Daily news summary Daily news summary
A former government chief-of-staff has been found guilty of abusing the country’s military intelligence
Chief-of-staff to the former prime minister Petr Nečas, Jana Nagyová, has been found guilty of abusing the country’s military intelligence. A Prague court handed her a 12 month suspended sentence and a four year ban on working in public service. Ms.Nagyová, who recently married the former prime minister, commissioned the intelligence service to spy on his wife in a scandal that brought down the centre-right government in June of last year. The state attorney on the case has said he will appeal the decision.
Minister Babiš under fire for shake-up on boards of state companies
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for effecting a shake-up on the supervisory boards of state-run companies such as ČEZ, Český aeroholding, Mero and Čepro. The Christian Democrats of the ruling coalition have criticized the fact that they were not consulted about the extensive personnel changes while the opposition parties accuse the minister of handing out lucrative posts to his friends. The finance minister has rejected the accusations, saying he had replaced political figures with experts in the field.
Czech Republic and Saxony to intensify cooperation in fighting cross-border crime
The Czech Republic and Saxony will intensify cooperation in fighting cross-border crime, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said at a press briefing on Monday following a meeting with his Saxony counterpart Markus Ulbig. The talks focused particularly on ways of curbing drug smuggling from the Czech Republic to Germany which has been a growing problem in recent years. There is a growing demand for the home-made drug crystal methamphetamine across the border; while in 2011 customs officials confiscated 3 kilos of the drug, in 2013 the amount rose to 14 kilograms. Drug law enforcement experts estimate that around six tons of the illegal drug is produced in home labs annually.
Trial begins of close advisor to former prime minister accused of soliciting huge bribe
The Prague Municipal Court will on Monday begin the trial of Marek Dalík, who is accused of soliciting a bribe of EUR 18 million in 2007 while he was a close advisor to then prime minister Mirek Topolánek. The so-called lobbyist stands accused of demanding the kickback from Austrian armaments firm Steyr to secure a Czech government deal to buy armoured vehicles. If found guilty of attempted fraud, Mr. Dalík, who had no formal state post, could face up to 10 years in prison.
Supreme Audit Office finds costly register of public buildings unusable
An electronic register of public buildings and office space which cost millions of crowns to set up is incomplete and practically unusable, according to the Supreme Audit Office. The system which was to bring greater transparency and order into the use of public buildings and save money on rented offices is not only incomplete, since many public institutions failed to deliver the respective information, but unreliable since offices which are obviously vacant have been listed as being used, the Supreme Audit Office reports. The deadline for providing the respective information was June of 2013 and many public institutions have failed to deliver it to date.
Ukrainian injured in Maidan clashes dies in the Czech Republic
A fifty-three-year-old Ukrainian national who was critically injured during the clashes on Maidan square in February has died in the Czech Republic. Jurij Sydorchuk was transported to Prague in a coma along with a group of other Ukrainians in need of medical care. He never came out of the coma and in view of the serious brain damage he suffered doctors predicted that his chances of recovery were slim. According to the Ukrainian embassy members of his family have already arrived in the Czech Republic to repatriate his body. All expenses are being covered within the MEDEVAC humanitarian aid programme.
June proves tragic month on Czech roads
Sixty-six people died on Czech roads in the course of June, the highest death toll in any single month this year, according to statistics released by the traffic police on Monday. Despite a heightened police presence on the roads ahead of the annual holiday rush the death toll is exceptionally high, up by 29 deaths as compared to last June. 277 people were reported seriously injured in car accidents over the same period.
Brno church gets new organ to replace original destroyed in WWII
A church in central Brno has been fitted with a new organ, decades after its original instrument was destroyed by a World War II bomb. The organ at the Church of the Assumption cost CZK 35 million and is described as one of the best and most modern in the Czech Republic. Speaking after it was blessed and ceremonially handed over on Sunday, Jan Martin Bejček of the Campianus foundation said the organ should serve the church's congregation for 200 years.
Police called to investigate circle in wheat field
Police are investigating the appearance of a circle in a wheat field near the town of Boskovice, after local farmers reported extensive damage to their crop. The police say it must have taken several people to make the intricate formation – a circle with an embedded star - overnight. The circle formations in crop fields are a regular summer occurrence which draw sightseers and conspiracy lovers, but farmers are increasingly protesting at the damage done to private property.
Czechs guaranteed Wimbledon women’s semifinalist
Three Czech players excelled in the women’s singles at Wimbledon on Monday, all making it to the quarterfinals. Lucie Šafářová beat her compatriot Tereza Smitková 6:0, 6:2 securing a place in the quarterfinals for the first time in her sporting career, Petra Kvitová beat China’s Peng Shuai 6:3, 6:2, and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová defeated Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 6:2, 7:5. The Czech winning streak means that the country is certain to have at least one semifinalist.