The Prague Prosecutor's Office has published documents regarding its
decision to halt a four-year-long investigation into suspected EU fraud by
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and members of his family.
In the 90 pages of documentation, which are in large part redacted, prosecutor Jaroslav Šaroch explains the reasoning behind his decision to end the investigation.
Mr Babiš was alleged to have illegally acquired 2 million euros worth of EU subsidies meant for small companies by temporarily changing the status of his Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre, over a decade ago.
Most opposition politicians said they respected the Office’s decision but expected to see it thoroughly justified. Among them was TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil, who tweeted that that the Office has reverse itself in only 1 percent of cases.
The Post Office has again cancelled the auction of a former monastery it
owns after no bidder met the starting price of just over 353 million
The Post Office has been trying the sell the former St. Gabriel Monastery and Church of the Annunciation in Prague’s Smíchov district for years.
The monastery, completed in 1891, was designed in pseudo-Romanic style by Benedictine friars from Belgium. It served mainly Benedictine nuns until 1919, when they were forced to leave for Austria.
The Prague 4 District Court has acquitted former Communist-era secret
police (StB) official Václav Novotný of harassing two Charter 77
signatories as part of operation ‘Prevention’. The verdict is not final
and an appeal is likely.
Mr Novotný, who acknowledges having worked for the StB but denies the charges, has been accused of arranging in 1978 for two dissidents to lose their disability pensions, as part of the secret operation.
The Charter 77 signatories in question were former television editor Otta Bednářová and the wife of another journalist, Jiřina Kynclová.
Hundreds of opponents of the communist regime in Prague and the Central Bohemia were targeted in operation ‘Prevention’, which aimed to complicate their lives at work and at home.
In some cases, StB workers arranged for dissidents to be stripped of their pensions, have their driving licenses revoked or telephone lines disconnected. Many were sacked or demoted at work.
Suitable care for people with dementia and seniors in general is lacking,
Ombudsman Anna Šabatová said in a press release on Wednesday.
Meals served in hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes were lacking nutrition, and patients and clients lacked sufficient privacy. In some cases, the level of hygiene was also problematic, the Ombudsman said.
As for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, social services and retirement homes were often ill-equipped to meet their needs. Ms Šabatová said she had also encountered cases where patients likely were administered sedatives to prevent them from moving.
The Ombudsman said her assessment was based in part on her own visits to 149 facilities for seniors and 18 hospitals for long-term patients over more than a decade.
The defence ministers of the Visegrad Four countries were holding talks in
Ostrava on Thursday, within the framework of the annual NATO days. It is
their first session under the Czech Republic’s presidency of the V4
The heads of defence of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary are discussing common defence policy and development, mutual support in cross-border military missions, as well as working towards a unified approach within NATO and the EU.
NATO Days are being held this weekend at the Ostrava military airport, presenting military equipment to the public. Last year, 220,000 people attend the event.
The 2019 reSite conference, focusing on urbanism and the rethinking of public space, gets underway in Prague on Thursday. Over the course of the next two days, the event will be hosting dozens of guests from all around the world, including leading architects and urban planners. The main theme of the eighth edition of reSite is ‘Regenerate’.
Czech car-maker Škoda Auto on Wednesday launched serial production of its
first plug-in hybrid, Škoda Superb iV.
The company invested some 12 million euros to prepare the Kvasiny plant for the specific requirements of manufacturing its first electrified production model.
The market launch of the Škoda Superb iV, which combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, is set for the beginning of 2020.
The Czech branch of the NGO Social Watch, an international anti-poverty
advocacy group, has criticized the Czech Republic for cheap labour, gender
pay gaps and inequality in access to education.
In its annual report for 2019 released on Wednesday, the group also
criticizes the Czech government for not adopting any measures to reduce the
effects of climate change.
According to the report, the Czech Republic is lacking long-term strategies to solve these problems and any improvement of the situation would be due to external influences rather than by the Czechs’ efforts.
The decision to halt an investigation into suspected fraud by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and members of his family is legally binding, since no one has lodged a complaint against it, a spokesman for the Prague State Attorney’s Office announced on Wednesday. However, it may still be reversed by the country’s Supreme State Attorney, Pavel Zeman, who has three months to make a decision. The anti-government protest movement A Million Moments for Democracy on Wednesday urged the Prague State Attorney’s Office to make public the full text of the decision. According to its leader Mikuláš Minář, the movement still insists on Mr Babiš’s resignation. Another public protest against the government is due to take place at Prague’s Letná plain on November 16.