Outgoing Prime Minister Petr Nečas has sent a letter to the State Attorney’s office stating that he is ready to provide information relevant to the case involving his former chief-of-staff Jana Nagyová. Mr Nečas is hoping that his testimony will help limit the time that suspects in the case remain in police custody. Ms Nagyová and seven other former politicians and public officials were arrested in an police raid in mid-June. The former chief-of-staff is a suspect in two cases, one of which is related to her allegedly ordering military intelligence to spy on the prime minister’s wife. These circumstances caused Mr Nečas to resign from office, precipitating the current government crisis.
Oscar-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone arrived on Tuesday for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival underway since last week. Mr Stone, the director of acclaimed films like Wall Street and Platoon, is to receive a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. In addition to directing, Oliver Stone has written a number of acclaimed scripts including Midnight Express (for which he received his first Oscar) and True Romance (directed by the late Tony Scott).
Parts of the Czech Republic’s D1 highway will be closed off beginning on 8 PM Friday and lasting until 2 PM the next day. A section of the highway at Loket – Koberovice between the 66th to 81st kilometres will be closed, with detours in place, as well as the 153rd to 162nd kilometres near Velká Biteš. The sections of the highway will be closed to allow the demolition of six overpasses. Fourteen police units will oversee traffic in the Vysočina area where the demolitions are taking place. Friday marks the beginning of a long weekend in the Czech Republic; some motorists may opt to head to country homes or other destinations a day earlier.
The mayor of Kyjov, Frantíšek Lukl, 35, has accepted an offer by prime minister-designate Jiří Rusnok to become the new minister for regional development. In a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Lukl said he would look to continue preparations for the drawing of EU funds from 2014 – 2020. The official, a graduate from the Faculty of Law at Brno´s Masaryk University, has served as mayor since 2005. Jiří Rusnok’s caretaker government is to be appointed on July 10.
Top Czech women’s tennis player Petra Kvitová was defeated in the quarter-finals at the Wimbledon Championships on Tuesday by Belgian player Kirsten Flipkens. Although she won the first set, Kvitová was handily beaten in the second and allowed Flipkens to serve for the match in the third after making a crucial mistake at 4:4. The final score was 6:4, 3:6, 4:6. Kvitová expressed deep disappointment afterwards in an interview for iDnes: she was the highest-seeded player left in her half of the field, and some had suggested she could go as far as the final, which she won in 2011. Flipkens, the 20th seed, will face Marion Bartoli in the semis.
The Vietnamese and Belorussian communities in the Czech Republic will have their own representatives on the government’s Council for National Minorities, the outgoing coalition agreed on Wednesday. The news was released by the human rights commissioner Monika Šimůnková. Until now, representatives of both communities took part as guest attendees. Adam Kalita, of the NGO Pahonia, will represent the Belorussians, while Huu Uyen Pham, of the NGO Van Lang, will represent the Vietnamese community. The new members will be able to help form legislation regarding minorities. Until now 12 minorities were represented: Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Polish, Roma, Ruthenian, Russian, Greek, Slovak, Serbian, and Ukrainian.
American actor F. Murray Abraham – best-known in the Czech Republic for his Oscar-winning performance as composer Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (Miloš Forman, 1984), will head to Karlovy Vary on Thursday for the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. On Wednesday evening Mr Abraham is performing at the Prague Proms; organisers of both festivals were able to ensure he would attend Karlovy Vary as well. He and cinematographer Miroslav Ondřícek will present Czech costume designer Theodor Pištěk (who, like Mr Abraham, received an Oscar for Amadeus) with a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. F. Murray Abraham has starred in dozens of film productions throughout his career including Scarface and the sci-fi thriller Mimic. In 1990 he played the title role in a TV version of Václav Havel’s Largo Desolato.
Outgoing Culture Minister Alena Hanáková took a final decision on a building on Wenceslas Square and Opletalova Street slated for demolition, making clear it was not a heritage site and could be torn down to make room for a new one. The project faced opposition earlier from some experts and members of the public who took part in demonstrations. A commission spent several months looking into the matter. City Hall earlier gave the building’s owner, Flow East, the go-ahead to tear the building down. If the decision were reversed now, the firm indicated, it would have sought compensation in the millions of crowns.
The Czech Republic was the worst country in the EU last year in terms of drawing and reporting European funding, according to the European Commission’s annual report. The document criticizes the Czech finance ministry’s inability to carry out proper checks of money received from the EU’s operational funds. As a result of the ministry’s failure to install a functional system of oversight, recipients and bodies distributing funding made a number of mistakes and even committed fraud, resulting in significant losses for the state budget. The ministry admitted past mistakes, saying that most of them happened because audits were carried out by the institutions that distributed the money, not by the finance ministry itself.
The No. 7 seed, Tomáš Berdych, lost his quarter-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday against Novak Djokovic. He and the World No. 1 played a tight first set but the Czech player gave up a number of easy points and lost the tie-break to give the Serbian the set. In the second, Berdych broke Djokovic’s serve twice to take an early 3:0 lead, but the latter recovered and eventually won the second set as well. In the third, Djokovic dominated and gave his opponent few chances. The final score was 7:6, 6:4, 6:3. Berdych has now faced Novak Djokovic on 16 occasions – and won only twice.