News Zeman: Creation of Kosovo military would mean arming of former members of terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army

02-04-2014 19:27 | Ian Willoughby

Speaking on a visit to Serbia, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, said the creation of an independent military in Kosovo would mean arming members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army which had been responsible for acts of terrorism. The dissolution of the Kosovo Liberation Army had been one strand of a peace deal between the Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians, Mr. Zeman said on Wednesday. The government of Kosovo has decided to create the state’s own army, a move which is opposed by Belgrade. Mr. Zeman said Kosovo, which many countries had not recognised, was to put it mildly a very strange state with a strong drug mafia influence.

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Babiš rules out postponing start of electronic cash register system

30-07-2016 09:55 | Ian Willoughby

Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has ruled out delaying the introduction of new electronic cash registers connected to a tax authority database, iHned.cz reported. The ANO leader had been considering a call to postpone rolling out the system from the Chamber of Commerce. However, Mr. Babiš now says the project will go ahead as planned, with the first phase – involving hotels and restaurants – going live on December 1. Trial operation will start a month earlier. Opponents say the electronic cash register system, which makes it compulsory for businesses to supply information on sales online in real time, will overly complicate the lives of restauranteurs and retailers. 

Pedestrian dies after being hit by police vehicle in Ostrava

30-07-2016 09:51 | Ian Willoughby

A pedestrian has died after being hit by a police vehicle in the Ostrava, a spokesperson for GIBS, the agency that investigates possible wrong-doing by members of the police force, said on Saturday. The incident occurred after 10 pm on Friday in the Svinov district of the north Moravian city. The pedestrian, who was 60, suffered multiple serious injuries and died on the spot. 

Saturday marks 50 years since work began on Ještěd hotel and transmitter

30-07-2016 08:32 | Ian Willoughby

Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the commencement of construction work on one of the Czech Republic’s most distinctive modern buildings, the television transmitter and hotel on Mount Ještěd near Liberec in North Bohemia. The 94-metre structure was designed by architect Karel Hubáček from the renowned company SIAL Liberec and replaced a previous hotel that had burnt down. Completed in 1973, Ještěd was voted Building of the Century in a public poll in the year 2000. 

National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime to begin operating next week

29-07-2016 18:00 | Jan Velinger

The country’s National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime will begin operation on Monday, in line with the merger of two former police units. The reorganization of the police led recently to a serious rift among the parties in government. The ANO party at one point had threatened to leave the coalition but backed down eventually. Some 870 police officers will serve in the new unit; Police President Tomáš Tuhý expressed the view the new centre will be more effective in crime-fighting. 

Finance Ministry revises downward its estimate for economic growth

29-07-2016 16:09 | Jan Velinger

The Finance Ministry has revised downward its estimate for the country’s economic growth in 2016, from 2.5 percent in April to 2.2 now. Next year, the economy is expected to grow by 2.4 percent instead of 2.6. In 2015, the Czech Republic saw economic growth of 4.5 percent. Reasons for the slowdown include an expected rise in oil prices as well as indirect aftereffects of the Brexit, under which Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. 

Czech Army wants to boost number of soldiers to pre-crisis level

29-07-2016 15:28 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Army wants to raise the number of soldiers in its ranks to 24,500, the level it stood at prior the global economic crisis in 2008, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Jaroslav Kocián has said. He made the statement on Friday at a ceremony for graduates from the University of Defence in Brno. The Czech Army currently has some 19,000 soldiers. 

ČEZ seeks prolongation of Dukovany second unit operating license

29-07-2016 15:16 | Jan Velinger

Czech electricity giant ČEZ has applied for a prolongation of its existing operating license for the second unit at its Dukovany power plant until July 10, 2017, spokesman Jiří Bezděk told ČTK. The current license is due to expire at the end of this year. Mr Bezděk said the application to the State Office for Nuclear Safety was made because of a prolonged shutdown at the reactor to check on pipe welds at the unit. ČEZ filed and a similar request by the regulator for Dukovany’s first unit earlier this year, which was granted. ČEZ has over the last year stepped up its X-ray checks on pipe welds at all four of the Dukovany units after it was found that previous checks by a sub-contractor were flawed. 

Foreign national to appeal court decision in flag theft case

29-07-2016 14:11 | Jan Velinger

A Chinese citizen found guilty of stealing Tibetan flag from a protestor during the Prague visit earlier this year of China’s president, has filed an appeal. The foreign national was arrested during a scuffle between supporters and opponents of Xi Jinping in March of this year; he was fined 15,000 crowns for his role in the incident. 

Social Democrats outline priorities ahead of budget debate

29-07-2016 13:40 | Jan Velinger

The Social Democrats have said in the debate on the draft state budget for next year they will be emphasising as priorities increases in funds for national security, social services, and education. The statement was made on Friday by the party’s leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will alone be seeking an additional three billion crowns to increase police numbers and to improve not only cyber-security but also anti-terrorism measures. 

Football: Mixed results in qualifying for Europa League

29-07-2016 12:17 | Jan Velinger

Austrian club Admira drew first blood against Slovan Liberec on Thursday evening in their third round qualifying match for the Europa League but the Czech club got two goals from Vuch to win 2-1. The second leg against Admira will be on August 3.

In other qualifying matches, Macedonia’s Shkëndija defeated Mladá Boleslav 2-0, while Slavia Prague drew with Portuguese club Rio Ave. 

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