News Slovak police arrest Czech national with large amount of crystal methamphetamine
Police in southern Slovakia are reported to have arrested a Czech national with 1.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in his possession. Its street value is estimated at 6.8 billion crowns. The police reportedly also arrested a Slovak who was to have received the delivery. Both men are in detention in Slovakia and face between 15 and 20 years in jail. Smuggling of home-made crystal methamphetamine from the Czech Republic to neighbouring Germany and Slovakia have become a serious problem in recent years.
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The Czech Republic is one of the last remaining EU states which does not have a children’s Ombudsman, according to a government report on the state of human rights in the Czech Republic. The report says that while cases relating to minors are dealt with by the Ombudsman’s Office, the institution lacks the staff and money needed to deal with the vast amount of requests for help it gets annually and children’ cases deserve priority. The Czech Republic has come under fire from international institutions for failing to give Romany children equal access to education, failing to secure the right of children from divorced families to be in contact with both parents and keeping them in children’s homes for years in order to protect the rights of their biological parents.
Storms and heavy rain complicated traffic and flooded cellars in many parts of the country, particularly in south-western Bohemia. Rail traffic between Prague and Mariánské Lázně was disrupted for several hours on Monday night and fire crews worked around the clock clearing away uprooted trees and pumping water from cellars. In some places the rain amounted to 67 liters per square meter, causing flash floods which temporarily closed down the lobby of Prague’s Mustek metro station. The ABC theatre in Prague was flooded for the third time this year.
The Czech government has approved extending a freeze on the wages of top public officials up until 2018. The proposal, put forward by the Labour Ministry, would see the wages of the president, government ministers, senators, deputies and judges kept on their present level for another four years after a previous freeze expires at the end of 2014. The only exemption is a one percent valorisation due to inflation. The proposal, which still has to pass through Parliament, would affect some 4,000 people.
President Miloš Zeman who attended Monday’s cabinet meeting praised the ruling coalition for its willingness to spend money on investment projects, saying it had given the public “reason to hope” in a better future. Mr. Zeman took part in the government session primarily to emphasize the need for the government to strengthen the sphere of economic diplomacy and push ahead with plans to expand Czech business interests beyond EU borders. He mentioned in particular Russia, China, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as offering considerable potential.
Meteorologists have issued a storm warning for the south-western parts of the country where heavy rain on Monday night and Tuesday morning may swell smaller rivers. Day temperatures should not drop below 22 degrees Celsius but the southern parts of the country may be hit by heavy storms with hailstones and high wind. The week is expected to be hot and humid with plenty of rain and temperatures gradually rising back to the 30s.
Police are searching for a man who brutally beat up a homeless person in the streets of Prague in the early hours of Monday. The homeless man died of grievous internal injuries shortly after. The incident happened shortly before 7am at a Hradčanská tram stop. The police have released a description of the aggressor and asked potential witnesses to come forward. If convicted the man could face a sentence of up to 16 years.
Several hundred people on Monday attended the funeral of Sergeant Ivo Klusák, one of the five Czech servicemen who died in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. The 34-year-old soldier was given a funeral with military honours attended by Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, army chief-of-staff Petr Pavel and members of the Chrudim special forces. He was awarded a medal for bravery in memoriam. Sergeant Klusák served in six foreign mission, four of those in Afghanistan.
According to inside sources close to the government, the Social Democrats traded their support for Věra Jourová’s nomination to the post of EU commissioner for a higher minimal wage growth and more money for the social services sphere in 2015. The ANO party, which holds the finance ministry portfolio, has nodded to both. The Social Democrats want a minimal wage hike by 700 crowns a month, as opposed to the proposed 500 crown increase, and want to pump 750 million crowns more into the sphere of social services.
The State Attorney’s Office in Olomouc has filed charges of tax evasion against a dozen people in the region. According to Olomouc State Attorney Karel Studený the case involves a number of companies and two lawyers who masterminded the tax scams. The damage is said to have reached tens of millions of crowns. The Czech government recently set up a special team, made up of experts from different fields, to crack-down on large scale tax evasion which is costing the country billions of crowns in lost revenues.
The ANO party of the ruling coalition is to debate who should replace Věra Jourová in the post of regional development minister following her nomination to be the country’s next EU commissioner. According to party leader Andrej Babiš one of the candidates being considered is deputy regional affairs minister Klára Dostálová who is in charge of the EU operation programmes agenda. The Czech Republic has in the past had problems with drawing of EU funds and the question who should replace Ms Jourová, who is an expert in the field, is seen as being of utmost importance.