A series of former Czechoslovak dissidents have criticized the use of
former communist era secret police files and comments from former agents to
discredit current politicians.
In recent days, British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has been the target of press attacks for reported meetings with a former Czechoslovak secret policeman using diplomatic cover.
The petition by a group of former Charter 77 activists, including former Czech prime minister Petr Pithart, František Bublan and Petr Uhl, said the former secret service files and comments from former agents should not be used to affect political events in other countries.
The Czech and Slovak StB archives show Corbyn met with a Czechoslavak agent three times but did not give any specific information and was not recruited as an agent.
But the British media attacks on the Labour leader have continued fuelled by comments from the former communist police agent.
The supervisory board of Czech electricity company ČEZ’s said it had
agreed the sale of its remaining Bulgarian assets to local company Inercom.
The final sale agreement is expected within days. The deal still has to be cleared by Bulgaria’s anti-monopoly authority.
The sale of the seven companies should draw a line under ČEZ’s 14 year history in Bulgaria which has in recent years involved frequent conflicts with the government and regulators.
ČEZ added though that the Bulgarian experience had turned a profit and that the final offer from Inercom was well over the market valuation of the assets and the valuation set by an independent analyst.
International human rights agency Amnesty International has criticized the
position taken by Czech politicians on refugees and immigrants.
In its latest report on human rights, Amnesty said politicians, including the president and minister of interior, made xenophobic remarks last year.
The report also criticised the country for the unequal access of Roma to education and the long running failure to buy out a pig farm at the site of a WWII Roma camp used by the Nazis. An agreement to buy out the farm has since been signed.
Former interior minister Milan Chovanec said the Czech position saved the country from the biggest waves of immigrants. The president’s spokesman denounced the report as insignificant nonsense.
In football, Viktoria Plzeň have agreed to lend midfielder Václav Pilař
to Slovan Liberec until the end of the season.
Pilař has been injured for most of the season but is expected to be recovered by the Spring with the possibility in a few matches before the end of the season.
Pilař has been part of the national team since 2011. He returned to Plzeň in 2014 after a period playing in Germany’s Bundesliga.
In ice hockey, the prospects of Czech back Michal Jordán playing in the
Olympic semi-finals against Russia on Friday have improved.
Jordán, 27, was left out of the team that narrowly beat the US on Wednesday because of muscle pains.
On Thursday he underwent a full training session and said he was ready to play. The Czechs are widely seen as underdogs against Russia to get into the Olympic finals.
A fundamental shake-up of two pillars of Czech state export support is
supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, according to the news
Under the plans the Czech Export Bank, which gives soft loans to help exports in risky countries, would become a daughter company of the state export insurer, EGAP.
The ministry is seeking a radical transformation at both institutions. The mooted transformation would have to be approved by the Czech National Bank and the government.
Unsuccessful Czech presidential candidate Pavel Fischer has announced he
will stand for Senate elections in the Prague 12 district as an
Fischer, who scored a surprise third place in the first round of elections with 10.23 percent of support, announced his decision on Thursday.
The former diplomat said he would like to specialise in the upper house of parliament in foreign policy, defence policy, and help for the regions. He added that he would seek support from other political parties.
The Czech Republic has slightly improved its standing in watchdog
Transparency Internationals’ annual Corruption Perception Index for 2017.
Under TI’s criteria, the country picked up 57 points compared to 55 in 2016. The country has moved to 42nd spot in the worldwide rankings, but it still lags behind the EU average by eight points.
In Europe, the Czech Republic climbed to 18th spot from last year’s 19th, but still found itself behind all of the Baltic States and Poland.
Transparency International’s annual Index has rated countries by perceived levels of corruption since 1995 on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being very corrupt and 100 being very clean.
A government made up of the ANO party and the Social Democrats tolerated by
the Communist Party is the only alternative on the table at present,
outgoing prime minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babis said after talks
with Social Democrat leaders on Wednesday.
Petr Fiala, chairman of the Civic Democrats, with whom Babiš debated foreign policy issues on Wednesday, reiterated his party’s unwillingness to enter into a coalition government with ANO or tolerate an ANO minority cabinet.
The negotiating teams of the two parties, ANO and the Social Democrats, will meet to discuss policy issues after the parties' leaderships meeting next Wednesday, Babiš added.
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