The Senate has approved an amendment that abolishes life-long immunity from prosecution for lawmakers and Constitutional Court judges, who will now have immunity only during their time in office. The opposition controlled Senate gave the long-awaited amendment more than the necessary three-fifth majority, though some Civic Democrat senators argued that the new law is not strict enough. They suggested the immunity should only apply to lawmakers’ statements in Parliament. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it cannot be vetoed by the president.
The Chamber of Deputies has voted to make Miloslav Kala the new president of the Czech Republic’s Supreme Audit Office. Mr. Kala, who is 49, is a member of the opposition Social Democrats and won the support of that party and the Civic Democrats in Tuesday’s vote; reports suggest a MP for the latter, Zdeňka Horníková, will become deputy president, taking the role currently occupied by Mr. Kala when he is appointed to the top post by President Miloš Zeman. The previous president of the Supreme Audit Office, František Dohnal, received a suspended sentence for failing to allow an investigation into the agency’s financing.
The Prague 9 district court acquitted the Social Democratic Prague
councilman Karel Březina, who was accused of withholding information
his place on the board of companies which were in bankruptcy proceedings
while joining the supervisory board of Prague’s Public Transit Company,
which constitutes fraud under Czech law. The district court ruled, though,
that Mr Březina did not intentionally commit a crime. The prosecution
immediately appealed the verdict.
Mr Březina was deputy to the mayor until 2011, when the coalition city government of the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 was formed. In the same year he was acquitted on fraud charges for the first time.
An Austrian court found a former Czech police officer guilty of a series of robberies and attempted robberies that he committed in Austria and Germany after leaving the police force in 2011. The Austrian news agency APA reported that the 42-year-old confessed to robbing or attempting to rob gas stations and banks in Linz and in the German city of Chemnitz. The man was given a four-year prison sentence.
Gazprom Germania, a subsidiary of Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom, and MND, which is part of KKCG group belongs to Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, have signed a contract to build an underground gas storage facility in Dambořici in southern Moravia, worth 2.5 billion crowns. The two companies plan to pay half of the investment each. The storage facilities, which should be opened in the middle of 2016, will be able to hold 448 million cubic meters of gas.
An amendment that introduces liquor licenses in the Czech Republic passed through the lower house of Parliament without changes in the first reading. The amendment will now be assessed by the Commerce Committee which will return it to the deputies. The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism said that the amendment is not strict enough, allowing any business owner to acquire the liquor license without checking their financial and business standing.
Tesco stores in the Czech Republic have discovered the first product produced in the Czech Republic that contains horsemeat. All the branches have taken Herkules salami off the shelves and is investigating the issue with the producer. The discovery was made as a result of testing that Tesco carried out on its own accord.
Lufthansa airlines have announced that it will cancel most of their flights inside Europea on Thursday due to a planned employee strike over salaries. Passengers are advised that Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf flights from and to Prague will most likely be cancelled in the first part of the day. The strike is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m., Central European time.
A group of opposition Belorussian activists – the Young European Federalists – have asked President Miloš Zeman to take a stand against the current Belorussian president, Alexander Luakshenko. They invited the Czech presidet to take part in Days of Belarus events, which will be taking place in April. The activist group has also asked for support from the Foreign Ministry.