The acting head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes says she is considering suing her predecessor for alleged financial mismanagement. Pavla Foglová told journalists on Friday that former director Daniel Herman had paid bonuses in January that the institution did not possess and had raised the salaries of dozens of senior employees shortly before his removal last month. Mr. Herman says his sacking by the Institute’s left-controlled board was a political move. The state agency administers the files of the StB secret police and other documents from the communist era.
The Czech Republic beat Belarus 2:0 in their opening game at the World Ice Hockey Championship in Stockholm on Friday with the goals coming from Jakub Voráček and Radim Vrbata. The result means the Czechs – who were last crowned world champions three years ago – have maintained their record of never having lost their opening in the tournament. Alois Hadamczik’s charges will face stiffer competition on Saturday, when they face hosts Sweden.
A couple have received eight-year jail terms for the grave mistreatment of a sick woman who subsequently died. Zdeněk and Alena Hostaš, from a small town near Olomouc, were looking after the woman, the man’s mother, and lived off her disability benefit money. However, they kept the 62-year-old woman, who had suffered a stroke, in appalling conditions in an unheated room without adequate food, drink or medicines. She died a few weeks after being taken into hospital early this year.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, appointed three new Constitutional Court judges on Friday. Following Senate approval of their nominations last week, academics Jaroslav Fenyk and Jan Filip have joined the country’s highest court, as has judge Milada Tomková. The Senate also gave its backing to the nomination of Vladimír Sládeček; he will be appointed next month when the term of one of the current justices comes to an end. All in all, seven of the 15 members of the Constitutional Court are stepping down this year.
A collection of interviews with the great Czech actor and writer Jan Werich is set for release later this month, a spokesperson for the label Supraphon said on Friday. The interviews were conducted by his daughter Jana in 1969, when Werich was in his mid 60s, and broadcast in a weekly series on Czechoslovak Radio entitled Táto, povídej! (Talk, Dad!). His colourful stories, which also take in a period he spent living in the United States in the early 1940s, will come out in an eight-CD box set.
Justice Minister Pavel Blažek has vehemently denied allegations that his ministry authored the controversial amnesty declared at the start of the year by then president Václav Klaus. The allegations came from Mr Klaus’ former legal advisor, Pavel Hasenkopf, who said the ministry had prepared a detailed draft of the amnesty with two goals in mind: alleviating the country’s overcrowded prisons and ridding the justice system of old cases. Minister Blažek said this was an outright lie, adding that he was considering legal action in the ministry’s defence. President Klaus’ controversial amnesty among others halted the prosecution of cases lasting for more than eight years including some high-profile corruption cases from the 1990s.
A group of Czech and Slovak tourists are reported to have caused a security alert at London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday after customs detected an object resembling a detonator in one of their suitcases. According to the internet news site TVNOVINY.SK the group of seven Slovaks and two Czechs was surrounded by an anti-terrorist squad and questioned for close to seven hours. The Slovak in whose possession the suspicious object was found says he had no idea how it got there and claimed it may have been planted in his luggage while he slept. It is not clear how the object escaped the notice of customs officials at Vienna Airport. Seven members of the group have reportedly been released, the Slovak who caused the alarm and his wife remain in detention. The two Czechs who were bound for the United States reportedly returned to Bratislava after the US authorities refused them entry into the United States.
State school-leaving exams began for around 100,000 Czech secondary school students on Thursday, May2. The exams start with written tests in the Czech language and either math or English. Oral exams will take place in mid-May. Some 60 percent of students allegedly opted for English, the rest choosing math. The school-leaving exams this year only have one level of difficulty, a change from last year when students could choose between an easier and a more difficult version of the exam.
Czech war pilot Colonel Milan Malý, one of the last surviving Czechs who fought in the British Royal Air Force during World War Two, died at the age of 89 on Wednesday, the CTK news agency reports. After the war Colonel Malý served in the Czechoslovak military, but he was dismissed after the 1948 communist coup and was forced to seek manual jobs. He was rehabilitated after the fall of the communism in 1989. Colonel Malý was awarded three Czechoslovak and three British medals for bravery.
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