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Cardinal Duka accused of covering up sexual abuse in Dominican Order years ago

The police are investigating Cardinal Dominik Duka on suspicion that he had covered up a case of sexual abuse in the Dominican Order.

The news site seznam.cz which broke the story said the victim, who remains anonymous, claims had reported the abuse to Dominik Duka but he had failed to take action against it.

The victim claims the abuse went on for years while he was training to become a priest.

The priest who abused him later left the order after being accused of sexual abuse by several others. He died before the case came to court.

Cardinal Duka admits he remembers such an incident years ago and says he failed to act because the priest swore on the cross that the young man was lying.

The cardinal says he is ready to cooperate fully with the police.

Transparency turns to Justice Ministry over decision concerning PM

The Czech branch of Transparency International says it will ask the Justice Ministry to look into the decision of the Regional Council of Central Bohemia which halted an infringement procedure against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on the grounds of a complaint regarding a possible conflict of interest.

The council said it had found no evidence that Andrej Babiš had any influence over the companies he had placed in trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.

Transparency says it has serious concerns regarding possible bias, since the Central Bohemian administration is dominated by Prime Minister Babiš’ ANO party.

A complaint against the prime minister was previously debated by the Černošice council which arrived at the opposite conclusion and meted out a 200,000 crown fine for the offense. Babiš appealed the decision.

Czechs patrolling Baltic airspace report five airspace violations

Czech pilots patrolling Baltic airspace, within the NATO Baltic Air Policing operation, have had to intervene in five cases of air-space violations since they took over the defence mission on September 1st, Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar told the ctk news agency.

All the incidents in which Czech Gripen fighter jets identified and intercepted uncommunicative aircraft concerned Russian planes.

The Czech Republic has five Gripen fighter jets and some 70 soldiers stationed at Amari base in Estonia. Its mission will end on December 31st of 2019.

PM still pushing for government quarter in Letnany district

Building a government quarter in Letnany would save taxpayers 378 million crowns annually which the government is now paying in rent for buildings in the city centre, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said at the start of a conference on administrative buildings currently underway in Prague.

Talks between the government and Prague City Hall on building a government quarter in Prague’s Letnany district are deadlocked over the conditions under which city hall would be prepared to make the premises available.

City Hall wants the government to finish constructing the outer ring-road around Prague, to finance the inner ring-road and build a hospital.

The prime minister is in favour of getting a private investor to finance the inner ring-road and says Prague needs a trauma-centre more than it needs a hospital.

Transport minister says extension of tolling system should not hurt nearby villages

The government will address fears that the extension of the tolling system to some grade one roads as of next year could result in excessive road traffic on smaller roads in the vicinity, Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík told journalists after meeting with the mayors of local municipalities on Tuesday.

The minister said that the government would monitor the situation for six months and in the event of a problem extend the toll to the roads that are being used to by-pass the system. Trucks will be banned from branching off highways and grade one roads from the outset.

Mortimer fells 300,000 cubic metres of forests

A windstorm dubbed „Mortimer“ which felled trees and brought down power lines in the Czech Republic on Monday is reported to have damaged 300,000 cubic metres of forests, which is approximately 300,000 trees.

The state-own forest company Lesy CR, which owns half of the forests in the country, said it did not yet have a damage estimate.

The added volume of timber which will need to be processed is expected to further decrease the price of timber on the market which has seen a glut from enforced logging due to bark-beetle infestation.

Weather forecast

Wednesday should be overcast with rain around most of the country and day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.