The Czech telecommunications authority on Wednesday fined the Luxembourg-based operator of satellite TV channels Skylink and CS Link 15 million crowns for misleading advertising. The authority said that the firm last year imposed a charge on services it originally billed as free, and failed to inform its clients about the change. The firm said it would appeal the penalty.
The cabinet on Wednesday also approved an updated anti-corruption strategy for the years 2013 and 2014. The document, which mainly focuses on prevention, says political parties and civil servants are at the core of corruption in the country as they influence public procurement projects. The strategy recommends the introduction of new legislation including bills on civil service and the financing of political parties to make public procurement more transparent. According to Transparency International, which collaborated on the strategy, the Czech Republic ranked 54th in the world in the group’s corruption perception index, up from 57th place the previous year.
Czech tennis players Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek have advanced to the third round of the Australian Open. The eight-seed Berdych beat Guillaume Rufin of France 6-2 6-2 6-4 while Štěpánek, seeded 31st, defeated Spain’s Feliciano Lopez with the same score. In the women’s singles, Czechs Klára Zakopalová, Lucie Hradecká and Kristýna Plíšková have all been knocked out of the season-opening event in Melbourne.
With 9 days left before the second round of the Czech presidential elections, candidates Miloš Zeman and Karel Schwarzenberg took part in a debate hosted by Czech Radio. The presidential hopefuls discussed their views on a range of issues from central bank and Constitutional Court appointments to foreign policy and the country’s relation to the EU. Miloš Zeman, who came first in the election’s first round, dismissed concerns about his links to the Russian oil firm Lukoil; Karel Schwarzenberg said, among other things, he would prefer a majority vote for the lower house. Both candidates also expressed the view that the Czech Republic should only join the EU’s planned banking union after it adopts the euro.
Sixteen Czechs have received wireless pacemakers, the head of the cardiology department of Prague’s Na Homolce hospital, Professor Petr Neužil, said on Tuesday. The patients are the first people in the world to have been fitted with the revolutionary new US-developed Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker technology, said the professor, who carried out the operations in conjunction with American experts. The devices contain a battery and a pacemaker in one and are implanted directly into the heart.
The state attorney has decided to lodge a more serious charge against
influential businessman Roman Janoušek, Czech Radio reported. He was
arrested last year after, in a state of apparent inebriation, knocking down
another driver and speeding away. No details about the requalification of
the charge have been given, though Czech Radio said it appeared likely to
be attempted murder; that is because the case has been handed to the Prague
municipal state attorney’s office, which handles particularly serious
Janoušek had faced charges of intentional grievous bodily harm. The businessman, who is believed to have been close to former Prague mayor Pavel Bém and other politicians, could face up to 18 years in jail if found guilty of attempted murder.
The Civic Democrats have endorsed Karel Schwarzenberg, chairman of the party’s coalition partner TOP 09, in the second round of an election to succeed Václav Klaus as president that takes place at the end of next week. The Civic Democrats’ own candidate, Přemsyl Sobotka, came second last in the nine-candidate first round at the weekend. He had already given his backing to Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg, who faces left-wing former prime minister Miloš Zeman in the runoff to become the third president of the Czech Republic.
The Czech women’s tennis number one Petr Kvitová beat Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-4 2-6 6-2 in her opening match at the Australian Open on Tuesday. The one-time Wimbledon winner’s compatriot Lucie Šafářová also reached round two in Melbourne after beating the Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-6 6-4, while Lukáš Rosol did likewise by defeat Jamie Baker of the United Kingdom 7-6 7-5 6-2.
Roman Smetana, a former bus driver found guilty of drawing antennae on politicians’ campaign posters, has received a suspended sentence from a court in Olomouc for avoiding serving a jail term. Mr. Smetana was sent to prison after refusing to carry out a community service sentence; while he at first evaded the authorities, he eventually served the 100-day term and was released before Christmas. He has become a folk hero to some and is the subject of forthcoming documentary created by the makers of Czech Dream and Czech Peace.
An evening of free concerts will be held in support of Mr. Schwarzenberg on January 20 under the name Sunday Night with Karel. The events will be held in Prague and six other towns and cities and will feature several quite well-known musicians. The candidate appeared on stage at a show in Prague a few days before round one during a concert that attracted a number of big showbiz names.
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