The Czech Senate is likely to approve the start of talks on Macedonia’s accession to the EU, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. The proposal has been passed by the Senate’s EU affairs committee; Senators are scheduled to vote on the motion next week. The upper chamber of the Czech Parliament is also expected to call for a new dynamics of Turkey’s accession to the 28-member bloc, the agency said.
Ondřej Liška was re-elected chairman of the Green Party at the party’s congress in Prague on Saturday. Liška, who has led the party since 2009, received 125 out of 198 votes. The 36-year-old former education minister said the party should focus on May’s European eletions, followed by local elections in October. He also suggested the Greens form a team of spokesperosns for key policy areas. The Green Party failed to reach the lower house of parliament in 2010 and 2013 but two senators were elected on the paty’s ballot in 2012.
Czech children spend three times as long at computers than exercising and playing sports, according to a new study by the Czech Amateur Sporting Association released on Saturday. The survey, conducted among nearly 2,200 elementary and secondary school pupils, also found that children spend twice as long watching TV than exercising. Around 22 percent of the pupils said they played sports during last year’s summer holidays while 21 percent of them said they did not engage in any physical activity at all.
A court of arbitration has ordered the construction firm Metrostav to resume work on the controversial Blanka tunnel complex in Prague. In a preliminary ruling, the court dismissed claims raised by Prague City Hall that its contracts with Metrostav on the Blanka construction were invalid. The dispute between Prague and building firm ended at a court of arbitration after Metrostav halted work on the tunnel in December, a move provoked by the City Hall’s decision not to pay some 2.1 billion crowns it owed the company.
The Czech police have announced they are searching for two men who stole a shipment of 2,630 iPhones 5S 16 GB worth over 30 million crowns on the D2 motorway between Brno and the Slovak border. The robbery took place in mid-December, a police spokesman said. The robbers dressed up as police patrolmen and pulled over the van, carrying the phones destined for the Slovak market; they bound the crew, took the phones and drove off. The police are also searching for any witnesses who might have seen the robbery.
The Czech Supreme Court on Friday cleared former Public Affairs MPs Vít Bárta and Jaroslav Škárka of corruption charges. Mr Bárta, former head of the Public Affairs party, was accused of bribing several MPs of his party to ensure their loyalty; Mr Škárka, meanwhile, was charged with accepting the bribe. A lower court in Prague originally handed the men suspended sentences, a verdict which was overturned by an appeals court. Justice Minister Marie Benešová then filed a complaint to the Supreme Court which however ruled no offence was committed, arguing the cash had been a loan rather than a bribe.
The Czech Olympic Committee has received a “terrorist threat” warning, advising the Czech sports team not to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics. A spokesman said the threat came by email on Thursday and the committee had informed the police. Other countries, including the US, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia, have received similar warnings. The International Olympic Committee has downplayed the security risk, noting that the messages seemed like the random act of an individual out to cause trouble.
Curators at the Regional Museum in Olomouc have discovered a rare piece of textile proceeding from the mummy of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, the museum’s director told reporters on Friday. The fragment was discovered by chance while going through a collection that was curated by a former employee. The cloth, which was separated from the mummy in 1886, originally belonged to a Viennese photographer, the director said, adding that curators had had no idea how it ended in the museum’s collection. The rare textile will now be examined by experts before it is displayed to the public in March.
The Office for the Protection of Competition on Friday approved the takeover of 22 Tesco locations in north Moravia by the Czech retail chain Hruška. Tesco Stores ČR acquired the network in 2011 but decided to sell them earlier this year. The firm, which operates 230 stores, 19 gas stations and seven department stores in the country, posted a loss of more than a billion crowns in the past fiscal year. Hruška, meanwhile, runs one of the largest Czech retail networks, and reported a profit of 131 million crowns last year.
Unconsolidated revenues of Agrofert Group, a Czech food, agriculture,
chemistry and media conglomerate, rose last year by 15 percent to a record
226 billion crowns, or around 11.2 billion US dollars, a spokesman for the
group told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The company’s gross profit
minus dividend yields decreased by 26 percent to 5.7 billion crowns. The
increase in revenues was mainly generated by newly acquired companies
including the German baking firm Lieken, the Mafra media group, and
according to the spokesman.
Agrofert Group is solely owned by ANO party leader and incoming finance minister Andrej Babiš who only recently quit as the corporation’s CEO.
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