Councillors at Prague City Hall approved investment plans for 2012 on Tuesday with the largest share – 4.84 billion crowns – going to the city’s Blanka tunnel project. An additional billion crowns will connect the tunnel with one at Strahov. Transport infrastructure will take up roughly half of the city’s capital expenditures in 2012; in addition, funds have been allocated to the completion of a swimming pool centre, repairs to Bulovka hospital, and the completion of a pavilion at Prague Zoo. Additional millions of crowns will also go towards the building of new nursery schools, and of a pavilion for Alzheimer sufferers at a Prague home for seniors. City councillors passed the budget for 2012 in December agreeing to expenditures of 43.9 billion crowns. 10.2 billion crowns were allocated for investment.
Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda is reportedly planning changes to the Municipal Police - long dissatisfied with a lack of transparency on the force, a spokeswoman at City Hall has confirmed. According to Tereza Krásenská, the mayor will present planned changes soon and will reportedly seek a new selection procedure to name a new chief of the Municipal Police to improve effectiveness. The mayor criticised organisation within the force by saying that police officers needed to be more visible on the street. The mayor is pushing for a number of the force’s SUVs, including Hummers, to be sold off.
Controversial former Education Ministry employee Ladislav Bátora, who resigned from his post as head of Human Resources last year and later as an advisor, received a severance package of 250,000 crowns, the Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Both Mr Bátora, the former head of an ultra right-wing think tank, and the health minister, Josef Dobeš, declined to comment. The ministry’s spokesman, Antonín Zelenka, explained that Mr Bátora had a right to severance pay as his post had been abolished. Mr Bátora was at the centre of several scandals last year, voicing – for example – highly-controversial opinions about a gay rights event in the capital; he also made insulting comments on the internet about the country’s foreign minister, for which his boss - Education Minister Josef Dobeš – later apologised.
Police have been unable to uncover who was responsible for leaking information in the Pandur armoured-carrier deal, high state prosecutor in Ostrava Rostislav Bajger revealed on Tuesday, confirming the case will be shelved. According to the prosecutor, police uncovered numerous details, meaning the case could theoretically be re-opened in the future. It was already nearly shelved twice before but, in the first instance, investigators asked for more time. Last year, Czech newspapers published the testimony of a confidential witness in the case of allegedly overpriced purchases of personnel carriers for the Czech military that may have involved hefty bribes. Marek Dalík, an aide to then prime minister Mirek Topolánek, was accused of asking for a bribe of half a billion crowns as a commission for the deal in late 2007.
The ČTK news agency has reported that 662 Czechs were jailed abroad in 2010, information that was confirmed on Monday by the Czech Foreign Ministry. ČTK quoted the ministry as saying most Czechs (123) jailed abroad were in neighbouring Austria, followed by Germany and Spain. Other countries where Czech nationals were serving prison sentences included Britain, Slovakia and Italy. Roughly one-sixth were jailed for drug-related crimes, which has seen an upswing by Czechs in recent years, not least in South America. Recently, the Senegalese media has focussed on the story of a Czech man awaiting trial on charges of smuggling 19 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil in 2009, the agency said.
A new poll by the CVVM agency has suggested that more than two-fifths of Czechs are satisfied with the quality of the country's healthcare; by contrast, one-third believes it worsened over the last year. According to the survey, 44 percent were satisfied, 22 said it had gotten worse, and one third of respondents took a neutral stance. According to the survey, roughly half of respondents, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction over the state of their own health; a similar number stated that doctors at hospitals provided enough information to patients, a 12-percent increase since 2008.
The Christian Democrats would replace government junior member Public
Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies if a general election were held today,
STEM agency poll conducted in January suggests. The opposition Social
Democrats would win the elections gaining 77 mandates in the 200-seat
Chamber of Deputies, compared to 80 in the previous poll, according to the
STEM election model. The opposition Communist Party’s position slightly
worsened since the last survey. They would receive 33 mandates, compared
37 in December. The leftist opposition would nevertheless still have a
clear majority of 110 seats in the lower house of Parliament.
The right-of-centre Civic Democrats would win 50 mandates and TOP 09 34, the poll revealed. Voter support for the smallest coalition partner, Public Affairs, would leave it well below the five-percent threshold. The Christian Democrats would win six mandates.
Murder suspect Boris Ingr, facing trial for the killing of his wife Simona Monyová – a popular Czech writer – in August, has since refused to discuss the incident under repeated questioning by the police, an unnamed source has told the ČTK news agency. According to the spokeswoman for the regional court in Brno, his trial could begin at the earliest at the end of February. The murder took place at the beginning of August last year during a visit, it is thought, by the writer’s estranged husband. It is believed a violent struggle followed after the suspect said he was coming for the couple’s seven-year-old son, who was on the premises at the time. Monyová was repeatedly stabbed with a kitchen knife; if found guilty of the murder Mr Ingr could face up to 18 years in prison.
Most of the Czech Republic saw snowfall on Monday night, leading to a worsening of conditions on Czech roads. Specialists have warned motorists to exercise caution. Many smaller roads have been seen surfaces covered while major routes have some slush after chemical gritting. Snowfall has also reduced visibility in some areas. Regions that registered traffic accidents included Liberec, where a transport truck, on the route between the north Bohemian town and Jablonec, lost control and slammed into snow along the road.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová beat Russia’s Vera Dushevina 6:2, 6:0
on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Australian Open. In the
first set, the Czech lost her serve but nevertheless dominated in the
which she wrapped in just over an hour. Second seed Kvitová will face
Carla Suarez-Navarra from Spain next.
Tomáš Berdych, Iveta Benešová, Lucie Hradecká and Petra Cetkovská have also advanced to the second round of the season's first Grand Slam event.