Communist Party deputy Zdeněk Ondráček has been elected head of the
lower house’s committee overseeing the General Inspection of the Security
Ondráček was supported by 79 MPs from ANO and the Communist Party in a second round of voting, after failing to acquire enough votes in the first round.
His rivals for the post Zuzana Majerová Zahradníková from the Civic Democrats received 32 votes and Mikuláš Ferjenčík from the Pirates Party 29 votes.
Controversy has surrounded efforts to install Mr. Ondráček in the post, given the fact the inspection body oversees the police and that as a young man he was a member of a Communist-era riot squad.
In an address to the lower house Ondráček said he had joined the police because he “liked uniforms” and denied claims that he had taken part in the brutal crack-down on students on Národní třída in 1989.
Right-wing parties have denounced his election to the post as "scandalous" calling it "a sad day for the country". Justice Minister Robert Pelikán from ANO told the news site Novinky.cz he is considering resigning in protest.
Smog regulations have taken force in some parts of the Moravian-Silesian
region which is suffering from severe air pollution. This means that
producers in the region have had to scale down production until there is a
The situation is reported to be worst in Ostrava, Karvinná and parts of Frýdek-Místek where levels of dust particles are three times higher than the permitted limit.
Children, older people and people with chronic health problems have been advised to stay indoors. Air pollution has long been a serious problem in the region due to heavy industry, traffic and coal heating.
The Australian-based mining company European Metals Holdings has said it
will continue with preparations for lithium mining in the Czech Republic
despite the fact that the Czech government does not consider the memorandum
on the extraction and processing of lithium, signed last year, legally
binding and wants to a Czech state run company to mine and process the
EMH said it was not the memorandum which guaranteed its rights but the prospecting license for natural resources held by the firm Geomet, which is part of EMH.
Czech economic growth in the fourth quarter accelerated to 5.2 percent
year-on-year, up from 5.1 in the previous quarter, according to data
released by the Czech Statistics Office.
GDP growth in 2017 rose to 4.5 percent. The economic growth was driven largely by consumer demand which rose to 4.3 percent year-on-year.
The management of CEFC China Energy, a leading Chinese Energy company, has
been taken over by the state agency Shanghai Guosheng Group, the news site
South China Morning Post reported on Friday.
There have been reports that the energy giants CEO Ye Jianming is being investigated for economic crimes. The company itself has denied the claims saying its own management was in charge.
CEFC is active in the Czech Republic where it has assets worth 1.5 billion euros. The company’s CEO is also one of President Zeman’s advisors.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has granted a pardon to a man who killed his
wife and son in a traffic accident, arguing that further punishment would
be excessive and cruel, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said
in a press release.
The convicted man was in prison for causing death by negligence and endangering the public while under the influence of an addictive substance. According to Ovčáček, the president took the decision with regard to the convict’s other child, who lost his mother and sibling in the accident.
The Czech head of state has granted nine pardons since taking office. Prior to his election he said he would only grant pardons in very exceptional cases and transferred the power to conduct clemency reviews to the minister of justice.
Czech President Miloš Zeman sent a letter to Pope Francis on Wednesday
requesting to extend Cardinal Dominik Duka’s mandate as archbishop of
The president reacted to an initiative of a hundred Catholic laymen who had petitioned Pope Francis not to extend the archbishop’s tenure, criticizing the church for alleged nationalist tendencies.
In his letter addressed to the Pope, Mr Zeman wrote that Cardinal Duka has contributed to removing barriers between the Church and State. He also mentioned Duka’s past as a political prisoner in Communist Czechoslovakia.
Cardinal Dominik Duka, who has been serving as Prague Archbishop since 2010, will have to officially submit his resignation in April, when he turns 75. I tis then up to the Pope whether he extends his mandate.
Freezing temperatures dropped to record lows in the Czech Republic for the
fifth straight night as Arctic conditions around the country continue.
Nearly 40 of 148 measuring stations, which have been in operation for 30
years or more, recorded temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius, especially
in mountainous areas.
The very lowest temperature, minus 25.7 degrees Celsius, was recorded at Orlické Záhoří in Orlické Hory in the northeast of the country. That station there has been in operation for three years.
The current cold snap, which has been caused by cold air from the Arctic, is expected to continue until Friday.
Prague’s Libeň bridge over the Vltava River will reopen to trams and
cars on Saturday after being closed for more than five weeks. Prague
authorities made the decision after checking the temporary reinforcement of
the bridge’s construction.
The bridge was closed for most transport late in January following a report to city transport bosses highlighting the dangerous state of one of its six sections. The bridge as a whole was classified as stage seven, the worst possible on a seven point evaluation.
The Culture Ministry has recently ruled that the unique Cubist bridge from 1928 is not a cultural heritage site. The Prague City Council is to decide at one of its next meetings whether the bridge is to be reconstructed or disassembled and pulled down.