An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority has visited Prague to apologise to the Czech authorities for the fact weapons were held illegally at its embassy in the city. In a statement released after a meeting on Monday, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said both sides had agreed it was necessary to await the results of a police investigation into the matter. The unlicensed weapons came to light when Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal was killed in an explosion after opening a safe at the embassy in Prague 6 on New Year’s Day.
Officers arrested a man who hit a pedestrian and two cars while attempting to evade a police check in Prague on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who is believed to have been under the influence of drugs, has previously been banned from driving three times. After first escaping from the police he was detained later in the day on the capital’s Sokolovská St. His car had a handwritten number plate in the front.
Legendary gymnast Věra Čáslavská says she will not attend an event at Prague Castle announcing the Czech team for next month’s Winter Olympics because President Miloš Zeman will be taking part. Ms. Čáslavská supported Mr. Zeman’s rival Karel Schwarzenberg in last year’s presidential election. In a letter to Czech Olympic Committee chairman Jiří Kejval quoted by the news site Lidovky.cz, she said Mr. Zeman had brought “negative energy” to Prague Castle. A seven-time Olympic gold winner, she was an advisor to President Václav Havel in the 1990s and is honorary chairwoman of the Czech Olympic Committee.
The Social Democrats’ nominee for minister of labour and social affairs, Petr Krčál, has rejected the possibility of a cabinet post. Mr. Krčál said he and his family had been shaken by the death of his brother and that he wished to spend time with his wife, who has been undergoing cancer treatment. The Social Democrats are expected to announce a new candidate for the post by the end of the week.
The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, is set to take part in the Golden Spike athletics meeting in Ostrava in June, organisers announced on Tuesday. It will be the seventh appearance at the event for the Jamaican, who has won 100m and 200m gold at the last two Olympics. Also set for Ostrava is his compatriot and the world’s fastest woman, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
The authorities in Belarus have refused to grant a visa to Czech journalist and former dissident Petruška Šustrová, who planned to attend a memorial event for Václav Havel in Minsk. The Belarusian embassy in Prague has refused to say why it returned her passport with a stamp denying her entry into the country. Ms. Šustrová said she was annoyed by the decision but not surprised. She has visited the repressive state several times in the past, including as an election observer.
State attorneys in the US have rejected Kevin Dahlgren’s appeal against a decision to extradite him to the Czech Republic, where he is wanted on suspicion of killing four people. The development was reported by Czech Television. In a 50-page document, the state attorney’s office said the Czech side had put forward convincing evidence. The US State Department will have the final say on whether to extradite Mr. Dahlgren, who is accused of killing four of his relatives at their home in Brno last May.
Parliament deputy and head of the Dawn party Tomio Okamura is perceived as the most trustworthy politician in the country, according to the results of a poll conducted by the CVVM agency at the end of December. Mr. Okamura tops the ladder with 47 percent trust rating, followed by ANO head Andrej Babiš and Martin Stropnický from the same party, who each got 45 percent. The man slated to become the country’s next prime minister, Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka placed fourth with a 42 percent trust rating.
The Czech National Bank posted a 73.2 billion crown profit last year, against a profit of 2.9 billion the preceding year, the bank reported on Monday, citing the forex interventions launched in November as the main cause of the increase. Revenue from foreign exchange reserves management account for one third of the profit figure. Two thirds are exchange rate effects arising from the market appraisal of the central bank´s forex reserves, according to spokesman Marek Petrus. As previously the central bank will use the profit to cut accumulated losses of 123.6 billion crowns from previous years.
The newly-elected lower house is to meet on Tuesday, January 21st to debate a draft civil service law which is crucial to the establishment of a new government. The proposed legislation should stipulate new conditions for civil service employees, replacing the screening law which came into force after the fall of communism. Two ministerial nominees have not produced clean screening certificates and the president would not be able to appoint them to their posts without a change of legislation in the pipeline. Lawmakers approved a civil service law back in 2002 but it has never come into force, having been put on hold five times. The bill is likewise essential to the drawing of EU funds and the country has been under growing pressure from Brussels to speed up its approval.
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