The acting head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes says she is considering suing her predecessor for alleged financial mismanagement. Pavla Foglová told journalists on Friday that former director Daniel Herman had paid bonuses in January that the institution did not possess and had raised the salaries of dozens of senior employees shortly before his removal last month. Mr. Herman says his sacking by the Institute’s left-controlled board was a political move. The state agency administers the files of the StB secret police and other documents from the communist era.
The Czech Republic beat Belarus 2:0 in their opening game at the World Ice Hockey Championship in Stockholm on Friday with the goals coming from Jakub Voráček and Radim Vrbata. The result means the Czechs – who were last crowned world champions three years ago – have maintained their record of never having lost their opening in the tournament. Alois Hadamczik’s charges will face stiffer competition on Saturday, when they face hosts Sweden.
A couple have received eight-year jail terms for the grave mistreatment of a sick woman who subsequently died. Zdeněk and Alena Hostaš, from a small town near Olomouc, were looking after the woman, the man’s mother, and lived off her disability benefit money. However, they kept the 62-year-old woman, who had suffered a stroke, in appalling conditions in an unheated room without adequate food, drink or medicines. She died a few weeks after being taken into hospital early this year.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, appointed three new Constitutional Court judges on Friday. Following Senate approval of their nominations last week, academics Jaroslav Fenyk and Jan Filip have joined the country’s highest court, as has judge Milada Tomková. The Senate also gave its backing to the nomination of Vladimír Sládeček; he will be appointed next month when the term of one of the current justices comes to an end. All in all, seven of the 15 members of the Constitutional Court are stepping down this year.
The police have closed the case against an Anders Breivik sympathizer from Ostrava who was arrested in August of last year for illegal possession of explosives and weapons. The 29-year-old man was constructing a bomb in his flat and police suspected him of planning a terrorist attack. Psychological tests showed the man to be insane and he is being placed in institutionalized care.
The damage caused by Monday’s gas explosion in Prague’s Divadelní street is estimated at 100 million crowns. Around 50 people are reported to have filed insurance claims. It is still not clear what caused the explosion and according to police sources the investigation could take several more weeks. Two small side streets near the embankment which sustained the worst damage remain closed. Over 40 people were injured in the accident, two of them seriously.
Justice Minister Pavel Blažek has vehemently denied allegations that his ministry authored the controversial amnesty declared at the start of the year by then president Václav Klaus. The allegations came from Mr Klaus’ former legal advisor, Pavel Hasenkopf, who said the ministry had prepared a detailed draft of the amnesty with two goals in mind: alleviating the country’s overcrowded prisons and ridding the justice system of old cases. Minister Blažek said this was an outright lie, adding that he was considering legal action in the ministry’s defence. President Klaus’ controversial amnesty among others halted the prosecution of cases lasting for more than eight years including some high-profile corruption cases from the 1990s.
State school-leaving exams began for around 100,000 Czech secondary school students on Thursday, May2. The exams start with written tests in the Czech language and either math or English. Oral exams will take place in mid-May. Some 60 percent of students allegedly opted for English, the rest choosing math. The school-leaving exams this year only have one level of difficulty, a change from last year when students could choose between an easier and a more difficult version of the exam.
A group of Czech and Slovak tourists are reported to have caused a security alert at London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday after customs detected an object resembling a detonator in one of their suitcases. According to the internet news site TVNOVINY.SK the group of seven Slovaks and two Czechs was surrounded by an anti-terrorist squad and questioned for close to seven hours. The Slovak in whose possession the suspicious object was found says he had no idea how it got there and claimed it may have been planted in his luggage while he slept. It is not clear how the object escaped the notice of customs officials at Vienna Airport. Seven members of the group have reportedly been released, the Slovak who caused the alarm and his wife remain in detention. The two Czechs who were bound for the United States reportedly returned to Bratislava after the US authorities refused them entry into the United States.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’