News Czech MEPs performance mediocre, says study

28-04-2014 17:16 | Daniela Lazarová

The performance of Czech members of the European Parliament is below average, according to the results of a study published by the European Values think tank. Out of an overall 22 Czech MEPs, Oldřich Vlasák of the Civic Democrats, Zuzana Roithová of the Christian Democratic Party and Olga Sehnalová of the Social Democrats were rated the most active, while the work morale of the others was mediocre to poor. The study evaluated the MEP's participation in meetings, the number of tabled resolutions, and the frequency of their speeches. It also involved a comparison with the work of MEPs from other countries.

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Andrej Babiš re-elected ANO party leader

28-02-2015 15:34 updated | Daniela Lazarová

Multi-millionaire entrepreneur and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš was unanimously re-elected leader of the ANO party in Prague on Saturday. Mr. Babiš, who ran for the post unchallenged, joked that the victory was “most unexpected”, saying that the single missing vote in his favour was his own. Three candidates for the post of first deputy chair withdrew their candidacy at the eleventh hour to ease the way for Mr. Babiš’ favourite - the head of ANO’s deputies’ group in the lower house Jaroslav Faltýnek. He also ran unchallenged and was elected by 153 out of 176 votes.

In an opening address to the conference, Mr. Babiš took a swipe at his own coalition partners saying the Social Democrats had a “controversial past” and criticizing the party for irresponsible and overly generous spending of public funds. He spoke out in favour of a majority election system, saying that what the country primarily needed was an action-capable administration which would tackle the problems at hand. He hinted that this was difficult due to the need to find consensus within the coalition and said he expected growing friction over policy issues ahead of next year’s regional elections. 

Coalition partners surprised and angered by ANO leader’s rhetoric

28-02-2015 15:04 | Daniela Lazarová

ANO’s coalition partners have expressed surprise and anger at the party leader’s rhetoric. The Social Democrat speaker of the lower house, Jan Hamáček, said that he hoped the coalition could survive Mr. Babiš’ aggressive rhetoric and expressed serious reservations with regard to Mr. Babiš’ claim that the Social Democrats had “a controversial past”. It would be good if Mr. Babiš could be as proud of his past as we are of ours, Jan Hamáček told the ctk news agency. Meanwhile Christian Democrat leader Pavel Bělobrádek said it was obvious that Mr. Babiš was tired of having to consider his coalition partners and clearly wanted to rule alone. 

Czech politicians condemn killing of Russian opposition leader

28-02-2015 14:43 | Daniela Lazarová

Czech political leaders have condemned the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov and urged the authorities to conduct an impartial and transparent investigation. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that in Nemtsov Russia had lost a leading authority and upstanding defender of democratic values and human rights. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice, Mr. Sobotka said. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said news of the murder was terrifying and that words of condolence appeared insufficient in the face of this brutal killing. 

Profit making Komerční banka to aid its French mother bank with seven billion crowns in 2015

28-02-2015 12:55 | Daniela Lazarová

Profit making Komerční banka, one of the largest Czech banks, will aid its French mother bank Societé Generale with seven billion crowns in 2015, Czech Television reported on Saturday. Two other profit making banks Česká Spořitelna and ČSOB are also expected to assist their mother companies. Together the three largest Czech banking institutions generated a profit of 41 billion crowns last year. This is seen as a sign of the stability of the Czech baking sector. 

Financial and moral support still pouring in to Uherský Brod in wake of tragic shooting

28-02-2015 11:12 | Daniela Lazarová

A public collection for the victims of the tragic shooting in the town of Uherský Brod is growing with individuals and towns offering financial and moral support. The local council has earmarked half a million for the immediate needs of the families of the victims and individuals have contributed 150,000 crowns to date. The town of Frenštát pod Radhoštem, which suffered a similar tragedy last year, has said it would send 100,000 crowns to the collection. The town’s inhabitants are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy, laying flowers and lighting candles outside the pub where a deranged man shot eight people dead before turning the gun on himself on Tuesday. President Miloš Zeman visited the site of the tragedy to pay his respects on Friday evening and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who has just returned from a working visit to South Korea, is expected to pay his respects on Monday. 

Czech national wanted for abducting own children arrested

27-02-2015 19:03 | Daniela Lazarová

A Czech national who was wanted for abducting his two children following a lost battle for custody is reported to have been arrested in the west Bohemian city of Plzen. The two boys, aged nine and five, are back with their mother in Austria after 18 months. The Czech police have said they will release more information on the case on Monday. 

Czech foreign minister: Sending arms to Ukraine would only destabilize situation

27-02-2015 18:24 | Daniela Lazarová

Sending arms supplies to Ukraine at the present time would only destabilize the situation in the eastern part of the country, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said following a meeting with his British counterpart Philip Hammond in Prague on Friday. The Czech Foreign Minister said it would be illogical to demand that both sides respect the Minsk peace deal and at the same time to send weapons to the country. British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said the UK would not supply weapons “at the moment” but reserved the right to change its stance. The two officials also discussed the free movement of goods, capital and people within the European Union. 

Inspectors investigating alleged police brutality in domestic violence case

27-02-2015 17:25 | Daniela Lazarová

Police inspectors are investigating a case of alleged police brutality against a man who was involved in domestic violence. The officers were called to deal with a case of reported domestic violence in the town of Slaný and when the alleged assailant came out he was handcuffed and brutally beaten up in the street. The incident was recorded on a street camera. According to the internet news site Novinky.cz only five officers are being investigated although eight policemen were seen on tape. None of them have been suspended from duty. According to the regional police chief this is because not all the officers were directly involved in the incident and it is not possible to identify the assailants on tape. 

Notorious fraudster sentenced to six years

27-02-2015 16:25 | Daniela Lazarová

Lukaš Kohout, a notorious fraudster, well-known for having passed himself off as a government official on numerous occasions, has been sentenced to six years in prison by the regional court in Usti nad Labem. Kohout was found guilty of fraud for passing himself off as the representative of a number of government agencies and enriching himself to the tune of 300,000 crowns. Kohout is already doing time in jail for pretending to be an assistant to the former foreign minister Jan Kavan and getting the state to cover the cost of his expensive trips to exotic destinations. The verdict of the Usti regional court is definitive. 

Zlín region wants its own rapid reaction force

27-02-2015 15:08 updated | Daniela Lazarová

In reaction to Tuesday’s tragedy in Uherský Brod, where a deranged man shot eight people dead before turning the gun on himself, the Zlín region is demanding its own rapid reaction force. At present there are only two rapid reaction forces in Moravia – one in the Moravia-Silesia region and one in the South Moravia region. Police President Tomáš Tuhý has said the demand will be considered. He has asked to recruit another 4,000 officers for the force in the next five years. The country presently has 40,000 officers. 

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