Daily news summary News

04-01-2014

Former chief of staff says Prague may be part of a European-wide arms-smuggling network operated by Palestinians

Prague may be part of a European-wide arms-smuggling network operated by Palestinians, former chief-of-staff General Jiri Sedivy said in an interview for the Czech internet site Aktualne.cz. As many as 70 automatic rifles were found at the Prague residence of the late Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, according to unconfirmed reports carried by the CTK news agency. The general said he feared that the discovery in Prague could be the tip of the iceberg and suggested that Palestinian embassies in other European capitals could contain similar storages of illegal weapons.

Foreign Ministry concerned by illegal weapons find at Palestinian embassy

The Czech foreign ministry has expressed grave concerned over the discovery. It said diplomats' weapons were subject to local laws on arms which require registration and licensing and none of those found were registered in the Czech Republic. For the embassy to store illegal weapons would be in breach of the Vienna Convention that governs the activities of diplomats and embassies and the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it would demand an explanation. It has also expressed understanding for a request from the Suchdol district which has asked the authorities to move the Palestinian embassy outside its premises since it presents a security threat to the public.

Body of late Palestinian ambassador to be repatriated on Monday

The body of the late Palestinian ambassador to Prague, Jamal al-Jamal will be repatriated on Monday. The ambassador’s daughter Rana, who claims her father was the victim of a terrorist attack, said the day of the funeral had already been set but refused to disclose any details. Meanwhile, the police have not yet released information regarding what kind of explosive caused the blast that killed the ambassador in his Prague residence.

Špidla to be PM’s chief advisor

Former prime minister and European labour commissioner Vladimír Špidla is to become chief advisor to the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Spidla, who was considered to be a hot candidate for the post of labour minister in the emerging government, confirmed having accepted the offer on Friday. The post of labour minister in the new government will thus most likely go to Social Democrat Petr Krčál, a councilor in the Vysočina region. The list of ministerial nominees, which Bohuslav Sobotka submitted to the president on Friday evening, is to be made public on Monday after the three parties of the emerging centre-right coalition – the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats - sign a coalition agreement.

Labour ministry officials to meet with Fujitsu representatives over welfare payments crisis

Labour Ministry officials and representatives of the firm Fujitsu Technology Solutions are to meet on Monday to debate the legal implications of the decision to shut down the welfare payments system which the company had provided since 2012. The company won a contract on running the system but the Czech anti-monopoly regulator last year cancelled the tender over breach of rules. Labour offices are now struggling to deliver payments using a previous, now-outdated system and the Labour Ministry says Fujitsu had no reason to act rashly since its system could have remained in operation on the grounds of an addendum to the contract signed. The Labour Ministry has warned that thousands of people could get their welfare contributions late.

Krejčíř makes urgent appeal for bail

Czech fugitive and alleged crime boss Radovan Krejčíř made an urgent application before the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday seeking to have a judgment denying him bail overturned. Krejčíř’s lawyer argued that despite the two attempts on his life the 45-year-old Krejčíř would not flee the country if released on bail, nor try to influence witnesses. Krejčíř and three others, who have been released on bail, face charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder.

Strict EU norms should guarantee better food labels

As of this year Czech producers will have to use bigger print and put more information on food labels than they have hereto. The change is in line with EU regulations and there is a fine of up to 10 million crowns for violating it. Some producers have complained that in view of the size of some products they will have to add folded leaflets to them containing the information or restrict the number of language versions on the labels.

Weather

The weekend is expected to be overcast with some drizzle and day temperatures reaching 8 degrees Celsius.

04-01-2014