The country’s special anti-corruption police unit, known Kobra, has prevented tax evasion amounting to 4.1 billion crowns in total since its establishment in June 2014, Police President Tomáš Tuhý announced on Tuesday. The team, operating under the anti-corruption police, is comprised of experts from the police and the financial and customs authorities. Forty policemen at the Police Presidium and several dozen officials in the regions look into tax evasion within the Cobra team. During the first year alone, Cobra prevented tax evasion worth 1.9 billion crowns in total.
Three laboratories of the National Institute of Public Health in Prague, Ostrava and Ústí nad Labem will be carrying out tests for the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Special preventive measures will not have to be taken in case of a suspicion of the disease, since the virus in not transmitted from person to person, health Minister Svatopluk Němeček said in a report which will be presented to the government on Wednesday. The Zika virus, which has spread from Brazil to more than 20 countries, is linked to severe brain damage or death in infants born to mothers who contracted the disease during pregnancy.
The Czech Republic’s teachers’ unions have called for a pay rise for teachers and other employees in the education sector by at least 10 percent by 2017, the head of the Czech and Moravian Trade Union of Workers in Education, František Dobšík, said at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that it should be included among the priorities of the Education Ministry. According to Mr Dobšík, teachers’ starting salary should be raised by at least 2,000 crowns to 23,000. The overall amount allocated to the increase of wages would amount to some eight billion crowns. The unions want to discuss their demands with Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
Police are investigating Saturday’s attack on a Syrian national in Prague as a racially motivated crime. The forty-one-year-old Syrian was stabbed by two men in Prague’s Vršovice district and suffered serious injuries. The police have launched a nationwide search for the two attackers, who are believed to be between 20 to 26 years old. According to the news site Lidovky.cz the victim and his girlfriend are both actively engaged in helping migrants. The attack was allegedly preceded by a number of threats, including having a swastika sign sprayed on their car.
Czech Communist MEP Jiří Maštálka, the vice-chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, was bestowed with Russian state honours by the country’s President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin website informed on Tuesday. The Order of Friendship, established in 1994, is a state decoration of the Russian Federation given to foreign nationals whose work, deeds and efforts are aimed at the improvement of relations with the Russian Federation and its people.
Iranian businessman Shahram Abdullah Zadeh, who was arrested in Brno on an Interpol warrant soon after his release from prison on a 150 million crown bail has gone on hunger strike. Zadeh, who is suspected of being the chief organizer of a 2.5 billion crown scam linked to the import of fuels, is likely wanted for fraud in another state. Last week, the businessman paid a record 150 million crown bail to the Regional Court in Brno after spending 22 months in prison. One of Mr Zadeh’s defence lawyers, Pavel Čapčuch, told the Czech News Agency that he was considering lodging a complaint at the Constitutional Court, calling the arrest a conspiracy.
Marek Dalík, a lobbyist and an ex-aide to former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek, has been sent to five years in prison for corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. Mr Dalík was found guilty of demanding a bribe of 500 million crowns to ensure that the lucrative order was won by the Austrian firm. The deal was eventually signed in 2009. The Prague municipal court has also ordered Mr Dalík to pay five million crowns in damages. The former right hand man of the centre-right premier denies any wrongdoing and is likely to appeal the verdict.
Doctors in the Czech Republic registered a record rise in the number of new HIV cases in 2015, the highest in the past 30 years. According to the most recent data released by the National Institute of Public Health on Tuesday some 266 new cases of HIV were recorded last year and 31 people developed AIDS, which is also a record figure. 2620 people have been diagnosed HIV positive since 1985, when monitoring started. Exerts have warned that the past 13 years saw a significant rise in the occurrence of HIV infection in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Justice Ministry has refused to comment on a statement by Lebanese security sources who claimed that the release of five Czechs in Lebanon was the result of an agreement on the release of Ali Fayad, a Lebanese national detained in Prague in 2014 on charges of terrorism. Mr Fayad and two other men were reportedly planning to sell weapons and drugs to US agents posing as members of Colombia’s FARC. The information on the alleged agreement was published by the Lebanese daily L’Orient Le Jour, referring to an anonymous source from the security sources. The five Czechs who were kidnapped in Lebanon in July this year have been free since Monday.
Egypt welcomes Czech assistance in the fight against terrorism, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said after Monday’s talks with top officials in Cairo. The Czech official met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to debate security issues and the fight against ISIL, the migrant crisis, bilateral cooperation and the possibility for Prague to host a large archeological exhibition highlighting the era of pyramid builders in Abusir, where Czech archeologists have been active for over half a century. The Egyptian officials expressed appreciation of the fact that Czech tourists are not shunning the country and said great precautions were being taken for the safety of foreign visitors to Egypt.
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