News Zeman to celebrate 25th anniversary of fall of communism in Visegrad Four states and Germany

15-04-2014 11:53 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is to join his counterparts from Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary at ceremonies in all five countries later this year marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in the states. Mr. Zeman’s foreign affairs spokesman confirmed his participation to the Czech News Agency. While the events in the Visegrad Four countries will take place in their capitals, the German memorial will take place in Leipzig, a city that saw mass demonstrations against the then East German regime in 1989. The Czech Republic will mark the 25th anniversary on November 17, the day that the Velvet Revolution got underway. Details about the event have not been revealed.

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Outgoing Czech Radio head says he was offered bribe

10-10-2015 12:18 | Jan Velinger

The outgoing head of Czech Radio Peter Duhan has told public broadcaster Czech TV he was offered a bribe by former deputy head Michal Koliandr. Mr Duhan pressed charges against the former employee earlier this year. According to the Czech News Agency, the bribe was made in connection with the sale of property owned by Czech Radio - a chateau in Přerov nad Labem. The outgoing director saw the deputy head, who was in largely in charge of economic matters, dismissed for work-related issues; Mr Duhan told Czech Radio's supervisory board there had been "an absolute loss of trust". Mr Koliandr has dismissed the accusation of wrongdoing but declined to further comment on the matter. 

Police numbers increased significantly at border crossings with Austria

10-10-2015 11:56 | Jan Velinger

The number of police officers conducting random checks at border crossing was boosted from 200 to 720 on Saturday morning along the country's border with Austria. The move was taken in anticipation of Austria closing its borders at the weekend. Personnel was increased at some 20 crossings, including smaller ones where there were few extra measure before now. Some 650 soldiers are also on stand-by if the situation calls for it. If Austria closes its borders it is expected that migrants will try and take a detour through the Czech Republic on to Germany. 

New bike park opens in Olomouc suburb

09-10-2015 19:21 | Jan Velinger

Fans of adrenaline sport and mountain biking near the Olomouc area will now be able to visit a new bike park which opened on Friday in Olomouc-Slavonín. The facility is offering four tracks focusing on numerous cycling disciplines, for everyone from beginners and children to more experienced riders. The park cost 3.5 million crowns to build; the local town council received European funding for the project. 

Rapper sentenced to 11.5 years in prison

09-10-2015 16:32 | Jan Velinger

The regional court in Brno has sentenced 33-year-old Marek Teplý, a rapper who goes by the stage name of El Maron, to 11.5 years in prison for a murder committed on December 30 last year. Mr Teplý, who had been drinking heavily, reportedly stabbed another man in the back in a bar in Třebíč. The defendant said he had no memory of the attack; but he admitted to the murder and expressed regret for his actions. Psychologists confirmed he suffered from no psychological problems. Besides the prison sentence, Mr Teplý has been ordered to pay 2.25 million crowns in damages to the murdered man’s relatives. The ruling can still be appealed. 

City of Prague and eMoneyServices reach deal

09-10-2015 16:24 | Jan Velinger

The City of Prague and eMoneyServices have reached a deal on a number of outstanding issues on the Opencard, the multi-purpose card used by commuters in the city’s public transit system. EMS was the former operator of the card but failed to secure a new contract with the former administration which charged the firm’s proposal was grossly overpriced. An expert witness, together with EMS experts, will conduct a diagnostic test of the electronic Opencard system; the city is hoping that they will be able to smooth out problems which emerged. 

Foreign ministers in favour of possible reassessment of ties with Minsk

09-10-2015 16:06 | Jan Velinger

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics have indicated both are in favour of a possible reassessment of ties with Minsk dependant on positive signals from Belarus which is holding presidential elections on Sunday. They also regarded as positive a recent decision by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko leading to the release of six political prisoners as well as the role of Belarus in peace talks to try and end the conflict in Ukraine. Other issues on the table in Prague on Friday included not only bilateral relations but also the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. 

Members of public, family & friends pay last respects to legendary actor Lubomír Lipský

09-10-2015 15:52 | Jan Velinger

Family, friends and members of the public paid their last respects to legendary film and theatre actor Lubomír Lipský who died on October 2nd at the age of 92. The ceremony took place at ABC Theatre in Prague, where he performed for more than 50 years. More than 40 fellow actors attended on Friday to say goodbye. 

V4 presidents agree on need for better border protection

09-10-2015 13:29 | Jan Velinger

The presidents of the Visegrad Four countries, together with the Croatian head-of-state, have agreed on the necessity for the European Union’s outer borders to be strengthened in the face of the migrant crisis. Hungarian President Janos Ader spoke with reporters after their two-day meeting on Friday. Hungary, along with Croatia, both face a strong influx of refugees from the Middle East and north Africa. The five presidents also agreed that detention centres for asylum seekers should be established in Turkey through which many refugees were coming to Europe. Czech president Miloš Zeman criticized the EU, saying it had proven “zero ability” to protect its outer borders. 

Police send case against Ztohoven members to prosecutors office

09-10-2015 12:32 | Jan Velinger

The police have passed the case against three members of the guerrilla art group Ztohoven on to the state prosecutors office, police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulová has confirmed. The members of the renegade group, between the ages of 33 and 41, made international headlines when they posed as chimneysweeps, climbed onto the roof of Prague Castle, and replaced the presidential flag, an official symbol of the Czech Republic, with a pair of enormous red underpants. The move was meant as criticism of the current head-of-state’s past public behaviour and policies. The police charged the three with disorderly conduct, theft and the damage of private property; damages incurred in the stunt have been tabulated at 90 thousand crowns. 

News website reports that outgoing head of Czech Radio will receive ten months’ severance pay

09-10-2015 12:11 | Jan Velinger

The outgoing head of Czech Radio, Peter Duhan, whose resignation was accepted by Czech Radio’s supervisory council earlier this week, will receive 10 months’ severance pay amounting to at least two million crowns, according to the news website The final sum could be higher if the council grants Mr Duhan an annual bonus as high as 480 thousand crowns. Mr Duhan resigned this week, citing health reasons, ahead of a meeting of the supervisory council which was investigating the employment of his son, not allowed under existing regulations. Mr Duhan, 69, oversaw broad changes at Czech Radio, including the introduction of new moderators and a new logo. 


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