The lower house of the Czech Parliament on Tuesday voted to strip MP David
Rath of immunity, allowing his prosecution on corruption charges. Out of
185 MPs present, 183 voted in favour of Mr Rath’s prosecution. Before
vote, Mr Rath, who has been in police custody since his arrest on
corruption charges last month, addressed the lower house of Parliament.
In the unprecedented presence of a police escort in the Chamber of
Deputies, the former Central Bohemian governor and a prominent opposition
figure rejected the corruption charges against him and said he had not
accepted any bribes, accusing the government of framing him.
MP David Rath was arrested on May 14 with an alleged bribe of seven million crowns. The police have charged him with corruption related to a public procurement project partially financed with EU funds.
The Czech Finance Ministry has filed a criminal complaint against six former managers of the coal-mining firm Mostecká uhelná whose 1999 privatization is under investigation by Swiss authorities. The mangers face accusations that they privatized the company using funds earmarked for the re-cultivation of former coal mines which later appeared on foreign bank accounts. Czech police also investigated the case but shelved it in 2008. The police in Switzerland however accused seven people linked to the deal.
Around 85 percent of Czechs believe that some population groups are discriminated against on the labour market, according to a new poll by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. Nearly 90 percent of those who took part in the survey said age was the most frequent cause of discrimination, followed by health conditions and pregnancy; some 64 percent of those polled also cited race and ethnicity. The poll suggests that religious beliefs and political convictions, along with sexual orientation, were among less frequent causes of discrimination on the labour market.
Czech retail revenues contracted in April by 4.1 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Tuesday. Revenues fell mainly in the food and fuel segments as well as car sales and repairs. After seasonal adjustment, the revenues contracted by 2.1 percent, after a 0.4 decrease registered in the previous month. Analysts say the decrease reflects the customers’ efforts to save, and is a sign of the economy losing dynamics.
Representatives of Czech municipalities on Tuesday asked the government to allocate more funding for development and support of businesses. The government’s Countryside Development Programme each year spends around 85 billion crowns on agriculture and only 15 billion on development projects in the country. Members of several associations representing Czech towns and villages said this should change so that beginning in 2014, 50 percent of the funding should be used on development projects.
The Czech travel agency Redgreentours declared bankruptcy on Tuesday after it was unable to pay for the transfer of around 300 clients abroad. The move has left some 100 clients stranded in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Redgreentours is the second Czech travel agency to go bankrupt this year. The Union insurance company, which insured the agency against bankruptcy, will now pay for the return of the agency’s clients to the Czech Republic.
Three Czech films will compete at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the organizers said. The movie Polski Film, or Polish Film, by Marek Najbrt will premiere at the festival, and will be among 12 films competing for the festival’s main prize, the Crystal Globe. The event will also feature the documentaries Two Nil by Pavel Abrahám and Tomáš Bojar and Private Universe by Helena Třeštíková. The British actress Helen Mirren will receive a life-time achievement award at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which starts on June 29.
A court in Česká Lípa, in northern Bohemia, on Tuesday began hearing the case of a Ukrainian citizen accused of sexually abusing 118 underage girls on the internet; his youngest victim was eight years old. According to the prosecution, the man approached the girls on the internet, asking asked them for photos and inviting them to have sex with him. He also masturbated in front of the web camera. If convicted, the man faces up to eight years in jail.
Two transmission towers near Nový Jičín, in the north-east of the country, collapsed during a storm on Monday after thieves stole their metal support structures, a spokesman for the police said. The electricity distribution firm estimated the damages at dozens of millions of crowns, and said it would take weeks to fix the disrupted power line. The police are searching for the thieves who face up to eight years in prison.
Striker Milan Baroš withdrew from Tuesday’s training session of the national side in Poland over problems with his thigh muscle, the news agency ČTK reported. The 30-year-old international cut the session short by some 10 minutes; the team’s physical therapist said should the pain persist, the footballer will have to be examined in hospital. However, the national team managers said they believed Baroš will be fit for the team’s first EURO 2012 game against Russia on Friday.