All 14 ministers in the freshly sworn-in Czech government have assumed their posts. On Thursday, Dalibor Štys took over at the Education Ministry, said he would not go ahead with a reform of the university system planned by his predecessor unless it gets sufficient political backing. The government officials inducted into office on Thursday included Minister of Labour and Social Affairs František Koníček, Justice Minister Marie Benešová, Health Minister Martin Holcát, and others.
Two hundred and 36 people died on Czech roads between January and June this year, which is the lowest number for that period of the year since 1970, the police said on Thursday. Nearly 40,300 traffic accidents occurred in the first six months of 2013, which was some 1,200 more than in the same period last year. Poor driving and speeding were the most frequent causes, according to the police.
The EU’s Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that the Czech Republic had failed to meet its obligations arising from an EU railway directive. The court criticized the maximum fees set by the Czech Finance Ministry for using railway infrastructure, as well as a lack of incentives for the infrastructure’s operator to cut costs. Under EU law, the Czech authorities are obliged to implement the findings as soon as possible or face penalization.
Jailed MP David Rath will not be allowed to participate in a lower house vote on the dissolution of parliament, a court in Prague has ruled. Mr Rath, who was arrested in May 2012 on corruption charges, asked to be allowed to take part in the vote, which is scheduled for July 17 and would trigger snap elections if passed. Mr Rath’s attorney said his client wanted to support the motion.
Police sniffer dogs uncovered two tiger skeletons concealed in wooden speaker boxes at Prague airport, the Czech Environmental Inspection said. The skeletons were probably on their way to a country in Asia where they could fetch some 24,000 US dollars, according to the inspectors. The police are looking for the owners of the contraband, who could face up to three years in jail.
The air forces of 19 NATO members are set to take part in the annual Ramstein Rover exercise held in the Czech Republic in September, the Czech Army said. This year, the exercise will focus on practising cooperation of tactical aircraft and helicopters with forward air controllers, with a view to fulfilling their tasks in NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the army said.
The Czech Banking Association on Thursday cut its economic forecast for 2013. It now predicts an 0.8 percent contraction of the country’s GDP, down from the 0.2 percent the association predicted in April. The report cites an unexpected drop in GDP in the first quarter of this year as the main reason for the revision; however, the authors said the economy should start recovering moderately towards the end of the year when quarter-on-quarter growth is expected.
The police on Thursday charged a third person in connection with last weekend’s anti-Roma rally in the southern city of České Budějovice, a police spokesman said. A 20-year-old man faces charges for assaulting a police officer with a glass bottle. Another two people were charged earlier this week for hurling stones and assaulting officers. The police also said they believe the organizer of the previous anti-Roma rally in České Budějovice broke the law when he called on participants to walk on a local housing estate where some Roma families live.
Senator Tomio Okamura has filed a criminal lawsuit against the Czech branch of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. Mr Okamura accused the group of breaching the law by conducting unauthorized business activities and providing inaccurate financial reports. The senator also said TI sponged off public funds. Last year, the watchdog criticized Mr Okamura over non-transparent financing of his presidential campaign.
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