- The Czech Senate will file a complaint of treason against President Václav Klaus at the Constitutional Court.
- Hackers attacked some of the Czech Republic’s main news websites on Monday.
- TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg is planning to establish a forum for his supporters which would enable them to be active in politics without party membership.
- Korean Airlines has made an official bid for a 44 percent stake in the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines.
- A Prague court on Monday upheld the Czech Interior Ministry’s decision not to grant the Ukrainian porn actress Anastazia Hagen-Hryšaj asylum in the Czech Republic.
Senate to file complaint of treason against President Klaus
The Czech Senate will file a complaint of treason against President Václav Klaus at the Constitutional Court. The complaint pertains to five cases in which the president is alleged to have violated the constitution, including a controversial amnesty he declared at the start of the year, the fact that he refused to sign the European stability mechanism and his procrastination in nominating judges to the Constitutional Court. The motion, put forward by a cross-party group of senators, was upheld by 38 votes out of 68 senators present. 30 were against. The complaint of treason against the president will be delivered to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday morning. A spokesman for the court said it would be given top priority but a verdict is not expected until the end of March. In view of the fact that the only sanction for treason committed by the head of state is loss of office, the court’s verdict will be a mere formality. The president, who is 71, steps down on Thursday after a decade in office.
Government officials criticize Senate’s decision
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has slammed the Senate’s decision saying some Czech politicians were putting at stake the country’s reputation in order to satisfy their personal desire for revenge on Vaclav Klaus. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg too has criticized the Senate’s decision as “highly imprudent”. He said that the presidential amnesty and the other matters for which Vaclav Klaus has come under fire were unfortunate but could not, at any stretch of the imagination, be termed treasonable: at the most they could be described as abuse of office.
Deputy Prime Minister Peake says change of constitution needed
Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake said on Monday that she was working on an amendment to the constitution which would in future strip Czech presidents of the right to declare amnesties. Ms. Peake said this particular privilege, once reserved for monarchs, is outlived and should not apply in a parliamentary democracy. She said the president should only retain the right to issue individual pardons. The deputy prime minister likewise criticized the Senate’s decision to file a criminal complaint of treason against President Klaus saying the move would have no effect and would harm the country’s image abroad.
Hackers paralyze main new sites
Hackers attacked some of the Czech Republic’s main news websites on Monday slowing or crashing their home pages in the latest in a series of cyber assaults on media outlets around the world. Among those affected were idnes.cz, ihned.cz and lidovky.cz .No one has yet claimed responsibility. IT experts say the hackers flooded the websites with digital requests overwhelming their systems.
TOP 09 leader establishes Karel Schwarzenberg Forum
TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg is planning to establish a forum for his supporters who do not want to be drawn into any of the established parties but who support his style of government. The Karel Schwarzenberg Forum would be loosely associated with TOP 09 and its members could run in local or general elections as independents. Mr. Schwarzenberg, who gained 45 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections, has a strong following, but many of his fans do not want to be tied down by party politics. Political analysts see the new forum as a smart move which could further bolster TOP 09’s position as the strongest force right-of-centre.
Korean makes bid for ČSA
Korean Airlines has made an official bid for a 44 percent stake in the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines or ČSA, the internet news site ihned.cz reported on Monday. Korean Air operates passenger flights to 12 cities in Europe, including a non-stop flight to Prague but this is its first attempt to invest in a passenger carrier. If it were successful it would be the second biggest shareholder in Czech Airlines. The government has offered to sell a 96 percent stake to a European buyer; other airlines could only purchase a less than 50 percent stake in order to ensure that ČSA remains a national carrier. The only other potential buyer is Qatar Airlines. The Czech government made a previous unsuccessful attempt at selling off ČSA in 2009.
Continuing controversy over communist education councillor
There is continuing controversy over the Communist Party’s education councillor in Karlovy Vary. There has been mounting pressure for Václav Sloup’s dismissal since it emerged that he was politically active pre-1989, serving in one of the country’s dreaded border patrols whose task it was to prevent people fleeing Czechoslovakia. The Communist Party has agreed to remove him from the post of education councillor but wants him transferred to a different post on the council. The Social Democrats are refusing to accept this and say they will walk out of the coalition unless Mr. Sloup leaves local government.
Czech and Slovak presidents exchange high state distinctions
Outgoing Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his Slovak counterpart Ivan Gasparovic are due to meet on Wednesday in Brno’s Tugendhat villa for a ceremony at which they will exchange high state distinctions. President Klaus will receive the Order of the White Double Cross and confer upon President Gasparovic the Order of the White Lion. The two presidents are exchanging high state distinctions in appreciation of their contribution to their countries’ above-standard relations. The site of their meeting – the Tugendhat villa –is highly symbolic. This is where the two countries prime ministers signed the agreement on the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1992.
Ukrainian porn actress loses her case in court
A Prague court on Monday upheld the Czech Interior Ministry’s decision not to grant the Ukrainian porn actress Anastazia Hagen-Hryšaj asylum in the Czech Republic. The judge said the actress did not meet any of the conditions on the grounds of which asylum could be granted. The 27-year-old Ukrainian national who fled to the Czech Republic two years ago says that she fears persecution in her homeland for having acted in porn movies and claims there is a real threat the authorities would take away her three underage sons. Hagen-Hryšaj’s lawyer has said she will appeal the verdict.
Ostrava city transport undergoes changes
City transport in Ostrava is undergoing radical changes as of Monday, March 4th. The changes affect both bus and tram lines with six bus routes and one tram line being cancelled altogether and many others rerouted. The overhaul was prompted by a cut in finances but the transport authority says the changes introduced will also make the transport network more efficient in that it will better reflect citizens’ present day needs.
The coming days should bring clear skies with daytime highs reaching 10 degrees Celsius.