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Zeman spokesman hits out over “Russian propaganda” claim

The spokesman for President Miloš Zeman has hit out a study by two think tanks, the Czech European Values and Slovakia’s Central European Policy Institute, suggesting the head of state, the Communist Party and some Social Democrats were the “most frequent bearers” of Russian propaganda in the Czech Republic, the news website Lidovky.cz reported. Mr. Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on his Facebook page that it was sad that at a time when Czech were remembering the 1968 invasion and the propaganda-filled normalization period that followed there were today propaganda and pressure groups using similar methods.

Czech diplomats to gather in Prague for annual discussions

The Czech Republic’s ambassadors and consuls from around the world are gathering in Prague this coming week for discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on foreign policy, security, the European Union and economic issues. The diplomats will also learn more about a freshly produced national foreign policy document. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek will address them on Monday. France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, will be a guest during the first days of the annual conference.

Row over “promised” state support breaks out between Farmers’ Markets and Agriculture Ministry

A row over state support has broken out between the Czech Republic’s Association of Farmers’ Markets and the Ministry of Agriculture. The association, which brings together markets in Prague and elsewhere in the country, says a former deputy minister, Radek Braum, promised to provide it with support amounting to thousands of crowns a year in 2012. However, the ministry told the Czech News Agency no such pledge had been made. It also said that it had supported individual events put on by members of the Association of Farmers’ Markets.

South African police start fresh investigation into Krejčíř over 20 murders

Police in South Africa have launched a fresh investigation into the Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř in connection with 20 cases of murders as well as drug dealing, burglary and money laundering. Officers plan to interview Miloslav Potiška, a former close associate of Mr. Krejčíř’s who is now back in the Czech Republic. A lawyer for Mr. Krejčíř said his client was not afraid of Mr. Potiška turning crown witness against him as he was “a liar” who had fled to evade justice for his own crimes in South Africa. Mr. Krejčíř was sentenced in absentia to 10 and a half years in jail in the Czech Republic for massive tax fraud and is now in custody in Johannesburg ahead of a trial for torturing the brother of a drug dealer.

Large fire breaks out at Prague textiles warehouse

A large fire broke out at a textiles warehouse in the Prague district of Vysočany on Saturday evening. Twelve fire units were sent to deal with the blaze, which occurred on the grounds of the former ČKD plant between the Kolbenova and Vysočanská metro stations. Smoke was visible over a distance of some kilometres. A spokesperson for the fire service said tests had shown that the fumes did not contain a high concentration of toxic substances. No injuries were reported and fire officers brought the blaze under control during the night. Material damage has been estimated at CZK 270 million.

Martin Fuksa wins gold in 500m at Canoe Sprint World Championships

The Czech Republic’s Martin Fuksa has won gold at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Italy’s Milan. A day after picking up silver in the 1,000 metres, Fuksa topped the podium in the 500 metres on Sunday. The 22-year-old said some people looked down on the race as it does not feature at the Olympic Games but that he did not regard it as any less of an achievement.

Maslák fails to make it out of 400 m heats in Beijing

The Czech Republic’s Pavel Maslák has failed to make it out of the heats in the 400 metres at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing. Maslák, who came fifth at the last World Championships in Moscow two years ago, finished last in his qualification race. The entire field has been faster this time out: His time in Moscow – a Czech record 44:54 seconds – would have left him just 18th in Beijing.