The International Monetary Fund has criticised the Czech Republic for continuing shortcomings in the judicial and legal systems and for weaknesses in corporate governance. In its Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes released on Monday, the International Monetary Fund or IMF said Czech courts suffered from insufficient resources and lack of wider experience among the judges in understanding modern business law and corporate finance. Other problems, stated by the IMF, include costly, cumbersome and non-transparent court proceedings. According to the IMF, slow court proceedings lead to significant backlog of filed and pending bankruptcy cases and weak legal protection of creditors' rights.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed an amendment to the law on the Constitutional Court. A spokesman for the Presidential Office said that according to Mr Klaus the law severely disturbed the balance between the legislative, executive and judicial powers. According to the President, the amended law would, in a concealed manner, broaden the powers of the Constitutional Court to the detriment of the government and parliament.
Two Czech men serving long prison sentences for illegal drug-trafficking in Thailand have been handed over to Czech immigration police officers and diplomats. The two men are expected to arrive in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. According to a Czech diplomat, the prisoners expressed happiness over their return but also mixed feelings about their future. Thai courts originally sentenced Emil Novotny and later Radek Hanykovics to 50 years in prison after they were arrested carrying several kilograms of heroin. This case is the first to make use of an agreement between the Czech Republic and Thailand on the mutual exchange of prisoners.
Czech building societies last year signed almost 2.5 million new contracts, which was the highest number in their ten-year history. The secretary of the building societies association Jan Patek said the growth could be attributed to the cutting of state support to home-building savings as of the start of this year, from a maximum of 4,500 crowns to 3,000 crowns a year. In the previous two years, so far record ones, building societies entered into about 1.5 million contracts. About 6.5 million Czechs now have contracts for home-building savings. The cabinet decided to tighten conditions because over the past two years it had paid out 10 billion crowns a year in support to home-building savings, but paradoxically, the state will pay even more this year because many people rushed to sign new contracts before the end of last year to benefit from the more advantageous conditions.
The Czech crown set a new all-time high to the US dollar when it strengthened to 25.29 crowns to the US dollar on Monday morning. To the euro, the crown weakened slightly but stayed around 32.60 crowns to the euro. Analyst say a weak dollar could push fuel and gas prices down, but it will not please Czech companies as the trend would hurt European exporters with low profitability, such as electronics and car makers.
An elderly man blamed for a five-year string of bombings and bomb threats across the Czech Republic has died of self-inflicted wounds. Police said the 68-year-old retired locksmith died on Sunday in a Prague hospital from stab wounds to the neck. The man, whose name was withheld, had tried to kill himself while being arrested on December 29 near a memorial to Germans expelled from the former Czechoslovakia after World War II. The memorial in the northern town of Teplice nad Metuji was damaged by a bomb last spring. The memorial bombing had been one of 18 unsolved incidents since March 1999 that police thought might be the work of a single attacker.
After a windy night, Tuesday should be partly cloudy with occasional rain or sleet. Daytime temperatures are expected to range from 1 to 6 degrees Celsius.
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