The police have proposed filing charges against 14 individuals and 7 companies in connection with manipulated tenders at Czech Post, the state-owned postal service. Among the companies to be charged is the firm Agrotec which is part of the Agrofert group owned by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Czech Post itself. According to a Czech Television report Mr. Babis’ right hand man in the ANO party Jaroslav Faltýnek was on Agrotec’s managerial board up until last spring.
Ex-president Vaclav Klaus perceives the wave of illegal migrants in Europe as a fundamental danger. Mr. Klaus told journalists on Monday that Europe should have stepped up border security long ago and taken decisive steps to curb the flow of illegal migrants across Europe. The former head of state said he considered the attitude of European leaders, including Czech top officials, utterly irresponsible. Czech police detain on average 40 illegal migrants a day and the Czech government has approved a plan to accept 1,500 foreign migrants by 2017 in order to ease the burden on other EU member states.
The annual Prague Pride Festival celebrating sexual minorities gets underway on Monday with a concert on Střelecký Island. The festival, which is in its fifth year, will see more than 120 events, including debates, film screenings and exhibitions, and will culminate with a parade through the city on Saturday. This year's theme of Prague Pride is ‘We all have a rainbow inside’ and the organisers are hoping to attract not only the LGBT community but also a broader public. Last year, the festival attracted more than 60,000 people throughout the week and over 15,000 people joined the parade.
Although medicinal marihuana was legalized in the Czech Republic six months ago, it remains too expensive for most patients, according to specialists who are authorized to prescribe it, Czech Television reports. At present the soft drug is imported from the Netherlands and costs three hundred crowns per gram. Under Czech law it is not covered by insurance and most patients who need it would need to pay between 12 and 18 thousand crowns monthly from their own pockets. The situation should improve when local companies are ready to start delivering supplies sometime at the end of this year. The price for one gram should then drop to approximately 75 crowns.
The Supreme Audit Office has reported irregularities in the management of the State Land Office. The office which processed applications within the church restitution law reportedly had a serious backlog, failing to process 42 percent of the requests for restitution of property within the set time limit. Inspectors looking into its books reportedly also found that employees had been using the company cars for their own private trips and holidays. The irregularities date between 2012 and 2014. The matter is being investigated.
The police have charged two minors who last week beat to death a homeless man near the Pardubice bus station. According to officers the youths cycled to Pardubice from a nearby village with the intention of getting into a fight. One of them reportedly had an air-gun in his possession. They attacked the homeless man while he was sleeping punching and kicking him until he lay senseless. He died of internal bleeding. The two have been charged with inflicting grievous bodily injuries resulting in death but the police have not ruled out upgrading the charges to murder. In the first case they would face up to five years in jail, in the event of a murder charge they could get up to ten years.
Forty-four new security cameras should be installed in the center of Prague before the end of the year, according to the ctk news agency. There are over 2,000 security cameras in the city with more than half of them monitoring traffic. In the city center they serve to prevent petty crime and according to the city hall they have proved very effective in this respect. Prague started installing security cameras in 1997. The city hall installed over 700, the rest were installed by the Prague Transport company and the road maintenance authorities.
Fires are raging in several parts of south and west Bohemia with the regions’ fire-crews and voluntary firefighters out in force. A forest fire near the town of Bavorov, south Bohemia, is reported to have destroyed 150 hectares of land. Nine fire-crews are battling to contain a fire in the fields near Domažlice and twenty fire units have been called to a fire in the vicinity of Plzen. A high level fire-risk alert is in place around the country and the Liberec region on Monday introduced a ban on making fires and smoking out in the open.
The death of some 500 crabs in a stream near the town of Litomyšl last week has been ascribed to the severe drought. Suspicions that this may have been caused by fisheries not respecting the minimum stream flow from nearby lakes to protect their own fish have not been confirmed. Another 1,000 crabs from the stream were saved by locals who collected them from the muddy basin and moved them in buckets to a water-filled quarry where they could survive.
For the first time in history, the Czech Republic has three tennis players in the women's top 10 WTA rankings at the same time. Karolína Plíšková broke the top 10 for the first time on Monday, joining her compatriots Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová. The 23-year-old Czech has moved to the eighth position despite losing the finals at Stanford WTA tournament on Sunday to Germany's Angelique Kerber. Plíšková is the eighth Czech woman in WTA history to break into the Top 10.