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European court allows Czech noblewoman to reopen fight for castle property

The European Court of Human rights in Strasbourg has backed the rights of a noble family to renew proceedings to get their property back from a confiscated stately home.

The court ruled Thursday that Kristina Colloredo-Mansfeld had not been given the rights to a fair court case when Czech authorities refused to give her access to the 1947 ministry decision nationalising the Renaissance castle of Opočno.

Her previous appeal to the Czech Constitutional Court was turned down in November last year. The noble family argue that the furniture and valuable art collection at the castle was first confiscated by the Nazi Gestapo in 1942 and later by the Czechoslovak state.

Czech shopping boom continued in November

The Czech shopping boom continued in November, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Thursday.

It said retail sales rose by 7.8 percent in the month compared with the situation in the same month a year earlier. Sales of non-food items showed the biggest increase at 10.7 percent with food items up 3.3 percent.

Sales by mail order or the Internet climbed by almost a quarter compared with the previous year. Many Czech have extra money in their pockets thanks to higher wages and low unemployment.

Zeman: No debate ahead of second round

Incumbent Miloš Zeman says that he will not take part in a debate with the other candidate if he makes it through to the two-person run-off that will take place if nobody wins over half the vote in this weekend’s first round of voting in presidential elections. He made the comment in an interview with Mladá fronta Dnes published on Thursday. Mr. Zeman has refused to participate in any debates prior to the first round, in which nine candidates are in the running, saying that he is not leading a campaign.

The president said that he had not sought financial support but nevertheless appreciated those who had contributed to his transparent account. He has received at least CZK 17 million in financial backing.

Czech central bank reshapes currency reserve management

The Czech National Bank (CNB) has announced a shake-up of its system for managing its foreign currency reserves.

The bank says it will now divide its reserves into two categories: those destined for fast access and use and those regarded as long-term investments.

The former, accounting for around 45 percent of reserves, will be solely in the euro and US dollar. The later will have a wider currency spread and will include the Canadian and Australian dollars as well as the Swedish koruna, the bank said on Thursday.

At the end of last year, the central bank’s reserves stood at around 3,150 billion crowns.

Czech found at Lahore airport with heroin still being questioned says ministry

The Czech foreign ministry says that a 21 year old Czech woman detained by customs officials at Pakistan’s Lahore airport reportedly with nine kilos of heroin in her possession is still being questioned by officials.

The Czech was detained at the airport on Wednesday with a court appearance scheduled to take place on Friday. A local Pakistani paper said that the Czech woman denied being responsible for the heroin found in her baggage.

She was originally set to travel to the United Arab Emirates.

Czech government debt narrows in Q3

Czech government debt narrowed in the third quarter of the year to 35.11 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Czech Statistical Office announced on Thursday.

That compares with the ratio of 38.24 percent at the same time a year earlier. Revenues in the latest period were up 6.8 percent with government spending advancing by 5.2 percent.

Orchestra accompanies Shop on the High Street at Municipal House

The 1965 film Shop on the High Street was screened with musical accompaniment from the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the Smetana Hall at Prague’s Municipal House on Wednesday night. The event was one of many this year marking the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

The Shop on the High Street, whose music was composed by Zdeněk Liška, was the first Czechoslovak film to win an Academy Award. It was directed by Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos.

Andrea Sestina Hlaváčková through to Sydney doubles final

In tennis, Czech player Andrea Sestina Hlaváčková and Taiwan’s Latisha Chan have reached the women’s doubles finals at the Sydney International tournament in Australia.

They came through in straight sets, 6:2, 6:4 in the semi-finals. They will face the pairing of Canada’s Gabriela Dobrowski and China’s Yifan Xu in the final


Friday is expected to be cloudy with rain in the west. Top daytime temperatures will range between two and five degrees Celsius.