An economist and an important political figure Valtr Komárek has died in Prague at the age of 82, having been hospitalized for a number of days following heart surgery. Mr Komárek, a holocaust survivor, played an important role in the reform wing of the Communist Party during the Prague Spring in the late 1960’s, and was an active participant of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In the mid-1960’s, Mr Komárek also served as an advisor to Che Guevara in Cuba. He was elected as an MP for the Social Democratic party in 1992, and a decade later was named the party’s honorary chairman. President Zeman, who has recently visited Mr Komárek at the hospital, said that he was one of the most important political figures in the Czech Republic since 1989.
The sixth annual Czech Beer Festival started on Thursday. The 16-day event, which highlights the best Czech-brewed beers is taking place at the Holešovice Exhibition Grounds in Prague. Entrance is free every weekday before 2 pm. Live concerts will be held in the evenings for the duration of the festival.
Following a proposal from the deputy prime minister, Karolína Peake, the Czech government decided to increase the budget of the police anti-corruption unit by 69 million crowns. The LIDEM party chairwoman indicated that the technical equipment of the unit is in a deplorable state. Around 39 million crowns from the newly allocated funds will be used to purchase new vehicles, and more than nine million for new computers. More than 20 million will be used to expand the unit’s staff.
An internal police investigation has revealed that the former head of the anti-corruption unit, Tomáš Martinec, violated protocol when he showed Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová evidence compiled against her estranged husband. In mid-April, Ms Bradáčová asked the police president, Martin Červíček, to investigate possible leaks from the anti-corruption unit to the media and later told a source that she believed Mr Martinec was preparing a smear campaign against her. The unit director denied any wrongdoing, but resigned from his post in late April. Following the result of the initial investigation, disciplinary proceedings were initiated on Wednesday, although the police president stressed that there was no evidence that Mr Martinec had committed a crime.
London football club Chelsea, with star goalkeeper Petr Čech, have clinched back-to-back European titles (last year triumphing in the Champions League and this year the Europa League). On Thursday night, Chelsea got the jump on Benfica on the hour on a Fernando Torres breakaway, although Benfica’s Cardozo soon tied the game on a penalty. Later in the match, Cardozo struck a perfect volley that was only just cleared by Čech, while at the opposite end Lampard shot from 25 metres and hit the woodwork. The winner for Chelsea came from Branislav Ivanovič just before the final whistle. Even so, with five or ten seconds remaining Benfica’s Cardozo had an opportunity to equalise but the ball was kicked away by Gary Cahill in a scramble in front of Čech.
The Czech Republic lost to the Swiss 2:1, in an emotional quarterfinal match at the Hockey World Championship in Sweden. The Swiss got in their first goal within the first seven minutes of the match thanks to the Czech defenseman Marek Židlický, who ricocheted the puck, after the goalkeeper’s successful save, off of his shin and into the net. The Swiss surged ahead with a second goal in the next period. In the thir perio, the Czechs used the first power play to their advantage, when Zdeňek Kutlák, who used to play for the Swiss team Ambri-Piotta, scored the team’s first and only goal. Despite the pressure the Czechs put on their opponents in the last 10 minutes of the match, they were unable to turn the game around. The Czechs lost their chance at a medal this year, making this the first time they will be heading home without a world cup title since 2009.
Twelve refugees from Chechnya were discovered by the Czech police travelling in a van near Rozvadov in western Bohemia. Members of the group, which included six children, had applied for asylum in Poland, and according to the Dublin Convention were meant to remain there until a decision was made about their applications. The Russian citizens told the Czech police that they were travelling to Germany. Since they have no legal status in other EU states besides the country of entry, the Czech authorities have asked their Polish colleagues to take the group into their custody.
The new head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes Pavla Foglarova has presented the supervisory board with a list of candidates for the institutes’ academic board after its former members resigned en masse in protest over the sacking of the institute’s former head Daniel Herman. The new academic board should have 12 members and the proposed candidates include the former politician and historian Petr Pithart, historian Vilem Precan, the present director of the Institute of Modern History Oldrich Tuma and number of foreign experts including the French historian Muriel Blaive, who currently resides in Vienna, and the Danish historian Peter Bugge, an expert on Bohemian studies. The institute has recently undergone far-reaching personnel changes and relations within remain tense.
President Miloš Zeman has selected three more nominees for Constitutional Court judges to replace those whose term in office expires later this year. They are Supreme Administrative Court judge Katerina Šimáčková, current Constitutional Court judge Miloslav Výborný who would be nominated for re-election and Supreme Court judge Ludvík David. Mr. Zeman met with all three candidates on Tuesday and will now propose their nominations to the Senate. The president appointed three new judges to the Constitutional Court in early May and the 15-member body is now complete, but the mandates of seven more judges are due to expire this year.
Maintenance work has started on the main runway at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport. From mid-May until the end of September the airport will have to rely on alternate runways. This is the second stage of a three phase-reconstruction due to end in 2014. The airport says it has carefully planned the use of the alternate runaways in order to protect people living in the vicinity of the airport from excessive noise pollution as much as possible. The matter is also being consulted with experts on noise pollution.
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