Interior Minister Jan Kubice on Tuesday briefed Parliament on the outcome of an investigation relating to a breach of security at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport last month. In order to test security at the airport a journalist from Aktualne.cz got himself hired as an airport guard and smuggled several banned items past clearance, including a knife, a fake bomb and a pepper spray. The interior minister said this was due to the negligence of an employee whose job it was to check all employees entering the airport. Mr. Kubice said no systematic mistakes had been revealed. He said security had been reinforced and promised that the security measures would be revised if they failed a second time.
Czech dramatist and scriptwriter Jiří Hubač has died at 82. Mr. Hubač spent much of his life working for Czech Television from which he was dismissed in 1974 for political reasons. In later years he established himself as a successful free-lance writer. He is best known for his plays Unripe Raspberries (adapted for the theatre as The Good Old Band), The Fall of Icarus and Migrant Birds. Hubač authored a number of popular television series including Three Blokes in a Cottage and Eliška and her Family, Good Water and Ambulance. He also wrote the script for the feature films Dance Teacher (1994) and Fanny (1995).
A bible with illustrations by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali has been published in the Czech Republic and a copy is to cost almost 77,000 crowns. The first copies will be given as gifts to Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka and President Vaclav Klaus. The 900-page Bible, weighing 12 kilos, has been published in 444 copies. Archbishop Duka will receive the first copy of the new Bible during a mass in Stara Boleslav, central Bohemia, on September 28, the country’s national holiday.
Jiří Kajínek, called the country’s most famous prisoner, continues to seek a retrial in the case that left him with a life sentence for two planned murders and one attempted murder. The daily Právo reports that Kajínek filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court this week against judges in Plzeň and Prague who rejected his second petition for a retrial. The complaint reads that he did not receive a fair trial, arguing primarily that police investigators at the 1993 crime scene did not dust for fingerprints. Jiří Kajínek has maintained his innocence in the double murder since the beginning and escaped from prison on three occasions. He was recently the subject of a major film that renewed questions around his guilt.
The controversial Czech artist Roman Týc, from the Ztohoven group, is due to open an exhibition of pictures created from the ashes of deceased persons at the Dvorak Sec Contemporary Gallery in Prague on Tuesday evening. Challenged about abusing human remains the artist said there was a surplus of unwanted human ashes in crematoriums which ended up on dump heaps. He told the CTK news agency that with his Grave Robber exhibition he wanted to spark debate on the sick way present day society deals with death.
President Václav Klaus has ratified a legislative amendment aimed at speeding up the settlement of complaints filed with the Supreme Administrative Court. The court will, for the first time, have the ability to overturn contested decisions without their being returned to district courts, as was hitherto the case. The amendment to this practice is expected to accelerate the work of the court by at least half a year. The new law also gives the ombudsman the authority to file cases in the public interest directly to administrative courts, which could previously be done only through a state prosecutor.
The chief justice of the Constitutional Court, Judge Pavel Rychetský, has
been mentioned as a possible candidate for president by a number of Social
Democrats, the news website iDnes has reported. Mr Rychetský, who rejected
candidacies in 2003 and 2008, would be particularly suitable if indirect
elections remain unchanged, an unnamed source from within the Social
Democratic party told the daily. Mr Rychetský for his part has said he
does not intend to announce candidacy and would not be commenting further.
On Friday, Civic Democrat Přemysl Sobotka announced his intention to run, asking for the support of his fellow party members. The chairman of the TOP 09 party, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, has also been mentioned as a likely candidate if the current system is changed to direct presidential elections
The first private trains to rival Czech Railways began service on Monday on the Ostrava Prague line. The RegioJet company, which belongs to the Student Agency group known for its bus services, will be operating three trains daily on the Havířov – Ostrava – Olomouc – Prague line in each direction. In the future the company intends to increase the connections to 18 a day. RegioJet is also looking to compete against the dominant railway player through passenger services, offering free internet connection, better mobile signal, and free newspapers and beverages. The first trains were reportedly sold out on Monday. Another private company, Leo Express, intends to compete on the Ostrava – Prague line beginning in December of 2012.
The executive council of the Civic Democratic Party on Monday called upon the heads of Mr Kalousek’s party, TOP 09, to distance themselves from the variously abrasive statements he has made towards them, deputy chairwoman Miroslava Němcová told reporters. Prime Minister Nečas, the chairman of the Civic Democrats, said that political rivalry between the two right-wing parties had its limits, and that the finance minister’s fatigue and irritability do not excuse him. Earlier, Mr Kalousek attacked the prime minister directly, saying he served only by the grace of Civic Democrat Mafioso.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek apologised on Monday to two Civic Democrat MEPs who he publically called “insignificant idiots”. Mr Kalousek said he was deeply ashamed of having used such language at a moment of exceptional stress. The remark came in response to criticism from the Euro MPs that the finance minister had been neglecting his duty to attend meetings of the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council. He nonetheless rejected their claims. The finance minister has frequently drawn attention in recent weeks for harsh verbal attacks on colleagues and in one case for physically attacking a member of the public who insulted him. Prime Minister Nečas has expressed concern about his state of health.