Daily news summary


Czech government to provide treatment to more injured Ukrainian protestors

The Czech government will provide treatment for another 10 to 15 injured Ukrainian protestors, a spokesman for the country’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. The injured protestors will be airlifted to Prague on Wednesday as part of the international Medavac programme; they are to receive treatment in Prague’s General University and Motol hospitals. Last week, 27 wounded anti-government activists arrived in Prague. The overall cost of the programme has been estimated at over 18 million crowns.

Visegrad countries PMs condemn actions threatening Ukrainian sovereignty

The prime ministers of the Visegrad countries expressed deep concern about what they called a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and condemned all action threatening the country’s sovereignty. The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia issued a joint statement on Tuesday, demanding a decrease in tensions through dialogue. The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, meanwhile, expressed scepticism about plans to impose economic sanctions on Russia; Mr Zeman told reporters that sanctions yielded no reasonable results.

Ukraine crisis could lead to humanitarian disaster, Czech foreign minister tells UN in Geneva.

The Ukraine crisis could lead to a human-rights and humanitarian disaster, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday. Mr Zaorálek reiterated the Czech Republic supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a peaceful solution to the crisis in line with international law. The Czech foreign minister also expressed a deep concern over Russia’s interference with the fragile transformation process in Ukraine.

Amazon still interested in setting up distribution centre outside Brno: mayor

The US online retailer Amazon is still interested in setting up a distribution centre outside Brno, in eastern Czech Republic, the city’s mayor Roman Onderka said after meeting with the firm’s representatives in Luxembourg on Tuesday. Brno municipal assembly is set to vote on the project in two weeks’ time; plans to build a large distribution centre on the city’s southern outskirts have met with opposition from local inhabitants as well as Brno City Hall which required the firm to fund the construction of a highway exit to serve the facility. Another Amazon distribution centre should be built in Dobrovíz, outside Prague.

Former PM Nečas’ chief of staff charged over classified information leaks

Prosecutors in Olomouc have charged former chief of staff of ex-prime minister Petr Nečas, Jana Nečasová (neé Nagyová), over leaks of classified information, the news website lidovky.cz reported on Tuesday citing sources from the prosecutors’ office. Ms Nečasová allegedly provided Czech intelligence service reports to controversial businessman Ivo Rittig who has also been charged in the case, the website said. Mr Rittig also faces charges of money laundering related to his firms’ business relations with Prague’s public transportation company. The scandal involving both Ms Nečasová and Mr Rittig broke out last June when the police searched the office of the Czech government, and led to the fall of Petr Nečas’ cabinet.

Corporate, personal bankruptcies up in February

A total of 131 Czech companies filed for bankruptcy in February, which was 46 more than in the previous month, according to a study by the consultancy CRIF Czech Credit Bureau released on Tuesday. Last month also saw 574 bankruptcies of self-employed entrepreneurs, which was the highest number since 2008, and 180 more than in January. Meanwhile, 1941 personal bankruptcies were declared last month, up by 394 from the previous month and also the highest number since 2008, according to CRIF Czech Credit Bureau.

Supreme Court confirms jail sentence for Viktor Kožený

The Czech Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by fugitive Czech-born Irish financier Viktor Kožený and his associate Boris Vostrý, upholding their sentences of ten and nine years, respectively, for fraud, a spokesman for the court said. Mr Kožený, who resides in the Bahamas and is wanted for bribery by the US, was convicted in 2010 of having caused some 16 billion crowns of damages to a privatization fund he created in the 1990s. The men argued they were denied the right for fair trail, a claim rejected by the Supreme Court.

Record amount of heroin seized by Czech authorities “came from Turkey”

A record amount of heroin that was seized by Czech authorities at the weekend came in a truck from Turkey, customs officials told a news conference in Prague on Tuesday. The authorities discovered 182 kilos of the illicit substance in a warehouse in Prague, hidden among kitchenware shipped to a trade company registered in the capital. The drug was destined for the Czech market, the officials said, adding that the driver of the truck had no knowledge of the contraband. The customs authorities said they had not been tipped off about the shipment but traced it on the basis of an analysis of transportation patterns of goods from outside the EU.

New Charles University rector inducted in office

New rector of Prague’s Charles University, Tomáš Zima, was inducted in office on Tuesday. A doctor and biochemist, Professor Zima served as dean of the university’s First Faculty of Medicine between 2005 and 2012. President Miloš Zeman, who attended the ceremony, said Professor Zima’s election to the post was a guarantee of good cooperation between the head of state and the academic community; the ties were strained after President Zeman last year refused to appoint one of his critics as professor.

Vítkovice Machinery Group to open London office

The largest Czech machinery firm, Vítkovice Machinery Group, will open an office in London later this year, the company firm said in a press release on Tuesday. Vítkovice Machinery Group would like to boost its sales of hi-tech machinery components for the energy and nuclear sectors. The company, which would like to expand their exports from last year’s 12 billion to 13 billion crowns in 2014, sees the UK as one of potentially growing markets, the firm’s trade manager, Břetislav Nitka, said.

Football: Rosický extends contract with Arsenal

Czech international midfielder Tomáš Rosický has signed a new contract with English Premier League club Arsenal, the club said in a statement on Tuesday. The terms of the deal have not been revealed; however, Rosický’s agent Pavel Paska said the contract is for two years. The 33-year-old footballer, who has spent eight season with Arsenal, said he was happy his career in the club would continue.

Figure skater Tomáš Verner postpones retirement

Czech figure skater Tomáš Verner has backtracked on his earlier decision to retire after the Sochi Olympics. In a statement released by his agent on Tuesday, the 28-year-old said he was going to compete at the world championships to be held in Japan next month. Verner finished 11th at the Winter Games; he was planning to take part in a series of exhibition events alongside Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko before retiring and completing his university studies. However, the Czech figure skater said that as the series was cancelled, he decided to postpone his retirement until after the world championships.