News Ministry rejects pardon request from double-murderer Kajínek
The Ministry of Justice has turned down a pardon request from Jiří Kajínek, who is serving a life sentence for two counts of murder and one of attempted murder in 1993. Mr. Kajínek, who claims he was framed, has twice failed in appeals to the Constitutional Court to have his case reopened. Czech Television reported that the ministry had written to the prisoner on Monday to inform him of its decision. The minister of justice, Helena Válková, has said she regards Mr. Kajínek’s sentence as overly harsh, though President Miloš Zeman said he would not pardon him as his life was not in danger.
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Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the commencement of construction work on one of the Czech Republic’s most distinctive modern buildings, the television transmitter and hotel on Mount Ještěd near Liberec in North Bohemia. The 94-metre structure was designed by architect Karel Hubáček from the renowned company SIAL Liberec and replaced a previous hotel that had burnt down. Completed in 1973, Ještěd was voted Building of the Century in a public poll in the year 2000.
The country’s National Centre for Combatting Organized Crime will begin operation on Monday, in line with the merger of two former police units. The reorganization of the police led recently to a serious rift among the parties in government. The ANO party at one point had threatened to leave the coalition but backed down eventually. Some 870 police officers will serve in the new unit; Police President Tomáš Tuhý expressed the view the new centre will be more effective in crime-fighting.
The Finance Ministry has revised downward its estimate for the country’s economic growth in 2016, from 2.5 percent in April to 2.2 now. Next year, the economy is expected to grow by 2.4 percent instead of 2.6. In 2015, the Czech Republic saw economic growth of 4.5 percent. Reasons for the slowdown include an expected rise in oil prices as well as indirect aftereffects of the Brexit, under which Great Britain voted to leave the European Union.
The Czech Army wants to raise the number of soldiers in its ranks to 24,500, the level it stood at prior the global economic crisis in 2008, the deputy chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Jaroslav Kocián has said. He made the statement on Friday at a ceremony for graduates from the University of Defence in Brno. The Czech Army currently has some 19,000 soldiers.
Czech electricity giant ČEZ has applied for a prolongation of its existing operating license for the second unit at its Dukovany power plant until July 10, 2017, spokesman Jiří Bezděk told ČTK. The current license is due to expire at the end of this year. Mr Bezděk said the application to the State Office for Nuclear Safety was made because of a prolonged shutdown at the reactor to check on pipe welds at the unit. ČEZ filed and a similar request by the regulator for Dukovany’s first unit earlier this year, which was granted. ČEZ has over the last year stepped up its X-ray checks on pipe welds at all four of the Dukovany units after it was found that previous checks by a sub-contractor were flawed.
A Chinese citizen found guilty of stealing Tibetan flag from a protestor during the Prague visit earlier this year of China’s president, has filed an appeal. The foreign national was arrested during a scuffle between supporters and opponents of Xi Jinping in March of this year; he was fined 15,000 crowns for his role in the incident.
The Social Democrats have said in the debate on the draft state budget for next year they will be emphasising as priorities increases in funds for national security, social services, and education. The statement was made on Friday by the party’s leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will alone be seeking an additional three billion crowns to increase police numbers and to improve not only cyber-security but also anti-terrorism measures.
Austrian club Admira drew first blood against Slovan Liberec on Thursday
evening in their third round qualifying match for the Europa League but the
Czech club got two goals from Vuch to win 2-1. The second leg against
Admira will be on August 3.
In other qualifying matches, Macedonia’s Shkëndija defeated Mladá Boleslav 2-0, while Slavia Prague drew with Portuguese club Rio Ave.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has opened negotiations with fellow members
of the Cabinet on the state budget for 2017, meeting with the justice,
environment and culture ministers. The draft budget is counting on a
deficit of 60 billion crowns next year. The bill includes pay rise for
teachers, nurses and doctors, higher pensions and higher health insurance
payments that the state pays on behalf of children, pensioners and the
Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told journalists after talks with Mr
Babiš that his ministry would get additional 650 million crowns that would
be used for increased salaries of court personnel and the hiring of new
staff in the judicial sector and the Prison Service. Pelikán originally
wanted two billion crowns more in the budget.
The government must approve the budget bill and send it to the lower house of parliament by the end of September.
A strike by cabin crew at Air France continues to disrupt traffic. Two flights between Prague and Paris were cancelled on Friday morning. The afternoon and evening flights remain on schedule for the time being. The strike, over a new contract for flight attendants, is expected to last all week.