Daily news summary News

11-01-2011

Prague court issues arrest warrant for Qatari prince

A Prague court issued on Tuesday an international arrest warrant for Qatari prince Hamid bin Abdul Sani al-Thani over a pending trial for sex abuse, a spokeswoman for the court said. In 2005, the prince was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for sex with underage girls; however, an appellate court has been unable to deliver the subpoena to the prince.

Between 2001 and 2004, Hamid bin Abdul Sani al-Thani allegedly paid to have sex with four girls aged under 15. Just days after he was charged by the Czech authorities, then justice minister Pavel Němec ordered his release on a promise that he would be prosecuted in Qatar. However, local prosecution dropped the case two years later.

Interior Ministry to pioneer transparency

The Czech Interior Ministry wants to spearhead transparency by publishing details about its public contracts, Interior Minister Radek John told an anti-corruption conference held in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday. Mr John said the ministry will place on its website the conditions of public tenders, the evaluation criteria, the names of the members of the evaluation boards, their voting records as well as the reasoning behind their choice. Radek John said the ministry will start publishing these details in February, before a new act on public procurement enters into force. One of the reasons for the ministry going ahead with the plan is the grim outcome of a procurement audit at the ministry that should be released next week.

Eleven applications for vacant post

Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Interior Minister Radek John met on Tuesday to discuss the selection of a new police president. After the meeting, Mr Nečas told reporters the selection procedure would go ahead although some of the details needed clarification.

The prime minister has come out strongly in recent days against the minister’s proposal for a selection committee to vet the candidates. He described the proposed process as a “mess” and tailor made to suit Mr. John’s preferred candidate. Over the weekend the prime minister suggested the selection procedure be called off. Mr. John has stuck by his initial idea. Eleven candidates put themselves forward to be the new police president by the Monday afternoon deadline for applications. These include a deputy minister of interior and deputy police president.

Press: former interior minister Ivan Langer awarded multi-million contract to his friend

The Interior Ministry in 2008 awarded a 54-million crown contract to a firm owned by a friend of then minister Ivan Langer, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Tuesday. The company won the deal for laundering police uniforms without a public tender. To do the job, the firm rented premises from the Interior Ministry at a rate that was more than 40 times lower than commercial rent. The firm Dočista gained the contract only two months after it was founded in January 2008, the daily said. Ex-minister Ivan Langer, from the Civic Democrats, has rejected any wrongdoing.

Trade inspection website crashes after authorities put up list of dishonest fuel dealers

The website of the Czech Trade Inspection crashed on Tuesday after the authorities placed there a list of 49 fuel dealers who were fined last year for selling low-quality gasoline and diesel. The most frequently fined fuel-dealer was the firm Falko II Czech, which in 2010 landed penalties of more than 4.3 million crowns. The firm has announced it was going out of business as it cannot afford the fine, and will close all seven gas stations.

Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kocourek said the inspection would carry out checks at gas stations more frequently this year, and would keep posting the names of those who are fined.

Google overtakes Seznam

The internet search engine Google has for the first time overtaken the favourite local search site, Seznam.cz, according to a Czech internet statistics website, Toplist. Google’s share of web searches in the country rose in January to 51 percent, whereas that of Seznam.cz dropped to 49 percent, 8 percentage points lower than last year. Czech Google’s marketing director, Luděk Motyčka, said a publicity campaign in offline media was behind the success. For their part, Seznam.cz is planning to launch their own marketing campaign later this week.

Aki Kaurismaki’s play voted best performance of 2010

The play Man without a Past by the Finnish author Aki Kaurismaki, staged at Prague’s Dejvické divadlo, was voted the best theatre performance of 2010 in a poll by the Czech trade newspaper, Divadelní noviny. US director Robert Wilson’s staging of Karel Čapek’s play The Makropulos Affair at the National Theatre came second, while the performance of the play Offending the Audience by the Austrian playwright Peter Handke at Prague’s Divadlo Komedie came third. Organizers said theatres in large cities ranked high in this year’s poll, as ensembles in smaller cities and towns seemed to have relied on a classic repertoire.

Key holders meet at Prague Castle’s crown jewels chamber

The holders of the keys to the Crown Jewels Chamber at St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle inspected the chamber on Tuesday. The seven key holders include President Václav Klaus, Prime Minister Petr Nečas, Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, and the heads of both chambers of Parliament. Tuesday’s meeting was the first since last year’s deal between the archbishop and the president on the administration of the cathedral which now technically belongs to the state, rather than the Catholic Church.

Police search for two child molesters

The police are searching for two child molesters in the Vysočina region and in the Znojmo area, southern Moravia. Police in Znojmo have warned parents about a man who in several instances offered children sweets and tried to lure them into his car. Jihlava and several other towns in the Vysočina region have reported similar incidents. The police have asked the public for assistance.

Hockey: forward Petr Vampola scores in first game for Omsk

Czech forward Petr Vampola scored a goal on Tuesday in his first game for Russia’s Avantagard Omsk, in a Kontinental Hockey League match against Ufa. Assisted by Jaromír Jágr, Vampola hit the net in the 25th minute, putting his team ahead at 2:1 before another Czech in Omsk’s line-up, Martin Škoula, scored ten minutes later. In the rest of the game, Ufa only managed to score once, setting the final score at 3:2.

Weather

The current spell of gray weather should continue over the next few days, with overcast skies and occasional rain or sleet. Daytimes highs will range between -1 and +4 degrees Celsius.

11-01-2011