News Two candidates in the running for police chief
Two candidates are in the running for the post of police president, vacated by the resignation of Martin Pecina in February, the ctk news agency reports. One of the candidates is Pecina’s former deputy Tomáš Tuhý, who is presently running the force as acting police president. The second candidate is the head of the Inspection Agency of the Police Force Dušan Brunclík. The next police chief will be selected by a special commission. A decision is expected early next week.
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Judges in a pending Constitutional Court judgement which threatens to effectively close the archives of the communist-era police, the StB, to researchers and historians are unlikely to take such a dramatic step, the daily Hospodářské Noviny reports on Thursday. The government, archivists, and the Czech authority for protecting personal data are against the step, it reports. A decision from the 15-member court is needed after questions were raised whether current access to the files infringes personal privacy. Historians warn that a system giving the greatest protection to personal details would mean most of the files being blacked out before being handed over to researchers.
The scandal around the alleged withdrawal of a state honour to Holocaust survivor George Brady has taken a new turn with news that an episode of the popular talk show Jan Kraus on commercial broadcaster Prima failed to be screened. The episode, recorded on Tuesday, was supposed to go out on Wednesday night. Prima said that was not possible because the copy of the recording arrived late. An earlier episode was repeated instead. The station’s version was challenged by the show’s producer, who said it was delivered as usual and in time. Other guests on the show, such as musician Anna K, have complained of media censorship. Jan Kraus, known for his outspoken comments and stand against corruption, has not commented so far. Brady, the uncle of culture minister Daniel Herman, has been in the spotlight the last week in a scandal focused on whether the president’s office first offered him a state award and then warned it would be withdrawn if the minister met with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The Czech Republic’s biggest car maker Škoda Auto raised its operating profit in nine months of the year by 28.1 percent to 25.5 billion crowns (around 940 million euros) according to figures released by German parent company Volkswagen on Thursday. Škoda has been able to boost its sales and spread its costs over the period. To September, the carmaker has been able to produce 606,000 cars and is set for a record production figure for 2016.
Italian scholar, writer, and essayist Claudio Magris will be awarded this year’s Franz Kafka prize in Prague on Thursday. Born in Trieste in 1939, Magris is known for his focus on Central Europe and German. His most famous book, Danube, followed the course of the river through the region. Magris’ wok first appeared in Czech in 1992. He will be the 16th winner of the Franz Kafka award, which seeks to give recognition to writers who have followed in the literary path of the celebrated Czech 20th century writer.
The lower house of parliament in first reading passed on Wednesday evening the broad outline of the budget for 2017. This counts on a budget deficit of 60 billion crowns next year compared with the approved deficit of 70 billion crowns this year. Opposition parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats failed to push through a proposal to get the approved deficit for next year cut by a further 30 billion crowns to a final 30 billion crowns. Lawmakers can now propose changes within the agreed overall budget and spending and revenue raising limits.
Former top policeman Robert Šlachta has been appointed deputy general director of the Czech Customs Administration in charge of investigations and searches, the administration said on Wednesday. Šlachta was a central figure in the recent row over the reorganisation of elite police units which pitted government parties against each other. He resigned as head of the special police unit for combatting organised crime in June in protest at what he described as a politically motivated shake up aimed at curbing his force’s effectiveness. The customs administration said Šlachta was successful in his application in the tender for its high level job, it previously reported that there were no other candidates.
Political parties in South Moravia have signed a coalition agreement. The deal covers ANO, the Social Democrats, Mayors for South Moravia, and TOP 09 and Žit Brno. That grouping should have 34 seats in the 65-seat assembly. The lead candidate for hejtman or regional leader is ANO’s Bohumil Šimek. Previously the region was governed by a partnership of the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats.
The weather on Thursday will be cloudy with some sunny intervals and top daytime temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius. Some parts of the country could see fog and light showers.
Eleven new destinations will feature in the winter timetable out of Prague’s Václav Havel airport taking effect from October 30. Two new long distance flights to China feature for the first time in the new timetable. As well as that, new services will launch to Tunisia and Radom in central Poland. In total, 105 destinations to 39 countries will be offered out of Prague.
Czech spending on research and development continues to climb and is already at one of the highest levels per capita among new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year R&D spending rose by 3.6 billion crowns (around 145 million euros) to 88.7 billion crowns, according to latest figures from the Czech Statistical Office. That represented a 4.2 percent increase on the previous year. Czech R&D spending has risen by two-thirds over the last five years. The proportion of spending per capita is second in Central Europe, bettered only by Slovenia.