News Žižkov freight station to become cultural hub says minister, but questions remain over funding

15-04-2014 18:18 | Ian Willoughby

A railroad freight station in Prague’s district Žižkov will be transformed into a cultural hub in the future, the minister of culture, Daniel Herman, said on Tuesday after signing a memorandum on cooperation with the city’s authorities. The freight yard, a protected site, is set to house the National Film Archive, while the Museum of Decorative Arts and the National Technical Museum should have exhibition spaces in a functionalist building on the site. However, no agreement has been reached over who will fund the large renovation project.

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Russian motorbike gang members attend WWII memorial at Prague cemetery

06-05-2015 13:24 | Ian Willoughby

Members of the Russian motorbike gang the Night Wolves have attended a ceremony in the Orthodox section of Prague’s Olšansý cemetery honouring the victims of WWII. Around 15 people wearing the emblems of the gang attended Wednesday’s ceremony. Police intervened to break up clashes between the bikers and opponents at the entrance to the cemetery, where supporters were also gathered. Czech officials said the controversial Night Wolves, who are close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, would need a permit to cross the Czech Republic. 

Three charged with planning terror attack on train

06-05-2015 13:03 | Ian Willoughby

Three people have been remanded in custody on charges of planning a terrorist attack on a train. They were among six arrested in a series of raids carried out last week that reportedly uncovered an explosive device in a flat in Brno. Lidovky.cz said the raids had been targeted against anarchists suspected of having carried out at least five arson attacks, including on police vehicles and a police station. Police officers told the news site that the attacks were the work of the group Síť revolučních buněk (Network of Revolutionary Cells). 

President Zeman refuses to appoint three academics university professors

06-05-2015 12:45 updated | Daniela Lazarová

President Miloš Zeman has refused to appoint three leading academics university professors. He rejected the appointments of Jiří Fajt, the current director of the National Galley who teaches at the Faculty of Arts, Ivan Ostadal who lectures at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University and Jan Eichler who teaches international relations at the Prague School of Economics. The president’s spokesman said Mr. Zeman had serious reasons for rejecting their appointment relating to the candidates’ past.

In the case of Fajt, it relates to the fact that according to the daily Mlada fronta Dnes, the National Gallery wanted Komercní Banka to contribute to Mr. Fajt’s salary from its sponsorship gift. Eichler worked in the propaganda units of the Czechoslovak military pre-1989 and Ostadal is alleged to have cooperated with the communist secret service. A number of rectors have said they will stay from Thursday's ceremony in protest at the Mr. Zeman's move. 

Police detain 12 in raid on Cibulka squat in Prague

06-05-2015 12:33 | Ian Willoughby

Police in riot gear detained 12 people in a raid on the Cibulka squat in Prague on Wednesday morning. Dozens of squatters had ignored police calls to vacate the former farmhouse in the Prague 5 district. The move follows a complaint from the owner of Cibulka, who filed a criminal complaint after being prevented from entering the building on Tuesday evening. The farmhouse, which is in a state of disrepair, has a history dating back to the 14th century. 

Spanish referee to officiate in key Sparta-Plzeň match

06-05-2015 10:13 | Ian Willoughby

A key soccer league game this weekend is to be overseen by a Spanish referee, the chairman of the Czech FA, Miroslav Pelta, told the daily Sport. Mr. Pelta said for security reasons the name of the referee would only be announced shortly before Sparta Prague’s game against Viktoria Plzeň in the capital on Saturday. Defending champions Sparta are trailing Plzeň by three points but can lift the title if they win their remaining four games. 

Heatwave breaks temperature records

06-05-2015 10:04 | Daniela Lazarová

Tuesday’s heatwave broke temperature records around the country. The highest temperature –just over 29 degrees Celsius -was registered in the town of Vyšsí Brod, south Bohemia. In Príbram meteorologists registered a high of 25.4 degrees breaking a hundred year old record. According to a long-term forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute temperatures throughout the month of May are expected to stay above-average. 

President Zeman bows to the courage of Prague citizens, slams communists for jailing heroes

05-05-2015 18:45 | Daniela Lazarová

At a ceremony at Prague Castle President Miloš Zeman underlined the courage of those who fought for their liberty in the Prague Uprising despite the fact that the liberating US and Russian forces were near and they could have waited for their freedom. The president also spoke of the heroes who had fought with the western allies and were mercilessly persecuted and jailed by the communists in the 50s. No free and democratic country jails its heroes, the president said. 

Court issues verdict compensating family for paratrooper’s death

05-05-2015 18:24 | Daniela Lazarová

The family of a Czech paratrooper who died testing a new parachute for the army is to get four million crowns in compensation from the Defence Ministry, the Prague Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The paratrooper was killed after the cord of his parachute got stuck and he failed to open the reserve parachute in time. An expert investigating the accident said the tests had been poorly prepared. 

EC predicts 2.5 percent growth for Czech economy this year

05-05-2015 18:04 | Daniela Lazarová

The European Commission has released its spring macro-economic forecast for the Czech Republic, predicting a 2.5 percent growth in 2015 and a 2.6 percent growth next year. The deficit in public spending should be under 2 percent of the GDP and inflation at around 0.2 percent. Inflation was previously projected at 0.8, the other projections remain unchanged. The forecast is in line with that released by the Czech Finance Ministry. 

More than half of Czechs trust the EU

05-05-2015 17:24 | Daniela Lazarová

More than half of Czechs trust the European Union, according to the outcome of a poll conducted by the CVVM agency. According to the results, 52 percent of respondents expressed trust in the EU while 44 did not. Trust in EU institutions slumped to an all-time low in 2014 at just 34 percent. The slump was generally attributed to the euro debt crisis, the influence of the former euro-sceptic government and negative reports in the media. 

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