A military police investigation has concluded that a Czech soldier found dead at the military army base in Libava committed suicide. The 38-year-old soldier is believed to have shot himself in the head outside army barracks. A spokesman for the military police said an autopsy had confirmed the suicide theory. It is the second suicide at the Libava military base in the last 12 months.
Government officials, cultural figures and war veterans gathered at Prague’s Vítkov memorial on Tuesday to pay their last respects to WWII veteran general Tomas Sedláček who died last week at the age of 94. The general fought with the Allies in France, Britain and later with the Soviet army helping to liberate Czechoslovakia. After the communist take-over he was arrested convicted of anti-communist activities and jailed for life. He was released in 1960 and exonerated by the Czech Velvet Revolution in 1989. President Vaclav Klaus, who awarded him the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, described him as „a true soldier“. A private funeral ceremony for family and friends only was held in the late afternoon.
Prime Minister Petr Necas said on Tuesday he was prepared to stake his
government's future on winning parliamentary approval for controversial tax
hikes aimed at reducing the gap in public spending. The proposed bill
includes a 1 percent hike in the lower and basic VAT rates to 15 and 21
percent respectively in 2013 and a “solidarity tax for the rich”
pertaining to people earning more than 100,000 crowns a month for a period
of three years. The bill, earlier rejected by the Senate, has divided the
lower house with some members of the prime minister’s own Civic Democrats
refusing to support it on the grounds that it would strangle the economy.
The governing coalition which now has 100 deputies in the lower house would
need to muster 101 votes to overturn the Senate’s veto. However six Civic
Democrat deputies have indicated they will not support the bill.
At a meeting of his party’s deputies club on Tuesday Prime Minister Petr Nečas said he was prepared to link the fate of the government to the said bill in a repeat vote should it be rejected. He said the ruling coalition would have no reason to remain in office if it were unable to fulfill its primary goal –fulfilling its fiscal consolidation plan.
Twenty-seven German hospitals have announced they will take part in the fourth international job fair in Prague in November of this year. In addition to head hunters the hospitals are sending Czech specialists already working in Germany to provide references with regard to work conditions and pay. In 2011 over 500 highly qualified Czech specialists sought and found work abroad getting four times the salary they receive in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic stands to lose the equivalent of 4-5 billion crowns due to problems in drawing money from EU funds, according to Education Minister Petr Fiala. Minister Fiala said it was now almost certain the available funds would not be drawn by the end of the year due to poorly prepared projects and delays on the Czech side. Efforts are now being made to minimize the impact of this fall out on the state budget. There are fears that the problems with drawing of EU funds could seriously impact the government’s consolidation strategy.
Police on Tuesday raided the offices of the Usti regional administration arresting six people. Among those detained was the governor’s deputy Pavel Kouda. According to Czech Television the arrests are linked to suspicious financial activities in the North-West operation program. Its current head Pavel Markvart is being questioned by the police. In July of this year the program’s former head Petr Kusnierz was sentenced to 7 years in jail for accepting millions of crowns in bribes and manipulating EU grants. Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said in response to the news that Pavel Kouda would be taken off the party’s list of candidates for the autumn regional elections.
An as yet unspecified pollutant contaminated a 20 kilometre stretch of the Hana river near the town of Nezamyslice in the early hours of Tuesday doing considerable damage to local water species. Dozens of fish are reported to have been killed despite the fact that fire brigades from three regions fought to contain the pollutant. Experts have taken samples of the dead fish to try and ascertain what killed them and who may have been responsible.
The mandate and immunity committee of the lower house on Monday voted to recommend to MPs to allow police to extend charges against MP David Rath. The police want to add new charges related to purchases of equipment for Central Bohemian healthcare facilities. The former Social Democrat governor of the region has been in police custody since his arrest in May on corruption charges. He attended the committee’s session in person on Monday after he was escorted there from prison.
The real wage decreased by 1.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. The average salary increased by 2.3 percent and reached just over 24,600 crowns; however, the real wage decreased after deducting inflation. Analysts say relatively high inflation of 3 percent along with unfavourable development on the labour market and uncertain economic outlook were the main causes of the decrease in the real wage which was higher than expected.
The Czech Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that churches and religious
societies can pursue their property restitution demands at courts without
having to wait for specific legislation to be passed by Parliament. Former
church property, confiscated by the communist regime, was in 1991
by an act which said all demands would be dealt with in special
legislation. Reviewing a complaint by a Roman Catholic parish in Nový
Bydžov, in eastern Bohemia, however, the court said on Monday that since
no such law had been passed to date, churches can take the state to court
over individual demands.
The lower house of Parliament is later this week scheduled to vote on a controversial bill that would return the Roman Catholic Church and other groups some 135 billion crowns worth of property, partly in financial compensation. Some lawyers believe that Monday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court would pave the way for church property restitution even if the bill is rejected.
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