The prosecution of five Prague City Hall employees, suspected of having
broken the law on public tenders in the Opencard case, will continue after
a complaint by the defence was dismissed as insubstantial by the state
prosecutor. Charges against four of the five have since been broadened.
five suspects were charged by the police in August: they are suspected of
having signed several disadvantageous contracts with providers and of
breaking the law on tenders in the choice of the company Haguess to
the city travel and service cards after the firm failed to meet all
Prague’s Opencard serves as a transit pass and is also used for other services such as the borrowing of library books. Critics charge that the project – which cost more than 800 million crowns – was drastically overpriced.
The Czech internet daily idnes has suggested that some members of the
Social Democratic Party are weighing former prime minister and EU
commissioner for employment and social affairs Vladimír Špidla as a
potential candidate for president. The daily cited two highly-placed
sources in the party as saying Mr Špidla was a possibility. According to
the website, the Social Democrats are serious in pursuing direct
presidential elections to replace the current system, where the
head-of-state is elected in a joint-session of Parliament. But it is
thought the leftist party will only make a final decision on a candidate
the first half of next year – roughly twelve months before Václav Klaus
completes his final term.
The deputy chairman of the Czech Senate Přemysl Sobotka, from political rivals the Civic Democrats, has already announced his intention to run and asked for his party’s support. It is thought that Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, of TOP 09, might also consider a bid.
The partial collapse of a building in Olomouc on Monday claimed the life of a 78-year-old who was struck by falling debris from the facade as it spilled into the street. Nine people were evacuated from inside the building but were unhurt. The tragedy unfolded on Monday morning in the city centre. The falling debris also brought down overhead tram cables. The accident is being investigated by the police. People in the building claimed they knew of no problems and the facade was reportedly redone just a few years ago.
A Czech court has handed a three-year suspended sentence to a Swiss national found guilty of high-speed wrong-way driving on the D10 highway between Liberec and the Czech capital. The motorist, who recklessly caused six accidents in which nine vehicles crashed (no one was seriously hurt), admitted to having been under the influence of the illegal drug methamphetamine. He had faced between three to eight years behind bars. Besides receiving a suspended sentence, the defendant has been banned from driving for six years.
Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza has officially taken up his duties as Papal Nuncio to the Czech Republic. He was appointed last month. At Prague Castle on Monday, the archbishop was welcomed by Czech President Václav Klaus. The Vatican had been without an ambassador to Prague since May. Until recently, Giuseppe Leanza was based in Ireland.
Proposed legislation to be debated in the lower house, could give the Czech government in the future the right to nationalise abandoned buildings – currently left to rot or boarded up. Changes in the current law would mean that abandoned castles but also squats could either be rebuilt or at least be better secured to prevent potential accidents. The law would reportedly apply to buildings abandoned by owners for 10 years or more, and owners would be allowed a final chance to assume responsibility before losing the property for good. idnes reports that sites that have been left to decay are numerous throughout the country, including former hotels or chateaux, sometimes in prominent areas. The threat of losing the property, it is thought, could push some owners to at last take steps to improve the situation.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has moved up to 4th place in the world in the women’s WTA singles rankings, after winning her fifth WTA title this season at the weekend in Linz. By the end of the week, she could even move to the No. 3 spot now dominated by Azarenka, ČTK reported and could have a shot at the top spot if the player does well in remaining competitions. On the men’s circuit, Tomáš Berdych is the world No. 7.
Around 200 fans of football club Slavia Prague gathered carrying placards
outside the club’s stadium on Monday to protest against Frantíšek
Straka, who in the past headed archrivals Sparta, becoming head coach. The
demonstrators marched from their home stadium to Viktoria Žiźkov, where
the team is playing on Monday evening, to make their dislike known.
who managed the national squad for just one game in 2009, was a favourite
among Sparta fans but Slavia and Sparta have a rivalry that goes back
As a player back in the 1980s, Straka won 35 caps for Czechoslovakia, and spent ten years in Germany’s Bundesliga. As a manager, however, his only success came with Teplice and Sparta Prague in the Czech cup.
Czech Justice Ministry supports of the establishment of a special unit of prosecutors that would fight corruption, the news agency ČTK informed on Sunday quoting a ministry report that will be debated by the government later this week. The report says such a unit could help sever ties between criminals and prosecutors on the local level while the unit’s prosecutors could more effectively collaborate with the police. The unit should be based in Brno and deal with cases which could be interfered with by public officials, and those typically committed by them. Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil told TV Prima on Sunday the move should be part of a broader overhaul of the justice system.
Over 200 former inmates of the Terezín, or Theresienstadt, Nazi
concentration camp along with their relatives on Sunday marked the 70th
anniversary of the start of deportations of Jews from the Czech lands. The
head of the Terezín Initiative, Dagmat Lieblová, said that as former
inmates of the ghetto gradually pass away, their memories will be carried
on by their children. The commemoration included a performance of Hans
Krása’s opera Brunidbár, staged by the children in the ghetto, and
Between 1940 and 1945, more than 150,000 people, mostly Jews, from the Czech lands, Slovakia, Germany, and other countries passed through the Terezín ghetto on their way to Nazi extermination camps in occupied Poland where most of them were murdered.