Daily news summary

All those charged in money laundering case at Prague public transport firm are released from custody

A court in Prague on Saturday ordered the release of three people charged in a money laundering case linked to Prague public transport company. Another two men who face the same charges were released on Friday, including controversial businessman and lobbyist Ivo Rittig. The men were placed in police custody earlier this week as prosecution feared they could flee the country to avoid trial; however, the court decided in favour of those detained. Ivo Ritting and his associates allegedly siphoned money from the public transport company in Prague; if convicted, they would face up to eight years in jail.

UAE drops visa requirements for Czech citizens

The United Arab Emirates has dropped visa requirements for Czech nationals. As of Saturday, the citizens of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and several other eastern European countries can travel to the Emirates without visas, saving around 2,000 crowns in fees. The move, announced earlier this month, comes in a reaction to the decision by the European Parliament to drop visa requirements for UAE citizens travelling to the EU’s Schengen zone. Around 50,000 Czechs travel to the UAE each year, according to the country’s travel agencies; some 20,000 of them travel through Dubai to other destinations.

Health minister returns from Israel cannabis mission

Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček spent four days in Israel to learn about their system of medical marihuana cultivation and distribution, Czech TV reported on Saturday. After returning to Prague, Mr Němeček said the Israeli system was an inspiration for the Czech Republic which allows the use of cannabis in the treatment of some diseases. However, medical marihuana cannot be grown in the country, and so far only one Czech firm won a license to import it.

Thirteen placed in custody in tax evasion case

Thirteen people charged in a massive tax evasion case have been placed in police custody, the news website lidovky.cz reported. Among those detained is Iranian-born businessman with a Czech passport Shahram Abduallah Zadi. Another two people, charged in the case, have been released. They face charges of tax evasion worth 2.3 billion crowns they allegedly committed in oil trading; they could land up to 13 years in prison if found guilty.

Over 200 fire beacons take part in 5th edition of “Celtic Telegraph”

Over 200 fire beacons are taking party in the 5th edition of “Celtic Telegraph”, sending light signals across the Czech Republic. The event kicks off with the lighting of a beacon at Velká Javořina on the Czech-Slovak border; from there, the light signal will be handed over through several routes to other parts of the country as well as Slovakia. The event, held in homage to Celtic tribes which once inhabited Bohemia and Moravia, has however come under scrutiny by environmentalists and firefighters who warn no fire making in nature reserves will be tolerated.

In hockey, Lev Praha loses to Donetsk in second game of KHL’s quarterfinal series

The Prague-based KHL club Lev Praha lost 4:3 to Donbass Donetsk in the second game of their quarterfinal series, in the league’s longest came on record. The decision came in 127th minute when Donetsk’s Konev scored the winning goal. The series is tied 1-1; the next game will be played on Sunday in the Slovak capital Bratislava where Donetsk play their home games due to the crisis in Ukraine.