The Czech company Agrofert has lodged a complaint with the European Union
ombudsman and at the EU’s Court of Justice over the handling of an
investigation into the provision of EU subsidies to the Stork’s Nest
complex by the European Anti-Fraud Office, known as OLAF. The information
was shared by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the former owner of Agrofert,
Mr. Babiš has been accused of fraud in connection with the subsidies but denies any wrongdoing. He said he had not read the OLAF report on the matter and was not minded to do so.
The ANO leader was speaking after a traditional New Year’s lunch with President Miloš Zeman at the head of state’s retreat at Lány near Prague.
The Czech athlete Vítězslav Veselý has split from his javelin coach, Jan
Železný. The 2013 world champion issued a statement on Tuesday thanking
Železný and outlining his plans to train himself in future.
Veselý said bearing full responsibility for his own training had always attracted him and would be a new challenge. The 34-year-old plans to take part in this year’s European Athletics Championships in Berlin.
Presidential candidate Michal Horáček is taking Communist MP Zdeněk
Ondráček to court for slander after the latter accused him of being a
collaborator with the StB. In an interview Mr. Ondráček said that
according to available information Mr. Horáček had collaborated with the
communist-era secret police.
However, a lawyer for Mr. Horáček said the available information referred to seemed to the StB’s own file on the presidential candidate.
Mr. Horáček recently objected to moves to elect Mr. Ondráček as head of the lower house committee overseeing the body that monitors the police in view of his past. The Communist Party deputy took part in a crackdown on protestors before the Velvet Revolution as a member of a riot squad.
Prague’s public transport system is to operate on a reduced “summer”
schedule over the next couple of weeks due to a lack of drivers, the news
site iRozhlas.cz reported on Tuesday. Intervals between tram, bus and Metro
services are to be increased by around two minutes.
Regular services will be resumed on January 15 when drivers who earned time off over the holiday season return to work.
Prague’s transport authority launched a recruitment campaign last year, complaining of a lack of drivers. Services in towns near the capital are facing the same problem.
Czech Post is putting its prices up. From next month the cost of sending an
ordinary letter will jump from CZK 16 to CZK 19, while registered letters
will go up by CZK 6 to CZK 44. Packages weighing over two kilogrammes will
not increase in price.
Czech Post, which has over 3,000 branches, says it has to increase the prices in order to ensure high-quality and accessible postal services.
The company has seen its delivery numbers fall. It refuses to release absolute numbers but says it recorded an 11-percent decline in the number of pieces of mail it delivered in 2016.
The public broadcasters Czech Radio and Czech Television have begun airing
campaign slots from candidates running in next week’s presidential
elections. The incumbent, Miloš Zeman, has not sent a clip so Czech
Television is going to fill the time allotted to him with photos and
His spokesperson said Mr. Zeman was not actively participating as this would represent a “pre-election campaign”, which the head of state is not leading.
The first round of the presidential elections takes place on Friday and Saturday next week. If none of the nine candidates receives more than 50 percent, the front two will go through to a run-off two weeks later.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has confirmed that two Czech children died in a
fire in the Netherlands on Saturday. They were aged five and six. Their
parents are in hospital with serious injuries. It is not yet clear how the
fire that ravaged their home broke out.
A collection was launched by the family’s neighbours. The Czech Embassy in the Netherlands is in contact with the parents to provide whatever assistance it can in the wake of the tragedy.
Hundreds of people turned out for a festive change-of-guard ceremony and an
exhibition at Prague Castle marking 25 years since the establishment of an
independent Czech Republic on Monday.
Viewers could admire the original copy of the Czech constitution, the country’s national symbols and high state distinctions and congratulatory letters to the country’s first president Vaclav Havel from foreign statesmen.
In the course of the year Prague Castle will hold several exhibitions dedicated to the centenary of Czechoslovakia.
President Miloš Zeman with the first lady, Ivana, and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš with his wife Monika will meet for a traditional New Year lunch at Lany Chateau on Tuesday, according to the president’s office. The two officials are expected to discuss the future government in view of the difficult negotiations following October’s general elections. Although the prime minister has failed to secure support for his minority government, President Zeman has promised to give him a second chance to form a government in February. However much depends on the outcome of the January presidential elections.
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