- The Senate will debate a proposal to press charges of high treason against President Vaclav Klaus.
- The opposition Public Affairs party is suing the government for tolerating excessive gambling on video-lottery terminals.
- Police have raided the Mirov jailhouse in search of evidence that the guards were smuggling anabolics to prisoners.
- Customs officials have seized a record shipment of cocaine at Václav Havel Airport.
- The batch of meatballs containing horsemeat detected at Czech IKEA stores reportedly went on sale in several European countries.
Senators to debate possible treason charges against Czech president
A group of 27 senators have signed a petition calling for President Vaclav Klaus to be charged with high treason over the controversial amnesty he declared at the beginning of the year. The proposal to lodge a constitutional complaint against the president was initiated by senators Eliška Wagnerová and Miroslav Antl who claim Vaclav Klaus overstepped his mandate in declaring an amnesty that will, among others, halt the prosecution of all cases older than eight years. Many of these cases pertain to serious economic crime. The signature of 27 senators is a prerequisite to have the proposal discussed. Pushing it though would require gaining majority support in the upper chamber. The petition has likewise been signed by over 73,000 members of the public.
Public Affairs sues government over tolerating excessive gambling
The opposition Public Affairs party is suing the government for tolerating excessive gambling on video-lottery terminals. Party leader Vít Barta said the government had received a warning from the Ombudsman regarding the need to fill a hole in the gambling law by setting a ceiling on bets and losses on video-lottery terminals and approved a resolution to that effect which it later quietly cancelled at the request of the finance minister. The law sets a limit on gambling but has no cap on bets and losses on video-lottery terminals.
Police raid on Mirov jailhouse
Police have raided the Mirov jailhouse in search of evidence that the guards were smuggling anabolics to prisoners. The four-day operation ended on Tuesday with the arrest of several people. Two guards, two prisoners and two civilians have so far been charged. A police spokesman said officers on the case gained a significant amount of evidence, including bank statements. One of the guards remains in detention for fear of influencing witnesses, the others were charged and released.
Dutch nationals caught smuggling cocaine
Police are questioning three Dutch nationals who were detained at Václav Havel Airport on Tuesday morning after customs officials found 31 kg of cocaine in their luggage. The group –two men and a woman –arrived from the Dominican Republic. It is not yet clear if the drugs were intended for the Czech market or were to have been smuggled to another destination. The street value of the drugs in their possession is estimated at 60 million crowns.
Possible out-of-court-settlement on case of police brutality
Interior Minister Jan Kubice will try to reach an out-of-court settlement with the relatives of a Vietnamese man who died as a result of police brutality. The victim’s mother is suing the state for her son’s death and has demanded 50 million crowns in compensation. On Tuesday the court postponed further hearings until April at her request to give the two sides time to reach an out-of-court settlement. Minister Kubice said he thought the mother wanted moral satisfaction first and foremost and would be willing to settle for a significantly lower sum if she received a proper apology from the state.
The incident took place in Brno in 2005. A woman called the police because she thought she had found drugs in her apartment which she shared with 43-year-old Vietnamese man. The man was brutally assaulted by the police and later died of internal injuries in hospital. The officer responsible was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
President Klaus in Slovakia
President Vaclav Klaus is on a two-day visit to neighbouring Slovakia, his last foreign visit before his term in office expires in March. The president is meeting with the country’s top officials and leading members of the Slovak business community. He will also attend a number of social events, including the opening of an exhibition on 20 years of Czech and Slovak independence. Mr. Klaus is accompanied by his wife Livia, who herself is Slovak. Ever since the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993 the two countries’ presidents have made it a tradition to pay their first and last foreign visits in office to the former sister-state as a mark of above-standard relations.
Znojmo town hall official found guilty of corruption
A regional court has served former Znojmo town hall official Vladimir Krejčíř a one year prison sentence and a 100,000 crown fine for corruption and abuse of office. Krejčíř was found guilty of soliciting bribes to influence tenders which he had no say over and channeling sponsors’ gifts to his personal account. Two businessmen who paid him bribe money were given suspended sentences.
Černý ordered to pay for insult
The Prague court of appeals has ordered artist David Černý to pay the former head of the National Gallery Milan Knižák 100,000 crowns for insulting him in a Czech TV documentary. Czech Public Television has been ordered to pay the same amount for airing the program. Both the artist and Czech Television have already apologized for the incident. Relations between the two artists have been strained for years.
IKEA says horse meatballs went on sale in several European countries
A batch of meatballs pulled from shelves at IKEA's stores after Czech inspectors discovered they contained horsemeat had been on sale in several European countries, the company's Czech spokesman said on Monday. Petr Chadraba, spokesman for the Swedish furniture chain’s Czech branch, said the batch of meatballs had been on sale in countries including Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Czechs increasingly cautious about taking loans
Czechs are increasingly unwilling to burden their family budgets with loans, according to a poll conducted by the CVVM agency. Inflation and uncertainty on the job market have made Czech notably more cautions with respect to loans for vacations and consumer goods. According to the poll results 88 percent of respondents said they were no longer willing to take loans on vacations or consumer goods, though 85 percent of them said would do so to finance their housing or start a business. According to statistics 17 percent of Czechs have serious problems repaying their loans.
The coming days should bring partly cloudy to overcast skies with rain in places and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.