The Czech Republic has strongly condemned a nuclear test carried out by North Korea. In a statement, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the test was an irresponsible and regrettable move that threatened peace and stability in the region and was in contravention of international treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Tuesday’s nuclear test, the third carried out by North Korea, has been met by international condemnation, including from its ally and neighbour China.
An elephant calf born at Prague zoo on Monday is female, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. The baby was born to an elephant named Donna that came from Rotterdam zoo last year and keepers from the Dutch city were present for the birth. The elephant calf is the first one born at the zoo in its 80-year history and has generated a lot of interest, with 10,000 people “liking” a picture of it on its Facebook page. It will be shown to the public for the first time at the end of next month.
The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a proposal from the Prague Municipal Court to throw out in its entirety an amnesty declared by the president, Václav Klaus, on New Year’s Day. The court is still considering a previously filed challenge to the amnesty by a cross-party group of senators. It rejected the Prague court’s appeal for two reasons. First, because the senators had been the first to challenge a plank of the amnesty halting cases running for over eight years that could have resulted in jail terms of 10 years or less. Second, because the Prague court didn’t have the right to propose the abrogation of the whole amnesty. President Klaus said he was declaring the controversial amnesty to mark 20 years of the independent Czech Republic.
President-elect Zeman has said he will veto a bill that would allow for deputies from LIDEM, the smallest party in the coalition government, to form a parliamentary group. Mr. Zeman is a critic of LIDEM, a breakaway group from the disgraced Public Affairs, because the party has never stood in an election. He says their membership in the coalition casts doubt on its legitimacy and has called for early elections. If Mr. Zeman refuses to sign the bill when he becomes head of state, the Chamber of Deputies can overturn his veto with a simple majority.
The former Fiorentina and West Ham defender Tomáš Řepka says he may play for a club in a Czech regional league for “a beer and a sausage”, TV Nova reported. Řepka, who is 39, has been without a club since being released by top flight side České Budějovice before Christmas. However, if Řepka – known for his aggressive style and propensity to pick up red cards – does sign for Dobrovice he would also receive CZK 80,000 a week, Nova said.
A court in Ostrava has issued a European warrant for the arrest of former Social Democrat deputy Petr Wolf, who three weeks ago failed to turn up to begin serving a six-year jail term for fraud. A spokesperson said that the police had told the court there was a realistic suspicion that Mr. Wolf was no longer in the Czech Republic. There have been reports that the former politician had drawn substantial amounts from his bank account and last week the newspaper Právo said that it had received a text message from his mobile phone saying that he was disguised as a tree and was being bothered by a nesting woodpecker.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has appealed a court decision to stop the prosecution of several managers of the fraudulent construction firm H-System which stripped clients of nearly one billion crowns. The founder of the bankrupt construction company H-system Petr Smetka was sentenced to 12 years in prison back in 2004 but the case against three of the firm’s managers has dragged on. A Prague court recently stopped their prosecution on the grounds that the case falls under the presidential amnesty declared on January 1st. State attorneys have protested that the amnesty, which saw the release of some 6,000 prisoners, may halt several major corruption and embezzlement cases. The justice minister has pledged to do his utmost to prevent that.
Meteorologists have issued a snow alert for the coming 48 hours. Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to bring up to 15 centimetres of snow in the lower altitudes and approximately 30 centimetres of fresh snow in the mountain regions. Drivers have been warned to expect traffic complications and not to set out for the mountains without winter gear. The eastern part of the country is already battling with heavy snow with traffic complications and delays in public transport.
The number of Czech companies whose owners are registered in tax havens grew by almost 4 percent last year and has now crossed 12,500 according to an analysis conducted by the Czech Capital Information Agency. According to the data collected 3.4 percent of the total 366,500 companies registered in the Czech Republic are controlled from tax havens. Among the most popular tax havens for Czechs are European destinations such as the Netherlands, Cyprus and Luxembourg.
Trade and Industry Minister Martin Kuba has said he wants the government to look into the burgeoning solar energy scandal as soon as possible. The head of the Energy Regulatory Office Alena Vitásková last week accused her predecessors of having illegally upped the prices of electricity from solar plants incurring damages to the tune of tens of billions of crowns. Meanwhile, the head of the Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association says that the audit on which Ms Vitáskova based her accusations was doctored and was intended to cover up the organization’s present failings. The government is expected to discuss the matter later this week.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
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