Four Burmese families granted asylum by the Czech Republic have arrived in the country. The 16 Burmese citizens, including four children, were immediately taken to an integration centre in south Bohemia after landing in Prague on Thursday. The group, who were expelled from Burma, will join another 23 refugees from their country who arrived in the Czech Republic in October.
Police are questioning an 18-year-old who left her three-month old daughter in an anonymous “babybox” at a hospital in Ostrava and now wants the child back. Aneta Tokarcíková said she had abandoned her baby Barbora because of straitened circumstances. The child’s father is now in prison for burglary after being placed on a nationwide wanted list. Police conducted a search for the parents after doctors discovered the baby had suffered a broken arm; the matter is being investigated as a possible case of bodily harm.
Radko Martínek is one of three Social Democrat MPs who have said they are giving up their seats in the Chamber of Deputies after being named regional governors. Michal Hašek and Martin Tesařík are also quitting the lower house, though David Rath – who is governor of Central Bohemia – is retaining his post as an MP.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, says he will not veto a bill that
would bar the media from publishing or broadcasting police wiretaps. In a
letter to the chairman of the Czech Syndicate of Journalists, Miroslav
Jelínek, the president said he did not see any way in which a new law on
the subject contravened the Czech constitution. A number of Czech and
international journalists’ groups have called on Mr Klaus not to sign the
bill, which they say would be an infringement on the freedom of the press.
Speaking in response to the president’s letter, Mr Jelínek said the
matter should now go before the Constitutional Court.
Last week MPs from most parties in the Chamber of Deputies voted to overturn a Senate veto on the law. If it comes into effect, journalists who publish wiretaps could face up to five years in jail.
Six hundred types of toys were banned by the Czech Trade Inspectorate last year. The organisation’s Jana Příhodová told the radio station Impuls that in total over 90,000 toys and other products for children were seized in 2008. However, she said trade inspectorate had little success in tracking down the producers or importers of the faulty goods, especially if they were on sale at markets.
A brothel owned by a former Social Democrats regional boss received over CZK 5 million in state grants from ministries run by MPs for the party, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes said on Thursday. Miroslav Mrština was the head of the Social Democrats in the Hradec Kralové region and was a member of the party’s leadership. His brothel in the town of Náchod is alleged to have received CZK 1.3 million from the Ministry of Regional Development when it was headed by Radko Martínek and a further CZK 4 million from the Labour Ministry under the helm of Zdeněk Škromach. The leadership of the Social Democrats have denied the charges, saying they may take legal action over the matter.
English football club, Chelsea, home to Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, will be led by Dutch coach Guus Hiddink following the firing of Luiz Felipe Scolari. After the Brazilian’s surprise dismissal this week, speculation emerged that Čech and other key players had had an influence. But the player has reportedly denied any role. British tabloid The Sun has suggested that the star goalkeeper had been at odds with the former manager over key changes in training.
The Czech Publishers Association and the World Association of Newspapers have appealed to Czech President Václav Klaus not to sign a new amendment to the country’s criminal code. The amendment, approved recently by the lower house, includes a ban on the publishing or broadcasting of police wiretap material. In a letter to the president, the journalists’ and publishers’ organisations write that it is not the state but the media who should make decisions on when to go public with information. They also stressed that the five year sentence for violating the ban was “unacceptable”. Until now, the Czech media relied regularly on police transcripts to point to connections, for example, in organised crime.
Martin Nekola: Czech Chicago and other untold stories of Czechs abroad
Czech President Zeman addresses Council of Europe
Czech Republic faces court action over freedom of movement
Czech pre-election battle plugs into war of words over lithium mining deal
Prague prepares for launch of annual light show