Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico arrived in Prague on Thursday for a brief official visit. He met with the Czech prime minister, Jiří Rusnok; the two officials signed an agreement on mutual recognizing of university degrees between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and discussed the situation of their countries’ Roma communities. The head of the Slovak cabinet also delivered a lecture at Prague’s Charles University during his visit.
Communists MPs on Thursday filed a proposal to abolish the so-called screening law which prevents former collaborators with the communist secret services from holding certain positions in public administration. The party said the legislation, adopted after the fall of communism in the country, was outlived. The issue of the legislation recently surfaced as it could prevent the leader of the ANO party, Andrej Babiš, from holding a ministerial position. The lower house could debate the proposal in January at the earliest.
The Ecumenical Council of Churches, a body associating Czech Christian churches, on Thursday rejected proposed cuts to a controversial property restitution deal. The Social Democratic and ANO parties would like to lower financial compensation of 59 billion crown, granted to churches and religious societies in lieu of property confiscated by the communist regime that cannot be physically returned. The proposal has also been rejected by the Christian Democrats, the third party of the possible next coalition government.
The Supreme Administrative Court has rejected all 42 complaints against last month’s general elections, Justice Vojtěch Šimíček said on Thursday. The court has found two errors in the counting of preferential votes but said they could not affect the final results. The only party running in the elections to file a complaint was the Czech Pirate Party which contested the layout of the electoral districts, the five-percent threshold needed to enter the lower house, and other issues. The court said however that the Czech elections system had been reviewed by the Czech Constitutional Court which upheld it.
MEP Vladimír Remek is set to resign as member of the European Parliament in mid-December to become the Czech ambassador to Russia in the following month, Mr Remek’s aide told the news agency ČTK on Thursday. Russia approved Vladimír Remek’s appointment in October, and Czech President Miloš Zeman signed his credentials earlier this month. Mr Remek was President Zeman’s choice as the Czech ambassador to Russia; his nomination sparked a conflict with then foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Vladimír Remek became the first Czech astronaut in 1978 when he took part in a Soviet-led Interkosmos programme.
Prague’s court of appeals on Thursday lowered the sentence for Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř by six months to 10.5 years in prison. The court however also issued a fine of three million crowns for Mr Krejčíř; if he fails to pay it, he will face another year and a half in jail. Radovan Krejčíř was last year sentenced in absentia to 11 years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. The Czech businessman fled the country in 2007, and has since settled in South Africa where he was arrested last week on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.
The head of the ANO party in the Vysočina region, Jan Sobotka, will not become member of Parliament as a replacement for an ANO MP who stepped down. Mr Sobotka told reporters on Thursday he would reject the seat in the lower house over a failure to file his tax returns, and a debt in his health insurance payments. Mr Sobotka was to replace another party official elected on the ANO ballot in the region who had resigned over his past as a member of the former communist military counter-intelligence. The chairman of the ANO deputies’ group in the lower house said they would thoroughly screen the next person on the ballot who’ll replace Mr Sobotka.
The proportion of Czech households online has exceeded two thirds for the first time, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office. Some 68 percent of Czech households have computers, up by 1 percent compared to last year; 67 percent of households, meanwhile, are also connected to the internet with is two percent more than in 2012. Nearly all online households use high-speed internet, the statisticians said.
The former mayor of the east Bohemian town Náchod, Oldřich Čtvretčka, has been cleared of charges of abuse of office related to the 2009 privatization of a local brewery. A court in Hradec Králové on Thursday overturned a previous verdict which in 2010 banned Mr Čtvrtečka from holing public offices for a period of six years. The town’s former mayor was charged in connection with the fact that during his term, the town sold the brewery for 150 million crowns although another bidder offered 35 million more. But on Thursday, the court said the alleged offence was not a crime.
The police have arrested three members of a gang suspected of 30 robberies of company headquarters across the country. The men, aged 34, 36 and 37, allegedly stole computers, cash and other valuables, causing damages of around 1.5 million crowns, a police spokeswoman said. The three men have been placed in police custody and face up to eight years in jail.