Justice Minister Pavel Blažek, a member of the Civic Democratic Party, has said he will order a review of the massive police raid which took place last week at the Office of the Government. The raid marked the beginning of a crisis which led to the resignation of the prime minister and consequently the government this week. Minister Blažek stressed that the review, the results of which are expected in several weeks, was in no way an attempt to gauge the “guilt or innocence” of parties arrested, but solely to ascertain whether the use of 400 officers was called for in the arrest, as he put it, of six individuals (two others were arrested later). The proposal received unanimous support from the government, the minister said. The centre-right cabinet is only staying on in a caretaker capacity until the president chooses a prime minister designate to try and form a new coalition.
Police suspect that around 120 million crowns and kilos of gold seized at a Prague bank last week, part of a broad anti-graft operation, belong to controversial lobbyist Roman Janoušek, according to news site idnes. A police source told the daily that officials suspected the funds had come from illegal activity. Other funds, the lobbyist’s lawyer confirmed, had been seized at his home. Roman Janoušek is one of two businessmen being mentioned in connection to the spying and corruption scandal that ousted Prime Minister Petr Nečas. The investigation is wide-reaching with at least three separate threads that are believed to share a connection through the prime minister’s former chief of staff, herself facing criminal charges.
In his first press conference since the fall of the government on Monday, President Miloš Zeman stressed that naming the next prime minister designate and doing so quickly was his responsibility as the head-of-state. The current coalition of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09, and LIDEM officially ended on Monday following the premier’s resignation; the cabinet has been asked to govern for an interim period. As a way out of the crisis, the president could name a candidate from among the Civic Democrats to try and renew the centre-right coalition or could decide on a candidate of his own choosing to lead a caretaker government. The president has also not ruled out the possibility of early elections, but made clear the drawback there would be legislation (due to be discussed by Parliament) being swept off the table. Early elections would also cost the country around 500 million crowns, Mr Zeman noted, would be “thrown out the window”.
The veteran Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr notched up one assist for the Boston Bruins in their 2:0 win over Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, a result which puts the Bruins 2:1 ahead on games in the NHL playoffs final. Jágr, who has himself failed to score so far in the final, made an excellent pass to Patrice Bergeron for his side’s second goal. Jágr, who is 41, last won the Stanley Cup over two decades ago.
Banks in the Czech Republic are in good health and should remain resilient to shocks the Czech Central Bank said on Tuesday after conducting regular stress tests. The stability of Czech banks would not be endangered even in the event of a deepening recession, the report says. The pension funds sector remains sensitive to price fluctuations of the securities they hold, but an increase in capital in the course of 2012 has strengthened its resilience in comparison with the previous year. On financial markets, the Central Bank points out certain risks in connection with pursuit of profit.
Deputies for the Civic Democratic Party say they would vote against stripping Petr Nečas of his Parliamentary immunity and opening the way for prosecution should the police make such a request. The head of the party’s deputies’ group Marek Benda said that what Mr. Nečas did was standard practice in politics anywhere and did not, in the party’s opinion, constitute a crime. Mr. Benda said any other party member would have done the same in his place.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is to honour two-time Oscar nominee John Travolta with its prestigious Crystal Globe lifetime achievement award. The US film star will attend the festival for a gala screening of Mark Steven Johnson’s Killing Season. The festival’s director Jiri Bartoška also confirmed Tuesday that French star Audrey Tautou would attend to present her latest film, Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo. Other guests will also include Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga, British actor Julian Sands and Italian filmmakers Paulo Sorrentino and Valeria Golino.
The parliamentary commission supervising the military intelligence service, which has been looking into the circumstances of the spying sandal that brought down the government has concluded that the country’s military intelligence service was abused for private purposes due to system failure as well as failure on the part several individuals. Jan Vidim, a member of the commission, said it would be advisable to amend the law in a manner which would effectively prevent the abuse of the country’s military services by a group of individuals. The military intelligence service has come under fire for having taken orders from the prime minister’s chief-of-staff and following them without question. It is not clear if the orders were given in the prime minister’s name.
According to the internet daily E15 the head of the Czech energy company ČEZ, Daniel Beneš, and the head of Czech Railways, Petr Žaluda, actively assisted the practice of securing bribes for politicians. The police are reported to have tapped their phone conversations with the prime minister’s chief of staff Jana Nagyova, some of which are directly related to the corruption scandal surrounding three former Civic Democrat MPs. The police is also reported to have raided the home of Tomas Jindra, advisor to Trade Minister Martin Kuba and Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl, both from the Civic Democratic Party.
The health authorities have issued a warning with regard to the excessive heat wave, which is expected to last for another two days. Chronically ill people, particularly cardiac patients, elderly people and very young children have been advised to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Active people have been advised to increase their fluid intake to three litres a day try to avoid strenuous tasks outdoors.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague
Veronika Čáslavová: sex trafficking still a taboo topic in Czechia