The newly emerging party of Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has pressed criminal charges against an unknown culprit for stealing the party’s proposed name LIDEM and trying to get it registered at the Interior Ministry. There was an attempt to register a new party under that name by an unknown person soon after it was officially made public. The attempt will not however hinder the deputy prime minister from establishing her party as LIDEM (short for Liberal Democrats) since the initial registration was rejected for technical errors.
A female lawyer specializing in child custody cases has criticized the fact that Czech courts release children to parents abroad too easily without demanding any guarantees regarding their future welfare. Speaking at an international conference of female lawyers, Iva Jermanova from the Czech Association of Female Lawyers, said that even though the law entitles judges to postpone a child's departure until they receive sufficient background and information regarding the child’s welfare abroad they rarely bother to do so. Jermanova said it was vital to address the issue since the number of international disputes over child custody was growing in correlation to the rising number of mixed marriages.
The night-time sub-zero temperatures over the past week are reported to have damaged wine-growers in southern Moravia. Some report the destruction of a third of their harvest, others up to 50 percent. The damage is being estimated at around 400 million crowns and will impact the prices of this year’s wine from the region. Local apple and apricot orchards have also taken a hit.
The Czech national hockey team has reached the semifinals at the world championship in ice hockey after defeating Sweden 4:3 on Thursday night. The Swedes opened the scoring in the first period but the Czechs – putting in their strongest performance of the tournament – turned the score around and led for part of the second period by a score of 3:1. A fourth goal was disallowed before the Swedes came back, tying the game at 3:3 in the first minute of the third. Overall, the match was close but the Czechs showed good speed and created chances although the Swedes also had opportunities. The winning goal was netted just 29 seconds before the end of regulation time, when Milan Michálek – escaping from the corner in the Swedes’ end – put a rising shot over goalie Fasth’s shoulder. The Czech Republic will face Slovakia in the semifinals after the latter eliminated Canada.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Prague for a two-day official visit on Thursday. On the agenda of the Israeli leader, who is travelling with a delegation of seven ministers, is a meeting with his Czech counterpart counterpart Petr Nečas as well as several members of the Czech cabinet. The Israeli delegation is set to discuss bilateral relations as well as collaboration in the areas of education and research. Ahead of the visit, some 500 police officers are working to ensure the security of the Israeli prime minister. Senior police officials have said that the Israeli leader’s visit carries a higher security risk compared to those of other statesmen.
In related news, speaking after a meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said that his country supported Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. He also expressed concern over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr Nečas made it clear that the Czech Republic opposes attacks on the legitimacy of Israel as a state. The Israeli PM said that he considers the Czech Republic his country’s closest ally within the EU.
A district court judge for Ústí nad Labem has ruled that regional
governor David Rath – charged with corruption – will remain in custody.
On Thursday, the judge also remanded in custody seven other persons who
were arrested along with governor Rath. The court on Wednesday said there
was a danger that if released ahead of trial, Mr Rath could influence
witnesses, attempt to escape or continue in criminal activities. Similar
reasons were cited for the other suspects remaining in custody.
On Monday, police arrested the former Central Bohemian governor, as well as four men and three women, among them Kateřina Pancová, the head of Kladno Hospital, and two entrepreneurs, one of them from the construction sector. The group is charged with corruption, damaging the EU’s financial interests and manipulation of public tenders. David Rath was caught on Monday with seven million crowns on his person; if convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars.
The acting governor of the Central Bohemian region, Zuzana Moravčíková, who has taken over the post following David Rath’s resignation, will be making changes in the personnel of the regional administration. Staff closely connected to the former governor, who is charged with corruption, will be dismissed. On Thursday, Mrs Moravčíková told the Czech News Agency ČTK that the extent of personnel changes depended on the results of the ongoing police investigation. She said that while she did not want to work together with close collaborators of the former governor, she also wanted to avoid a major shake-up in the Central Bohemian administration. It was important to put together a team whom she could trust, the acting governor added.
The party leadership of the Social Democrats is set to expel the director of the Kladno hospital, Kateřina Pancová, and a former MP for the Civic Democrats, Petr Kott, from the party on Friday. Both are being prosecuted in connection with the corruption case surrounding former Central Bohemian governor David Rath. The party’s deputy leader Jiří Dienstbier said on Thursday that he hopes both would leave the party on their own initiative rather than having to be expelled. According to police, the eight people involved in the case are suspected of manipulating a tender for the reconstruction of Buštěhrad castle.
The record auction of František Kupka’s painting The Shape of Blue has revealed shortcomings in the country’s registration of works that fall under the national heritage, especially in the area of fine arts. To date, the Czech state has failed to determine whether the painting, which was sold to a foreign buyer for 55.75 million crowns, falls under the national heritage or not, the Czech News Agency ČTK writes, citing insider sources. Should this be the case, the buyer would not be able to take the painting out of the Czech Republic. The National Heritage Institute claims that Kupka’s work does fall under the national heritage. However, the seller of the painting maintains that it does not, since the process of proclaiming it a part of the national heritage had not been completed by the time the painting went on sale. The buyer is now waiting for a decision by the Ministry of Culture on the matter.