A Prague court on Thursday give a final verdict that a man who was unjustly pursued by police and legal authorities for the so-called “theft of the century” will be given 225,000 crowns in compensation. František Hajn was sought with two other men in connection with a security van hold up in 2002 in which 154 million crowns was taken. The pursuit continued to the Dominican Republic where he fled. Hajn’s lawyer said that the compensation was exceptionally low and added that he would almost certainly appeal to the Constitutional Court.
In football, Czech national coach Pavel Vrba has denied rumours that he was weighing up quitting his job in the near future. Speculation about his future surfaced in the daily Sport, which said Vrba has been approached with offers from Russian clubs after the European Championships conclude in 2016. Chairman of the Czech football association Miroslav Pelta said that he hoped Vrba would stay on. He did, however reveal that a clause in Vrba’s contract could allow him to quit before the end of this current two year contract.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech and his Arsenal team have made a miraculous comeback in the Champions League. Čech kept a clean sheet in the 3:0 win over Olympiakos Pireus which ensured the London club’s qualification for the next round of the competition. Arsenal needed to win the game with at least a two goal margin over their rivals for the second spot in the group. Arsenal’s progression in the competition looked almost impossible at one stage after a disastrous debut in the group games.
Karel Schwarzenberg, former Czech foreign minister and TOP 09 honorary chairman, has been awarded the Robert Schuman Medal for contribution to peace, European development and human values. He received the medal from the hands of Manfred Weber, who heads the European People’s Party Group in the European Parliament. Schwarzenberg, who has just turned 78, is the first Czech to receive the Award. The previous recipients include Pope John Paul II, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former EC president Jose Manuel Barroso.
US Ambassador Andrew Shapiro has presented the 2015 Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award to Marie Gottfriedová, headmistress of a primary school in Trmice in the region of Ústí nad Labem, which is regarded as a socially excluded locality. According to the US Embassy, the school effectively promotes the idea of inclusive education, and is successful in integrating the local Roma community. The award was established in 2004 to recognize persons and institutions in the Czech Republic who have made exceptional and continuing contributions to the advancement of human rights. Previous award winners include the ombudswoman Anna Šabatová or head of Transparency International David Ondráčka.
The lower house of Czech parliament approved the draft of the 2016 state budget in its final reading on Wednesday. The proposal envisages expenditures of 1.251 trillion crowns and revenues of 1.181 trillion, creating a deficit of 70 billion crowns, i.e. 30 billion lower that this year’s. The lower house has also transferred more funds to be spent on social services, education and sport. The 2016 budget will have to be signed into law by the president.
Stray dogs which found their way into the Brno zoo at night are reported to have killed three kangaroos and one llama. The damage has been estimated at 45,000 crowns. The dogs are reported to have dug a hole under the fencing and escaped the same way. A similar incident happened in the zoo earlier this year, when an ostrich and three exotic birds were killed. The police have appealed to the public to report on stray digs in the vicinity of the zoo.
The lower house of Czech Parliament on Wednesday approved an amendment to the Czech civil law, which would enable ambassadors to remain in office even after crossing the present age limit of 70 years. Under the current law, which went into effect in July this year, public servants cannot remain in office after exceeding the set age limit. The new legislation probably won’t affect the two Czech ambassadors this concerns, Livia Klausová in Slovakia and Eva Filipi in Syria, because it won’t come into force soon enough. President Miloš Zeman, who is responsible for appointing and removing ambassadors, said an exception should be made for them to stay on in their posts.
Turkey should not be a part of the European Union, the Czech President Miloš Zeman said at the end of his three-day visit to north Bohemia on Wednesday, adding that despite its membership in NATO, Turkey sometimes behaves as Islamic State’s ally. The Czech head of state also criticised EU’S plan to pay three billion euros to Turkey in exchange for help holding back asylum seekers trying to make their way to Europe. He also repeatedly warned of the risks posed by the Muslim immigration to Europe.
Former deputy finance minister Lukáš Wagenknecht has received the annual Award for Bravery handed out by the Czech Anti-corruption Fund. Wagenknecht was dismissed from his post earlier this year after being involved in a high profile conflict with the ANO- appointed minister for regional affairs over a tender for a system to coordinate the use of European funds, which he said involved serious flaws. He also revealed the fact that the ANO Party deputy head Radmila Kleslová has had a lucrative deal with the state controlled company ČEZ. The other award winner was Jana Průšková who blew the whistle on an illegal fund in a company she had worked for.
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