The Chamber of Deputies has failed to approve a new criminal code which
would have radically overhauled Czech law. The governing Social Democrats
decided not to support it because it dropped a provision on tunnelling
(asset stripping) companies. Their decision meant the criminal code could
not attain the 101 votes needed to overturn a veto by the Senate.
Justice Minister Pavel Nemec said it was short-sighted to reject legislation that had been in preparation for over a decade because of one contentious article.
Among several changes, it would have lowered the age of criminal responsibility to 14 and increased sentences for violent crimes. The Communist Party were opposed to the new code, as it would have made propagating communism a crime, while the Christian Democrats said it opened the way to the legalisation of euthanasia.
Many Czech university students are unable to benefit from study stays in other countries because their English language skills are not good enough, Lidove noviny reported on Tuesday. According to a new study quoted by the paper, only 40 percent of Czech students can read specialist English texts and 80 percent are unable to write at a sufficiently high standard.
Meanwhile, the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported one of its correspondents was badly beaten up in the centre of the capital Minsk on Sunday night. Jan Rybar suffered concussion and a broken nose during the attack; he said he believed his assailants were secret police officers. The Czech charge d'affaires in the city said he thought it was not an act of random violence.
A court in Hradec Kralove has sentenced a former police officer to eight years in prison for drug trafficking. Pavel Krchnavy was found guilty of giving almost 9 kilos of heroin to an accomplice and giving him instructions on how to bring the drugs to Italy. The man was subsequently arrested by Italian police.
The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, has called for the main
opposition leader in Belarus, Alexander Milinkevich, to be invited to a
European Union summit later this week. Mr Milinkevich received around 6
percent of the vote in Sunday's presidential election in Belarus, which
was won by the autocratic incumbent Alexander Lukashenko.
The EU has described the election as neither free nor fair, and is considering stepping up sanctions against Belarus. However Minister Svoboda said he was opposed to tough sanctions: he called for more dialogue and support for the country's universities, NGOs and opposition.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, said Mr Lukashenko's landslide victory confirmed his fears for democracy in Belarus.
Czech Airlines is to increase its services to Eastern Europe from next weekend. Its summer time-table adds a new destination, Odessa, while increasing the number of flights to Zagreb, Bucharest, Ljubljana, Yerevan, Sarajevo and Yekaterinburg, Athens and Istanbul. CSA is also set to renew flights to New York's second airport, Newark.
Over half of the children who died in road accidents in the Czech Republic last year were not strapped into children's seats or wearing seatbelts, according to figures released by the Central Auto Club on Tuesday. Thirty-nine children died in traffic accidents in 2005, 12 percent more than in 2004. Overall numbers of road deaths have declined in recent years.
Police in North Bohemia have confirmed that boxes found on the premises of a former factory in the town of Usti nad Labem contain the mortal remains of German soldiers who died during WWII in Bohemia. Police are now investigating how the boxes got there and whether or not the law was broken. The paper Mlada Fronta Dnes first wrote about the case last Friday.
Days after losing an international arbitration case taken by the
Japanese bank Nomura, the Czech Republic on Monday began a second
arbitration hearing against the bank in Paris: it is demanding over 4.5
billion dollars in compensation for costs incurred during the forced
administration of the Czech bank IPB. Nomura owned almost 50 percent of
IPB, which was sold to another Czech bank soon after its collapse in
the year 2000.
On Friday an arbitration court in London ruled the Czech state had failed to protect Nomura's investment in IPB, and it is now seeking over one and a half billion US dollars in compensation. The actual amount Nomura will receive has not yet been decided.
A survey by the STEM agency shows that Culture Minister Vitezslav Jandak is the most popular Czech politician, with 69 percent of public support. He is followed by Finance Minister and acting chairman of the Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka with 54 percent and Education Minister Petra Buzkova with 52 percent.
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