Czech Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil approved on Tuesday the sale of a former local prison to the town of Uherské Hradiště, in southeast Moravia. The prison, which was built in the late 19th century, was used in the early years of the communist regime for interrogations and torture of political prisoners. The town wants to turn it into a memorial of totalitarianism. The sale is yet to be approved by the government.
The lower house of Parliament elected on Tuesday former Constitutional Court judge Pavel Varvařovský, the new Czech ombudsman. Mr Varvařovský, who was nominated by the Senate, received 98 out of 181 votes in the second round of voting, defeating the other candidate, human rights activist John Bok, who was nominated by President Václav Klaus. Mr Varvařovský said earlier that the ombudsman should be able to participate in the lawmaking process rather than fix problems later.
Along with other EU nations, the Czech Republic has agreed with the overhaul of the EU’s financial supervision structure, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek told reporters after Tuesday’s meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels. The Czech Republic, which opposed the reform, agreed to back the plan after other critics such as the UK, withdrew their objections. The Czech finance minister said that Prague gave in so as not to disrupt the unity in the Council of the European Union, and to gain a better negotiating position on other issues. The European Union will establish three regulatory institutions as part of the approved measure that will supervise the banking, insurance and financial market sectors.
The Czech national football team will open their campaign for the 2012 European Championships as they face Lithuania in the eastern city of Olomouc on Tuesday. In the first competitive match under the new manager, Michal Bílek, the Czechs will rely on midfield Tomáš Rosický, who has overcome health problems and is fit for the game.
The Czech finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, wants to abolish tax holidays for producers of solar power and energy from other kinds of renewable sources, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Tuesday. Mr Kalousek believes the move would bring hundreds of millions of crowns into the state budget. Czech tax legislation should be amended accordingly by January 2011. Producers of energy from renewable sources were granted five years’ tax holidays as part of the effort to increase production of solar energy in the Czech Republic.
In the first verdict of its kind, a higher court in Prague upheld on Tuesday a previous ruling in a case of plagiarism in Czech pop music. The court said that part of a 1994 song by the singer-songwriter Jan Kalousek was “very similar” to the 2002 hit “In Da Yard” by Jaroslav Helešic, a former member of the band Support Lesbiens. The court ruled that Mr Helešic is to pay 200,000 crowns, or more than 10,000 US dollars, to Mr Kalousek in damages. Both musicians said the dispute was not personal; Mr Helešic refused to agree on an out-of-court settlement, and said he wanted the court to establish a precedent for similar cases in the future.
The budget carrier Wizz Air will open a new air route between Brno and Luton in the UK by mid December, the head of the Brno airport said on Tuesday. The route will be operated twice a week, and another weekly flight should be added next January. Wizz Air will also introduce more flights between Prague and London; in October, there will be nine weekly flights between London and the Czech capital.
A higher court in Prague stripped on Tuesday a Czech Supreme Court judge,
Pavel Kučera, of his position over his part in the corruption case
involving former deputy prime minister, Jiří Čunek. The court found
Justice Kučera guilty of interfering with the case in that he repeatedly
met with the prosecutor to debate the course of the investigation which
outside his jurisdiction. Mr Kučera appealed Tuesday’s verdict on the
Christian Democrat Jiří Čunek was deputy prime minister between 2007 and 2009. He resigned over allegations he accepted a bribe from a real estate company while mayor of a town in Moravia. Mr Čunek is running for a seat in the Czech Senate in the autumn election.
In his first address to the lower house of Parliament in seven years, Czech President Václav Klaus asked MPs to restrict the powers of the Constitutional Court. In his 17-minute speech, Mr Klaus said, among other things, that the court should not be allowed to function as a third chamber of Parliament, as it did, according to the president, in the autumn of last year. The Constitutional Court then abolished a general election, arguing that it was called in breach of the Constitution. President Klaus also told deputies that if the ruling centre-right coalition remains cohesive, the country has a unique opportunity to carry out far-reaching reforms.
The Czech national under-21 football team beat that of Iceland 3:1 in Jablonec on Tuesday and secured the top spot in their qualifying group for the Under-21 European Championship 2011 in Denmark. The Czechs first scored in the 20th minute, and two more strikes followed in the second half. The Icelanders were only able to hit the net in the 79th minute, and set the final score to 3:1. The Czechs secured top spot in the qualifying group 5, and will advance into play-offs for seven spots to join hosts Denmark at the final tournament next June.
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