News Justice minister fires prison service boss

04-04-2014 14:03 | Jan Richter

Justice Minister Helena Válková on Friday dismissed the director of the country’s prison service Petr Dohnal. The minister said she has lost confidence in Mr Dohnal’s capacity to run the service and to push through a planned reform of the prison system. Ms Válková named the head of the Rapotice penitentiary, Pavel Ondrášek, the agency’s acting director. The minister first moved against Petr Dohnal in February over his alleged reluctance to submit the agency to a ministerial inspection; Mr Dohnal later said he felt he was being unfairly treated by the minister.

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Ministry report says extremist groups were weakened in second quarter

25-07-2016 12:58 | Jan Velinger

A report of extremism published by the Interior Ministry suggests that extremist groups in the country lost momentum in the second quarter, failing to capitalise on new topics after the migrant crisis. Right-wing groups in particular were reportedly weakened by largely competing for the same followers. According to the report, Czech extremists were most influenced by the Brexit – the decision by a majority for Great Britain to leave the European Union – interpreting it as “a victory of nationalism over European multiculturalism”. 

Poll: Most Czechs support right of child adoption by registered same-sex couples

25-07-2016 12:03 | Jan Velinger

More than three-fives of Czechs in a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency said the supported the right of adoption by same-sex couples. Less than one-third of those who took part in the survey said they were against. Lawmakers are currently debating an amendment dealing with ‘second-parent adoption’, granting the non-biological partner in a registered partnership the same legal rights to the child; the earliest that debate will come up again is in September. 

Tripartite consensus not yet likely on increasing of minimum wage

25-07-2016 11:47 | Jan Velinger

A meeting of the tripartite – government, union and employers – is not likely to reach a consensus on Monday on a raising of the minimum monthly wage, the Czech News Agency reports. According to the service, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has backed an increase of no more than 700 crowns per month for a total of 10,600 crowns, which is also seen as suitable by employers. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wants the total to be 11,000 and unions 500 crowns more. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has backed an increase to at least 11,000. The monthly minimum wage was last raised at the beginning of 2016 – from the previous 9,200 crowns to the current 9,900. 

Spending watchdog highlights accounting flaws in interior ministry books

25-07-2016 09:09 | Chris Johnstone

State spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has reported auditing mistakes to the tune of 4.9 billion crowns in the books of the Ministry of Interior for 2014. The main factors in the flawed accounting were failures to properly account for the impact of a series of agreements made by the ministry and its estimation of property assets. The ministry said that no cash was missing and that steps have been taken to address the accounting mistakes. 

Roman Kreuziger ends 10th in final Tour de France rankings

25-07-2016 08:39 updated | Chris Johnstone

Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger ended tenth in the Tour de France on Sunday, his fourth top 10 placement. He was just over seven minutes off the winning time of Chris Froome. Kreuziger moved up to 10th place overall from 12th on Saturday after coming sixth in the stage after an aggressive move to break free of the pack. He was helped by fellow team member, Slovak Peter Sagan. Kreuziger’s best ever placing in the tour was fifth in 2013. He had previously been placed three time in the top 10. 

Bonus payments to ministry officials rise in first six months of year

24-07-2016 15:37 | Chris Johnstone

Bonus payments to top ministerial staff in the first half of the year rose to total 280 million crowns, according to Czech Radio. That is around 20 million more than in the previous six months. The government has defended the payments saying they are deserved. Most of the bonus payments in ministries total between 20,000 and 30,000 crowns. The Ministry of Transport stands out with bonus payments there averaging around 55,000 crowns over the latest period. Such payments are covered by the civil service law. 

Seminar highlight threat to lynx population in Šumava

24-07-2016 15:05 | Chris Johnstone

The population of lynx in the Šumava forest has fallen to around 65 and is in severe danger according to the latest estimates of an environmental group. Around 15 years ago the population was estimated at around 100. The latest estimate was released by the group Hnuti Duha which for many years has been tracing the evolution of the population and is currently holding an international conference in the Šumava region dealing with the topic. Illegal hunting and trapping and car accidents are believed to be the main causes of the sharp drop in the population. 

Police appeal after gruesome finding

24-07-2016 15:03 | Chris Johnstone

Police have launched an appeal for help after a newly born baby was found dead at a plastic sorting facility in Prague on Saturday night. The baby had apparently suffered a violent death. It was probably delivered in a container from Prague or Central Bohemia. Police have asked to be contacted if anyone noticed suspicious circumstances such as a woman in late stages of pregnancy who appears to have given birth but has no child. 

Storm warnings apply to whole of Czech Republic from Monday

24-07-2016 12:06 | Chris Johnstone

Czech weather forecasters are warning of severe storms in West and South Bohemia, South Moravia and Vysočina on Sunday afternoon and evening. Winds could reach up to 70 kilometres and hour and heavy rain total up to 30 litres per square metre. The warning applies to the whole of the Czech Republic on Monday and Tuesday with the likelihood of severer downfalls in some areas. 

Changes to civil service law proposed in face of staff shortages

24-07-2016 10:08 | Chris Johnstone

Changes to the Czech civil service law are being prepared in an attempt to streamline recruitment and fill many gaps in ministries and other state bodies. The current procedures are regarded as overly complicated and time consuming. At the moment there are many vacancies in government departments. The Ministry of Justice is one of the worst cases with around 100 vacancies, comprising around 50 lawyers and a dozen IT specialists. Selection procedures often last up to three months or more. The civil service law was brought in after the Czech Republic dragged its heels for years in meeting EU demands that it put in place a professional civil service. 


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