The hotly-anticipated trial of MP and former governor of Central Bohemia David Rath has begun at Prague’s Regional Court. Mr. Rath, who has been in custody for more than a year, faces charges of bribe-taking and manipulating public tenders. Outside the court, the one-time prominent Social Democrat handed out copies of a written statement saying he was innocent and would fight to the last. Mr. Rath and 10 other defendants, one of whom is a former MP, could face up to 12 years in jail if found guilty of the alleged corruption.
Czech national team coach Michal Bílek has called up uncapped Liberec striker Michael Rabušic ahead of a soccer friendly against Hungary in Budapest next Wednesday. Rabušic, who is 23, has scored three goals in three league games for his club so far this season, and also found the net in a Europa League qualifier. The Czech squad will be without two of its most important players, captain Tomáš Rosický and goalkeeper Petr Čech.
A debate is taking place in the Chamber of Deputies ahead of a vote of confidence in the caretaker government of Jiří Rusnok. The cabinet was installed by President Miloš Zeman in the face of opposition from the former coalition government, which said it could deliver enough votes to win a majority. The parties that were previously in opposition have said they will back the caretaker cabinet, though most commentators are predicting defeat for Prime Minister Rusnok in Wednesday’s vote.
President Miloš Zeman named Pavel Rychetský, Ludvík David and Kateřina Šimáčková to the Constitutional Court in a ceremony at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Justice Rychetský, who was first appointed to the Czech Republic’s highest court in 2003, will continue to serve as its chairman. The other two justices will sit on the court for the first time. With Wednesday’s appointments, the 15-member court is now complete.
In the wake of Mr. Zeman’s speech, the former coalition’s candidate for prime minister, Miroslava Němcová, said the three-party alliance would have to rethink its position. It had been waiting for a possible chance to form a government, if the president’s second nominee for prime minister failed. However, Mrs. Němcová said on Wednesday that if the situation continued she would not rule out the former coalition parties now helping other parties dissolve Parliament, so bringing about early elections. She also suggested the constitution could be changed to reign in the president’s powers.
The Czech league title holders Viktoria Plzeň are set to welcome the Estonian side Kalju in the second leg of their Champions League third qualification round tie on Wednesday night. Plzeň go into the game in a strong position after a 4:0 win in Tallinn. There is one more round of qualification for club soccer’s most prestigious competition, though defeat in the fourth qualifying round comes with a place in the second-tier tournament the Europa League.
A 19-year-old Czech man has admitted to murdering his Czech girlfriend, who was 24, in the western Indian state of Goa on Wednesday. The women’s body, which had neck wounds, was discovered in their room at a beachfront hotel. The man at first claimed that the pair had been kidnapped by two attackers and deliberately injured himself to substantiate the story. However, he later confessed to committing the murder himself.
Speaking ahead of the confidence vote, President Miloš Zeman said that if MPs didn’t approve the interim cabinet it could remain in place for some time. Mr. Zeman told the lower house that he would not charge a new prime minister with forming a government as long as an investigation centred on a former aide to the previous prime minister was ongoing; the arrest of Jana Nagyová on charges of abetting bribery and abuse of office helped bring down the last government, headed by Petr Necaš. The prosecutor in the case says it could take several weeks for the investigation to be completed. Under the constitution, there is no time limit under which the president would have to task a second prime minister with forming a cabinet.
Drivers on the Czech Republic’s main motorway the D1 can from Wednesday access more accurate information online about closures and waiting times in certain sections and estimated time to their destination, the news website aktuálně.cz reported. The information, which is collated by a new system operated by the country’s roads authority, is available at the website www.dopravniinfo.cz. One of the people behind the system said it has to now often been a “lottery” as to whether motorists on the D1 reached their destination on time.
The Czech Republic will buy 100,000 tonnes of oil for its emergency reserves by mid-2014 the internet news site ihned.cz reported on Tuesday. The Administration of State Material Reserves will declare an open tender for deliveries worth around 1.6 billion crowns. Only reliable suppliers with at least a three-year history in the business and three or more similar orders implemented in the past will be considered. Price will be the main criterion.
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