News Audit uncovers dozens dubious transactions at Service Facilities Administration of technical university
An audit commissioned by the finance officer of ČVUT Jan Gazda has uncovered numerous dubious transactions by the Service Facilities Administration at the university. Czech daily Lidové noviny writes that between 2007 and 2011 there were dozens of legal transgressions, from overpriced purchases to machinations in public tenders to a failure to properly end contracts. The damages have been estimated in the tens of millions of crowns, says the paper. Police are conducting an investigation after the university filed charges against unknown perpetrators.
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Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech has recovered from his injured shoulder and for the first time since April has taken part in a full training session with his club, Chelsea. He has been recovering since the injury in the semi-final of the Champions League against Atlético Madrid and surgery which took place in May. Chelsea are making a pre-season tour in Europe as key members of the squad return after world cup duty.
In football, Sparta Prague will face current Swedish league leaders Malmo in the third round of the Champions League. The Swedes secured their place in the next round after a 1:0 win at home. The first round of the two round tie against Sparta takes place next Tuesday in Prague. Elsewhere, Czech clubs Mladá Boleslav and Slovan Liberec play Thursday night in the qualifying stage of the Europa League. Slovan have a 1:0 lead against Slovak club Kosice from the away leg while Mladá Boleslav take a 2:1 victory at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina club Široki Brijeg.
The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed the US president’s proposal for top lawyer with Czech roots, Andrew Schapiro, to be the country’s ambassador in the Czech Republic. The current ambassador, Norman Eisen, is due to quit the Prague post in August. Schapiro is said to be close to the president, having been a fellow student of law at Harvard University and later going on to help with the financing of Obama’s political campaigns. He is currently a practicing lawyer at the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, known for its business litigation. Schapiro’s mother left Prague in 1939 in fear of Nazi persecution.
Czech president Miloš Zeman defended Czech Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová when she was received at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Zeman told the fourth ranked singles player that the successful are often subject to envy from those who couldn’t do anything better. The president was referring to the comments of a Social Democrat member of parliament, Stanislav Haml, who suggested that Kvitová lose her Czech citizenship for locating to the tax haven of Monaco. Zeman apologized for not being present at Kvitová’s second Wimbledon singles win earlier this month but said that he disliked politicians’ habit of try to get a share of other people’s triumph. He was presented with a ticket for the Fed Cup finals in Prague in November when the Czech Republic faces Germany.
The head of state aviation holding company Český Aeroholding has resigned from his post. Miroslav Dvořák’s departure as board chairman was announced in a press release on Wednesday. He has been under pressure from finance minister and ANO party boss Andrej Babiš to step down. The post will be filled by his former deputy, Václav Řehoř. The change must still be approved by Korean Air, which has a minority shareholding in Czech Airlines. Český Aeroholding’s main asset is its ownership of Prague’s main Václav Havel airport.
Prague and National Geographic have reached a written agreement putting to bed a case concerning a controversial episode of a TV series broadcast by the National Geographic Channel in 2012. The city maintained that the show Scam City, focusing on the darker side of tourism, had hurt Prague’s reputation, faking some sequences which consequently cast the city in a poor light. Criminal investigators later confirmed some scenes had been staged. Scenes that were reportedly faked included tourists being ripped off by a taxi service or by workers at a sex club (which in reality had long been closed). In the agreement, National Geographic admitted some scenes were staged and agreed to block the episode’s further dissemination. A formal apology, which the city previously sought, was not part of the deal, the Czech News Agency reported.
The Chamber of Deputies’ Committee for European Affairs on Wednesday backed Minister for Regional Affairs Věra Jourová’s nomination for EU commissioner. Out of 19 members on the board, coalition members from the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats voted in favor; members of the opposition abstained. Jourová’s candidacy is to be officially confirmed by the government on Thursday. Leaders of the coalition parties agreed on the candidate after it became apparent that the next president of the EC, Jean-Claude Juncker, favored having at least nine women on the commission. It is thought that a female candidate will have a better chance at gaining one of the more important portfolios.
The Czech Republic has the highest percentage of female teachers in primary schools in Europe, according to a Eurostat report published by the Czech Statistics Office. Close to 98 percent of Czech teachers at primary level are women, the report found. However, the Czech Ministry of Education questions the figure of 2 percent male teachers, saying around 15 percent of teachers of first to ninth grade pupils are men. According to the Eurostat report, Denmark has the highest percentage of male teachers, with almost a third of educators in its primary schools being men.
Sparta Prague have qualified for the third qualifying round of the Champions League. After beating Levadia Tallinn 7:0 in Prague last week the Czech title holders fielded a side largely composed of reserves in the away leg on Tuesday evening, which ended in a 1:1 draw. Sparta will face either Sweden’s Malmo or the Latvian club Ventspils in the next round. That will be followed by a play-off round to decide spots in the group stage of the lucrative competition.
Czech Airlines said that its two flights linking Prague and Tel Aviv took off as normal on Tuesday night and were due to arrive in the early morning of Wednesday at each destination. The Czech airline said that it had consulted with security experts at home and in Israel before giving approving for the flights. Many airlines have cancelled flights to Tel Aviv because of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip with the US Federal Aviation Agency imposing a 24-hour ban on flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. Many European airlines have suspended flights. Rockets fired from Gaza landed near the airport on Tuesday.