Heads will roll in connection with last week's police action against the
head of the government's human rights section, Katerina Jacques, the Czech
Police chief Vladislav Husak announced on Wednesday. Ms Jacques, a
candidate for the opposition Green Party in the upcoming parliamentary
elections, says she was beaten by a police officer when she refused to
stop protesting against a May Day neo-Nazi demonstration in the Prague 2
district. The police officer will most likely be charged with the abuse of
power, causing bodily harm, and limiting personal freedoms.
As of May 15, the head of the Prague 2 police headquarters and his deputy will no longer hold their posts; disciplinary proceedings against the representative of the Prague Police have been launched. The incident has also cost police president Husak his promotion to the rank of General. Police psychologists will be present at all major operations in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
A 14 year-old boy died tragically on Tuesday evening during an attempt to clear a football field in order to mow the lawn. After a game of football, in the south Moravian village of Velke Opatovice, the boy and his team mates tried to move the goal posts when they suddenly lost their grip on the heavy iron posts. The boy was hit on the head and died on the spot.
Cabinet has removed two executive board members of the state bail-out
agency, Ceska Konsolidacni Agentura (CKA), from their posts. The
dismissal has come in reaction to a recent CKA financial scandal in
which half a billion crowns (close to 21 million US dollars)
disappeared from the accounts of the company's subsidiary IMOB. The
money was secretly transferred to a Swiss bank by IMOB director Jan
Mr Sik has been relieved of all posts and is under investigation for fraud and embezzlement. The IMOB supervisory board chairman has also resigned, though stressing he knew nothing of Mr Sik's plans. The two CKA executive board members have been dismissed for failing to prevent the transaction.
The state has decided to offer all those who lost their homes to this year's floods a one-off sum of 150,000 crowns (a little over 6,800 US dollars) in compensation. The state will also help cover demolition costs, the Czech government decided on Wednesday. Most of the houses destroyed lie in southern Bohemia, a Regional Development Ministry assessment says. The compensation will be taken out of a 5 billion crown budget earmarked for flood relief by cabinet earlier this year.
The lower house has rejected a bill on compulsory property declarations for people with assets over 10 million crowns (417,000 dollars). The bill, put forward by the Communist Party, was rejected by the right-of-centre parties in parliament as well as the Social Democrats who say they are preparing their own version to push through after the upcoming elections. Only 38 out of the 107 MPs present voted for the bill.
Cabinet has approved a proposed contract with the South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, which intends to invest up to one billion euros in a new car plant in the Moravian town of Nosovice. In the draft agreement, the state binds itself to support the plant's construction with a 2.4 billion crown donation between 2007 and 2013. The state also offers an investment incentive of up to 2.5 billion crowns to create work places and upgrade skills of the work force. Hyundai can also expect tax leverage of up to 1.3 billion crowns. If approved by Hyundai's board of directors, Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban will sign the agreement in Seoul in mid-May.
President Vaclav Klaus has received an honorary doctorate from London's City University. At the ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Klaus said he views this distinction as an appreciation of the Czech Republic as a whole. In a modern world full of e-mail, SMS messaging, and misleading headlines, Mr Klaus says, universities are essential because they offer an environment for constructive criticism and sober and educated debate. During his visit to London, the Czech President also met with the newly elected British Conservative Party leader, David Cameron.
If the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats win the upcoming elections, they will freeze ratification of the European Union constitution and seek a new deal giving Germany less voting power, the party's MEP in Brussels, Jan Zahradil, has told the Reuters news agency. Mr Zahradil, who defines his party's stance as "pro-European, but anti-federalist" and may become the country's foreign minister if his party wins the June 2-3 elections, says Europe needs a more flexible set-up than the draft constitution offers. Only if the Dutch and the French, who voted against the draft constitution, change their mind might there be a vote on the treaty in the Czech Republic, Mr Zahradil believes.
The lower house has passed a bill reducing the immunity of deputies and senators. Under the new legislation, they would be granted immunity only during their terms. Currently, if parliament does not agree to hand over its members for prosecution, they can never again be prosecuted in the same matter. The amendment is now going to the Senate which needs to approve it in order for it to become law. 125 deputies out of the 140 present voted for the bill on Tuesday.
A poll conducted by the SC&C agency for the Mlada fronta Dnes daily suggests that Czechs consider current President Vaclav Klaus to have been the best prime minister of the independent Czech Republic established in 1993 after the split of Czechoslovakia. A total of 39 percent of respondents say that Mr Klaus, who was prime minister between 1992 and 1998, has been the best head of government. He is followed by former Social Democrat leader Milos Zeman (in office 1998-2002) with 20 percent. Current PM Jiri Paroubek as well as Josef Tosovsky, who headed a caretaker cabinet in 1998, ended up third with 14-percent support each. Eight percent of respondents said they preferred Stanislav Gross as Czech PM and 6 percent view current EU Commissioner Vladimir Spidla as the best head of government after 1993.
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