The head of the lower house Miroslava Němcová has said she will recommend that the Chamber of Deputies not allow the presence of lawyers for MP David Rath on the floor at a meeting of the chamber on Tuesday, which will decide whether the MP will be stripped of immunity. The MP – who has maintained his innocence but was caught red-handed with a suspected bribe of seven million crowns - has been charged with corruption and remanded in custody for fear he could influence witnesses, flee, or continue in illegal activities. Eight others have also been charged in the case. Mrs Němcová found agreement on a Sunday debate programme with Social Democrat deputy leader Michal Hašek, who said the lawyers could view the meeting from the visitors’ gallery. David Rath was a prominent and outspoken member of the Social Democratic Party and is the former governor of Central Bohemia.
The Finance Ministry has approved members of the Czech Philharmonic receiving monthly raises of up to eleven thousand crowns. A total of forty million crowns needed for the salary adjustments will be paid from the Culture Ministry’s budget. Members will thus receive salaries averaging around 40,000 crowns per month. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek backed the move as necessary to guarantee the continuation of the Philharmonic’s high quality. The National Theatre has also requested a boost in salaries; there, no decision has been taken yet.
Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál on Monday June 4 will exclusively broadcast a gala concert marking the Queen Elizabeth’s 60-year reign. The live broadcast begins at eight-thirty pm. The programme – put together by British musician Gary Barlow – will feature performances by Elton John, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Shirley Bassey, and others.
A motorcyclist was killed on the road from Řevnice to Mnišek pod Brdy on Saturday after losing control of his vehicle and swerving into a car’s path in the opposite lane. The incident took place at around two pm. The motorists – a married couple – were unhurt and a breathalyser test showed the driver had not drunk alcohol. An autopsy has been ordered for the deceased.
The police, responding to an emergency call, uncovered the body of a dead newborn that had been left in a ditch near Rotava in the Sokolov area. The caller mentioned seeing something suspicious but it was only upon arrival that officers learned the truth. The death is under investigation; the police are revealing no additional details.
Sergeant Leopold Karpeles, born to a Jewish family in 1836 and a later hero in the US Civil War, is the only 'Czech' to ever receive a Congressional Medal of Honour – the highest US military distinction, Czech Radio reported. According to the public broadcaster - which cited archivist Wendy Turman of the Jewish Historical Society in Washington - Karpeles showed extreme courage in battles against the Confederate Army. While little is known about the hero and his family, it is thought he immigrated to the US after 1848. He was wounded twice in battle and reportedly joined the Civil War because he wanted to fight against slavery. Karpeles is registered in the Washington-based archive of the American Jewish Historical Society as a native of Prague, but he was also officially listed as a native of Hungary. It is possible he was actually not born in Prague but only later moved there with his family.
World No. 4 Petra Kvitová and fellow Czech player Klára Zakopalová have both made it to the fourth round at the French Open. Zakopalová advanced in straight sets over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (6:3, 7:5). Kvitová lost her first set at Roland Garros but survived for a 6-2 4-6 6-1 victory over Nina Bratchikova.
The opposition Social Democrats have insisted they are not in trouble after taking a hit in public opinion polls over the Rath corruption case, according to a Czech daily. Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Friday that the party – which had been on the upswing for some time – had lost some support among potential voters over the Rath scandal and other developments such as initial indecision over its candidate for president or a decision by influential party member Milada Emerová to candidate for another party in the regional elections. Speaking to the daily, the Social Democrats’ Jeroným Tejc denied the party was in crisis but admitted that recent developments had forced introspection; colleague Jiří Dienstbier, the party’s candidate for president, stressed that the recent cases were not connected, while deputy leader Michal Hašek suggested that recent developments required a quick response to improve the party’s standing among some of its supporters.
Police arrested seven men on Friday suspected of having accosted Litomeřice businessman Jaroslav Papoušek at his home on May 25 – an incident in which an eighth assailant was killed. Police have since also apprehended an additional suspect who was on the run. All seven of those detained, whose ages range from 21 to 60, have been charged with attempted robbery. The men involved were either local, or from Plzeň and Prague, a police spokeswoman said. Police are investigating how events unfolded, including how one of the suspects was killed while the others fled, and are otherwise keeping a tight lid on details.
A homeless man sleeping in a garbage container was killed on Saturday morning when sanitation workers failed to register his presence and dumped him along with the contents into a garbage truck compactor. By the time they realised their mistake, it was too late. The man, a foreign national, was in his mid-forties, a police spokeswoman said. The tragedy happened in Prague’s Žižkov. According to the spokeswoman two similar incidents happened last winter; she said that although workers regularly checked containers, it was sometimes hard to see sleeping figures hidden beneath paper. The tragedy was reported by the ČTK news agency.