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Lower house approves controversial bill on electronic cash registers in its first reading

After a stormy six hour debate the lower house of Parliament on Friday approved a bill which would make compulsory electronic registers for cash payments and enable the Finance Ministry to monitor all transactions made at cash register terminals around the country via a central data base. The proposal is one of the government’s main tools in fighting tax evasion, but has come under fire from opposition parties who claim it will be time consuming and expensive and will put an unnecessary burden on the country’s entrepreneurs. The opposition parties have threatened to obstruct a future debate on the bill by whatever means possible.

Czech Foreign Ministry not too upgrade travel warning for Tunisia, but recommends vigilance

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has no information regarding an imminent terrorist attack in Tunisia and will not upgrade a travel warning for Czech tourists heading for the country. The ministry reassessed the situation on Friday morning after Britain called on its nationals to leave Tunisia without delay for fear of further attacks. The Czech Foreign Ministry advises tourists to exercise caution and avoid crowded areas and sites near the country's borders with Algeria and Libya. It also advises people not to travel to the country on an individual basis and if so to register with the ministry’s travel data base DROZD.

Police crack down on international drugs smuggling ring

Police have cracked down on an international drug smuggling ring that recruited peddlers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the ctk news agency reports. The operation which involved detectives from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Great Britain, Turkey, and Armenia uncovered the route via which crystal methamphetamine was smuggled from Turkey and Armenia to Japan. Three of the suspects were caught on Czech territory.

KLM plane makes emergency landing in Prague due to cracked cockpit window

A KLM flight from Athens to Amsterdam made an emergency landing at Prague Airport on Thursday after declaring an emergency due to a cracked cockpit window, the Aviation Herald reported. The incident happened at a height of 12 thousand kilometers. Pilots are reported to have donned their oxygen masks and started an emergency descent. The plane, a Boeing 737, landed safely on Prague’s runway shortly after. No one was reported injured.

Police charge 15-year-old who shot at bus full of people in Plzen

The police have charged a 15-year-old boy who fired several shots at a bus in Plzen last Tuesday. Fortunately none of the passengers aboard the bus were injured. The boy’s father, who was with him at the time, reportedly lent the boy his illegally-held weapon. The thirty-five-year-old has also been charged with endangering public safety for which he could get three to eight years in prison. His son faces a lighter sentence.

Insurance claims flooding in in wake of heavy storms

Insurance companies say thousands of clients have filed for compensation for damages caused by Wednesday’s severe storms. Companies expect to pay more than 100 million crowns in damages, particularly to clients from the northern parts of the country. People are predominantly reporting damaged roofs, flooded cellars and damage to cars and garden furniture caused by fallen trees. The power utility ČEZ called a state of emergency in five regions in the wake of the storms which left thousands of people without electricity.

Hikers warned to respect off-limits signs in forests damaged by storm

Hikers and holiday makers in the Czech Republic have been warned to respect temporary off-limits signs in some of the country’s forests. The State Forest Management Company says certain areas present a health hazard due to trees damaged by Wednesday’s storm. Loggers are still felling marked trees in the damaged areas. The damage is expected to reach tens of millions of crowns.

Hainan Airlines to launch Prague - Beijing flights

China´s Hainan Airlines will launch an air route from Prague to Beijing on September 23 and will operate three flights a week, Letiste Praha has reported citing an official statement by Hainan. The company will use Boeing 767 aircraft. Flights will depart from Prague on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with return flights arriving in Prague the day after. The cost of a return ticket will start at 14,000 crowns. Around 60,000 passengers are expected to fly on the route annually.

Lion Safari to open at Dvur Kralove Zoo

Dvur Kralove Zoo is opening the first Lion Safari in Central and Eastern Europe this weekend. Visitors will be able to drive their cars down a 500 metre long road cutting across the nature reserve where three male lions –or four female lions - roam free. Originally keepers let all the lions into the reserve at the same time but after several conflicts they have been separated. The safari –which has been in trial operation for the past three weeks – cost 18 million Czech crowns.

Czechs likely to avoid Slovakia, France, and Italy in football World Cup qualifiers

In football, the Czech Republic looks like it will be placed in a second group of European countries for the qualifying draw for the 2018 World Cup due to be hosted by Russia. The placing of countries into ‘baskets’ for the draw should be made according to countries’ current FIFA rankings, but a final decision still has to be made. That would place the Czech Republic in the draw alongside France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, Austria, Iceland, Denmark, and Bosnia Hercegovina, meaning that they would not face these countries in the qualification groups. The draw should take place on July 25.