Prague may be part of a European-wide arms-smuggling network operated by Palestinians, former chief-of-staff General Jiri Sedivy said in an interview for the Czech internet site Aktualne.cz. As many as 70 automatic rifles were found at the Prague residence of the late Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, according to unconfirmed reports carried by the CTK news agency. The general said he feared that the discovery in Prague could be the tip of the iceberg and suggested that Palestinian embassies in other European capitals could contain similar storages of illegal weapons.
The Czech foreign ministry has expressed grave concerned over the discovery. It said diplomats' weapons were subject to local laws on arms which require registration and licensing and none of those found were registered in the Czech Republic. For the embassy to store illegal weapons would be in breach of the Vienna Convention that governs the activities of diplomats and embassies and the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it would demand an explanation. It has also expressed understanding for a request from the Suchdol district which has asked the authorities to move the Palestinian embassy outside its premises since it presents a security threat to the public.
The body of the late Palestinian ambassador to Prague, Jamal al-Jamal will be repatriated on Monday. The ambassador’s daughter Rana, who claims her father was the victim of a terrorist attack, said the day of the funeral had already been set but refused to disclose any details. Meanwhile, the police have not yet released information regarding what kind of explosive caused the blast that killed the ambassador in his Prague residence.
Former prime minister and European labour commissioner Vladimír Špidla is to become chief advisor to the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Spidla, who was considered to be a hot candidate for the post of labour minister in the emerging government, confirmed having accepted the offer on Friday. The post of labour minister in the new government will thus most likely go to Social Democrat Petr Krčál, a councilor in the Vysočina region. The list of ministerial nominees, which Bohuslav Sobotka submitted to the president on Friday evening, is to be made public on Monday after the three parties of the emerging centre-right coalition – the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats - sign a coalition agreement.
Labour Ministry officials and representatives of the firm Fujitsu Technology Solutions are to meet on Monday to debate the legal implications of the decision to shut down the welfare payments system which the company had provided since 2012. The company won a contract on running the system but the Czech anti-monopoly regulator last year cancelled the tender over breach of rules. Labour offices are now struggling to deliver payments using a previous, now-outdated system and the Labour Ministry says Fujitsu had no reason to act rashly since its system could have remained in operation on the grounds of an addendum to the contract signed. The Labour Ministry has warned that thousands of people could get their welfare contributions late.
Czech fugitive and alleged crime boss Radovan Krejčíř made an urgent application before the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday seeking to have a judgment denying him bail overturned. Krejčíř’s lawyer argued that despite the two attempts on his life the 45-year-old Krejčíř would not flee the country if released on bail, nor try to influence witnesses. Krejčíř and three others, who have been released on bail, face charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder.
As of this year Czech producers will have to use bigger print and put more information on food labels than they have hereto. The change is in line with EU regulations and there is a fine of up to 10 million crowns for violating it. Some producers have complained that in view of the size of some products they will have to add folded leaflets to them containing the information or restrict the number of language versions on the labels.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday met briefly with President Milos Zeman to brief him on the proposed line-up of the emerging centre-left government. Mr. Sobotka refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting saying he had submitted a list of ministerial nominees to the head of state and that the three parties of the emerging government coalition would sign a coalition agreement on Monday as planned. He made no mention of whether or when he might be named prime minister. There has been speculation that the president is likely to find some nominees unacceptable and may want to get actively involved in the selection process or try to stall the process of appointing a new government. Under an agreement reached between the three potential coalition partners the Social Democrats will get seven seats in the new cabinet, the AN0 party six and the Christian Democrats three.
The daughter of the late Palestinian ambassador to Prague claims her father was the victim of a terrorist attack. Rana al Jamal told the Palestinian news agency Ma’an that the safe which exploded and killed her father was an old model that did not contained any booby trap. She claims the explosive device must have been planted there several hours preceding the explosion. According to Rana the safe was used by other Palestinian officials while her father was on a working trip to Egypt and it had only been moved into the ambassador’s new residence the night before the explosion.
Prague’s Suchdol district has asked the Czech Foreign Ministry to move the Palestinian embassy outside its premises. Suchdol mayor Petr Hejl said that following Wednesday’s explosion which killed the ambassador and the fact that the police had found illegal weapons and explosives on the embassy grounds the local council felt that the embassy presented a security risk to the public. Hejl said the embassy had violated Czech and international laws by holding illegal arms and could no longer be considered trustworthy.
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