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 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.
Czech biathlonist Gabriela Soukalová won a 15-km World Cup race in Östersund, Sweden, on Thursday. The 24-year-old athlete only missed two shots and sank to fourth position; she was second after the last shooting but outran the leading racer, Slovakia’s Anastasia Kuzmoniová, finishing first in 47 minutes and 56 seconds. It was the second win for Gabriela Soukalová in Östersund where she also won gold as part of the Czech mixed relay team.
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.
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.
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 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.
Viktoria Plzeň lost to Manchester City 4:2 in their fifth appearance in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday nigh. The hosts Manchester City went ahead twice but Plzeň managed to equalize each time; however, the English side prevailed with some 15 minutes to go, adding two more goals. After five defeats, Plzeň are ranked fourth in the group with zero points but still have a chance of finishing third to advance to Europa League; to do that, they need to beat CSKA Moscow by at least three-goal difference in their final Champions League match in December.
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.
Vít Bárta has stood down as the chairman of the Public Affairs party, which failed to reenter the lower house in last month’s elections. Mr. Bárta is currently under investigation over allegations that as the owner of a security firm in 2009 he obtained sensitive documents from a then agent of the BIS intelligence service. He had only become chair of Public Affairs in February but had previously been considered de facto leader.
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