The Czech Trade Inspection Authority has imposed a CZK 2.5 million fine on a company that runs product demonstration events aimed at senior citizens. The state agency found the firm 1. Česká reklamní společnost (First Czech Advertising Company) guilty of manipulating and exerting aggressive pressure on seniors in order to get them to buy its wares. It is the biggest fine levied to date for such practices, which have been highlighted in a campaigning documentary film entitled Šmejdi (Crooks) and have received a good deal of media attention in recent months.
If general elections were held now, the Social Democrats would come first
with 32 percent of the vote, suggests a newly released opinion poll from
the Median agency. After slipping markedly in recent polls, the
main force on the Czech right, the Civic Democrats, would finish second
with 18.5 percent backing, the new poll indicates. The Communists would
place third with 15.5 percent, just ahead of TOP 09 with 15 percent. The
poll was conducted between mid-April and mid-May. Elections are expected
just over a year’s time.
Vehicles in Nečas motorcade collide in Russia
Two vehicles in a motorcade taking Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas and others to the airport in Russia’s St. Petersburg collided on Tuesday. At least one person suffered minor injuries in the crash, which was likely caused by a technical fault. It was not the Czech delegation’s first problem with transport during their visit to Russia; the windshield of one of two planes carrying them to Moscow on Sunday cracked in the middle of the flight. The four-day visit, which has been primarily focused on business ties, concludes in the city of Yekaterinburg on Wednesday.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said he regrets the EU’s failure to renew an arms embargo on Syria. Mr. Schwarzenberg told Czech Radio that since the EU had failed to achieve unity on the issue, responsibility would now rest with individual members. The Czech Republic, together with Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, fought to extend the arms embargo; they argued that more weapons would only lead to further violence and that it would be hard to control where the arms ended up. Although Britain and France stood firmly against the embargo they have made a commitment not to deliver arms to Syria for the time being.
Politicians, veterans and members of the public gathered in Ostrava on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Brigadier General Zdeněk Škarvada, who died last week at the age of 95. General Škarvada, who flew with the RAF, was one of the country’s last surviving war heroes. He was captured by the Nazis in 1942 and was held in several prisoner-of-war camps before surviving a 1,000 km death march. After the Communist coup in 1948 he was demoted and forced to work in mines. General Škarvada received a number of decorations for valour.
The bodies of two new-born babies were found in a wooded area by Paseka near the Moravian city of Olomouc on Monday, a local police spokesperson said. The cause of the deaths is not known and should be determined by post mortem examinations. It is believed the corpses may have been there for some time before they were discovered by chance by a passer-by.
The authorities in Prague are to consider a plan to remove parking spaces from some of the city’s embankments and to make it easier to cycle or walk along the River Vltava in the city. The proposals are included in a document drawn up by the city’s public spaces and development offices. A final version of the plan for Prague’s embankments should be ready by the end of they year, though no possible start date for renovation work has been set.
The Czech striker Matěj Vydra will undergo medical tests ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier against Italy in Prague on June 7, though the team's doctors say he is unlikely to be ready in time. Vydra, who was voted Player of the Season in England’s Championship, picked up an ankle injury on Monday while playing for Watford in their defeat to Crystal Palace in the Championship playoff final at Wembley. Italy head Group B with 13 points from five games. The Czechs have eight points from the same number of matches.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has made a shock exit from the French Open in only the first round. Berdych, who was considered a contender for the title, was beaten 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-7 7-5 by local favourite Gael Monfils in just over four hours on Monday. Monfils, a former world number seven, has suffered from injury problems and is taking part at Roland Garros as a wild card.
Forecasters have warned that heavy storms will hit the Czech Republic in the coming days. The Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said the whole of Bohemia will be hit by strong winds, heavy rain and hail from Wednesday afternoon until the early hours of Thursday. The storms are then expected to move across the east of the country.
The Czech Republic is against relaxing the arms embargo to Syria. Speaking ahead of an EU meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the Czech Republic would join Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands in opposing such a move, not least because more weapons would only lead to further violence and in the present situation there is no saying where they might end up. Responding to the argument that more weapons would help the opposition force President Assad into a negotiated settlement, Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg pointed out that the opposition in Syria was already getting weapons from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and that had not helped it oust the regime.