At a meeting with police union leaders on Thursday, the new head of Czech police, Martin Červíček, promised to increase next year’s budget of the police force by 700 million crowns. Police unions objected Wednesday’s decision by the interior minister to sack Mr Červíček’s predecessor, Petr Lessy. Interior Minister Jan Kubice dismissed Petr Lessy after criminal charges of libel and abuse of authority were filled against him. After Thursday’s meeting with the new police boss, union leaders said it was a good start for future co-operation.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Thursday urged coalition parties not to withdraw their support for the government’s key bills over the dismissal of the police president. The warning came after deputy prime minister, and head of the LIDEM party, Karolína Peake, called for a meeting of coalition leaders over Wednesday’s dismissal of police president Petr Lessy which she said complicated matters within the coalition. The lower house is set to vote next week on two crucial government bills on the restitution of church property and raising the VAT rates. Prime Minister Nečas said the issues were not related and warned the government would fall if its reform legislation is rejected.
The Czech Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a complaint by the justice minister and ordered Roman Smetana to serve the rest of his prison sentence. Mr Smetana, then a bus driver in Olomouc, was sentenced in 2011 for defacing political campaign posters of several political parties; he was sentenced to pay the damages and do 100 hours of community service. While he complied with the former, he rejected the latter and was therefore ordered to serve 100 days in prison. He spent some 30 days in jail before then-justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil filed a compliant in his favour. However, the Supreme Court said on Thursday the complaint was unjustified.
Only 14 percent of Czechs understand the basic principles of the pension reform, according to a survey by the STEM/MARK agency released on Thursday. 70 percent of those polled said they did not know the rules for joining the so-called second pillar of the system, which means they would pay part of the pension tax to private funds. The government’s pension reform will allow those under the age of 35 to join the second pillar beginning in 2013; those aged 35 and over will only have a chance to join the programme in the first six months of that year.
Police evacuated two court buildings in Ústí nad Labem in the north of the country on Thursday after an anonymous bomb threat. The police received a phone call alerting them of the threat at 8 AM; a male voice said the explosive will go off at 10. The police searched the buildings and found no suspicious objects, a police spokeswoman said. Hundreds of people had to leave the buildings of the regional and district courts; the authorities also temporarily closed a nearby bridge over the Labe River. The police are now searching for the caller who faces up to five years in prison.
The prices of fuel at Czech gas stations hit a record high last week when a litre of gasoline Natural 95 sold at an average price of 38.17 crowns, 13 hellers more than the previous week, according to the latest figures by the CCS firm released on Thursday. The prices of diesel also reached a new high of 37.17 crowns per litre. The firm said however that many gas stations sold fuel at prices of over 40 crowns per litre. Analysts believe the surge in fuel prices had been caused by rising prices of oil on world markets as well as the weakening Czech crown to the dollar.
Czech firm Wikov Wind has signed a two-billion-crown deal to build wind farms in the Sindh province of Pakistan, the news agency ČTK reported quoting the Pakistani publication Business Recorder. The firm signed the deal with the provincial government; the construction of 25 wind generators that will produce 50 megawatts of power, should begin in January 2013 and conclude by the end of that year.
Riot police were called in to break up a house party organised on Facebook in the north-eastern town of Orlová on Wednesday night after hundreds of people showed up. When neighbours alerted the police over noise and public disorder in the street, the woman who advertised the party said that it had got out of control; however, dozens of people attacked the police officers and a riot squad had to be called in to disperse the party-goers. Five officers were injured in the incident while five people were arrested, a police spokeswoman said.
Czech hockey player František Kaberle, a five-time world champion and a Stanley Cup winner, has ended his career. The 38-year-old defenceman, who in the last season played for HC Plzeň in the Czech top division, said a series of minor injuries prevented him from getting fully into training. In the NHL, Kaberle played for the Atlanta Thrashers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Carolina Hurricanes with whom he won the Stanley Cup before returning to the Czech Republic in 2009. As part of the Czech national team, František Kaberle also won a bronze medal at the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino.
The condition of Czech skier Šárka Záhrobská, who in July underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour, has improved, according to a report by the gossip website blesk.cz. The website said the 27-year-old skiing champion had resumed training and could be fit in time for the new season. Her agent said they were awaiting the latest test results. Šárka Záhrobská is scheduled to appear at a news conference on Saturday.