The Constitutional Court has ruled that the former justice minister Pavel Blažek made the wrong decision when he approved the extradition of Russian entrepreneur Alexej Torubarov to his homeland last year before the authorities had settled his asylum request. Torubarov was wanted in Russia on charges for fraud and blackmail, but he claimed that he was being persecuted by the Russian intelligence service. His extradition from the Czech Republic was dramatic after the then finance minister Miroslav Kalousek intervened and made a last minute attempt to prevent his plane taking off from Prague airport. Torubarov later escaped from Russia to Hungary. The court’s ruling means that he could now return to the Czech Republic and file a new request for asylum.
A light sport aircraft crashed near the town of Kondrač in south Bohemia on Thursday killing two people. It is not yet clear what caused the accident. Eyewitnesses, who pulled the pilot and passenger out of the plane, said the aircraft was not on fire when it came down. Although paramedics were at the site of the accident within minutes both the pilot and passenger died shortly after, both having suffered multiple internal injuries.
The police have charged a former head of the state agency CzechInvest with fraud, Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. Miroslav Křížek is accused of having paid CZK 2.2 million to acquaintance Zdeněk Hurský for an audit that was never carried out at the agency, which is tasked with attracting foreign direct investment and helping Czech firms do business abroad. Mr. Křížek, who is now a Civic Democrat local politician, headed CzechInvest from September 2010 to August 2012 when he was dismissed in connection with a different suspicious contract. He and Mr. Hurský could face up to eight years in jail if found guilty.
Radek Štěpánek received a standing ovation from Centre Court spectators after a battling performance against Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday evening. The Czech, who is 35, was impressive in a match that he eventually lost 4-6 3-6 7-6 6-7 after over three hours of play. Meanwhile Štěpánek’s compatriot and former finalist Tomáš Berdych, seeded sixth in the Grand Slam tournament, had to come from a set down to beat Bernard Tomic of Australia 4-6 7-6 7-6 6-1.
Czech tennis players Petra Kvitová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová have reached the third round at Wimbledon. Kvitová, who won the Grand Slam tournament three years ago, on Wednesday overcame Mona Barthel of Germany 6-2 6-0 in just 52 minutes to set up a meeting with former world number one Venus Williams. Záhlavová-Strýcová beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-4 6-2 and will now face Li Na of China.
The head of the second biggest party in the coalition government, Andrej Babiš of ANO, says the next president of the European Commission should choose from a list of candidates for the Czech commissioner’s post put forward by Prague. ANO and coalition leaders the Social Democrats have to date failed to agree on a nominee to replace Štefan Fuele, who steps down later this year. The Social Democrats’ Jiří Dientsbier said on Wednesday that Mr. Babiš’s suggestion was one possibility. ANO are backing Pavel Telička to become the country’s next commissioner, while the Social Democrats have put forward Pavel Mertlík.
The ice hockey club Lev Praha will not play next season in the Russia-centred Kontinental Hockey League. The Prague club, who reached the finals of the competition’s Gagarin Cup last season, are reported to be in financial difficulties. Lev Praha was the only Czech club in the Kontinental Hockey League in the last two seasons. The Czech News Agency reported that one possibility was that Lev would sit out next season and return in 2015-2016.
Prague City Hall has thrown out a fine against Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who had been accused by the Prague 1 authority of a misdemeanour for naming Andrej Babiš to his government despite the latter’s lack of a security clearance. Prague 1 had ordered Mr. Sobotka, who heads the Social Democrats, to pay a fine of CZK 10,000 for giving the ANO chief a cabinet post. The prime minister welcomed the decision.
A man who caused the death of a woman by stripping metal from the roof of a house has been sentenced to five years in jail. A court in Ústí nad Labem heard how Slovak Koloman Miker cut out a metal girder from the structure of the unoccupied building which collapsed on the woman. Miker’s own mother was also inside the house and was seriously injured in the 2012 incident.
The police’s anti-corruption unit have charged four people with manipulating a tender to digitise medical records for Prague’s Na Homolce hospital. The four are accused of having conspired to launder money and rig public tenders, the Czech News Agency reported. It said the four, who were arrested following a raid on Wednesday morning, stood accused of causing over CZK 50 million in damages to the hospital. Police raids were also conducted elsewhere, including at a company that administers the hospital’s accounts.
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
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New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
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