russia to halt supplies of spare parts for military helicopters, in response to EU sanctions, would impact the Czech military, financial daily Hospodářské noviny writes. Such a move would, for example, eventually ground the military’s fleet of 16 Mi-171s. Citing analysis by the Defence Ministry, the daily reports the aircraft could only operate for six months without a new influx of parts and supplies. The Mi-171s are highly-regarded within the military, otherwise easy to maintain and capable of operating in adverse weather conditions, the only “flaw” being their dependency on spare parts from Russia, the daily writes. To fulfil urgent tasks, the military needs a minimum of 12 helicopters in operation. A short-term solution, in case of a supply halt, would be the "cannibalisation" or taking parts from some of the aircraft for use in others. In the meantime, the military would have to seek Western-made helicopters to replace the Mi-171s. 

Česka spořitelna posts 4.6-percent profit decrease in H1

31-07-2014 09:30 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic’s biggest bank, Česká spořitelna, has posted a consolidated net profit of 7.78 billion crowns for the first six months of the year which is 4.6 percent less than in the same period last year. The bank’s operating profit remained at 11.47 billion. The bank said the decrease in profit was due to decreasing prices of financial services as well as growing costs of commissions paid for credit and debit card transactions. Česká spořitelna’s parent company, Austria’s Erste Group Bank, has meanwhile posted a loss of nearly 930 million euros for the first six months of 2014. 

Court clears TV anchor of communist-era secret police collaboration allegations

30-07-2014 17:28 | Jan Richter

A court in Prague on Wednesday ruled that a former anchor for the commercial Czech TV channel Nova, Karel Voříšek, was wrongfully listed as a collaborator of the communist-era secret police, the StB. Mr Voříšek stopped working for Nova in 2012 after allegations surfaced that he reported to the StB on his fellow students while studying at the Faculty of Arts of Prague’s Charles University in 1980s. 

Czech Aeroholding’s operating profit down in 2013

30-07-2014 16:48 | Jan Richter

The state-owned Czech Aeroholding’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or EBITDA, reached 2.2 billion crowns last year, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. That is 0.4 billion less than in 2012. The company took in 16.3 billion crowns in revenues last year. The company said the results were affected by the incorporation of the carrier Czech Airlines and Prague’s Václav Havel Airport into the firm. 

Opposition slams government for not backing Israel in UN vote

30-07-2014 16:32 | Jan Richter

The opposition Civic Democrats have slammed the centre-left Czech government over what they called a diversion from the country’s policy of supporting Israel. The party criticized the fact that last week, the Czech Republic was one 17 countries that abstained from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s actions in Gaza. Civic Democrat chair Petr Fiala demanded explanation from Foreign Minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, and said Israel deserved the Czech Republic’s full support. In a reaction, Minister Zaorálek said the Czech position on the UN vote had been coordinated with other EU member states. 

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