A court has returned the passport of former health minister and Central Bohemian regional governor David Rath, who is set to stand trial for corruption next month. Two co-defendants in a case centred on the manipulation of public tenders, Petr Kott and Kateřina Kottová, also got their passports back under the court order. The state attorney’s office has filed a complaint against the move, saying there were fears the three could flee the country and that some of the millions of crowns they are accused of obtaining via bribery has not been located.
A former MP has received a suspended sentence for hate speech after making racist comments about the Roma minority on Facebook. Otto Chaloupka, who was elected on the ticket of Public Affairs, has appealed the verdict. In connection with racial tensions arising from an incident in which a group of Romanies beat up a couple, the erstwhile politician wrote that things would kick off if there were any more such Gypsy provocations; then not even riot police would be able to protect them. He denies that the words were threatening.
The police are searching for a man who drove into a Prague bus stop on Tuesday morning killing a woman waiting for a bus. The incident occurred at about 4:30 AM at náměstí Kinských in Prague 5. The driver abandoned his BMW car and fled the scene on foot. The emergency services attempted to save the life of the victim, who was 21, but she died before she could be taken to hospital.
Talks between government representatives and opposition leaders on the shape of a new civil service law on Monday failed to break the deadlock over the main point of dispute –the creation of an all-powerful top civil servant. Under the proposed amendment the official tasked with managing the new civil service would have a seven year term in office and a position proofed against political interference. The coalition parties, who insist on the creation of this post, say it is essential to the process of de-politicizing the civil service, while the opposition parties claim that this position would create a fortress for a bureaucratic elite which would not serve the public but its own best interests.
Hungary´s MOL will acquire 44 petrol stations of the Russian firm Lukoil in the Czech Republic in an effort to further strengthen its position on the Czech market and in Central and Eastern Europe, the firm said on Tuesday. MOL operates 125 Pap Oil petrol stations and 24 Slovnaft stations in the Czech Republic and is in the process of acquiring 125 Agip stations on the Czech market. On completion of the deal with Lukoil and the purchase of the Agip network from ENI the company will operate 318 petrol stations in the country. MOL runs a network of over 1,700 petrol stations in 11 countries in Central and South-East Europe.
David Peter has been elected chief rabbi of Prague. Rabbi Peter, who is 38, succeeds Karol Sidon, who resigned in July at the age of 71 after over two decades in the post. The election was announced after a meeting of the Prague Jewish Community on Monday. Peter had served alongside Sidon as Prague rabbi for three years after previously studying in Israel
The outgoing US ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, is prolonging his stay in the city in order to attend the opening of this year’s Prague Pride, the news site iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. Mr. Eisen has participated in the gay and lesbian festival for the previous three years. This year’s Pride will culminate with a parade starting at Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Saturday August 16. The festival’s patrons are Human Rights Minister Jiří Dientsbier, who wants to extend the rights of gays and lesbians in registered partnerships, and the mayor of Prague, Tomáš Hudeček.
Prague has the highest salaries in the Czech Republic, with people in the capital earning an average of CZK 31,000 a month, according to figures released by the website Platy.cz and quoted by the Czech News Agency. The national average wage is CZK 24,806 a month. People in Ostrava, the third largest city, make an average of CZK 22,300 monthly, which is less than in smaller centres such as Plzeň, Liberec and Pardubice. Platy.cz’s study was based on data from 100,000 users of the site.
Sparta Prague will have to play a Champions League game against Malmo on Wednesday without central defender Mario Holek, who has an ankle problem. However, midfielder Ladislav Krejčí has recovered from injury and travelled to Sweden with the squad for the second leg of the third qualifying round tie. Sparta lead 4:2 from the first leg. If they overcome Malmo, they face one more qualifying round for the lucrative competition.