News Fresh group of Czech soldiers fly to Sinai Peninsula to take part in observer mission
The first unit of Czech soldiers taking part in an observer mission in the Sinai Peninsula is to be replaced by the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the general staff of the Czech army. Eleven soldiers who left from Prague’s Kbely military airport on an army plane on Wednesday morning are to serve for six months with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), which oversees the terms of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The troops will use the CASA plane they flew out to carry out their mission.
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Milan Komárek will step down as the head of the country’s anti-corruption and financial crime unit on July 31st, his superior, Police President Tomáš Tuhý, told reporters Friday. Komárek took over as head of the unit last June and oversaw the founding of team Kobra, targeting tax crimes. Before, he had worked as a regional deputy chief of police in Central Bohemia. Police President Tuhý said he respected Komárek’s contribution and made clear the unit head was stepping down for personal reasons. The job will be filled in the interim by deputy head Jaroslav Vild. A successor should be found by the autumn.
The Chamber of Deputies on Friday voted anew on a bill aimed at lowering the excise duty on fuel. This time MPs voted down the proposal, which first passed in the lower house on Wednesday - to the surprise of the ruling coalition. One its members had inserted changes into the bill that lowered the tax on petrol and diesel across the board rather than just for farmers, which would have negatively impacted the state budget. After another coalition MP on Wednesday, however, challenged the result, arguing his vote had been incorrectly recorded by the electronic systém, a new vote was scheduled. The centre-right opposition, which had threatened to petition the Constitutional Court if a new vote was held, walked out of the chamber.
The 40th Uherské Hradiště summer film school starts Friday with thousands of film fans expected and more than 200 short and full length films being screened. Some of the stars making appearance will be US independent film director and script writer Todd Solondz, who has won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. The main guest is British director Peter Greenaway. Spanish films are one of the main themes of the summer school this year.
Czech football clubs Mladá Boleslav and Slovan Liberec have cruised through to the next qualifying round of the Europa League. Mladá Boleslav beat Bosnia Heregovina club Široki Brijeg 4:0 away and Slovan Liberec put three goals past Slovak club Košice without reply at home. Both team won the first leg matches. Slovan will face Lyon in the next round with Mladá Boleslav’s opponents Romanian club Giurgiu.
One woman in a highly publicized Czech child abuse case known as the Kuřim affair, after the town near Brno, has been conditionally released from prison. Kateřina Mauerová was sentenced to 10 years in prison as one of the ringleaders of a six-strong group who tyrannized her two young nephews. They were kept in a cage, burnt with cigarettes, and beaten in what was described as an attempt to induce total obedience. The case only came to light by chance in 2007 when a neighbour installed a baby monitoring device which picked up images of the close circuit tv used to monitor the abused children. A national furore followed in which the accused were rumoured to be linked to various sects.
Czech parties are now seeking to get their nominees in the team likely to accompany European Commission candidate Věra Jourová to Brussels. The Christian Democrats have confirmed that they are pushing for unsuccessful European Parliament candidate Eduard Hulicius to be part of Jourová’s team. The Social Democrats are also pressing for a representative to be part of the Cabinet as well. ANO’s first deputy chairwoman and current Minister for Regional Development should be confirmed by the government as the Czech nominee for the future commission late on Thursday.
Olomouc’s Palacký University Faculty of Science is hosting an international conference about centipedes, millipedes and related insects. The conference is giving particular attention this year to the largely untapped medicinal uses that they could be used for. Some of the insects secrete substances which have already been found to give partial protection against malaria or to reduce pain. The first such conference was held in Paris in 1968 and the last was held in Brisbane, Australia in 2011.
Czech inspectors have found that more than half the restaurants they checked up on discriminated against foreign clients. The inspectors from the Czech Commercial Inspectorate found that eight out of 13 restaurants they checked up on added extra charges to the bills of foreign customers compared with Czechs. Agents went undercover for the inspections by pretending they could only speak English. Other shortcomings were found at nine out of the 13 restaurants. The inspectorate pointed out that Prague is highly reliant on tourists with the aim that they should be treated fairly and not exploited. The inspectorate said it would continue checks throughout the tourist season and beyond because restaurants also served ex-pats living in Prague.
Ongoing problems with the restitution of church property will be resolved by a government committee prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the lower house of parliament on Thursday. Sobotka intervened in a debate over the controversial subject called jointly by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and the Dawn party. The prime minister attacked the deal to compensate churches and religious group for confiscations undertaken by the former Communist regime, saying that mechanism were lacking to check that property was not given back which religious groups had not owned in the first place. Sobotka’s Social Democrat party has attempted to reopen the restitution settlement agreed by the former centre-right coalition government without success.
Centre right party TOP 09 has a high chance of retaining its position as the biggest party in the Czech capital when Prague City Council elections are held in October. A survey by the polling agency SANEP suggested that TOP 09 would be the strongest party with 21.3 percent support. A three way coalition of the Christian Democrats, Mayors and Independents, and Green Party could win 14.2 percent of votes. The ANO party would come in third place with 12.4 percent followed by the Social Democrats with 11.8 percent, Civic Democrats with 11.1 percent and Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia with 7.6 percent. The Pirate party and Free Citizens Party would also get more 5.0 percent of the vote according to the survey. TOP 09 currently govern Prague City Hall in coalition with the Social Democrats.