Speaking after voting in the European Parliament elections on Saturday morning, former Czech president Václav Klaus described the ballot as inauthentic and redundant. Mr. Klaus, a noted Eurosceptic, said he had voted with “great unease” and hesitated about going to the polls for the first time since the fall of communism. He said the low turnout was proof that more and more people were aware that attempts to centralise Europe were a mistake.
The West Bohemian city of Plzeň is preparing a tour of buildings designed by the world renowned architect Adolf Loos. The tour, which also takes in interiors, will be available to visitors from the start of next year, a spokesperson said. Loos, who was born in Brno, received his first commission in Plzeň in 1907 and carried out other projects in the city until his death in 1933. Plzeň will be European City of Culture in 2015.
Eva Samková has become the first snowboarder to win the King of the White Piste, an award voted on by members of the Czech Ski Association. Samková took gold in boardercross at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. Speaking at the awards ceremony at Prague’s Žofín on Friday, Samková, who is 21, said she was glad to see that snowboarding was developing in the Czech Republic.
The Ministry of the Interior said that the law on elections was broken when Monika Babišová, the partner of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, was allowed to cast her ballot twice in the European Parliament elections on Friday. When she placed a ballot paper in a box without an envelope, making it invalid, the chairman of the relevant electoral commission allowed her to cast a second ballot. In addition, Mr. Babiš helped his partner the second time, which is also illegal.
The City of Prague has turned down an offer by eMoneyServices to pay 500 million crowns to continue licensing the multi-purpose Opencard. The mayor said earlier the amount demanded was unacceptable; two studies found the price inflated by one-quarter. City Hall will call a tender to select a new card system; meanwhile, the city will start negotiations on the continuation of the current system for an interim period. The selection of a new card system will evidently spell the end of the controversial Opencard, which cost close to 1.2 billion crowns.
The country’s anti-corruption unit has charged three men with attempted fraud, the unit’s spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej revealed on Friday. The men were suing the state forestry company Lesy ČR for 12 billion crowns in damages based on two IT and communications contracts dating back to 2007. Investigators found no such deals had ever been signed. If found guilty, the members of the group could face up to 10 years behind bars.
Some 150 litres of low-level radioactive waste water was accidently leaked at the Temelín nuclear power plant during a maintenance operation, the spokesman for the plant confirmed on Thursday. He stressed that the accident took place within a secure zone and that at no time were employees or the environment in any danger. Anti-nuclear energy activists, including the head of an NGO called Jihočeské matky, have charged that Temelín should be well past growing or teething pains by now. Temelín’s spokesman, by contrast, said the level of radiation which had been measured in the direct vicinity of the accident was was “eight times lower than radiation to which passengers were exposed on long commercial flights”.
Vladimír Dlouhý was elected the new head of the Czech Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, replacing Petr Kužel, who did not defend the post for family reasons. Four candidates vied for the post. Besides Dlouhý they were current Chamber vice-president and former head Zdeněk Somr, South Moravia's Regional Economic Chamber head Michal Štefl and Vladimír Opatrný from the Jablonec nad Nisou District Economic Chamber. Dlouhý is a former industry and trade minister and a former candidate for the head of state. He currently serves as an adviser to the investment bank Goldman. In the 1990s public opinion polls, Dlouhý ranked among the most popular policymakers in the country.
Outgoing Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič will meet next week with his Czech counterpart and the Czech prime minister in his final state visit to Prague. Gašparovič steps down in June and will be succeeded by Andrej Kiska. On Tuesday, he will meet with President Zeman at Prague Castle, and he and his spouse will be given a tour of Saint Vitus’ Cathedral, attending a state dinner in the evening held in their honour. Mr Gašparovič last visited Prague in April.
Strong thunderstorms are expected to hit the capital Prague, as well as other regions in Bohemia and the Czech-Moravian highlands later on Friday and to spread to Moravia a day later. Heavy showers could also be seen in places as well as hail and winds up to 70 kilometres per hour. Storm warnings remain in place from 12 PM to 11 PM.
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