Czech Prime Ministr Bohuslav Sobotka said he proposed the current deputy minister Jiří Havlíček to become the new Ministry of Industry and Trade on Thursday. The recommendation was put to head of state, president Miloš Zeman. Sobotka said later that the proposal did not meet with any opposition and said he expected it to be confirmed within days. The prime minister has provisionally been leading the ministry since Jan Mládek was dismissed at the end of February. The dismissal appeared to be sparked by differences over how to force big telecoms companies to cut their charges. Havlíček, 40, has been a long time member of the Social Democrat Party occupying local and central party posts and being a close collaborator with Mládek and previous industry minister Milan Urban.
Eighteen senators from the upper house of parliament, the Senate, have filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court targeting the current system for paying political parties for election success. They say the system is unfair to the smallest parties and excessively rewards the bigger ones. The specific target of the complaint is a 6.0 million a year payment to parties that obtain 3.0 percent or more votes cast in elections to parliament. The sole reward for parties falling short of that target is 100 crowns for every votes gained. The court previously dealt with a similar complaint in 2003 when it refused to rule against the system. Most of the senators making the complaint come from the small STAN party.
Worldwide shoe company Bat’a intends to site its global marketing headquarters in Prague, according to the Czech daily Lidové Noviny. The new Prague team will be led by the 29-year-old grandson of the founder of the Czechoslovak shoe empire, Thomas Archer Bata, it added. Bat’a has hitherto had a decentralised marketing philosophy for its worldwide operations but has now decided to unify the image and stress its historical tradition.
Olomouc’s High Court rejected on Thursday the appeal by US citizen Kevin Dahlgren, sentenced last year to life imprisonment for the murder of four relatives in Brno. The sentence was confirmed. Twenty five- year- old Dahlgren had appealed the verdict, sentence, and compensation demanded. A new psychiatric evaluation formed part of the court deliberations. An expert told the court that Dahlgren admitted to wanting to kill his prison guards and fellow inmates. Dahlgren’s defense maintains that he was not sane when the attacks in May 2013 took place. Dahlgren went to Vienna to find a flight to the United States but was later extradited to the Czech Republic to face trial.
The spa town of Luhačovice will have to return a stately home, forests and other property to the Serényi family who were linked with the town from the 17th century and helped make it a tourist attraction. Town authorities say they are aware of the restitution demand and expect working out the details to take several years of negotiations. The dispute over the property stemmed from the fact that Alois Serényi claimed German citizenship during WWII. After the end of the war he attempted to reclaim his Czechoslovak citizenship. That was eventually recognised last year opening the way for the former property to be reclaimed.
A reward aimed at finding the attacker of Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has been increased to 500,000 crowns (around 18,500 euros). A man, who has requested to remain anonymous, has offered a further 400,000 crowns to add to the 100,000 crowns already offered in January by the local Prostějov tennis club. Kvitová’s hands were badly damaged when she tackled an intruder with a knife at her flat in the town where the two times Wimbledon winner developed her game. Police have said tracking down the attacker is a high priority but no progress has been reported since the start of the year.
Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Czechs stood with Britain after the attack outside the House of Parliament, Westminster, London, on Wednesday which left four dead and the attacker shot. .He recalled that the attack occurred on the anniversary of the Brussels terror attacks a year earlier. Foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek said his thoughts were with the families of victims. He tweeted from an international meeting in Washington coordination action against Islamic State and preparing for reconstruction in Iraq and Syria. Police later corrected the death total death toll to four. The Czech foreign ministry said Thursday that no Czechs were among the victims of the attack.
The public will be able to pay their respects at the coffin and remains of former Prague archbishop Miloslav Vlk from Thursday afternoon at St. Vitus’ Cathedral in the Czech capital. It will also be possible to donate to a hospice at Hořice in the north east of the country which was supported during his life by Miloslav Vlk. He died last Saturday and the funeral will take place this Saturday at St. Vitus’ Cathedral with the service conducted by Prague archbishop Dominik Duka.
In football, the Czech national team beat Lithuania 3:0 in a friendly on Wednesday night. All the goals were scored in the second half with Hořova beginning the tally from the penalty spot. More goals followed from Jankto and Krmenčík. The game was a warm up for an away World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Sunday. The Czechs need to win all their remaining qualification games if they are to stand a realistic chance of coming second in their group – where Germany dominate – and reaching Russia next year
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