Writer Jáchym Topol and former head of the State Environmental Fund Libor Michálek will run in Senate elections for the Green party this autumn. Party chairman Ondřej Liška announced the names on Sunday and said that they were in talks with the Christian Democrats and the Pirate Party to support Michálek in Prague.
The number of crimes committed in the Czech Republic has consistently dropped in recent years, with the exception of last year. Police records show crime rose in 2011 by several thousand, up to 320.000. Last year, 65% of crimes consisted of property offences. The number of stolen cars has decreased dramatically, from more than 18,000 vehicles in 2008 to around 11,500 last year. The number of murders has also declined from 202 in 2008 to 173 in 2011 with police solving nine out of tem homicides. Vice crime has risen each year by about 15%. All together the police have a solve rate of about 40%.
Half of the passengers involved in the crash of a Czech bus in Croatia on Saturday are being released from hospital. The remaining 14 patients should be released within three days if their condition allows. A Czech army aircraft is in central Croatia to transport those who are able back to the Czech Republic. According to reports, the bus, carrying 51 people, first struck a pole before ramming into the median and flipping over, killing eight people including the driver. The bus was on its way from Brno carrying holidaymakers to the Makarska Riviera. The cause of the crash is not yet known..
A policeman and two civilians in České Budějovice are suspected of having blackmailed a businessman. The police officer reportedly demanded half a million crowns from the man in exchange for getting rid of the record he said the police were keeping on him. The general inspection of the police force arrested the officer on Friday just after he received one of the payments. One of the suspects is also believed to have strafed the businessman’s car with a machine gun.
Miroslav Kalousek says that the charges against former defence minister Vlasta Parkanová are an attack on democracy. Speaking on a Czech Television programme, the Finance minister and deputy chairman of the TOP 09 party said by accusing Parkanová of corrupt purchases of CASA military aircraft the police were attacking the state’s decision-making processes and the democratic system. Parkanová, he said, acted legally, and the police charges must either be based on the investigators’ ignorance or bad intentions. The finance minister has vigorously defended his fellow party member from the moment her case appeared, even making a video posted on the ministry’s website. Some have cited his own connection to the case, being a friend of the former director of the company that mediated the deal.
British musician Sting returns to Prague to play at a packed O2 Arena on Monday evening. The concert is part of a tour celebrating 25 years since the launch of his solo career and will include his greatest hits. It is the third time the former Police frontman has visited Prague in recent times, and the decision to hold a second concert within five months was based on a large fan base, according to the organisers, who added that he knows Prague well and has worked with Czech musicians in the past.
President Václav Klaus says the displacement of Sudeten Germans after WWII was the logical conclusion of a tragic period of Czech history. Speaking at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi annihilation of the village of Ležáky, President Klaus said that Czechs have long been asked to forget the horrors of the war for friendship’s sake and to share the guilt for atrocities committed. While countering a claim that he was hostile to Germany, Klaus said he could not, must not and did not want to forget what happened in Bohemia and elsewhere in Europe during the war.
Several dozen people gathered in Prague on Saturday to commemorate post-war politician Milada Horáková and other victims of communism on the weekend before the 62nd anniversary of her execution by the Communist regime. Horáková was executed on charges of treason and conspiracy after a show trial on June 27, 1950. People paid their respects to her and others at the monument to 235 victims of communism in front of Pankrác Prison in Prague, where Horáková and others were imprisoned and killed. Milada Horáková served in the anti-fascist resistance during WWII, before becoming an MP for the National Socialists. She left politics after the Communist coup in 1948 and was arrested the next year. The Supreme Court overturned her conviction in 1968, however she was only exonerated in 1990.
The Prague Municipal Court has ruled that the office of the Czech president must disclose information about its employees´ pay and bonuses. The information had been sought by the daily Lidové noviny for nearly a year, particularly regarding the pay of President Vaclav Klaus´s controversial secretaries Ladislav Jakl and Petr Hajek, however the office insisted it was not authorised to provide the information. The Municipal Court ruled that the employees in question were important officials in leading posts, and people had the unchallengeable right to information about their wages. The office has 15 day to provide the information to Lidové noviny and cover court expenses of 3000 crowns.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said today he fears plans for the establishment of a union of banks within the European Union might jeopardise the single financial market in the EU. Some European politicians, including European Commission head Jose Barroso, are calling for the establishment of the bank union in reaction to the current crisis. However, Mr Kalousek says it is not possible to expect that all countries will participate in the bank union and warns that if the union were formed by only some countries, it might be the end of the single financial market in the EU. The plan – which entails greater integration of the banking sector, stronger regulation and changes in insurance policies and bank guarantees - will be discussed by EU governments and heads of states at a summit in Brussels next week.
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