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Czech authorities block Iran purchase of sensitive technology: report

The Czech Republic earlier this year blocked the shipment of technology to Iran which could have been used to enrich uranium, according to a report by the news agency Reuters. The Czech case was highlighted in a report by a United Nations committee on sanctions against Iran, Reuters said. The Czech incident related to an attempt to buy compressors produced by the company Howden ČKD Compressors in January. The compressors could be used for both nuclear and non-nuclear applications, it said. The attempted purchase was blocked by Czech authorities.

President supports proposal to renew gold mining in Jeseníky

Czech President Miloš Zeman has backed a proposal by the Czech Industry and Trade Ministry to renew gold mining in the Jeseníky mountain range. During his visit of the town of Zlaté Hory on Thursday, Mr Zeman said the renewed activity could help the district which suffers from high unemployment, bringing jobs to more than three hundred people. He also said the investment would pay off, since the price of gold has multiplied many times since 1993, when mining was halted in the region. The state-run company Diamo has already been commissioned to work out a feasibility study on gold mining in the area.

Czech Defence Minister signs military agreement with Algeria

Czech Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický and the Algerian deputy minister of defence, Ahmed Gaid Salah, have signed an agreement on bilateral military cooperation. The ten-year deal is a prerequisite for the development of mutual cooperation, including training and fighting against terrorism, the Defence Ministry said on its website. Mr Stropnický, who arrived in Algeria on Wednesday for an official visit, has also met with the country’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He said Algeria was the Czech Republic’s crucial partner, representing an island of stability in the unstable region.

Transparency International: Finance Ministry concedes to betting lobby

The Ministry of Finance is making concessions to the lobbying from betting companies, the global corruption watchdog Transparency International and Občané proti hazardu public association announced on Thursday. The ministry has reportedly softened the draft lottery law, leaving out certain measures for protecting gamblers and cancelling limits on the number of gambling venues and the amount a person can win or lose. The head of Transparency International, David Ondráčka, said the ministry should return to the original draft of the legislation. The Finance Ministry has denied the accusations.

Czech dentists want to exclude basic tooth fillings from health insurance

Czech dentists want basic tooth fillings to be taken out of the country’s public insurance system. The sum of 1.5 million crowns, which the public insurance system would save this way, could be used to improve prevention, the dentists say. In an open letter addressed to the Health Ministry, MPs and senators, the head of the Czech dentists’ association, Pavel Chrz, demands the amalgam fillings to be excluded from health insurance coverage. He says many of his younger colleagues are not willing to cooperate with insurance companies and demand only out-of-pocket payments. The actual cost of a filling is currently around 450 crowns, but the insurers only cover half of that amount.

Philanthropist Petr Sýkora receives Arnošt Lustig Award

The Arnošt Lustig award, founded in honour of the late Czech writer by the Czech-Israeli chamber of commerce, will go to Petr Sýkora, philanthropist and co-founder of the Good Angel foundation, which is providing help to people with serious illness through a network of donors. The project was established in 2011 and since then, more than 40,000 people joined. Mr Sýkora will be given the prize during a special ceremony on Thursday evening. The award, which was established in 2011, seeks to honour figures of Czech society who fight for moral and human values.

Book World Prague 2015 gets underway in Prague

The 21st international book fair and literary festival Svět knihy or Book World got underway in Prague on Thursday. The event brings together writers and publishers from around the world. Among this year’s guests will be German author Thomas Brussig and Swiss writer Jonathan Lewinsky. Egypt is the festival’s guest of honour this year with a series of programmes dedicated to Egyptian literature. The Book World Prague 2015 goes on until Sunday.

Tom Rob Smith to present film adaptation of his Child 44 bestseller

British writer Tom Rob Smith is set to present the Hollywood adaptation of his bestseller, Child 44, at its first-ever public screening in Prague’s Municipal Library on May 24. Published in 2009, the book tells the story of a police detective in the Soviet Union who gets on the wrong side of his bosses. The thriller, produced by Ridley Scott, and directed by Daniel Espinoza, was shot in Prague and other parts of the country, including Kladno and the former military base in Ralsko, during 2013. It features Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace in the leading roles.

Jaromír Jagr seen fit for quarter final clash with Finland

In ice hockey, Czech forward Jaromír Jagr has been cleared as almost certain to play in the world championship quarter final against Finland on Thursday night. Worries surfaced after Jagr was withdrawn from the ice during the first period of the group match against Switzerland on Tuesday with a suspected groin strain. The team physiotherapist Pavel Kolář later said that the 43-year-old was likely to be fit. The Czechs have a poor record against Finland over recent years, picking up more defeats than wins against them.

Report: Arsenal close to signing deal over Čech

The English Premier League club Arsenal is reportedly moving closer to a deal to sign Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech, the daily idnes.cz reported on Thursday. According to the website, Čech’s manager Viktor Kolář was recently in London to discuss the player’s future. According to the British media, Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger is currently willing to make a bid of up to 10 million pounds (around 382 million crowns) for Čech. The 32-year-old Czech has been second choice ‘keeper for Chelsea after Belgian Thibaut Courtois since the start of this season. Čech is said to be keen to stay on in London and he previously told journalists he was ready to change clubs during the summer transfer window, which starts on 1 July.