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US State Department: Czech Republic still discriminating against Roma minority

The Czech Republic is continuing to discriminate against the Roma minority, according to an annual report by the US State Department, which evaluates adherence to human rights worldwide. The report for 2014 says that discrimination of the Roma population is the Czech Republic’s biggest human rights problem. It also suggests that Czech politicians and media contribute significantly to the anti-Roma sentiments in the country. The study also points out at the ongoing discrimination of Roma children in Czech schools. Slovakia also came under criticism for the discrimination of its Roma population.

EBU assembly focuses on core values, production challenges

The second day of the European Broadcasting Union general assembly in Prague gets underway Friday with most of the basic business already cleared up. Friday’s sessions will focus on a review of public broadcasters’ media values and the likely future battleground of production. Some public broadcasters are seeking to open up to more independent content while others want to stick with in-house programmes. The EBU is the world’s biggest group of public service television and radio broadcasters with 73 members in 53 countries.

Zeman apologises for failure to find Peroutka article

Czech President Miloš Zeman apologised on Friday that an article allegedly titled "Hitler Is a Gentleman" which he ascribed to journalist Ferdinand Peroutka had not been found. He made clear he would not apologise for his words about the legendary journalist. Peroutka (1895-1978) was a prominent Czechoslovak democratic journalist during the interwar period. He was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945 and left the country after the 1948 communist coup and later worked for Radio Free Europe. He died in the United States. Peroutka´s granddaughter, Terezie Kaslová has filed a complaint against Mr Zeman, demanding an apology.

The dispute over Peroutka goes back to a speech at a Prague conference on the Holocaust last January, in which Mr Zeman spoke about intellectuals' failures in face of crises such as the rise of Nazism. The president claimed the said article was written for Presence, a prestigious political magazine. Experts have said the article did not exist.

Czech general Petr Pavel takes up top NATO post

Czech general Petr Pavel took up Friday what is regarded as the second highest post in the NATO military alliance. The position of chairman of the Military Committee is the top position in the 28-member alliance with Pavel being the main military advisor to the NATO Secretary General. Pavel is not only the first Czech but also the first person from the former Soviet bloc to occupy such a high post in the alliance. His mandate runs for three years with the possibility of a further extension.

Defence minister says voluntary element should be included in military service registration

Czech Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický said Friday that some voluntary formula for registration for military service combined with an obligatory period of basic exercise might be the way forward for the country. Stropnický was addressing the question of across the board registration for military service which the government said in April that it counted on reintroducing from 2017. The registration together with medical examinations would allow the state to estimate how many citizens it might be able to call up in an emergency. The lower house of parliament’s defence committee has since come out against across the board registration for service. The minister unveiled a survey showing around two-third of Czechs are in favour of the reintroduction of basic military service.

Bankrupt travel agency leaves tourists abroad

The Czech travel agency Marine Tour, specialising in holiday destinations in Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece, has declared bankruptcy, leaving around 900 of its clients stranded abroad. Generali, which insured the agency against bankruptcy, will now pay for the return of the agency’s clients back to the Czech Republic. Another 4,000 people, who were supposed to leave for their holidays as of Friday, will have to cancel their holidays in light of the development.

Prague Castle tops Czech tourist top 10

Prague Castle remains to be the most visited site in the Czech Republic, according to figures put together by Czech Tourism agency. Prague castle attracted some 1.8 million tourists last year, while Prague Zoo, which was placed second, was visited by nearly 1.4 million people. Among the other top 10 most visited landmarks is Prague's Old Jewish quarter and the Petřín tower, as well as the newly opened museum of brewery in Pilsen. ​

Comics illustrator Kája Saudek dies aged 80

Kája Saudek, the famous Czech comic illustrator, has died at the age of 80 at Prague’s Motol Hospital, Czech Television announced on Friday. The illustrator had been in hospital since 2006 after falling into a coma after food got stuck in his throat. He started drawing comics in the 1960s. Some of his work later found its way onto film when in 1966 his comics were used as the basis for ‘Who wants to kill Jessi?’ and four years later with ‘Four murders are enough darling.’

Queen orders Bohemian beer

Celebrated rock group Queen has commissioned a Czech brewery to produce a special beer for the 40th anniversary of its biggest hit, Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen Bohemian Lager, as it will be named, will be produced at the Protivín brewery in East Bohemia, which is part of the Lobkowicz group. The price of the special brew comes in at a rather royal amount of 799 crowns for a 12-pack bottle. It will go on sale in Europe first and then round the world.

Petr Čech faces Arsenal medical before transfer is sealed: BBC

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech is due to undergo medical tests today at Arsenal, the club which he is lined up to join on quitting Chelsea, according to the BBC. The two London clubs are said to have agreed transfer terms between them as well as with the number one Czech goalkeeper. Official confirmation of the transfer is expected to come at the start of next week. The transfer fee is rumoured to be around 11 million pounds for the 33-year-old.

Czech basketball team disappoints at European Games

The Czech women basketball three times three team has failed to progress in the European Games hosted by Baku. The fourth-placed team in last year’s world championships came to the games with high hopes of a medal. But a balance of only two wins out of four matches means that the Czechs will fail to progress past the quarter finals. In the playoffs, the Czech team lost to Ireland 13:17.