The Czech Transport Ministry on Friday released detailed information about subsidies of the country’s express train services. The state annually pays around four billion crowns for the services provided by the state-owned Czech Railways. The highest sum – some 650 million crowns – covers losses on the major train route between Germany and Austria via Prague, Brno and Břeclav. However, the biggest losses – some 225 crowns per each kilometre – are registered on Ostrava-Krnov-Olomouc route. The ministry released the information in connection with a tender issued last year for the operation of the Olomouc-Ostrava line. Czech Railways criticized the move as potential harmful to the company.
The opposition Public Affairs party has filed a complaint to the
Constitutional Court over the restitution of church property, its deputy
head said on Friday. The group complains about alleged irregularities in
the procedure in the lower house of Parliament, which approved the deal,
and other issues. The court received the complaint on December 31, its
Last November, the Czech Parliament approved a massive church property restitution deal under which the Roman Catholic Church and other religious group will get back property confiscated by the communist regime worth around 75 billion crowns; they are also set to receive another 59 billion in compensation for property that cannot be returned.
Czech tennis player Klára Zakopalová has reached the final of the WTA event in Shenzhen after she beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-1 6-3 in the semifinal. The fifth-seeded Czech, who has reached the finals of a WTA tournament for the first time in two years, will play top seed Li Na of China in the final on Saturday.
The Czech Constitutional Court on Friday unanimously rejected a request to postpone the country’s first direct presidential elections, and confirmed that the vote will take place on the originally planned dates; the first round of voting will be held on January 11 and 12, the second two weeks later. The request came from Senator Tomio Okamura whom the Interior Ministry refused to register as candidate. Mr Okamura demanded the election be postponed, and filed a complaint against the ministry’s decision. The Constitutional Court is yet to rule on Mr Okamura’s complaint itself; however, the court said he would not be allowed to stand in the election itself. Reacting to the court’s decision, Senator Okamura said the verdict would create doubts about the election and its legitimacy. The Constitutional Court on Friday also rejected complaints by three other people who were not registered as candidates for the election.
A court in Plzeň on Friday sentenced a woman to 20 years in prison for attempting to kill her five-year-old daughter. The woman originally received an exceptional sentence of 25 years but the Constitutional Court overturned the verdict. The woman was convicted of attempted murder; in 2010, she deliberately poisoned her daughter with antifreeze she added to her tea, and only called an ambulance several hours later. The girl survived without any permanent damage to her health.
More than 80 percent of people oppose the amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus, according to an online poll by the SANEP agency. More than 40 percent of people who took part in the survey consider the amnesty an immoral and irresponsible move which legitimizes serious crime, while 20 percent believe the amnesty will help criminals with links to top politicians. Some 10 percent of those polled approve of the amnesty’s scope.
Around 7,200 Czechs living abroad have registered to vote in the upcoming presidential election, the Czech Foreign Ministry said on Friday. That is some 600 people more than those registered to vote in the previous general election. Czech expats will have to cast their ballots at the country’s embassies and consulates; voting in the Americas will begin on Thursday at 5 PM CET due to the time difference.
Tickets for a Europa League knock-out stage game between Sparta Prague and Chelsea FC, to be played in Prague on February 14, will begin on January 21, a Sparta spokesman said on Friday. The tickets will cost between 950 and 2950 crowns, or between USD 50 and 150. The club will offer discounts to season ticket holders and members of its fan club; it’s possible that no tickets for the game will be available on general sale.
Planned changes to driving licence rules have prompted higher sales of scooters, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday. As of mid January, driving licences for cars will allow drivers to ride scooters with engines of up to 125 ccm; as a result, sales of motorcycles in this category have risen by some 30 percent in the past several months. The most popular model on the Czech market is the Honda PCX 125. However, overall sales of motorcycles decreased last year by around 8 percent.
Eight out of 36 Czech prisons on Friday concluded the release of prisoners freed under an amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus. Over 5,000 prisoners have been released so far, or around two-thirds of all those who are serving terms and are affected by the amnesty. In total, the amnesty shoudl affect over 32,000 people. Many of the freed prisoners have no financial means, and prisons therefore provide them with assistance to reach their homes. Several freed prisoners have already been arrested again for crimes committed soon after their release.