Two Prague taxi drivers were murdered on Thursday night, the police said on Saturday. The bodies of a man of 60 and a man of 26 were found at Uhříněves on the outskirts of Prague on Friday. There cars were also recovered. Police said the two had been killed on the job after picking up fares in the centre of the city. They have warned taxi drivers to exercise caution.
The Ministry of Health is planning to encourage the removal of vending machines offering crisps, chocolate and other unhealthy foods from Czech elementary schools, Czech Radio reported. The majority of the country’s elementary schools feature such machines. Health Minister Marcel Chládek said he would not ban them but rather provide schools with sufficient funding so as not to need the extra income they bring. However, a school director told Czech Radio that the vending machines generated a negligible amount and that parents wanted them to remain.
A sculpture made of wax from candles laid at various spots in the Czech Republic following the death of Václav Havel has found a permanent home in the town of Litomyšl in East Bohemia. The object is in the shape of a love heart, referencing the heart that Mr. Havel, who died in 2012, used to draw under his autograph. After being exhibited at various places, the sculpture, designed by artists Lukáš Gavlovský and Roman Švejda, will now remain in the basement of a chateau in Litomyšl.
Czechs’ declining trust in the European Union is the legacy of previous euro-sceptic governments and euro-sceptic former president Václav Klaus, the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka said on Friday evening after a meeting with the chairman of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. For his part Mr. Schulz said the EU’s biggest problem was a loss of faith in both European and national institutions. The Czech Republic joined the bloc on May 1, 2004. A recent opinion poll suggested only 34% of Czechs trust the EU, the lowest figure since regular the survey was introduced in 1994.
A Prague district court on Thursday gave city councillor and former cabinet member Karel Březina a one-year suspended sentence for alleged fraud at the Prague transport authority, Právo reported on Saturday, citing a judge. Mr. Březina, who was minister without portfolio in a Social Democrat government, has denied the charges and is expected to appeal. He is accused of concealing from the transport authority that a company on whose supervisory board he sat had gone into bankruptcy. For this he lost the right to be chairman of the supervisory board of the transport authority. However, he continued to draw a salary and bonuses for the position (which he has since reassumed).
Around 600 soldiers, from the Czech Republic and 10 other NATO allies including Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and the US, will take part in international military training in the Czech Republic in September. Ample Strike 2014 is similar to previous operations such as Flying Rhino or Ramstein Rover, but for the first time Ample Strike will be held under the auspices of the Czech Army. The military training operation will begin on September 3 and last until the 15.
The Finance Ministry in a new forecast improved its estimate of GDP expansion for 2014 to 1.7 percent from January’s 1.4 percent, while the estimate for 2015 stayed that same at 2 percent, the ministry said in a press release on Friday. Domestic demand should make up two-thirds and foreign trade one-third of the estimated figure, the ministry said. Inflation is expected to remain low despite the crown´s weakening caused by the Czech National Bank´s forex interventions last November. The ministry puts the inflation rate at 1 percent this year, the same rate as in the previous forecast.
Genetic testing has confirmed that a foreign man found in Norway suffering from memory loss and speaking five languages is a Czech citizen, a spokeswoman for the Czech police presidium revealed Friday. Earlier, the 36-year-old, who was found in a snowdrift in Oslo last December, was recognised by members of his own family. There were indications that his hands had been bound and he told the AFP news agency that he been robbed and sexually assaulted. Czech police have informed their Norwegian counterparts, who are investigating, about the test results.
A new poll conducted by the CVVM agency suggests that half of Czechs think there are “too many” foreigners in the country. A tenth of those polled said foreigners should not be allowed long-term residency at all; four out of five said long term residency was acceptable but only under certain circumstances. Two-fifths of Czechs said the number of foreigners living in the Czech Republic was reasonable. Ninety-six percent stated education was the most acceptable reason for foreigners being in the country.
The European Union and NATO should send a strong message to Russia by extending military operations into areas of Ukraine and possibly Moldavia, Czech President Miloš Zeman said Friday, reiterating a view he shared a day earlier with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Prague. The president’s stance differs from that of the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, who stated it was not the time for "beating the war drum"; he indicated that he favoured diplomacy over threats. According to President Zeman, Russia needed to be sent a strong message to dissuade the country from considering any further annexation of regions in Ukraine after it took control of Crimea.
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