The Czech Environmental Inspectorate has outlined that uncertified alcohol which will have to be destroyed for lack of documentation should be handled as dangerous waste. The inspectorate warned that anyone dumping alcohol without respecting existing legislation could face fines of up to 50 million crowns. Sellers have until the end of November to produce necessary certification or face having to dispose of their supply. It will be possible to destroy bottles of unknown origin, for example, at sites with industrial incinerators focussing on dangerous materials.
The anti-corruption police have accused deputy labour and social affairs minister Vladimir Šiška and ministry IT section head Milan Hojer of bribery, the Czech news website tyden.cz reports. The spokesman for the anti-corruption unit, Jaroslav Ibehej, confirmed that both men had been detained on Monday but declined to reveal additional details beyond the case being connected to public procurement. In a press release, the Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek of the TOP 09 party expressed dissatisfaction that the police had refused to give any details, calling procedures taken by the unit “scandalous ten days ahead of the Senate and regional elections”. If charged and found guilty in court the two could face officials detained on Monday could face up to six years in jail.
In connection with Monday’s developments there have been some calls within the TOP 09 party for Mr Drábek to resign. Karola Haasová, heading the candidates’ list in the region of Ústí made clear she thought he should do so.TOP 09 Olomouc chairman Tomáš Chalánek said the minister should at least consider the step.
The district court in Hradec Kralové sentenced a man responsible for the death of two little boys last year to eight years in prison. A previous six-year sentence handed to the man - Jaroslav Novák – was struck down earlier; Monday’s verdict can be appealed. Last year, Novák, an epilepsy sufferer who had been banned from driving, backed his car into and ran over the boys, who were brothers, at a zebra crossing they were on with their grandparents. The defendant apologised repeatedly on Monday. In court in May, he had said he remembered nothing of the incident. He had suggested earlier he had felt a seizure coming on but that was not confirmed by expert witnesses.
On Sunday more than 5,000 people signed the Czech version of the Amnesty International´s petition calling for the release of members of Pussy Riot, the Russian political punk band. Amnesty International revealed the outcome at a meeting it staged in support of the group in front of the Russian embassy in Prague. Some forty people attended the protest. The three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced in August to two years behind bars for a controversial performance in a Moscow church earlier in the year.
The chief bodyguard of the Czech president, Václav Klaus, has resigned following an incident on Friday in which a man was able to attack the head of state from extremely close range with a pellet-firing plastic gun. Explaining his decision to quit, Jiří Sklenka said that while he had not been present during the attack, which occurred in the north Bohemian town of Chrastava, he felt responsible for the actions of his subordinates. Mr. Klaus’s security detail were widely criticised for the slow and ineffective manner in which they reacted to the incident, with the president himself describing their response as an all-round failure. His attacker, 26-year-old Pavel Vondrouš, has been charged with disorderly conduct.
According to the police’s information, two men charged in connection with producing methanol-tainted bootleg liquor were the only source of the lethal concoction, state attorney Roman Kafka said on Sunday. To date, 26 people have died in the Czech Republic from drinking the fake booze, while others have been blinded. Mr. Kafka said the police were still investigating the pair’s accomplices, including highly-placed distributors. The Czech government banned the sale of all drinks with more than 20 percent alcohol content for almost two weeks following the spate of poisonings.
The Czech state is going to compensate vendors forced to destroy legally acquired alcoholic drinks because they have not been able to acquire on time confirmation that they come from a legitimate source. The state will return the VAT paid on such alcohol in the form of credit towards future income tax, the minister of finance, Miloslav Kalousek, said on Sunday. The government has decided that freshly produced alcohol with proof of origin and new stamps can be sold, as can alcohol produced before the start of 2011. Alcohol produced this year cannot be sold until a so-called “birth certificate” is acquired, within 60 days of last Thursday, when a ban on spirits with over 20 percent alcohol content – introduced in response to the methanol crisis – was partially lifted.
September 30 is the 10th anniversary of the final broadcast in the Czech language by Radio Free Europe, a U.S.-funded station that was established to transmit information across the Iron Curtain to the communist-controlled Eastern Bloc. The first ever broadcast by the station, which was based in Munich, West Germany, took place on May 1 1951 and was in Czech. After the fall of communism, then Czech president Václav Havel invited RFE/RL (by then it had merged with Radio Liberty) to move to Prague, from where it continues to broadcast to countries such as Belarus, Iran and Pakistan.
A DVD featuring the highlights of a concert held in honour of Václav Havel on the night of his funeral last December is being launched at Prague’s Akropolis music venue on Sunday night. Artists such as The Plastic People of the Universe, Suzanne Vega and Ivan Král performed in the original show, which took place at the Czech capital’s Lucerna complex (which was built by Mr. Havel’s grandfather) on December 23, following his state funeral at St. Vitus Cathedral. Members of The Plastic People are among the musicians set to take part in Sunday’s DVD launch.