The TOP 09 party of the governing coalition has called for a government regulation that would prevent a massive closure of post offices in smaller towns and villages after Czech Post’s monopoly ends in 2017. The legislation approved by Parliament in June of this year obliges Czech Post to continue all unprofitable operations for a five-year period after the liberalization and obliges all private postal services providers to pay into a fund that will cover Czech Post’s losses. TOP 09 says the 5-year period is inadequate and says a long term solution needs to be found that would encourage Czech Post to save in other ways that closing down unprofitable outlets.
David Rath, formerly a prominent member of the Social Democratic Party who is to be tried for corruption, has threatened to unveil allegedly corrupt practices in financing the party’s election campaigns. In an interview for the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes Mr. Rath sent the party a thinly-veiled threat from his prison cell saying the public would soon learn how the strongest opposition party raised money for its election campaigns. The former governor of central Bohemia who has been held in custody since May after being caught with an alleged seven million crown bribe on his person, previously hinted that the money had been destined for party coffers. The party has distanced itself from Mr. Rath and maintains that its finances are above board.
MP Milan Stovicek of Public Affairs has been warned he will be expelled from the party if he breaks ranks and votes with the governing coalition on bills pertaining to church restitutions and a VAT hike in 2013. The vote is to take place in September and the governing coalition will need to secure 101 votes in order to overturn the Senate’s veto of both bills. The governing coalition which started out with a comfortable 118 strong majority in the lower house now has a mere 100 votes and will need to convince at least one other deputy to support the controversial changes. Stovicek who is a deputy for Public Affairs has in the past supported the coalition in crucial votes.
Vaclav Laska of the Czech branch of Transparency International claims the police have enough evidence of suspicious deals and manipulated tenders at the Prague Public Transport company to file charges against several former high-ranking officials. In a statement for the CTK news agency Mr. Laska said a group of people around the company’s former manager had manipulated public procurement tenders in a way that allowed them to siphon billions of crowns from the company. He said that annually approximately one billion crowns had been lost in this manner. Anti-corruption police raided the company’s offices last week after the company’s then manager filed a criminal complaint against his predecessor and several former high-ranking officials.
Slovak TV Joj has reported on a growing number of cases in which British social workers allegedly removed Czech and Slovak Romany children from their families. According to the reports the latest such case happened in Nottingham where a family of Czech Romanies, recently settled in the area, had their three children forcibly taken away and placed in an institution reportedly without good reason or an explanation from the authorities. The incident is reported to have happened nine days ago. According to Joj television the British authorities have refused to comment pending a court hearing.
The heat wave is reported to have boosted beer sales both in shops and restaurants. A survey among salespeople and pub owners revealed an increase in beer sales between 10 and 30 percent on days that day temperatures hit the 30s. The supermarket chain Billa reported a 75 percent increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer and a several percent increase in bottled water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
A regional court has confirmed a two year sentence for the Polish owner of a network of so-called Amsterdam shops which sold synthetic drugs packaged as collectors’ items. After serving his sentence he will be deported and banned from returning to the Czech Republic for a period of six years. The court found him guilty of knowingly trading in addictive drugs. The shop owner claimed that the items were marked as non-consumables and had appealed the verdict on the grounds that similar shops around Europe sell the same products without being prosecuted.
In related news, the Central Bohemian state attorney’s office has appealed the bail set for former regional governor David Rath, on the grounds that he might try to influence witnesses or attempt to flee from justice. Meanwhile lawyers representing Mr. Rath have been weighing a possible complaint regarding the size of the bail which was set at 14 million crowns. Those loyal to the former central Bohemian governor have so far failed to raise the money needed for his release.
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Fall in coronavirus reproduction number shows efficacy of strict measures
How is coronavirus affecting Prague’s real estate market?
March 25, 1945 – the day the Americans bombed Prague deliberately