News Zeman to attend cabinet meeting

14-07-2014 16:16 | Jan Velinger

The Czech head-of-state will attend a cabinet meeting next Monday, according to his spokesman. Mr Zeman had promised to attend earlier several times but his attendance had been put off for various reasons. The president is expected to bring up issues including economic diplomacy and relations with target countries, as well as to take a critical stance on delays, for example, in passing a bill on social housing or steps taken in the health care sector, which he in the past labelled a ‘black hole’ for funds.

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Archaeologists discover foundations of possible Byzantine-era church at Prague’s Vyšehrad

20-08-2014 08:18 | Ian Willoughby

Archaeologists have discovered the foundations of the oldest church yet found at Prague’s Vyšehrad, Czech Television reported. It would have been one of the largest churches in Central Europe in its day. Ladislav Varadzin of the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences told Czech TV that its shape indicated it probably originated during the Byzantium Empire. The foundations were discovered around 150 metres from the main basilica at Vyšehrad, a historical fort probably built in the 10th century. The complex’s St. Martin’s Rotunda was previously believed to have been the first church there. 

Communist MP criticised by supporters for liking Plastic People

20-08-2014 07:48 | Ian Willoughby

Communist Party deputy chairman Jiří Dolejš has come in for criticism from some supporters for posting a photo of the band The Plastic People of the Universe on his Facebook page, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Members of the then underground group were imprisoned under the communist regime and they had strong links to the dissident movement. The MP shared a picture of the Plastic People on the social networking site, adding the word “legend”. Beneath this followers wrote comments such as “Why are you a Communist MP? Your legend was against socialism” and “junkies with unmelodic lyrics”. 

Man charged with acid attack on reported ex-girlfriend

19-08-2014 19:00 | Ian Willoughby

The police have charged a man with pouring acid on a woman in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň in November last year. The women suffered chemical burns on her face, including her eyes, arms and legs, while she also apparently swallowed some of the liquid. The man, who the Czech News Agency reported had been the victim’s boyfriend, was arrested on Monday. He faces 15 to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempted murder. 

Government to discuss munitions donation to Iraqi Kurds next week

19-08-2014 16:56 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech government will next week discuss an intergovernmental donation of small arms munitions to the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting representatives of the defence and foreign affairs ministries on Tuesday. At the same time, the cabinet is supporting Czech firms that wish to sell weapons to the Iraqi Kurds, who have been facing an offensive from Islamic State, or ISIS, radicals. Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák said last week that Czech armaments could be on their way to Iraq by the end of this month. Talks between Prague and Kurdish representatives are ongoing. 

German police arrest Czech man on arrest warrant issued in 1976

19-08-2014 14:23 | Ian Willoughby

Police in Germany have detained a Czech man on an arrest warrant issued in 1976, the news website iDnes.cz reported. The man, who is 67, was picked up at the airport in Frankfurt, where he had just landed on a flight from Brazil. Accused of committing sex crimes, he spent some time in custody in Germany almost four decades ago before fleeing to South America. Police in Frankfurt said he may have returned to the country because of home sickness. 

Fugitive Krejčíř regains part of property seized by state

19-08-2014 12:41 | Ian Willoughby

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř last week regained part of his property confiscated by the state, the news site Aktualne.cz reported. A court released valuables worth around CZK 30 million in order to sell them and raise damages, but Mr. Krejčíř’s lawyers applied for the property before his creditors did so and won it back. However, he does not have the right to take any action with regard to the items in question, according to the Chamber of Executors. Mr. Krejčíř escaped during a police raid on his Czech home; since 2007 he has been living in South Africa, where he has been linked to organised crime. 

Chocová sets new Czech record in 100m breaststroke

19-08-2014 11:46 | Ian Willoughby

Swimmer Petra Chocová has set a new Czech record in the women’s 100m breaststroke. Chocová, who is 28, shaved 42 hundredths of a second off a record she herself set last year, finishing in a time of 1:07:66 in heats at the European Swimming Championships in Berlin on Tuesday. The Czech will also be attempting to defend her title in the 50m breaststroke, which she won at the previous European Championships two years ago. 

Gottland documentary screened for first time in Prague

19-08-2014 11:06 | Ian Willoughby

Gottland, a documentary film inspired by a book uncovering various aspects of Czech culture and modern history, received a pre-premiere at a railway freight yard in Prague’s Žižkov district on Monday night. The film was shot by five documentary makers, several of whom were students when work on it began. The producers plan to only screen it at unusual venues and it will not get a cinema release. The book Gottland by Polish journalist Mariusz Szczygiel came out in 2007 and was recently published in an English translation. 

Case adjourned of actors in “Candid Camera” recording during which motorist has heart attack

19-08-2014 10:58 | Ian Willoughby

A Prague district court has adjourned until October a case involving two well-known actors who played traffic police in a Candid Camera-style recording during which a motorist had a heart attack. Petr Čtvrtníček was in court on Tuesday morning, while Jan Potměšil and other defendants involved in the production of the Czech Television programme did not attend. The court asked to see the show’s screenplay, which was approved by management at the public service broadcaster. It also wants to interview the heart attack victim, who has not turned up for the two hearings to date. 

Czech auto fleet ages with total of 4.6 million registered cars

19-08-2014 10:47 | Chris Johnstone

More, and older, cars are crowding Czech roads according to figures released Tuesday by the country’s Automotive Industry Association. The number of new registered cars rose by just under 72,000 to total almost 4.6 million in the first six months of the year. But an increasing number of those cars are ageing bangers. The average age of cars on the roads has gone up to 14.29 years from 14.20 years. That is the highest figure for the last 20 years. The association said that the number of motorcycles had risen by 21.000 to exceed the one million mark. 

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