Three former MPs charged with bribe-taking but released this week could still face criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that their actions were covered by their parliamentary immunity. The three former Civic Democrat deputies faced bribery charges for allegedly having agreed to quit their seats in the lower house in return for posts in state-run companies. However, a spokesman for the Supreme Court said on Friday their immunity only applied to their decision to step down as MPs while any further circumstances as well as their motivation could be subject to criminal proceedings.
Sparta Prague tied 2:2 against Sweden’s BK Häcken in the first leg of Europa League’s second round qualifier in Prague on Thursday. Sparta captain David Lafata scored the first two goals but the visitors came back and tied the game with hits in the 69th and 77th minute, respectively. Meanwhile, Liberec lost their Europa League qualifier 1:2 against Skonto Riga.
Transport Minister Zdeněk Žák has made changes to Czech Railways’ board of supervisors. Five members in the eight-member board of the state-owned firm including its chairman Libor Antoš, will be replaced, the ministry said on Friday. Czech Railways’ trade unions said the move would eventually lead to the dismissal of Czech Railways CEO, Petr Žaluda. The new supervisory board is to convene on July 30.
A commemorative cobblestone, called Stolperstein, has been placed in front of a house on Kouřimská street in Prague’s Vinohrady neighborhood in memory of the writer and journalist Milena Jesenská, who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1939 and died in the Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1944. Jesenská was a close friend of Franz Kafka and had joined an underground resistance movement after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, for which she was arrested. The Stolperstein cobblestones have been installed in various European cities in front of houses where victims of the Nazi regime resided before their deportation or arrest. In the upcoming days, 89 such stones will be placed around Prague and in a number of other Czech cities. This Sunday, a Stolperstein will be installed in Prague in memory of Přemysl Šámal, who was the first mayor of the city after Czechoslovakia gained independence in 1918.
An expert medical witness, who was questioned as part of the ongoing trial against businessman Roman Janoušek, said that positive results of the police breathalyzer test cannot be used as conclusive evidence of the fact that the defendant was drunk at the time of the hit-and-run incident last year. Mr. Janoušek is facing attempted murder charges, having rear-ended a car and then hitting the driver as she tried to stop him. The police measured 0.2 blood alcohol level after the incident with a breathalyzer, but Mr. Janoušek refused to submit to a blood test, which would have provided results that could serve as sufficient evidence in court, according to the expert testimony on Thursday.
The Czech Foreign Ministry is planning to open new missions in Senegal and Myanmar (Burma). Although lately the ministry has closed down a number of foreign missions, including recently the one in Luxemburg, it is hoping to open and re-open a number of them this year in countries that the ministry deems to be of economic significance to the Czech Republic. The mission in Senegal will be operating from the Austrian embassy in Dakar, while the new diplomatic mission in the Burmese Rangoon will have its own offices. Last year, the ministry announced that it will also open consulates in Qatar, Sri Lanka and Colombia in 2013.
The Czech Bar Association has lodged a disciplinary complaint against Vladimír Zavadil, a lawyer who placed an advertisement attacking then presidential candidate Karel Schwarzenberg that appeared in the tabloid Blesk on the eve of the final round of a presidential election in January. The complaint accuses Mr. Zavadil of not abiding by the legal statutes and professional ethics which require lawyers to act in upright, honorable and respectable manner at all times. The ad urged readers not to vote for Karel Schwarzenberg and made a number of statements, which Mr. Schwarzenberg's team characterized as lies. A police investigation into the matter was shelved earlier. If the disciplinary proceedings prove that he has broken his legal and ethical responsibilities, Mr. Zavadil may be facing a fine or even a ban on practicing law.
The Prague City Hall has said it wants to get homeless people off Prague’s trams, buses and metro. Mayor Tomáš Hudeček said on Thursday he will establish a working group to tackle the problem. The body is to be made up of Prague Transport authority officials, police officers and NGO representatives. Mr. Hudeček said it was not yet clear how many officers and street-workers would be needed to resolve the problem. He said he hoped to see results in the winter of this year. Due to the inadequate capacity of Prague shelters for the homeless many homeless people seek protection from the cold on the city’s public transport.
The twelfth year of the popular Colours of Ostrava music festival has begun in the Silesian city on Thursday afternoon. This year’s festival will feature 46 Czech and 60 foreign bands from 29 different countries. Organizers are expecting at least 60,000 people to attend the official part of the festival as well as the accompanying events happening in the streets of Ostrava until the end of the festival on Sunday. This is the second year that Colours of Ostrava is held in a part of the large former Vítkovice ironworks. The festival began with a concert by an Albanian band Transglobal Underground.
Finance Minister Jan Fischer said on Wednesday that he had produced sufficient proof that the repayment of his presidential election campaign debt was above-board and now considered the matter closed. The new finance minister came under widespread criticism for accepting over five million crowns from sponsors to repay the said debt soon after it became known that he would get a lucrative post in the new cabinet. A large part of the money was moreover contributed in cash. The finance minister was forced to reveal the identity of his sponsors who stipulated that the money was a gift from their own private funds and the finance minister was not obliged to them in any way. Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has accepted the finance minister’s explanation.
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