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25-06-2014 19:49 | Ian Willoughby

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Czech five percent barrier for EP elections could be lifted

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court will recommend to the Constitutional Court that it cancel the current five percent threshold in the elections to European Parliament valid in the Czech Republic, judge rapporteur Tomáš Langášek told journalists on Tuesday. The court panel complied with the complaint lodged by the Green Party; the Czech Pirate Party also presented a similar case in its complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court will suspend both proceedings, awaiting the verdict by the Constitutional Court. In the May elections to the European Parliament, both parties finished not far below the 5 percent threshold with 4.78 percent for the Pirate Party and 3.77 percent for the Greens.

Babiš: New EC president should choose Czech commissioner from list put forward by Prague

The head of the second biggest party in the coalition government, Andrej Babiš of ANO, says the next president of the European Commission should choose from a list of candidates for the Czech commissioner’s post put forward by Prague. ANO and coalition leaders the Social Democrats have to date failed to agree on a nominee to replace Štefan Fuele, who steps down later this year. The Social Democrats’ Jiří Dientsbier said on Wednesday that Mr. Babiš’s suggestion was one possibility. ANO are backing Pavel Telička to become the country’s next commissioner, while the Social Democrats have put forward Pavel Mertlík.

PM praises EU funding system as key solidarity component

European funds aimed at reducing differences among regions in Europe fulfilled European integration goals in terms of solidarity and coherence in the EU, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at a meeting of Visegrad Four prime ministers on Tuesday. The conference, staged by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and focusing on the V4 (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), was also attended by outgoing EC President Jose Manuel Barroso. For citizens, the use of the European funds meant a concrete contribution to integration smoothing economic differences between individual EU member countries, Mr Sobotka added. According to the Czech premier, the Czech Republic and the EU will soon sign a partnership agreement enabling the Czech Republic to draw money within the EU´s new budget period.

Police charge four with corruption at Prague hospital

The police’s anti-corruption unit have charged four people with manipulating a tender to digitise medical records for Prague’s Na Homolce hospital. The four are accused of having conspired to launder money and rig public tenders, the Czech News Agency reported. It said the four, who were arrested following a raid on Wednesday morning, stood accused of causing over CZK 50 million in damages to the hospital. Police raids were also conducted elsewhere, including at a company that administers the hospital’s accounts.

Prague drops fine against PM for appointing cabinet member without clearance

Prague City Hall has thrown out a fine against Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who had been accused by the Prague 1 authority of a misdemeanour for naming Andrej Babiš to his government despite the latter’s lack of a security clearance. Prague 1 had ordered Mr. Sobotka, who heads the Social Democrats, to pay a fine of CZK 10,000 for giving the ANO chief a cabinet post. The prime minister welcomed the decision.

Man gets five years after metal theft leads to death of woman

A man who caused the death of a woman by stripping metal from the roof of a house has been sentenced to five years in jail. A court in Ústí nad Labem heard how Slovak Koloman Miker cut out a metal girder from the structure of the unoccupied building which collapsed on the woman. Miker’s own mother was also inside the house and was seriously injured in the 2012 incident.

Czech Philharmonic perform to 4,000 at Prague Castle

Czech Philharmonic perform to 4,000 at Prague Castle

The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed a free concert to around 4,000 people on Hradčanské náměstí in the Prague Castle complex on Tuesday night. The concert, conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek, featured pieces by Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana and a number of other composers and brought the orchestra’s 118th season to a close. During the performance, which was broadcast live on Czech TV’s Art station, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated the release of the recording DVOŘÁK Complete Symphonies & Concertos.

World renowned Compagnie Marie Chouinard to appear at Prague dance fest

One of the world’s leading dance troupes, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, is set to appear at Prague’s Musical Theatre on Wednesday night as part of the annual Tanec Praha festival. The group, led by Canadian choreographer Marie Chouinard, will perform their renowned interpretation of The Rites of Spring. A repeat performance on Thursday will bring the 26th edition of the dance festival to a close.

Kvitová and Záhlavová-Strýcová into third round at Wimbeldon

Czech tennis players Petra Kvitová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová have reached the third round at Wimbledon. Kvitová, who won the Grand Slam tournament three years ago, on Wednesday overcame Mona Barthel of Germany 6-2 6-0 in just 52 minutes to set up a meeting with former world number one Venus Williams. Záhlavová-Strýcová beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-4 6-2 and will now face Li Na of China.

Lev Praha not to take part in Kontinental Hockey League next season

The ice hockey club Lev Praha will not play next season in the Russia-centred Kontinental Hockey League. The Prague club, who reached the finals of the competition’s Gagarin Cup last season, are reported to be in financial difficulties. Lev Praha was the only Czech club in the Kontinental Hockey League in the last two seasons. The Czech News Agency reported that one possibility was that Lev would sit out next season and return in 2015-2016.

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