MP Roman Pekárek is to report to prison within five days, to begin serving a five-year sentence for corruption and abuse of office. Mr. Pekárek on Monday confirmed receiving a court order and said he would not try to evade his responsibility. The lower house deputy was found guilty of accepting a one million crown bribe for selling municipal land to a businessman under price. He has resigned his membership in the Civic Democratic Party but has refused to give up his seat in the lower house. Under Czech law there is no way of forcing him to do so.
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.
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.
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.
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka has praised Pope Benedict’s leadership of the Catholic Church saying his decision to resign was an act of courage. Cardinal Duka recalled the Pope’s state visit to the Czech Republic in 2009 and its role in raising awareness and understanding of the role of the church in modern society. He called on believers to pray for the Pope’s health. The Archbishop of Olomouc Jan Graubner said the Pope’s resignation was a sign of respect for the office he held and showed great spiritual strength and humility.
Prague’s Troya Zoo has announced the birth of an elephant calf, the first in the zoo’s 80-year-old history. The calf was born on Monday to a female elephant who came to Prague Zoo in the spring of this year from Rotterdam. Her keepers from Rotterdam Zoo were present at the birth. According to a zoo spokesman the newborn calf will be shown to the public on March 30th.
The Ministry of Culture has decided that a former slaughterhouse in Prague’s Holešovice district will remain a protected historical landmark. Prague Town Hall had requested a downgrading in its protected status, arguing that some parts have of the site have no historical value, and can now appeal the ministry’s ruling. The one-time slaughterhouse is today home to Holešovice market, which has been rebranded as “Prague Market” in recent years.
The body that brings together companies active in the solar power field is planning to file a criminal complaint against the chairwoman of the Energy Regulatory Office, Alena Vitásková. A representative of the Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association said on Czech TV on Sunday that the regulator deliberately produced false data that was then used by the Constitutional Court. The court ruled last year that the government was within its rights to put a retroactive tax on solar power plant investors in order to curb a solar boom. The industry body says the Energy Regulatory Office’s action against its own staff has been intended to cover up for the organisation’s failings.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech says he will be fit to play against his former club Sparta Prague in a Europa League tie in the Czech capital on Thursday. Čech broke a finger in a game for the English Premier League side last weekend, but turned out for them on Saturday wearing a protective splint. The player, who is 30, said on his own website that Chelsea’s doctors had left it up to him whether to take to the field. He has never faced Sparta since leaving the Czech club over a decade ago.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”