All of the country's ministries are going to carry out "anti-corruption audits" by the end of the summer, as part of a campaign against corruption, the minister of the interior, Ivan Langer, said on Monday. Individual ministers are also planning to co-operate more closely with non-governmental organisations in the anti-corruption field, he said. However, opposition politicians have said it is paradoxical that the cabinet can both fight graft and feature Jiri Cunek, who is under investigation for bribe-taking. Mr Langer countered that the presumption of innocence should be applied to Mr Cunek.
Alexandr Vondra, a Czech deputy prime minister, says Prague continues to
support Poland's fight to hold on to its current voting rights within the
European Union. The Czech Republic is the only state openly backing
Poland, which has threatened to veto any treaty on the running of the EU
at a key conference later this week if it does not get its way. However,
Mr Vondra qualified support for Warsaw, saying the voting rights issue was
not a Czech priority.
Mr Vondra said he expected the summit to last longer than the planned two days. But he said he thought compromise on a treaty would be reached, adding that there was "no plan B".
The Czech Republic is pushing for the return of some powers from Brussels to member states, and has sent a proposal to fellow members aimed at increasing the powers of national parliaments. However, it stopped short of proposing that national governments be allowed to completely block European legislation.
A former director of the CzechInvest agency would like to set up a new body, Czechinvent, Euro reported. Radomil Novak told the weekly Czechinvent could support applied research and innovation in the Czech Republic. Last week he discussed its establishment with officials in Prague. Mr Novak is very critical of how his old employer CzechInvest has been dealt with by Trade Minister Martin Riman, accusing the ministry of paralysing it. Around half of the agency's staff have left since Mr Riman sacked Tomas Hruda as director.
Barbora Skrlova, who is 32, says she succeeded in making psychologists and
doctors believe she was a 13-year-old girl. In a newspaper interview,
Skrlova also said she appeared before a judge during adoption proceedings,
pretending to be a girl of 13 called Anicka. This contradicts earlier
reports that the woman who adopted her, Klara Mauerova, switched the
daughter of a family friend for Skrlova for the court hearing. Klara
Mauerova and her sister Katerina are in custody on charges of abusing the
former's seven-year-old son Ondrej.
After it came to light that Ondrej was being kept in horrendous conditions, the bizarre story of the fraudulent adoption slowly emerged. The family is believed to have been involved in a religious sect.
Meanwhile, Klara Mauerova's ex-husband and other relatives have been forbidden from visiting Ondrej and another brother at a children's home. Officials said they seriously breached agreed visiting conditions.
A Brno police investigator who last week was charged with distributing child pornography has now been charged with the production and possession of drugs. Home-made opium was found during a search of the 41-year-old officer's home, said a spokesperson for the Brno police. A waitress at an internet café alerted the police after the investigator left a USB stick containing pornographic images of children in one of its computers. The Interior Ministry is now investigating the officer, who was on the force for ten years.
A Prague court on Monday sentenced an Israeli citizen to five years in prison for a grenade attack in the centre of the city three years ago. Yakov Moshajlov is expected to be transferred to a prison in Israel; that was a condition of his extradition to the Czech Republic. Moshajlov, who was born in Russia, threw a grenade under the jeep of the owner of a casino on Na Prikope Street in the middle of the day. Seventeen people sustained minor injuries in the attack, most of them foreign tourists.
The Czech Republic have been knocked out in the group stage at football's European Under 21 Championships in the Netherlands. The Czechs were beaten 3:1 by Italy on Sunday evening, but even a win would not have been enough to see them into the semi-finals, as England beat Serbia in the other group game, meaning both of those teams went through. Failure to advance also means the Czech Republic will not appear at next year's Olympic Games.
The minister of culture, Vaclav Jehlicka, has threatened to resign if his ministry does not receive more funding next year. Speaking on a TV debate show, Mr Jehlicka said he did not accept the post in order to become a "minister receiver" and had, on the contrary, promised to increase spending. The proposed state budget has earmarked 6.7 billion crowns for the arts in 2008, around 1.2 billion less than this year.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, has said he believes a key
European Union summit next week will reach agreement on the outlines of a
new treaty on running the 27-member organisation. Speaking after talks
near Berlin on Sunday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mr
Topolanek said Prague would only veto efforts to revive the same
constitution French and Dutch voters rejected two years ago.
The Czech prime minister also restated his country's desire to see some powers returned from Brussels to member states. On Thursday the Czech Republic sent a proposal to fellow member states aimed at increasing the powers of national parliaments. However, it stopped short of proposing that national governments be allowed to completely block European legislation.
Czech leaders have consistently expressed reservations about any EU constitution. Prague is also supporting Poland's fight to prevent bigger states losing some voting rights.
Over 100,000 people visited museums and galleries around Prague on Saturday during an annual event entitled Museum Night. Twenty-one institutions - including the new Museum of Charles Bridge- opened their doors, free of charge, at 7 pm special free buses ferried people between the museums and galleries.
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