President Miloš Zeman is suffering from a viral infection and his engagements for the next few days have been cancelled, his spokeswoman Hana Buriánová said on Friday. She said the president had a head cold and was feverish but should be back in his office on Monday. Mr. Zeman appeared unwell and was visibly unstable at Thursday’s ceremony of bringing the crown jewels out of storage, sparking speculation regarding the cause of the problem.
The police have charged 25 people with tax fraud relating to imported goods from Asia. Among those charged are five customs officers and several Vietnamese nationals. The damages could reach millions of crowns. Individual members of the group have also been charged with organized crime and taking or soliciting bribes.
Petr Mlsna, head of the government’s legislative council, who was nominated for the post of judge of the European Court of Justice has not been approved for the post by the respective EU committee. Mlsna was nominated for the post by the Czech government to replace Judge Irena Pelikánová, whose six-year term in office expires at the end of August. The position will need to be filled in early September. The Nečas cabinet will now have to make a new nomination. A committee of former EU judges evaluates the candidates' legal education, work experience, language proficiency and personality.
Divers on Friday found the body of the last victim of a tragic boat ride down the Morava River. Two men and a six-year-old girl set off in a rubber boat on May 1st and were reported missing by relatives later that day. Their capsized boat was located soon after but it took the police eight days to retrieve the bodies. Rafting or boating the country’s rivers is a popular activity in the spring and summer and the authorities have issued repeated warnings to people to adhere to safety regulations, avoid dangerous stretches and not risk their lives unnecessarily.
Pope Francis will not attend July’s celebrations of the 1150th jubilee of Saints Cyril and Methodius at Velehrad, south Moravia, though he will send an envoy in his stead, the Vatican said on Friday. The chosen legate is reported to be Archbishop Josip Bosanovic. The celebrations at the pilgrimage site of Velehrad will mark the saints’ arrival in the Great Moravian Empire in 863. Ss Cyril and Methodius came from Thessaloniki to spread the Christian faith and lay the foundations of written culture.
Hundreds of people have been lining up to view the Czech crown jewels which are now on display in the Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle. The crown jewels only go on public display on special occasions. This year they are being shown for ten days on the occasion of the election of President Miloš Zeman. The crown jewels include the St. Wenceslas crown, which Charles IV had made in 1347, the coronation crucifix also from the 14th century, as well as the royal sceptre and the royal apple from the first half of the 16 th century. Thousands of people are expected to view these symbols of Czech statehood in the next ten days.
Czech annual inflation remains unchanged at 1.7 percent, which is in line with market expectations and slightly below the forecast of the Czech National Bank (1.8 percent). Consumer prices rose by 0.1 on the month in April, driven by the higher prices of clothing, footwear, alcohol and tobacco products. On the other hand, the price of foodstuffs, primarily pastry and dairy products, decreased slightly. Separate data released by the Czech Labour Ministry on Friday showed the April jobless rate at 7.7 percent down from 8.0 percent.
The national vehicle registration system was out of operation for over three hours on Friday morning, the CTK news agency reports. According to the Transport Ministry the problem was not linked to the system itself but was due to a failure between the system and the police data base to which it is connected. The new system which is linked to the Schengen database has been dogged by problems since it was introduced in July of last year. As of April the system changed hands and is now being administered by ICT and Telephonica.
The Ukrainian branch of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights has called on the Czech Republic not to extradite a Russian manager wanted for embezzlement in the Ukraine on the grounds that she could face torture, the daily Lidové noviny reports. Tatjana Pareskevic, who has been charged with embezzling 5 million dollars in the Ukraine, claims that she is victim of a politically motivated trial. The Czech Foreign Ministry has also spoken out against her extradition. The Prague Supreme Court recently approved it on the grounds that it had received assurances from Ukrainian officials that she would get a fair trial. Paraskevic has appealed the verdict. She was arrested in the Czech Republic last spring while visiting a spa resort for health reasons.
The Czechs improved their standings at the Ice Hockey World Championship with a hard-won 4:2 victory against Slovenia on Friday night. Slovenia turned in a strong performance and the game was undecided until the third period when Zbynek Michalek took advantage of a power play and Jiri Novotny scored an insurance goal to clinch the badly-needed victory. The Czechs have so far given a lacklustre performance at the Ice Hockey World Championships and Zbynek Michalek said after the game that despite the win he was far from happy with the results.
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