News Draft civil service law reworked
The governing coalition has reworked the draft of a new civil service law reflecting a recent compromise agreement reached with the opposition parties. The new proposal does not include the establishment of a public service directorate and an independent public service top official who would govern public administration and be immune from political interference. Under the new proposal, the civil service would fall under the interior ministry, and be overseen by a deputy minister in charge of public administration. The compromise agreement reached with the opposition caused a rift within the governing Social Democratic Party with the Minister for Human Rights Jiří Dienstbier saying the new arrangement would fail to depoliticize the civil service as planned. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has defended the compromise on the grounds that the country urgently needs a new civil service law. The new proposal will now be put to the opposition parties.
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The head of the special police unit for combatting organised crime, Robert Šlachta, will end his 26 year police career on Thursday. Šlachta tendered his resignation June 10 in protest at a proposed re-organisation of the police force. Those proposals sparked a rift within the government coalition between the biggest party, the Social Democrats led by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and ANO party, headed by Andrej Babiš. Šlachta led the special police squad since 2008 and was widely viewed as being successful in the post. State prosecutors are investigating whether the police shake-up was basically a move to eject Šlachta from his post.
In ice hockey, San Jose Sharks Czech attacker Tomáš Hertl has signed a new two-year contract to continue at the club. The contract is reported to be worth 6 million US dollars. The 22-year-old’s current three year deal is coming to an end. Last season Hertl scored 21 goals and provided 25 assists in a campaign which led the Sharks to the Stanley Cup finals. Hertl is currently recovering from injury which resulted in him missing out on the last Stanley Cup clashes with Pittsburgh.
A Prague court has ordered a Chinese cook living in the Czech capital to pay damages of 15,000 crwns or face two months in prison. The verdict was given after he was found guilty of removing a Tibetan flag from a demonstrator during the state visit of the Chinese president to the Czech Republic at the end of March. The court verdict is not binding and can be still appealed. Through a translator, the cook said that the Tibetan flag is banned in Chin and represents division of the country. He added that he acted to honour the visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping. The visit to Prague was marked by clashes between pro and anti-Chinese groups.
The Czech completion office has cleared the sale of the second biggest Czech e-shop business, Mall.cz to the group Rockaway Capital. The purchase for more than 200 million euros has been made by billionaires Daniel Kretinský, Patrik Tkáč, and the PPF group of the richest Czech Petr Kellner. The grouping had already bought up the price comparison website, Heureka.cz, which has already led some rival e-shop operators to withdraw from it.
The Czech Republic has won clearance from the European Commission to proceed with 10 large transport and infrastructure projects without the need to launch new Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs). Brussels has had problems with the fact that dozens of Czech projects were given approval under old assessments that in some cases pre-date the country’s accession to the European Union in 2004. The news was given by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, currently in Brussels for a European Summit. Some of the key projects have a European as well as Czech dimension.
The town of Moravský Krumlov has purchased ownership of its stately home after the property was auctioned off. The property was formerly used to house Czech artist Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic series of paintings before they were moved to Prague. Town authorities are seeking to partly revive its lost tourist appeal and earnings by creating an arts and cultural centre at the stately home. They also have some hopes that the Slav Epic might be returned in the future.
Nine people were injured when a Czech bus hit a stationary vehicle on the motorway near Dortmund, Germany. Apart from the Czech driver, none of the injured are Czech according to the bus operator, Eurolines. The bus was on the route between London and Berlin with 42 passengers on board, according to the bus company. German police are investigating how the accident happened.
Czech president Miloš Zeman has said one of the main factors for the British referendum decision to leave the EU was its poor leadership. He added that compared with giants of the past, like Jacques Delors and Jean Monnet, the current leadership are in the second league. The Czech head of state added that the British exit is a loss for the country and the remaining 27 states. He added that he expected Scotland will break away from the rest of Britain and re-join the EU within five years.
The trial has started of three art activists from the Ztohoven group who last year made headlines when they erected a giant pair of red underpants on Prague castle in protest at the policies of president Miloš Zeman. They could face jail sentences of up to three years on charges of theft and damage to property. One of the defendants challenged the ability of the lead judge to try the case, pointing out judges are appointed by the head of state. He also contested the 100,000 crown bill that has been estimate by presidential authorities for damage done during the stunt.
Lawmakers in the lower house have voted new rules for financing political parties that look like setting a 3.0 million crown a year ceiling for donations by companies and individuals. The proposed new rules look likely to increase the payments made for votes gained in local, regional, and parliament elections. The bill would also seek to create a new agency for overseeing election spending which now looks like it will be based in Brno rather than Prague.