News Czech leaders under fire for downplaying visit by Dalai Lama

19-10-2016 11:45 | Daniela Lazarová

The country’s leading politicians have come under fire for issuing a joint statement underlining the country’s interest in maintaining good relations with China in connection with a visit by the Dalai Lama to the Czech Republic. In a statement released on Tuesday President Miloš Zeman, Senate chairman Milan Štěch, lower house speaker Jan Hamáček and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the fact that some Czech politicians had met with the Dalai Lama did not signal a change in the country’s official policy. Around fifty Czech senators and deputies of the lower house attended an impromptu meeting with the Dalai Lama on Wednesday to distance themselves from the official stand and some universities hoisted the Tibetan flag in a show of solidarity with the Tibetan spiritual leader. Members of the opposition criticized the joint statement as “a shameful show of servility”. Prime Minister Sobotka defended the statement on Wednesday, saying it merely reflected the country's foreign policy line in relations with China.

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Weather forecast

22-10-2016 12:25 | Daniela Lazarová

Sunday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius. 

Political scene in shock over award scandal

22-10-2016 12:17 | Daniela Lazarová

The affair has evoked widespread criticism across the political spectrum. The leaderships of the Christian Democratic party and the opposition Civic Democrats have said they will discuss a possible party boycott of the award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle next week and many ministers and high-placed officials have already said they plan to decline the invitation. Speaker of the lower house Jan Hamacek of the Social Democratic Party said that if Mr. Herman’s words were confirmed he would not attend the ceremony. Miroslava Nemcova of the Civic Democrats said that if the allegations were true then the president had committed blackmail and society must respond. An alternate celebration marking Czechoslovak Independence Day is being organized on Prague’s Old Town Square. Prague Castle has not officially responded to the developments. 

Culture Minister says president himself threatened his meeting with Dalai Lama would have consequences

22-10-2016 10:24 | Daniela Lazarová

Culture Minister Daniel Herman has revealed that it was President Miloš Zeman himself who threatened him not to meet with Dalai Lama or his uncle, Auschwitz survivor George Brady, would be crossed off the list of nominees for a high state distinction. Mr. Herman told Czech Television late on Friday the words had been said at an official event in front of several witnesses. He refused to disclose their names for fear of dragging them into the dispute. According to, Czech-born George Brady, 88,who has devoted his life to writing and lecturing about the Holocaust, was on the list of nominees who are to receive a state award on October 28, Czechoslovak Independence Day, but was crossed off the list on Friday.

The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček, has lashed out at the culture minister, saying he had degraded the state award ceremony for his own petty disputes with Prague Castle. He refused to say whether Brady had been on the nominees list, which was confidential, but rejected any possible connection with the Dalai Lama. 

Palacký University in Olomouc to give George Brady academic award

22-10-2016 09:50 | Daniela Lazarová

Palacký University in Olomouc is to give Terezin and Auschwitz survivor George Brady an academic award in recognition of his life’s work. Its rector Jaroslav Miller said the university would be honoured to receive Mr. Brady when he visits the Czech Republic. George Brady, who has devoted his life to writing and lecturing about the Holocaust was to have been given a high state distinction by President Milos Zeman on October 28, Czechoslovak Independence Day, but he was crossed off the list reportedly due to the fact that his nephew Culture Minister Daniel Herman met with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Prague, raising the ire of the president. Palacký University in Olomouc is the oldest university in Moravia and the second-oldest in the Czech Republic. 

Culture minister says Prague Castle pressured him not to meet with Dalai Lama

21-10-2016 17:38 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman has told the ctk news agency Prague Castle had put pressure on him not to meet with the Dalail Lama during his visit to Prague. Mr. Herman said he was warned that, if he did so his uncle, Czech-born Auschwitz survivor George Brady, 88, who was one of the nominees to get a state award from the president on October 28th ,marking Czechoslovak Independence Day, would not receive the honour. According to George Brady was crossed off the list of nominees on Friday. 

Deputies move to curb bootleg wine production

21-10-2016 17:36 | Daniela Lazarová

The lower house of Parliament has moved to curb bootleg wine production. The proposed amendment to the law envisages fines of up to 50 million crowns, up from the present 5 million, and sets down strict norms on the sale of barrel wine. If the bill wins approval in the Senate in its present form, barrel wine will only be able to be sold by wine producers and importers in special shops, so-called vinotekas, under strict conditions. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka argues that in some ways the bill is excessively stringent and has said he will try to get the Senate to modify it. The country’s small wine-makers also fear that the new conditions could be devastating for their business. 

Czech hockey legend Jágr scores 750th NHL goal

21-10-2016 14:12 | Daniela Lazarová

Jaromír Jágr reached a career milestone on Thursday, scoring his 750th NHL goal, putting him third on the league’s all-time scoring list, behind only Gordie Howe (who scored 801) and Wayne Gretzky (894). The Kladno-native is also third on the list of career points, 17 points shy of Mark Messier (1,887). 

Franz Kafka street festival in Prague

21-10-2016 13:34 | Daniela Lazarová

Admirers of the world-famous writer Franz Kafka can take part in a street event organized in his memory by the Franz Kafka Society in Prague. The half-day cultural festival named Kafka Forever is to take place on Friday (October 21) afternoon and evening between 3pm and 9pm in Prague's Dušní, or Holy Spirit Street, where a memorial to the author stands. The organizers have arranged a theatre performance, a concert and guided tours to Kafka’s favourite haunts in the Lesser Town available in Czech and German. 

Weather forecast

21-10-2016 12:47 | Daniela Lazarová

The weekend should be partly cloudy to overcast with the possibility of scattered showers on Saturday, clearer skies on Sunday and day temps between 9 and 11 degrees Celsius. 

Lower house moves to extend diesel tax rebate program to livestock farmers

21-10-2016 12:42 | Daniela Lazarová

The lower house of Parliament has voted to extend a diesel tax rebate program to livestock farmers and other agricultural workers. Currently the program, under which farmers are able to reclaim 40 percent of the consumption tax they pay on diesel gas back from the state, applies only to grain farmers. Under the present amendment it should also apply to fisheries and forestry workers. The amendment, which still needs to win approval in the Senate, aims to raise the competitiveness of Czech farmers in the EU. 


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