News Regional development minister wins compensation claim
Regional Development Minister Věra Jourová has won a 2.7 million compensation claim for loss of trust and loss of profit in connection with her month-long detention in 2006. The then-deputy regional affairs minister was arrested and charged with bribery and abuse of office. She was suspected of having accepted a two million crown bribe from the mayor of the town of Budišov for allegedly securing an EU grant for the reconstruction of Budišov Chateau. In 2008 she was cleared of all charges.
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The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has called of Central European government leaders meeting in Prague on Friday to adopt a common position to resist what it described as European Commission pressure over the immigrant crisis. The party attacked Brussels for failing to put forward solutions to the crisis beyond the idea of sharing out migrants between countries. It said the Czech government, which currently heads the Visegrad group, should have called its meeting earlier so that pressure for immigrant quotas and criticism of Central European states, for example from France and Austria, could be have been tackled, it added.
Average Czech wages in the second quarter rose by 875 crowns to stand at 26,287 crowns compared with the same period in 2014, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Friday. The rise of around 3.4 percent exceeded the expectations of most analysts who had predicted a rise of around 2.0 percent. Prague workers have the highest average wages of around 33,714 crowns but the pace of wage rises there is one of the slowest across the country. The lowest wages are in the Karlovy Vary region at 22,470 crowns.
Russian spies in the Czech Republic are targeting international research projects in which Czech companies are participating and using Czechs to help them gather information, according to a report on last year’s activity by the country’s counter intelligence Security Information Service (BIS). It said Russia was seeking to gain a competitive advantage by obtaining the know-how stemming from European funded projects as well as helping companies plug into the funds on offer from the Czech Republic and EU. The counter intelligence service said that it tried to reduce the number of Russian intelligence officers active in the Czech Republic. It added that Chinese intelligence services also sought influence on Czech state and political structures with the aid of Czechs, including civil servants and politicians.
Chinese investment group CEFC will buy a 60 percent majority stake in the Slavia Prague football club, the daily Neovlivni reported Friday. It cited former Czech minister and current head of the Czech-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Jaroslav Tvrdík, who mediated the deal. When the deal goes through, the head of the Czech transport company Travel Service, Jiří Šimán, will be left with the remaining 40 percent stake in the famous Czech club which has recently gone many ownershiop upheavals.
The Czech Republic will aim to cut the number of those threatened by poverty and social exclusion by 100,000 by 2020, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced on Friday. The Czech prime minister was speaking at a conference on European conference on social exclusion in Prague. The Czech Republic initially had a target to take 30,000 from the ranks of those faced by poverty and exclusion. Falling unemployment and strong growth have allowed that goal to be widened. Sobotka warned though that the EU 28 as a whole appeared to be on track to missing its target of cutting by 20 million the number of poor and socially excluded amid continuing high unemployment following the recent economic crisis.
Czech president Miloš Zeman is meeting Friday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on his onging trip to China. The Czech head of state let slip to Chinese journalists that he had invited Xi Jinping to visit Prague next year and that the invitation had been accepted. He would be the first Chinese present to visit to the Czech Republic. Zeman recalled that his first visit to China last year had resulted in a series of breakthrough commercial deals. These have included a deal under which Bank of China will open its first branch in the Czech Republic and the launch of direct flights between Beijing and Prague which are due to start on September 23. The Czech president was accompanied on his Chines trip by former Czech and Juventus footballer, Pavel Nedvěd. The former European Footballer of the Year has ambitions to open a football school in China.
Prime ministers of the Visegrad four countries are attending an extraordinary meeting in Prague on Friday. The government heads of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary will try to coordinate their position on the escalating migrant crisis. On top of the agenda will be the current situation in Hungary, where thousands of refugees are stranded at Budapest train station. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said prior to the meeting that he will call on his counterparts to support the establishment of more detention centres along the outer border of the Schengen area and he will push for a stricter intervention against people smugglers.
In football, substitute Milan Škoda was the hero for the Czech national team with two goals in the last 16 minutes to turn around their European Championship qualifier against Kazakhstan on Thursday night. The Czechs went down at home in the 21st minute with a headed goal from Yuri Logvinenko. A weakened Czech team, missing many key players from injury, looked slow and without many idea up front although David Limberský hit the crossbar in the first half. Slavia attacker Škoda was brought on for the second half. The Czechs can now qualify for the finals in France with a win against Latvia on Sunday.
This year’s summer holidays were one of the hottest and sunniest on record, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The average temperature recorded for July was 20 degrees Celsius, which is 3.2 degrees more than the long-term average. The average temperature in August reached 21.2 degrees Celsius, 4.5 more than the long-term values. According to the institute’s spokesman, this year’s August was very probably the warmest in the history of measurements. The summer months were also exceptionally dry, with precipitation in July reaching 40 percent of the long-term average.
The capacity of asylum facilities in the Czech Republic is currently 90 percent full, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said at a press conference on Thursday. He also said that the Czech Republic is at the moment able to master the migrant crisis. The minister said he planned to visit some of the reception centres to find out more about the situation there. At the moment, the Czech Republic has three asylum facilities, in Zastávka near Brno, in Bělá pod Bezdězem, central Bohemia, and Vyšní Lhoty in north Moravia, with a total capacity of 1100 places. The Interior Ministry previously announced that it would like to increase the total capacity to 1400 places.