The interior minister, Frantisek Bublan, has defended the approach of the
police during the arrest on Thursday of two men charged with trying to
bribe an MP to bring down the government. Lobbyist Jan Vecerek was
arrested at his home at 6 a.m., while Marek Dalik - assistant to the head
of the Civic Democrats - was detained a couple of hours later. They were
released on Friday after the state attorney rejected a police request to
remand them in custody.
President Vaclav Klaus was one of several politicians who criticized the manner of the arrests, calling them "theatrical". However, speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Minister Bublan said politicians ought not to evaluate investigations while they were still taking place.
MP Zdenek Koristka says Mr Dalik and Mr Vecerek, acting on behalf of Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek, offered him 10 million crowns (around 300,000 euros) to bring down the government, which has a majority of just one, in a confidence vote. The main opposition party strenuously deny the allegation.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who Mr Topolanek has suggested is behind the whole affair, said on Sunday that whoever had a clear conscience had no reason to be "hysterical".
Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych has capped a great year by winning his first ATP title, the Sicily International tournament. Berdych, who recently turned 19, won almost $400,000 prize money when he beat Italy's Filippo Volandri 6-3 6-3 in Sunday's final. The Czech hit the headlines during the Olympic Games, when he knocked out world number one Roger Federer.
Police are continuing their search for a businessman who was kidnapped ten days ago. The father of Stanislav Brunclik paid a ransom of several million crowns to the kidnappers, who did not release him. Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said on Sunday Mr Brunclik's parents had made a mistake in not going to the police immediately.
At a meeting of his Social Democratic Party on Rip Mountain on Sunday, Mr Gross said he was optimistic the party would increase their representation in the Senate and in regional government after elections next month. The prime minister said the Social Democrats were like a patient who had been on his deathbed but was now well again. Polls suggest support for the party increased after the departure of former leader Vladimir Spidla.
The Czech Republic has the highest divorce rate in the European Union, according to figures just released by Eurostat. The Czechs, with 3.1 divorces per 1,000 citizens, are just ahead of the Estonians and the Belgians when it comes to the number of failed marriages. The marriage rate in this country is, at 5.12 per 1,000 Czechs, in line with the EU average.
Banik Ostrava football club are to be punished by European football's governing body UEFA, following crowd trouble at a UEFA Cup game between Ostrava and English club Middlesbrough on Thursday. Banik have been found guilty of inadequate segregation and failing to prevent fighting in their stadium during the game.
The Czech Republic has officially asked Israel to extradite an Israeli citizen wanted in connection with a grenade attack on a casino owner in Prague at the beginning of August. An Israeli court will now decide whether to extradite the man, who is 27 and originally from the former Soviet Union. Eighteen people, mostly foreign tourists, were injured in the attack, which was believed to be part of a feud between Israeli crime gangs.
President Vaclav Klaus has refused to apologise to MP Zdenek Koristka, who
claims people acting on behalf of Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek
tried to bribe him to bring down the government. The MP wrote to the
president on Friday asking for an apology, after Mr Klaus publicly
described him as "not completely trustworthy".
Meanwhile, the two men arrested on Thursday on charges of trying to bribe Mr Koristka were released from custody a day later, after the state attorney rejected a police request to hold them on remand.
Zdenek Koristka says Marek Dalik and Jan Vecerek, acting on behalf of Mr Topolanek, offered him 10 million crowns (around 300,000 euros) to bring down the government, which has a majority of just one, in a confidence vote. The Civic Democrats strenuously deny the allegations.
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