News Czech writer Jaroslav Rudiš awarded Usedom prize
Czech writer Jaroslav Rudiš has been awarded the Usedom literary prize for his contribution to European dialogue. He becomes the fourth winner of the prize, named after the Baltic island divided between Germany and Poland, and the second Czech to be awarded it. The jury in particular picked out Rudiš’ graphic novel Alois Nebel, which later was made into an award winner film. The prize money comes to 5000 euros together with a month’s free stay on the island.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority says it uncovered 44 cases of discrimination of customers on the grounds of race, nationality and age during inspections conducted last year. Trade inspectors conducted over 1,200 inspections at restaurants, travel bureaus, spas and real estate agencies of which 16 institutions received a fine of over one million crowns. The number of overall transgressions (639) is reported to have doubled in comparison with the two preceding years. In several cases Romanies were denied admission to restaurants, were rebuffed when they wanted to join a package tour and were turned away when they asked to lease a flat. Inspectors also found discrimination against foreigners, particularly Russian nationals who were turned away from a restaurant or made to pay higher fees.
Construction work on Nexen’s tire plant in the Czech Republic is expected to begin in the autumn of this year, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during a working visit to South Korea on Friday. Production at the plant, which should provide around 1,000 new jobs, is expected to begin in 2018. South Korean car maker Hyundai Mobis is also planning to invest in a plant for spare parts in Moravia. South Korea is currently the third biggest Czech business partner outside of the EU. This week the two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement which should expand the scope of cooperation.
The anti-corruption police has proposed charging six people with breach of trust in connection with a number of dubious loans granted by the Czech Export Bank in the years between 2009 and 2011. According to a police spokesman the loans were for exports to China and Tunisia and the losses have been estimated at over half a billion crowns. The government, which is a majority shareholder, has already moved to bring the bank under greater supervision.
The Czech economy grew by 1.5 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year, faster than the preliminary estimate of a 1.3 percent growth released two weeks ago, the Czech Statistics Office announced on Friday. It also confirmed a 2 percent GDP growth for the whole of 2014. Economic growth in the fourth quarter was driven by exports as well as domestic demand. Household consumption rose by 2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter and by 1.2 percent against the previous quarter. Growth was also supported by the manufacturing industry, in particular the production of motor vehicles and machinery. In the area of services, a significant growth was registered by transport, trade, real estate activities and public administration.
The Ministry of Justice has acknowledged ex-politician David Rath’s right to compensation for being held in custody unlawfully. The Czech News Agency reported that Mr. Rath will have to reapply for CZK 45,000 in compensation because of shortcomings in his original application. The former Social Democrat regional governor and minister of health was remanded in arrested in May 2012 on suspicion of bribe-taking and remanded in custody until November 2013. Last year the Constitutional Court ruled that the custody had been unlawful from at least June 2013.