Former lobbyist Marek Dalík is to report to prison to begin serving his four-year sentence for corruption, the news site aktualne.cz reported on Wednesday. Dalík, who was a close associate of former prime minister Mirek Topolánek in the second half of the last decade, was found guilty of corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. He demanded a bribe of 500 million crowns to ensure that the lucrative order was won by the Austrian firm. Mr Dalík’s defence lawyer Tomáš Sokol said he had already received the court’s appeal, but refused to say whether his client would demand suspension of the sentence.
The government is set to debate a pay rise for teachers and other school staff by the end of the summer holidays, Education Minister Kateřina Valachová said on Wednesday after a meeting with school union representatives and leaders of the coalition parties. The government previously agreed to raise teachers’ salaries by 8.0 percent as of January 2017, but the unions were negotiating a possibile increase in wages this year. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said after Wednesday’s meeting that he was going to search for more money in the budget to raise the wages of teachers and other school staff already in September.
The Czech police is currently employing some 40,000 people, according to data released by the Police Presidium. That total is 25 percent higher than in 1991, when the new law on police came into force. The highest number of employees, over 47,000, worked for the police force in 2005. The Police Presidium is planning to draft 4,000 new police officers over the next four years to tackle the growing number of crimes, including extremism, terrorism and cyber criminality. The strengthening of the police force is expected to cost over 8.0 billion crowns.
The number of foreign workers in the Czech Republic has more than tripled in the last 15 years, according to a new government report. Three-quarters of non-native employees are from the European Union and therefore do not require work permits; the highest number are from Slovakia. At the end of last year there were 323,000 such workers in the country; that figure was nearly 40,000 higher than in 2008, when the financial crisis began.
One-hundred and five athletes from the Czech Republic will represent the country at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time in 20 years there are no teams in the group, which is the smallest for a summer Olympics since the formation of the independent Czech Republic. Among the nominees, which were approved by the Czech Olympic Committee in a ceremony at Prague Castle on Tuesday evening, are the four athletes who took gold in London in 2012: Barbora Špotáková, Miroslava Topinková Knapková, David Svoboda and Jaroslav Kulhavý.
The Czech energy giant CEZ has launched an international investment arbitration case against Bulgaria, company spokesperson Barbora Půlpánová said on Tuesday. CEZ is seeking hundreds of millions of euros from the Bulgarian state. Ms. Půlpánová said that CEZ had decided on the step following a number of interventions on the part of Bulgarian institutions that had harmed the firm’s business activities in the country. The antitrust authority in Sofia fined CEZ over EUR 600,000 for abusing its dominant position on the local market.
The poor condition of a number of Italy’s banks could be a bigger danger to Europe and the Eurozone than Brexit, says the Czech minister of finance, Andrej Babiš. Mr. Babiš made the comment after a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, adding that the Italian government would have to support the country’s banking sector. He also said he was surprised that the incoming British prime minister, Theresa May, had said her country was definitely going to leave the EU.
Footballer Milan Baroš is set to leave Mladá Boleslav for Slovan Liberec in one of the biggest domestic transfers so far this summer, the news website Lidovky.cz reported on Tuesday. Baroš, who is 34, was not a regular starter for Mladá Boleslav last season. The striker scored 41 goals for the Czech national team in 93 appearances and won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.
A new working group established to plot Czech government policy in the wake of the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote will meet for the first time on Thursday, the Czech News Agency reported. The group will be headed by the state secretary for European affairs, Tomáš Prouza, and should produce a strategy for negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and policy positions on the future working of the bloc by the end of September. Announcing the establishment of the group just after June’s Brexit vote, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said one of its aims would be to ensure continued equality for Czech workers in the UK.
A new discussion forum named Melting Pot has opened on the side-lines of the Colours of Ostrava music festival. Among the speakers are Israel’s Dan Shechtman, recipient of a Nobel Prize for chemistry, and Steven Lee Myers, author of an acclaimed biography of Vladimir Putin. Organisers say there has been a lot of interest in tickets for the forum, which will be included in the entrance price once the festival proper begins on Thursday. The headliners at this year’s Colours of Ostrava include Tame Impala and Underworld.
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