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.
A total of 6.2 percent of Czech secondary school students have failed this year’s exit exams, as compared to 5.3 percent the previous year. Among the areas in which results deteriorated was mathematics; in Czech, this year’s results improved slightly on 2011’s. Aside from a standardized test, Czech students taking the high school exist exam also have to successfully complete an oral and a written exam.
National hockey coach Alois Hadamczik is keeping quiet about who he will put in net in the quarterfinal game between the Czech Republic and Sweden at the World Championship in ice hockey. The Czech squad - under Hadamczik – has never won against Sweden at either the Olympics or the Worlds, so players will have their work cut out for them on Thursday. The coach could go with either goalie Jakub Kovář or Jakub Štěpánek. Who will start is already known to the goalies, but both are keeping silent ahead of the match. Hadamczik told the media simply that he wanted to keep his opponents guessing.
In related news, Czechs laying bets with at least one betting agency are favoring Sweden over the Czech Republic in Thursday’s do-or-die quarterfinal match at the world championships in ice hockey, news website idnes.cz reports. According to the site, more than two-thirds of Czech bettors laying bets with the Fortuna agency favor Sweden, most often predicting the Swedes will win by a score of 5:3. The Czech team, when led by team coach Alois Hadamczik, has been unable to beat the co-hosts of this year’s championship and one of the favorites to win the championship. Players are hoping they will be able to pull off a surprise result – stressing they will have to keep pressure on and try and score early.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvítová made it into the quarterfinals at the Italian Open in Rome. The Wimbledon champion won in straight sets to reach the third round. Kvítová overcame eight double-faults to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in her opening match. Kvítová dominated the match with her attacking game.
A district court judge for Ústí nad Labem has ruled that regional governor David Rath – charged with corruption – will remain in custody. The governor of Central Bohemia was caught on Monday with seven million crowns – an apparent bribe – on his person; if convicted and found guilty he could spend up to 12 years behind bars. 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. State prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová has not yet said whether she will recommend for others arrested in the case to also be held. Along with Mr Rath, the police arrested seven others on Monday – four men and three women -including Kateřina Pancová, the head of Kladno Hospital and a close Rath associate.
Police uncovered an additional 30 million crowns hidden in the floor of the home of Social Democrat and Central Bohemian governor David Rath, a source close to the investigation has told daily Mladá fronta Dnes. Mr Rath was caught red-handed carrying an apparent bribe of seven million crowns. Prominent members of the Social Democratic Party on Tuesday called on Mr Rath to give up all official posts. In a statement issued through his spokeswoman, Mr Rath denied any knowledge of the bribe, claiming he had thought the shoebox he was carrying contained a bottle of wine.
Deputy governor Robin Povšík has said Mr Rath has resigned from the regional assembly and therefore as regional governor. Speaking to journalists, he said Mr Rath had been escorted by the police to his Prague office on Wednesday, where he followed through with his decision. Mr Povšík told the Czech news agency earlier that people closely connected with the former governor could be struck from a list of Social Democrat candidates ahead of regional elections in the autumn. These may include Kateřina Pancová, his assistant Patrik Tomsu and Barbora Snopková Haberová. Some sources have reported that Mr Rath could be replaced by deputy regional governor Marcel Chládek, the Social Democrats’ shadow education minister.
On Tuesday night, police also searched the office of Mr Rath’s close associate Kateřina Pancová. She is the head of Kladno Hospital in Central Bohemia and one of seven people charged along with the governor in the corruption case. The charged are suspected of having accepted bribes, having manipulated public tenders and having harmed EU interests. Some hospital staff members have expressed concerns over the developments, worrying about personnel changes. But the hospital’s deputy business and economic manager Jaroslav Pokorný told the ČTK news agency the case would have no impact on the day-to-day operation of the facility.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has expressed shock over the corruption case
involving David Rath, not least since the Social Democrat politician was
one of his party’s most outspoken critics of corrupt practices, the Czech
news agency says. The prime minister told ČTK he hoped the case would be
seen through to the end and that it would not throw “dirt” on the
entire political scene. He also indicated he hoped the failing was only on
Mr Rath’s part and not his party’s.
Similar suggestions were made on a TV debate programme on Tuesday evening by the finance minister; prominent Social Democrat Lubomír Zaorálek responded by trying to point to scandals on the centre-right. The arrest and charging of Central Bohemian Governor David Rath is nevertheless unprecedented in at least one respect: Rath, who was under investigation by police for six months, was “caught in the act”, enabling his immediate prosecution.