The Czech state has formally apologised to three former Civic Democrat MPs for their prosecution and remand. The Ministry of Justice on Saturday sent the apologies to Marek Šnajdr, Ivan Fuksa and Petr Tluchoř as well as media outlets. The three had been accused of taking bribes in the form of lucrative posts at semi-state companies in exchange for not bringing down a government headed by Petr Necaš of the Civic Democrats. However, a court ruled they could not be prosecuted as they had parliamentary immunity. Their arrest and that of Mr. Necaš’s then chief aide and now wife helped bring down his cabinet in 2013. The ex-politicians also received hundreds of thousands of crowns in financial compensation.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says new legislation on party financing will be discussed by his government in the coming years. The chairman of the Social Democrats made the comments in an interview for Mladá fronta Dnes on Saturday, a month after his party said they would work to limit the influence of oligarchs. This was seen as directed at coalition partners ANO, whose chief Andrej Babiš is a billionaire businessman. Mr. Sobotka told Mladá fronta he wanted a limit on party sponsors and more transparent accounting. The prime minister said politics should not be a battle of business groups, adding that Mr. Babiš was not the only rich entrepreneur to have entered politics.
TOP 09’s Miroslav Kalousek says he will complain to the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies over comments made about him by ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš. Speaking at a lower house session, Mr. Babiš described the former deputy defence minister and finance minister as a liar, asset-stripper, thief and symbol of corruption. Mr. Kalousek said that instead of answers to questions regarding possible conflict of interest on the part of Mr. Babiš – who owns large companies and media outlets – he had received insults and curses that had surpassed even the “high standards” of the Chamber of Deputies.
Prague’s municipal library is planning to digitise over 220,000 pages of sheet music and books written by Jewish artists in the city at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The institution is carrying out the project with scanners provided by a CZK 8.5 million grant from the European Union. The materials are in danger of being lost as the paper they are printed on is disintegrating. Literature by authors such as Hugo Salus, Otokar Fischer, Franz Werfel and Gustava Meyrink will be saved in this way, as will sheet music by David Popper, Ignaz Moscheles, Julius Schulhoff and Josef Loew.
Thousands of volunteers around the Czech Republic are participating in a spring clean-up of the countryside this weekend. More than 40 such operations are taking place, with the highest concentration in the South Moravian, Moravian Silesian and Central Bohemian regions. The rubbish clearance drives are part of the international campaign Clean Up the World and have in the past drawn 18,000 people.
An exhibition featuring the photographs of 95-year-old twins has opened at Prague’s Leica Gallery. Staša Fleischmannová and Olga Housková opened the first photo studio in the city in the famous Topič building on Národní St. in 1939. During their careers, the pair took portraits of numerous important figures, such as Boris Pasternak, Andre Breton and Karel Čapek. The women attended the opening of the exhibition.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic should reach up to 20 degrees Celsius over the next four weeks, with sub-zero temperatures at night not expected, according to a regular medium-term forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute on Saturday. The second half of April is likely to be warmer than the first half of May, the forecasters said.
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