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Czech report
by Euro Reporter
2014-08-18 21:42:46
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Ukrainians in Czech Republic called up to serve in war

An estimated 20,000 men living in the country have been drafted by the Ukrainian military to fight the pro-Russian separatists, but if they wish they can still avoid it. Some Ukrainian men living in the Czech Republic have received call-up orders from the military and they face up to five years in prison for draft evasion if they ignore it, the daily Lidové noviny (LN) writes today. Some 20,000 Ukrainian men in the Czech Republic, mainly immigrants with long-term or permanent residence permits, have been called up. Most of them came to the country to seek jobs, but they did not announce their stay to the Ukrainian authorities, LN writes.

The Ukrainian government has sent them call-up orders with a deadline by which they must report to the authorities. Yuliya Klochko from the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague confirmed that Ukrainian men would face prosecution if they disobeyed the order. However, if they reported to the Ukrainians authorities in the Czech Republic (the embassy in Prague or the consulate in Brno), the call-up orders would not apply to them, Ukrainian consul Valerii Lobach told the paper. He called on Ukrainians to turn to the authorities. Ukrainians often do not report their stay in the Czech Republic, because they do not know about this duty or they do not want the Ukrainian authorities to know about their whereabouts, LN writes.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Prague has not received any instructions from the Ukrainian government to organize the conscription of Ukrainians abroad, Klichko added. They can naturally join the army voluntarily. However, the embassy has no data about the number of Ukrainians from the Czech Republic who have joined up. After being conscripted, the Ukrainians would become military reserves. They would have to undergo training before being sent to military operations against separatists in eastern Ukraine, LN writes. The Czech government has registered some 120,000 Ukrainians living in the country, while the Ukrainian Embassy estimates that up to 200,000 people with a Ukrainian passport live in the Czech Republic.


Czech Republic to send commercial delegation to Iran

The Czech Republic Chamber of Commerce is providing the preparation for the departure of the commercial delegation to Tehran in September to study business opportunities, reported the Prague-based Lidové noviny newspaper. The European country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa has reportedly named Iran as a country to whom Czech Republic is willing to diversify its exports.

The Czech firms who had commercial experiences with Iran have welcomed the decision on enhancing the two countries’ economic relations. The two countries have a long history of ties and in 2007 they promoted their bilateral diplomatic relations from the level of charged' affaires to the ambassadorial level.

In 2009, the trade volume between the Islamic Republic and the Czech Republic was $100 million. The officials in both countries have underlined their willingness to increase the trade volume and develop ties in all spheres.


Beer cheaper than Coke

The central European nation is a mecca for beer drinkers and its famous pilsner is the basis of most of the world’s lagers. But forget the big brand bland brews served in many UK pubs, those on offer here are meticulously crafted and adored by the Czechs. Pilsner takes its name from the city of Pilsen, so the birthplace of the hugely popular drink was a must-see on our beer tour of Bohemia. Our first pitstop was easy to find, simply named The Pub – just off Pilsen’s main square. It’s part of a Czech chain that has bars in other cities, including five in the capital Prague. The idea is you can tap your own beer via a shiny set of beer pumps in the centre of the table. Some struggled to pour a perfect pint...er, well, a perfect 500ml, but most of our group knew to angle the glass and rest it against the nozzle. A computer registers how many drinks your group has downed and a league table appears on a flatscreen television.

I can proudly say our table trounced the opposition, even finishing above rival tables 50 miles away in the chain’s Prague pubs, which are also shown on the big screen. However, a word of warning – drinkers are expected to behave responsibly and your beer supply will be cut off if you get too lairy. During our day in Pilsen we also visited two breweries. First, we went to the small Groll brewery, based in an old manor house. The Groll beers were sublime, with the pale lager a real thirst-quencher. Later on we saw brewing at the other end of the scale at the city’s sprawling Pilsner Urquell plant. We took the official tour. Sadly the operation was not in full swing as we visited on a weekend. Nevertheless it was an experience, particularly being led through the labyrinthine cellars where we tasted unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell from wooden barrels. The huge advantage of the Czech Republic is that in most cases the beer is cracking value. In many bars and brewery pubs, beer costs less than fizzy drinks. A 300ml serving, just over half a pint, is around 70p, while a similar measure of Coke is 90p. Being Brits, we tended to order 500ml beers, as they’re closer to a pint, for which you will part with about £1. If you’re looking to make your Czech crowns go further, avoid drinking at tourist hotspots such as Prague’s Wenceslas Square where prices can be around £2.60 for 500ml.

We were quickly learning that beer is a religion in the Czech Republic, so where better to head than the Hop and Beer Temple in Zatec, 45 miles from Prague. Located in the heart of the hop-producing region, it has a museum dedicated to the plant, an essential beer ingredient. Like most visitors to the country, we flew into Prague, where you will find a huge selection of brewery bars and pubs. Our party started off in the Brevnov monastery brewery, which boasts a truly divine range of light and dark ales. Real monks amble around the monastery and grounds a quick taxi ride from the city centre. Another monastery brewery is Strahov, also very central and close to Prague Castle. We sampled its beers before heading to see the changing of the guard at the castle – the official residence of the Czech president. Leaving Prague and heading north, we travelled to Litomerice in the Bohemian Highlands. In its Swan brewery we enjoyed pale ale, semi-dark beer and a rye ale. All the breweries we visited can be reached by train or bus from Prague and the fares are reasonable. Book online on Czech Rail’s English language website or go to the ticket office at Prague’s central station. There is hotel accommodation in the capital to suit every budget. Using Prague as our base, we stayed at the grand Hotel Ambassador in Wenceslas Square in the heart of the city. It’s a huge five-star hotel with great service and comfy rooms. On our last night we relocated to the modern Angelo Hotel, close to the city centre but in the quieter business district. After sampling so many amazing ales on a trip devoted to beer, it will feel wrong going into any old pub and ordering any old booze. But I won’t be turning into a beer bore – I’ll be sticking to the fine art of drinking it.


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