News Tomáš Pitr has remainder of prison sentence suspended
One time fugitive businessman Tomáš Pitr has had the remainder of his four year jail sentence overturned by a Prague 6 district court on Thursday. The court ruled that Pitr’s outstanding two year prison sentence be suspended on condition that he does not break the law over the next four years. Pitr was sentenced to five years for tax evasion in June 2013 with the sentence cut later by one year following an appeal. He fled the Czech Republic following an earlier sentence but was eventually apprehended in Switzerland in 2010. Pitr was linked to a series of major share and tax evasion cases over the last decades after making his first money in the early 1990’s from the resale of Tuzex duty free rum.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková got off to a winning start at her debut at the WTA Finals in Singapore, defeating Spanish-Venezuelan opponent Garbine Muguruza. The match was a dramatic one: Plíšková, ranked fifth in the the world, came back from 4-0 in the third set and saved a match point. The final score was 6-2, 6-7,7-5.
The government has approved a bill which will allow ‘second-parent adoption’ in the Czech Republic, granting the non-biological partner in registered same-sex partnerships the same legal rights to the child. The issue has been discussed for several years and earlier proposals were tabled in the past. A recent poll by the CVVM agency suggested that more than three-fifths of Czechs were in favour.
The presence of coliform bacteria in tap water in Brno could be a combination of different factors, an official revealed on Monday, among them a weaker dose of a disinfection agent than usual or a higher water temperature. Petr Šindler of Brno Waterworks and Canalization confirmed the news, saying it was not possible to determine which factor had been dominant. The city has since quadrupled the amount of chlorine in the water supply. Coliform bacteria was found in Brno tap water in September.
The chairman of the lower house Jan Hamáček has backed the prime
minister’s call on the head of state for Auschwitz survivor George Brady
to be given a state award in recognition of his life’s work. The
politician said that he hoped President Miloš Zeman would heed the call
but made clear that if he did not, there were other means by which the
Chamber of Deputies could honour the 88-year-old. In addition, the head of
the lower house stated that he felt that Prague Castle needed to do more to
clear the matter up. The culture minister, Daniel Herman, has claimed that
he warned by the president that if he met with the Dalai Lama (as happened
last week) his uncle George Brady would not receive the state award.
In related news, George Brady has accepted an invitation from Palácký University Olomouc which wants to recognise his life’s work with an award of its own. The news was confirmed on Monday for the Czech News Agency by the school’s rector, Jaroslav Miller and by Mr Brady’s wife, Tereza. The ceremony is likely to be scheduled for October 28th – the same day state honours will be awarded by the head of state.
A bailiff ordered the Office of the President to pay a 100,000 crown fine on Monday for failing to respect a court decision ordering the president to apologise for comments made about journalist Ferdinand Peroutka; the news was confirmed by Czech TV. In a past speech, President Milos Zeman maintained the journalist once wrote an article referring to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as “a gentleman”. The late Mr Peroutka’s granddaughter took the matter to court and followed up with a distraint order when no apology was issued. Unless Prague Castle complies, the bailiff could freeze its account; the fine given is the highest possible in such cases.
Tuesday will be mostly cloudy and rain is expected; daytime highs should reach up to 15 degrees Celsius.
The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, and Atrium Czech Real Estate Management (managing the Flora shopping centre in Prague) held a joint-press conference on Monday warning that legislation passed this year – forcing large retailers to close their doors on seven state holidays – will lead to a net loss in revenues of around four billion crowns across the Czech Republic. Additionally, the grouping warned that the new law would lead to job losses, not just among cashiers or sellers but also cleaners and security. By contrast, the bill had support from the unions as it would allow employees in the service sector time off. October 28 is one of seven state holidays when large retail stores will not be allowed to sell products.
Czech tennis player and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová has slipped to 13th spot in the WTA rankings, down from 11th spot. The player lost a chance to secure 730 points by failing to qualify for this year’s WTA Finals. Fellow Czech player Karolína Plíšková, currently in fifth spot, will play in the prestigious tournament for the first time. In men’s tennis, Tomáš Berdych has slipped to 10th spot in the ATP rankings.
Ex-police officer Karel Kadlec has been given a two-year driving ban and an eight-month probation period for a drink driving accident in which he crashed into a vehicle which had stopped for pedestrians at a crossing. The accident took place last year; Mr Kadlec agreed to a breathalyser test but refused to provide a blood sample following the incident. The defendant has already appealed the court decision. The former police officer was involved in a separate incident this April: he is charged with having crashed his vehicle into 29 parked cars in Prague’s Vinohrady district.
Despite announcements of new Chinese acquisitions in the Czech Republic, Chinese capital in Czech companies decreased in volume this year, according to an annual report by the consulting agency Bisnode. Capital in Czech firms fell by around 616 million to 5.21 billion crowns, a decrease of around ten percent. The total number of domestic companies with Chinese owners decreased by 137 to 2,086, according to analysis of ownership structure published by the agency; the volume of Chinese capital in Czech firms in 2014 and 2015 had reached historic highs: increasing by 110 percent from 2.77 to 5.83 billion crowns.