The Czech Republic will not join the planned Pact for the Euro, Prime Minister Petr Nečas told Czech MPs on Wednesday. Mr Nečas said the pact, which will be discussed at an EU summit in Brussels later this week, would open the door for tax harmonization which would not be good for the bloc. The Czech prime minister also said the Czech government was not consulted when the pact was discussed among the countries of the eurozone. However, Mr Nečas said the Czech Republic might join the pact at some point in the future.
The Pact for the Euro, drawn up under pressure from Germany and France, should enhance the eurozone’s competitiveness and ensure the sustainability of public finances in the member states.
Otakar T., the 41-year-old suspect in the rape and murder of nine-year-old Anička in Prague last October died in hospital in the early hours of Wednesday. He was hospitalized in critical condition following his suicide attempt in a prison holding cell. The suspect was in care at Prague’s Military Hospital and was being kept in an induced coma after suffering swelling of the brain. Otakar T. left a suicide note but never admitted guilt in the case. The suspect attempted to kill himself only days after he was charged with Anička’s rape and murder when police discovered last week the missing girl’s body in the Prague neighbourhood of Trója, near where she was last seen alive.
The Czech Republic is set to receive 10.9 million euros, or 266 million crowns, from the EU’s Solidarity Fund to help pay for damages caused by floods in August 2010, the European Commission said on Wednesday. The funds are earmarked for the reconstruction of infrastructure in northern Bohemia, the region worst hit by the flooding. The release of the funds is yet to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The damages caused by the flooding are estimated at over 10.5 billion crowns.
The Commission had earlier decided to release another 125 million crowns from the fund to help cover the damages caused by last May’s flooding as well. The EU’s Solidarity Fund was set up after the floods of 2002 that hit the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and other countries in the region.
Czech MPs approved on Wednesday diplomatic status for representatives of the International Criminal Court in the country, a week after the measure was passed by the Czech Senate. Full diplomatic protection will apply to the court’s president, judges, and prosecutors. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the agreement will allow the court to effectively pursue its mission. The Czech Parliament recognized the International Criminal Court three years ago, after it approving an amendment to the Czech constitution which allowed for the transfer of certain jurisdictions to international courts of law.
The building firm Stavoenergo has become the first company to be included in the public procurement blacklist of the Czech antimonopoly authority, its head Petr Rafaj told the news agency ČTK on Wednesday. The country’s Office for the Protection of Competition said the firm counterfeited documents in a 225-million public tender in northern Moravia, and fined the firm 500,000 crowns. Any company blacklisted by the Czech antimonopoly watchdog is legally barred from taking part in public procurement over the next three years.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament approved on Wednesday greater powers for police when confiscating illicit drugs. If approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president, the bill will authorize police officers to seize “larger than smaller amount of drugs” the possession of which is not a crime under Czech law. Under the new legislation, police will be able to destroy the confiscated drugs and officers will be authorized to deal with drug-related offences on the spot.
The deputy of the Czech ombudsman, Jitka Seitlová criticized on Wednesday the country’s authorities for lenience in removing illegal buildings. Ms Seidlová said current legislation allowed for stricter approaches towards builders who breach the law, including fines, lawsuits and removal of the illegally built structures. In 2009, the ombudsman’s office estimated that the complete removal of all illegal structures in the Czech Republic would cost around 1.3 billion crowns.
The Czech Republic is among the countries with the lowest rates of tuberculosis, the head of the Czech Pneumological and Physiological Society, Vítězslav Kolek said on Wednesday, the World Tuberculosis Day. Last year, 662 people contracted the disease in the country, with around 20 percent of them foreigners, Mr Kolek said. However, an increasing number of patients are resistant to common treatment of TB. According to data by the World Health Organization, the Czech Republic ranks 135th in the world, with less than 7 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 inhabitants.
Czech army has launched the sale of thousands of surplus firearms, the Czech Defence Ministry said on Wednesday. The weapons on offer include 7.62 mm calibre pistols and machine guns, Vz 58 assault rifles, several obsolete aircraft machine guns as well as several types of sporting firearms. The weapons will only be sold in bulks to licensed arms traders, the ministry said in a statement. Any purchased firearms must either be exported or destroyed by the end of 2013.
Former interior minister and Social Democrat MP Martin Pecina, will work as the CEO of Vítkovice Nuclear Power, part of the engineering giant Vítkovice Holding. Mr Pecina’s new job will entail dealing with possible technology suppliers for two new blocks at the Temelín nuclear plant, a company spokeswoman said. Martin Pecina served as the interior minister in the caretaker Czech government between 2009 and 2010. Mr Pecina has also announced he would quit his MP seat in protest against the new party leadership, elected at a Social Democrat party congress in Brno last week.
In a raid of the home of the fugitive Czech national, Radovan Krejčíř, outside Johannesburg, South African police found a hit list with the name of murdered local business Cyril Beeka on it, the news website timeslive.co.za reported on Wednesday. Mr Beeka was gunned down on Monday while driving his car near Cape Town. The police said Cyril Beeka’s name was on top of the list which contained the names of three other individuals. Local media said Cyril Beeka was Radovan Krejčíř’s business partner before their relationship recently soured.
The 42-year-old Radovan Krejčíř is wanted in the Czech Republic on charges of fraud and conspiracy to murder. He fled the country in 2005, and settled in South Africa.
Students from a secondary school in Vsetín, in the north of the country, will send gingerbread hearts to the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a teacher from the school told Czech Radio on Wednesday. Their products are set to decorate the Westminster Abbey where the couple will be wed on April, 29. One of the students involved in the project won a gold medal at last year’s Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg for her collection of gingerbread pastries.
The end of the week should see clear skies, with occasional morning fog. Daytime highs will range between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.