News Still no final decision on National Library building

27-02-2008 20:08 | Coilin O'Connor

A team of experts has failed to reach a final decision on approving plans by architect Jan Kaplický for a new National Library building. The team announced on Wednesday that it would refer the matter to the Office for the Protection of Competition to ascertain whether an architectural contest to come up with a design for the building was conducted in a proper and fair manner.

Kaplicky’s building, which has been nicknamed “The Blob” because of its outlandish futuristic appearance, has proven highly controversial since it was initially chosen for the planned new National Library building on Prague’s Letná Plain last year. It is not clear when a final decision on the building will now be made. Architect Jan Kaplický has since said that he will take the matter to an international court if it is not resolved soon.

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Buffalo to retire Hašek’s no. 39 jersey before game with Detroit

21-10-2014 12:18 | Ian Willoughby

The NHL club Buffalo Sabres will retire the no. 39 jersey worn by Czech goaltender Dominik Hašek on January 13, the night the club play the Detroit Red Wings, with whom Hašek won his two Stanley Cup championships. The goalie spent nine seasons with Buffalo before being traded to Detroit in 2001. Hašek won the Vezina trophy as the league’s best goaltender six times and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player twice while at Buffalo. He is being inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame on November 17 and will be the first Czech to receive the honour. 

At least 30 percent of Czech playgrounds faulty, says consumer group

21-10-2014 12:06 | Ian Willoughby

Thirty percent of children’s playgrounds and sports grounds tested every year by the Czech Trade Inspectorate are faulty in some way, the head of the Czech Consumer Association, Libor Dupal, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Mr. Dupal said the actual percentage of dangerous playgrounds could be higher, adding that the Trade Inspectorate had limited powers when it came to such checks. The consumers group presented a guidebook outlining how operators could fulfill European norms with regard to playground and sports ground safety. 

Rare Czech-owned northern white rhino dies at African sanctuary

21-10-2014 11:53 | Ian Willoughby

A rare northern white rhinoceros owned by the zoo in Dvůr Králové, east Bohemia, has died of old age at a sanctuary in Kenya. A representative of the zoo said on Tuesday that there were no plans to end a breeding programme involving three other rhinos that it runs at the Ol Pejeta bush camp. The zoo launched the breeding project five years ago as part of efforts to preserve the subspecies. The rhino male that died on Friday at the age of 34 was one of only seven known to exist in the world. 

Press: Zeman again refusing to invite rectors to traditional ceremony

21-10-2014 11:44 | Ian Willoughby

President Miloš Zeman has again not invited university rectors with whom he has had disputes in the past to a ceremony on October 28 at which state honours will be presented. Lidové noviny reported on Tuesday that once again neither Mikuláš Bek of Brno’s Masaryk University nor Libor Grubhoffer from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice had received the traditional invitation. Mr. Bek refused to allow Mr. Zeman to appear before students ahead of general elections, while Mr. Grubhoffer declined to attend a conferral ceremony after the president refused to name a professor, saying he had carried an inappropriate sign during a gay pride parade. Last year a number of university heads stayed away from the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle in solidarity with the two. 

Remote-control device maps conditions at centre of munitions site blast

21-10-2014 09:58 | Jan Velinger

Police pyrotechnics experts on Monday were able to guide a remote-control device to the epicenter of a munitions depot in Vrbětice, which was destroyed by an explosion last Thursday. Using a thermal camera, they learned that there are still smoldering fires in the area burning at up to 140 degrees Celsius. They also learned that no dangerous substances were being emitted into the air at the site. 

Sir Winton to be honoured in special ceremony

21-10-2014 09:36 | Jan Velinger

Great Britain’s Sir Nicholas Winton will receive the Order of the White Lion in Prague on October 28th, in a special ceremony, the president’s spokesman revealed on Monday. Prague Castle decided to honour Mr Winton, who saved hundreds Jewish children from the Nazis in the kindertransports to Great Britain ahead of WW II, in a ceremony of his own, out of respect for his age. Sir Winton is 105. The aim, the spokesman made clear, was to make the ceremony as comfortable as possible. A separate ceremony will be held for the other recipients. 

Government approves foreign military missions for 2015 and 2016

20-10-2014 17:34 | Jan Velinger

The government has approved foreign military missions for 2015 and 2016. According to the proposal agreed, personnel should continue to serve, for example, in Afghanistan, Mali or the Balkans. The government did not back a plan, supported by President Miloš Zeman, for Czech soldiers to serve in the United Nations mission in the Golan Heights. 

Five heads-of-state to mark 25th anniversary of Velvet Revolution in Prague

20-10-2014 16:40 | Jan Velinger

German President Joachim Gauck, Hungarian President Janos Ader, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and Slovak President Andrej Kiska, along with President Miloš Zeman, will mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, together at a special event in Prague. The plan was confirmed by the president's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček on Monday. A special ceremony is to be held at Prague's Charles University. The Czech president is also planning to invite those who took part in the demonstrations on November 17, 1989 that started at the university campus in Albertov and ended in a crackdown by the communist regime, Mr Ovčáček confirmed. 

Czechs in Nepal safe, foreign minister confirms

20-10-2014 16:24 | Jan Velinger

The Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, confirmed on Monday that the Foreign Ministry had accounted for the whereabouts of 346 Czech nationals in Nepal; none of the Czechs are in danger. Last week, the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal was struck by deadly blizzards and avalanches in which at least 39 people died. Another 200 people had to be rescued in emergency operations. 

Kalousek slams government’s draft state budget

20-10-2014 15:47 | Jan Velinger

Deputy leader of TOP 09 and former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek slammed the government’s state budget proposal for 2015 on Monday, calling it the “worst budget draft in five years”. The proposed deficit is 100 billion. The opposition politician charged the draft was a text-book example of wasting money, telling journalists TOP 09 would push for the return of the draft to the cabinet for re-working. According to Kalousek, TOP 09 will propose that the cabinet cut overall spending by 20 billion crowns and raise investment to reach 2012 levels. The first reading by lawmakers is likely to begin this Wednesday. 

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