State attorney Jaroslav Šaroch has halted the prosecution of Andrej Babiš
Jr., the son of the Czech prime minister, in connection with a case of
alleged misuse of EU subsidies. A spokesperson for the Prague state
attorney’s office said the decision was made in line with the shelving of
the main part of the case on the grounds that it did not constitute a
The PM’s son’s case was hived off from the main case last spring.
Mr. Šaroch halted the prosecution of Prime Minister Babiš and a number of others in August. However, the supreme state attorney, Pavel Zeman, said in December that the investigation of Mr. Babiš and a one-time advisor would continue.
The matter centres on the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague, for which CZK 50 million was received in EU subsidies. Mr. Babiš and family members were accused of manipulating the facility’s ownership to win the grants, a charge he has consistently denied.
Tennis star Petra Kvitová has been given the annual Věra Čáslavská Award for extraordinary contribution to women's sport and the Olympic movement. Kvitová said it was a great honour and that the late gymnast had been an inspiration for how she fought both within and outside sport. The two-time Wimbledon champion, who is 29, said Čáslavská was very energetic, adding that that was a trait they shared.
The minister for regional development, Klára Dostálová, says the Czech
lower house should begin to discuss a new construction law after July.
Officials at her ministry said the legislation had received 4,500 remarks
during a consultation period, with the large number putting the whole
process back by two months.
The construction law is intended to accelerate and simplify the acquisition of planning permits and in turn allow the building of more new apartments. Under Ministry of Regional Development plans it ought to come into effect at the start of 2021.
A wooden well uncovered by archaeologists near Ostrov in the Pardubice
Region has been confirmed as the oldest known prehistoric wooden structure
found anywhere in the world, the Czech News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Dendrochronological and radiocarbon dating show that the well dates from
5256 or 5255 BC.
The discovery was made during a dig at the site of a future motorway. Once the research has been complete the well will be put on display at the Museum of East Bohemia in Pardubice.
All of the 48 individuals thus far tested for the coronavirus epidemic in
the Czech Republic have tested negative, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch
tweeted on Tuesday.
The number includes five Czechs who returned from China on Sunday night. These will however remain in quarantine for two week’s at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital.
A further 100 who are in China have until the end of the week to return to the Czech Republic, after which all direct commercial flights will be cancelled. However, Prime Minister Andrej Babis has promised that a special government plane will be sent for those who do not manage to get back home before the deadline.
Singer, dancer and former Czech Pop Idol finalist Ben Cristovao has won the
national round and will be representing the Czech Republic at this year’s
Eurovision Song Contest, Czech Television announced on Tuesday. The
32-year-old of Czech-Angolan heritage who was born in Plzen has changed his
name for the competition to the shorter Benny Cristo and will be performing
the song Kemama, which he co-wrote with Osama Verse-Atile, Charles Sarpong
and Rudy Ray.
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2020 begins at 9:00 PM on Tuesday, May 12 and ends on Saturday, May 16. It will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands following the country's victory in last year’s competition.
The former Minister of Transport, Vladimir Kremlík, who lost his post two
weeks ago after a hackathon organised by IT specialists showed a government
tender for a new motorway electronic vignette system was overpriced, has
told news site Seznam Zprávy that he was offered a CZK 1.5 million bribe
to let CGI, the company that won the tender, keep the project.
Mr Kremlík says he informed the Czech counterintelligence service (BIS) about the offer and that he met with its director. According to an unnamed security services source quoted by Seznam, BIS then contacted Prime Minister Andrej Babiš about the situation. However, Mr Babiš denies this and BIS has refused to comment.
Just 3.4 percent of people working in the Czech Republic rank below the
poverty threshold, the latest Eurostat data for 2018 show. Only Finland
scored better in the statistic and it is the lowest income poverty rate in
Czechia in the past 10 years. On average, every tenth EU citizen’s income
lies below the poverty threshold.
The result is thanks to the wage-to-price difference, sociologist Daniel
Prokop told Czech Radio. In Luxemburg, for example, the median rate is
twice as high as in the Czech Republic and those on low income jobs are
therefore more likely to fall into poverty than in Czechia.
Romania placed last according to the statistic, with every sixth worker threatened by poverty.
The Czech government budget found itself in a deficit of CZK 8.8 billion in
January, data released by the Ministry of Finance shows. It is the first
time that the country has had a January budget deficit since 2003, the
Czech News Agency reports.
According to the Finance Ministry, increased funding for the State Transport infrastructure Fund, higher pensions, teacher salaries and EU budget contributions are among the reasons behind the red numbers. Chief economist at investment firm Czech Fund Lukáš Kovanda told Czech Television that the slowdown in the Czech economy, unforeseen by the government, plays a role as well.
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