According to legal expertise commissioned at the last minute by the region of Central Bohemia, the region did not suffer damages in connection with alleged corruption by former Social Democrat governor David Rath, whose trial begins next week. The news was reported by public broadcaster Czech TV. Just half a year ago, officials had maintained the region had been negatively impacted. The state prosecutor maintains there is enough evidence of Mr Rath’s criminal activities as is. The former governor (also a former health minister) was arrested in May of 2012 with 7 million crowns – a suspected bribe – on his person. He has been in custody since. His trial begins on August 7.
A bust of Václav Drbola was unveiled in Babice in the Třebíč area on Saturday in memory of the priest who was sentenced to death and executed by the Communists in 1951. Drbola was one of 11 who received the maximum sentence in a series of show trials conducted by the former regime in connection with the murder of the three Communist functionaries in the area. The Church has launched the process of the late priest’s beatification; around 300 people attended the unveiling on Saturday.
One of the Czech Republic’s most-highly respected film festivals – the Summer Film School in Uherské Hradiště – wrapped up on Saturday. The 39th inception saw 228 films screened in eight theatres; 184 of them were feature-length productions. Notable guests this year included actor and director Jan Kačer, Czech acting legend Pavel Landovský, Serbian director Goran Paskaljevič and others. The Summer Film School is famous for lectures, workshops and an open forum for debate with artists and industry professionals.
League champions Plzeň are on a roll in the new season, declassing Ostrava 4:0 in their match on Saturday. Plzeň dominated despite missing a number of key players; the goals were scored by Kovařík, Wágner, Hořava a Ďuriš. In the first three matches of the season, Plzeň has gotten off to an excellent start, winning all three games and netting 13 goals while giving up just two.
Interim Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has told the news site aktualne.cz
that his government could continue to rule for several months even if it
fails to find support in next Wednesday’s confidence vote. The economist
referred to the Constitution as well as the rule of a previous government
under similar circumstances. The Chamber of Deputies
is to hold the vote on the future of the cabinet beginning 10 AM on
Wednesday. Only two parties in the chamber have expressed support, the
Communists and Public Affairs; the opposition Social Democrats remain
divided over the issue.
If the former centre-right coalition can shore-up a 101-majority as claimed, there is no chance Mr Rusnok’s government would be able to pass. The prime minister, a close associate of President Zeman’s, will visit deputies’ clubs to try and boost support. According to one report, he will not receive an invitation from the Civic Democrats, who oppose the current government as an attempt to bypass Parliament as well as the country’s constitution.
Luboš Pašek, a long-term business partner of controversial Czech lobbyist Roman Janoušek, has claimed that some of the gold seized at a Prague bank in June by the country’s anti-crime unit is his. Police seized millions of crowns in gold bullion as part of an extensive raid that exposed a spying and corruption scandal that led to the fall of the previous government. Along with the seizure, Mr Pašek’s office and home were also searched. The businessman has filed charges against the state. According to his lawyer Prokop Beneš, the seizure was unlawful; he claims his client bought the investment gold from a certified seller and that the transaction and source of the funds were transparent; he added that the account was in his clients’ name. The lawsuit will go ahead if the police do not return the gold within six months, according to news site iDnes.
The Office of the Government on Friday released records of the salaries of its civil servants and top officials beginning in 2010, reversing a previous decision for them to remain private. Interest in the salaries was heightened by a corruption and spying scandal which led to the fall of the previous administration. According to the information released, the former head of the office, Lubomír Poul earned 1.17 million crowns a year plus bonuses, while Jana Nagyová, the former chief-of-staff charged in the scandal who was romantically linked to ex-prime minister Petr Nečas, earned almost one million crowns from 2011-2012 plus an additional two million in bonuses over two years. Critics charge that the height of the salaries was inappropriate for a cabinet that billed austerity as its main focus.
The regions of Ústí and Karlovy Vary will pay a total of 906 million crowns to the EU instead of 2.1 billion originally demanded for mistakes made in the North-West Regional Operational Programme, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The ministry has also offered the regions interest-free financial assistance, CTK reported. The agreement could unblock a further amount of money for projects from the suspended programme. The payment should immediately unblock 5.5 billion crowns from EU funds, the Czech News Agency said, citing an earlier statement by Finance Minister Jan Fischer. EU funding has been suspended for over a year.
Czech actor Miroslav Donutil has said he is quitting the National Theatre, citing – as the “last straw” – a botched attempt by the current interim government to sack its director Jan Burián. Mr Donutil told Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes the move by the Culture Minister Jiří Balvín to remove the theatre head was the height of amateurism. Mr Donutil, who has starred in numerous stage productions as well as countless films including Dědictví, Pevnost and Pelíšky, was a member of the National Theatre for 23 years. He cited his long-term involvement with the theatre as well as fatigue as additional reasons for leaving.
The Czech Republic saw record temperatures registered by numerous meteorological stations on Friday as a heat wave similar to that which hit the country last weekend set in. two areas in the Plzeň region registered 36.4 degrees Celsius on Friday; according to meteorologists this July was the sixth hottest in the country in 80 years. As a result, last month was also one of the driest, leading to fire warnings in places. Originally, advance predictions for July were considerably more conservative, suggesting that the last week in the month, for example, would average only around 25 degrees.