President Miloš Zeman on Thursday appointed Judge Pavel Šámal chairman of the Supreme Court. Judge Šámal, 61, has served as a judge at the Supreme Court since 1993 and is a respected authority in the field of economic crime. He replaces Iva Brožová, who announced her resignation earlier this week for age reasons.
Former MP Petr Wolf, who is on the run after being sentenced to 6 years for fraud, has asked for a presidential pardon. Mr. Wolf went into hiding shortly before he was due to start serving his prison sentence two years ago. His wife also received a conditional sentence and a million crown fine. The former deputy claims that the verdicts are unjust, but he continued sending financial instalments towards the fine, even while he was on the run. The Justice Ministry has confirmed receiving his request for a pardon and will consider whether to pass it on to the Office of the President.
Two Czech insurance companies –Česká přůmyslová zdravotní pojištovna and Oborová zdravotní pojištovna –have signed contracts with the Prague Proton Therapy Centre, a spokeswoman for the centre confirmed on Thursday. Previously the centre had a contract for cooperation with a single Czech insurance company –Vojenská zdravotní pojištovna - and served largely for foreign clients. A contract with the country’s largest health insurer VZP is said to be in the pipeline.
Russian citizen Yevgenii Rotsthtein Dogayev, who attempted to highjack a plane from Moscow to Geneva in 2006, will remain in custody pending a court hearing. The suspect who was extradited from Great Britain to the Czech Republic last October had protested against his detention and asked to be investigated at liberty. A Prague Court rejected his appeal on Thursday on the grounds that he might try to flee the country. Dogayev attempted to highjack a commercial flight from Moscow to Geneva in 2006 saying there was a bomb on board and demanding a change of course for Cairo. He was overpowered and placed in detention. He fled the country two years later after being released on bail.
The anti-corruption police have charged four people with manipulating tenders and embezzling funds from the state forestry company Lesy CR. According to a police spokesperson the charges relate to tenders worth one billion crowns in 2008-2009. The tenders were allegedly overpriced by 300 million crowns which were taken out of the country and deposited in Swiss bank accounts before being returned to Czech banks. The four allegedly cooperated closely in organizing and covering up these activities.
The High Court in Olomouc on Thursday upheld sentences of five and six years respectively for trafficking in women. The suspects – a man and a woman -were found guilty of bringing over two young women from Honduras to work as waitresses in restaurants and then forcing them into prostitution. Three others who assisted them received suspended sentences. Both women are now back home.
Around 170 homes could be demolished at the town of Horní Jiřetín in north Bohemia if an option to partially relax current environmental limits on mining coal are approved, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Thursday. The figure was confirmed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Minister Jan Mládek has proposed two options for relaxing the existing mining limits: one would focus just on the Bilina mine, owned indirectly by power giant ČEZ, and would not involve demolition, the other focuses on the ČSA mine owned by the mining company Severní Energetiká as well. Initial reactions by ministerial colleagues have been cool towards the prospect of demolition.
Air pollution is reported to have worsened severely in the eastern part of the country with dust particles in the air now exceeding permitted norms three-fold. The regions of Karvina, Ostrava and Frydek Mystek have called a smog alert, advising people to stay indoors as much as possible and limit their physical activities. Town halls have urged drivers to leave their cars at home and use city transport in order to help alleviate the problem. If there is no improvement the big industrial companies may be asked to scale down production.
The new Skoda Fabia was voted Car of the Year 2015 in the Czech Republic, ahead of Volkswagen Passat and Mercedes Benz C in a contest organised by motoring journalists in cooperation with the Car Importers Association and the Automotive Industry Association. The winners of the individual categories were BMW X4 among off-road and large capacity vehicles, Mazda 3 among mid-sized and large cars and Fabia among city cars. In 2014, the Car of the Year award went to Mazda 6, and Skoda Octavia was second. Mazda 3 came fourth and Ford Mondeo sixth in this year´s vote.
In football, league title challengers Sparta Prague are reported to have told attacker Roman Bednář that he should seek a new club. The 31 year old failed to win a place in the starting line up during the Autumn campaign, appearing six times from the bench and not scoring a single goal, the daily Sport reported. Bednář, who played in the English Premier League for West Bromwich Albion, did not join Sparta’s recent first team training sessions in Spain.
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