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18-10-2016 13:57 | Ian Willoughby

It should be rainy in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of around 11 degrees Celsius expected. The weather is expected to remain wet for the rest of the week with daytime highs falling slightly.

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Supreme Audit Office finds only shortcomings, no breach of the law, in military purchases

05-12-2016 12:32 | Jan Velinger

Investment in new military equipment by the Czech Army over the period of the last five years was marred by shortcomings in project outlines and planning, the country’s Supreme Audit Office has found. According to the audit, the army’s fighting capabilities had improved through most of the purchases. Details of the audit were released on Monday by the Supreme Audit Office’s Olga Olga Málková. The country’s Defence Ministry considers important the fact that the bureau found no breach of the law or of ministry regulations. The ministry has also announced that it is working on simplifying and speeding up the process of army acquisitions. 

Independent media speculate that head of Prague Castle protocol is on way out

05-12-2016 12:18 | Jan Velinger

There has been speculation in the Czech media that the head of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindřich Forejt, could be leaving his post within a matter of days. Independent news websites such as Neovlivní.cz, Echo24.cz a Blesk.cz have all reported the story; the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček declined to comment, saying he only discussed personnel changes when they were happening. Mr Forejt has been the centre of media attention in recent weeks, both for a faux pas concerning the American ambassador to Prague, as well as controversy surrounding this year’s state honours and Czech-born Canadian Jiří Brady, who reportedly had been considered but in the end did not receive a state distinction. 

Czech politicians congratulate Van der Bellen on Austria presidency win

05-12-2016 08:27 | Ian Willoughby

Senior Czech politicians have congratulated Alexander Van der Bellen on winning the presidential election in neighbouring Austria. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický and opposition TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek were among those who wished Mr. Van der Bellen well following his victory on Sunday over the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer. 

Fans filmed making Seig Heil gesture at Ortel concert

05-12-2016 07:38 | Ian Willoughby

Fans have been filmed making the Seig Heil gesture at a concert of the controversial Czech rock band Ortel. The scene was caught in March this year by documentary maker Vít Klusák and was shown on Czech Television’s 168 Hodin programme on Sunday evening. The material appeared in a report about rapper Radek “Gipsy” Banga, who walked out of an awards show in protest at the presence of Ortel, who are known for their hate-filled lyrics. Mr. Banga was later subject to virulent racism on the internet. Ortel’s leader also founded the neo-Nazi band Conflict 88 and the group’s song Hadr (Rag) was once the anthem of the now banned neo-Nazi Workers' Party. 

ANO would garner more than double votes of Social Democrats, poll suggests

04-12-2016 15:58 | Ian Willoughby

ANO would come first in general elections with 33.5 percent of the vote, suggests an opinion poll conducted by TNS Aisa for Czech Television. Coalition leaders the Social Democrats would come second with 14 percent, indicates the survey conducted last month. The Civic Democrats placed third in the poll, with 9 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the right-wing party. They were followed by the Communists on 8.5 percent and the Christian Democrats with 7.5 percent. 

Koukalová wins pursuit at Biathlon World Cup in Sweden

04-12-2016 12:36 | Ian Willoughby

Gabriela Koukalová came first in a pursuit event in the Biathlon World Cup in Sweden’s Oestersund on Sunday. Koukalová, who is 27, took the lead after her first shooting round and finished eight seconds ahead of second-placed Laura Dahlmeier of Germany. The Czech lifted the Crystal Globe for overall first place in the Biathlon World Cup last year under her maiden name of Soukalová. 

Great Czech guitarist Radim Hladík dies at 69

04-12-2016 12:12 | Ian Willoughby

The great Czech rock guitarist Radim Hladík has died at the age of 69. The one-time Prague Conservatory student was a member of the mid-1960s Prague band The Matadors with his friend Vladimír Mišík before the two later founded their best-known group, the jazz-influenced Blue (later Modrý) Effect, which Hladík led following Mišík’s departure. Radim Hladík relaunched Blue Effect in 2004 with younger musicians in 2004 and the group continued to perform until recently. 

Czech train to be named after Closely Observed Trains maker Menzel

04-12-2016 09:28 | Ian Willoughby

A Czech Railways train is to be named after Jiří Menzel, director of the Oscar-winning film Closely Observed Trains. The Prague to Beroun line will bear the filmmaker’s name from December 11, when a new annual timetable is published. Mr. Menzel is the first living person to receive such an honour, a spokesperson for Czech Railways said. At present 169 train lines are named after famous people or geographical phenomena, such as composer Antonínem Dvořákem or Mount Říp, and the list will be expanded by around 30 with the new timetable. 

Weather forecast

04-12-2016 07:37 | Ian Willoughby

It should be partly fair on Monday with temperatures of around 0 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will rise toward the end of the week, when rain and snow are expected. 

Study: 40 percent of Czech Republic experienced poor air quality in 2015

04-12-2016 07:34 | Ian Willoughby

Air pollutant emissions levels were breached on around 40 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic last year, in large part due to extremely warm weather that led to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and particulate benzo(a)pyrene, iDnes.cz reported on Sunday, citing an annual Ministry of the Environment report. However, the study found that the environment had not deteriorated, despite economic growth that led to increased construction work and energy consumption. 

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