Police in Prague are investigating alleged tampering with a car elevator at a Prague apartment building which may be a case of attempted murder. Alena Vitásková, the head of the country’s Energy Regulatory Office, who has regularly received death threats, expressed no doubt that someone had tried to take her life by tampering with the elevator to force its collapse. Mrs Vitásková’s partner was caught in the elevator for several hours on Monday. Mrs Vitaskova has had police protection the last half-a-year, after someone on the highway tried to force her car off the road.
Descendants of Jan Antonín Baťa -founder of the successful shoe-making empire - have asked Slovakia for millions of euros in compensation for property confiscated under the Beneš Decrees in 1947. The move comes following Baťa’s rehabilitation by Slovakia's courts and a decision to scrap the validity of the 1947 verdict which found him guilty of collaboration with Nazi Germany. The Czechoslovak shoe manufacturer set up four industrial centres in Slovakia and invested in hotels, spa resorts, and real estate. Baťa’s descendants have staked a similar claim in the Czech Republic where they are demanding 56 million crowns in compensation for confiscated property.
The Czech Republic’s state debt rose by 10.5 billion crowns in the first half of 2013, reaching an overall total of more than 1.6 trillion. Broken down, the share of the debt per citizen comes to almost 160 thousand, the Finance Ministry confirmed. According to ministry forecasts, the state debt will rise to 1.8 trillion by the end of next year and 1.9 trillion by the end of 2015.
Police in Most briefly detained two homeless men on Friday after a passerby witnessed the two boarding a local tram with a dead boar. The men said they had found the animal as road kill near the town’s train station. The police took the carcass away for proper disposal after filing a report, writes Mladá fronta Dnes.
The labour ministry has exhausted four-fifths of its budget for people or families in emergencies or crisis this year: 7.5 billion crowns in the first seven months – 1.7 billion more than the same period in 2012. More individuals and families have signed for social benefits or welfare, and unemployment did not improve, the Labour Office’s report notes. This year, more funds went to the unemployed and the handicapped.
Former prime minister and ex-chairman of the Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek announced on Friday that he will not run in the upcoming election although he will fully back his party, LEV 21. Mr Paroubek charged that public media attention given to his party had been scant, adding the party had only raised a third of funds needed for a proper election campaign. He did his praise LEV 21 for well-prepared candidates’ lists. Unlike other politicians who have launched election campaigns in recent days, Mr Paroubek has suggested that the elections will do little to improve current conditions. LEV 21 had two MPs in the lower house, both former Social Democrats; polls aren’t giving the small party much chance of getting into the Chamber of Deputies.
The Citizens’ Rights Party–Zemanites’ is torn over the nomination of
controversial political “lobbyist” Miroslav Šlouf to head the
party’s Prague ballot in October’s general elections. The announcement
that Mr. Šlouf had been approved as the party’s Prague leader was
followed by denials and conflicting reports from party insiders throughout
the day while the party leadership remained tight-lipped and called off a
planned press briefing on Thursday night. While insiders suggested the
controversial lobbyist’s nomination was a PR stunt to raise the
profile ahead of the elections, Mr. Šlouf himself said he had accepted
nomination in good faith and was ready to serve the party.
One-time chief political advisor to President Miloš Zeman, Miroslav Šlouf is a highly controversial figure – a former communist believed to have enormous influence and connections to the underworld who has been linked to many political scandals and shady deals. Although he is credited with Mr. Zeman’s election victory, the president has publicly distanced himself from his former advisor.
U.S. Open doubles champion Radek Štěpánek will face Argentina's Juan Monaco in the opening singles of the Czech Republic's Davis Cup semi-final on Friday as the defending champions bid to reach a third final in five years. World number five Tomáš Berdych will then take on Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the second of the opening day's matches in Prague.
The Prague Transport Company has refused a delivery of four new trams from the Skoda Transportation Company due to a series of technical faults, the ctk news agency reports. The company said the trams had serious defects which prevented them from being put to use. It said it had been forced to return trams with similar defects in the past. Skoda Transportation has a contract to deliver 32 new trams to Prague Transport this year. The company has failed to comment on the development.
The centre-right TOP 09 has launched an election campaign in defense of parliamentary democracy. Among the party’s stated priorities are curbing the powers of the president, setting a time-frame for the adoption of the euro and boosting the role of education and culture in society. The party also wants to encourage greater civic and individual responsibility, including measures to curb excessive smoking, drinking and overeating.
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