News Ukraine needs strong leader not gangster, even with angelic smile and braids, says Czech president

15-04-2014 16:30 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says Ukraine needs a strong leader but not one of the gangsters who has ruled the country in recent years, even with an angelic smile and beautiful braids; this was evidently a reference to former PM and presidential candidate Yulia Timoshenko. Speaking on a visit to the University of Hradec Králové on Tuesday, Mr. Zeman also said it was not possible to provide financial aid to Ukraine as it would end up in the pockets of oligarchs. In response to a question from a student, he said any armed person entering a government building was a criminal, whether at Kiev’s Majdan or in Donetsk.

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Šumava wild boar show excessive levels of radiation

17-01-2017 13:48 | Ian Willoughby

Almost half of the wild boar in Bohemia’s Šumava mountains demonstrate excessive levels of radioactivity, according to the head of food safety section at the State Veterinary Administration, Jiří Drápal. The problem is caused by a type of underground mushroom eaten by the boar that is capable of retaining radiation from the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Humans would need to eat around 40 kilogrammes of contaminated meat year to risk being affected, experts say. 

Record 1.35 million cars produced in Czech Republic last year

17-01-2017 13:34 | Ian Willoughby

A record 1,344,000 cars were produced in the Czech Republic in 2016, according to figures presented on Tuesday by the president of the country’s Automotive Industry Association, Bohdan Wojnar. The industry’s output last year was 8 percent higher than in 2015 while the biggest local carmaker, Škoda Auto, recorded a 12.5 percent increase in production. The sector is expected to see further, if slower, growth this year. 

Events to mark Czech Technical University’s 310th anniversary

17-01-2017 12:22 | Ian Willoughby

Events are being held to mark the 310th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Technical University in Prague. The institution was created by an edict of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph 1 on 18 January 1707 with the aim of training engineers. Its establishment will be recalled by cultural events, lectures and other academic gatherings relating to the anniversary. A short film recalling the laying of the foundation of the university’s current campus in Prague 6 was screened on Tuesday. 

Police launch investigation into collapse of sports hall roof

17-01-2017 12:09 | Ian Willoughby

The police are investigating the collapse of the roof of a sports hall in Česká Třebová in East Bohemia as a case of suspected reckless endangerment through neglect, the Czech News Agency reported. The roof caved in during a floorball game on Saturday. The 80 or so people present managed to escape from the structure and only two minor injuries were recorded. The crime being investigated can carry a sentence of up to eight years in prison, a police spokesperson said. 

Smooth start for Karolína Plíšková at Australian Open

17-01-2017 11:24 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech women’s tennis number one Karolína Plíšková has progressed smoothly to the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. The 24-year-old, who is ranked fifth in the world, overcame Sara Sorribes of Spain 6-2 6-0 at the centre court of the Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday. After reaching the final of the US Open last season Plíšková is being talked up as a possible winner in the first Grand Slam of the year. 

Weather forecast

17-01-2017 11:15 | Ian Willoughby

It should be mainly cloudy with some sunny spells on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of -4 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is due until at least the end of the week. 

Tomáš Rosický targets return for Europa League match against Rostov

17-01-2017 06:48 | Chris Johnstone

Footballer Tomáš Rosický has set a target of being able to play for Sparta Prague in the Europa League first round match against Rostov in mid-February. Rosický joined Sparta in the summer but has only played around 20 minutes following an Achilles heel injury. He says he should be able to rejoin team training around the end of the month. The away leg against Rostov is scheduled for February 16. Rosický also held out the possibility of playing for the national team if needed. 

Last man on the moon, US astronaut with Czech roots, dies aged 82

17-01-2017 06:47 | Chris Johnstone

The last man on the moon, US astronaut Eugene Cernan – who never forgot his Czech and Slovak roots – has died at the age of 82. Cernan led the last manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17, in December 1972 and was the last man to stand on the moon. He took a Czechoslovak flag with him and brought back geological samples for Czechoslovakia from the mission but encountered an official cold shoulder from the communist regime when he tried to hand them over on a visit in 1974. Cernan visited Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic several times later and for the last time in 2008. His grandmother’s family came from South Bohemia and emigrated to the US at the start of the 20th century. 

Cabinet agrees to wider consultations over nuclear waste site

16-01-2017 16:44 | Chris Johnstone

The Czech government agreed in principle Monday that wider consultations with local councils take place before choosing a site to store high level nuclear waste. But the government rejected a specific proposal put forward by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which also suggested that the upper house, the Senate, be involved. That idea in particular sparked opposition from other ministries and the government’s own legislative council which warned that dangerous precedents might be set. The industry ministry has now been tasked to create a working group to come up with new ideas by June 2018, after elections to the lower house of parliament scheduled to take place in October this year. The repository site should be selected by 2025 with seven sites now in the shortlist as possible locations. 

Bernard breaks brewing record in 2016

16-01-2017 14:58 updated | Chris Johnstone

Mid-sized Czech brewer, Bernard, has reported record production figures for 2016. The brewer produced just over 315,000 hectolitres of beer last year with around a fifth of it destined for export. The biggest export destinations are Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Russia. Exports were renewed to the United States in December. 

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