Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has ordered a criminal investigation into the case of a Qatari prince who was allowed to return to his homeland after being convicted of sexually abusing underage girls in the Czech Republic. Mr. Zeman has questioned the decision of then justice minister Pavel Nemec to hand over the prince to the Qatari authorities on a promise that justice would be done. The prince, who received a 2.5 year prison sentence in the Czech Republic, was briefly held in his homeland and then released on bail. The Supreme State Attorney has ordered an investigation on suspicion of corruption.
The government’s economic advisory council NERV is to acquaint the prime
minister with a detailed crisis scenario for the Czech economy. The package
of 40 measures should be adopted if there is danger of the GDP dropping by
more than 2 percent. The measures include a single VAT rate of 20 percent,
a freezing of pensions, layoffs of police officers, higher bank taxes and
shorter university studies, among others.
The Finance Ministry is expected to present a concrete plan of action in January 2012, when a more precise forecast of the Czech Republic´s economic development will be made available.
A consortium of Czech, Chinese and US companies wants to produce a new type of plane in the Czech Republic, Miroslav Krizek of the government agency CzechInvest, told journalists on Monday. The deal, which should be sealed in the coming weeks, will be one of the biggest contracts the Czech aviation industry has had in years, he said. No further information was disclosed regarding the type of plane to be produced or what companies will be involved in its production. A significant part of the capital for the project is being put up by China.
The government’s legislative council has called for a detailed inventory of property to be returned to the country’s churches within the agreed on restitution process. The head of the legislative council Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake of Public Affairs said an inventory was essential in order to prevent future disputes over whether the restituted property had been in state ownership. She said further the cabinet should approve each and every restitution separately. The Catholic Church which is to regain the lion’s share of restituted property is concerned that such an inventory could seriously complicate and delay the restitution process. In filing for restitution churches have had to document past ownership of the property in question.
An army plane has left for Libya to secure the transport of five seriously injured Libyans to Czech hospitals for treatment. Two of them are in need of extensive plastic surgery, two are paralyzed from the waist down, and the last patient has a complicated fracture. They are to receive care within the government’s MEDEVAC programme originally set up to help children from war-torn countries or natural disaster victims.
Two patients were injured in a fire in an Ostrava hospital on Sunday. According to a spokeswoman the fire broke out in one of the hospital rooms and was most likely caused by a patient who disregarded a smoking ban and lit up in bed. The patient herself, aged 69, suffered severe burns. Her roommate is also reported injured. Twenty-two people were evacuated from the ward. The incident is being investigated.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Sunday the Czech Republic should pull its weight in helping to save the euro zone. Speaking in a televised debate, the Czech foreign minister said the Czech Republic could not afford to remain isolated in Europe and should seriously think about making a financial commitment towards restoring financial stability in the euro zone. The country’s contribution would be 90 billion crowns and as other EU members it would have to make a commitment within eight days. The Czech foreign minister said the matter should be put to the country’s parliament without delay.
The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who is in Prague for a three day visit, said at Charles University on Sunday that China could do much for the world but its growing economic power was undermined by mistrust and a lack of respect. Speaking at an academic debate on the subject of China and its human rights record, the Dalai Lama said that without freedom of speech and rule of law China would never gain the respect and international standing it craved. Chinese dissident Jian Tian Li said that the country’s economic successes were helping the communist leadership to maintain power and it had bribed the country’s intellectual elite with special privileges and high salaries in order to curb opposition.
The Green Party which was marginalized in the last general elections has approved new party statutes including a set quota for men and women on its list of candidates for next year’s regional and senate elections. The new rule stipulating that at least a third of candidates must be women, will also put a woman in the party’s top leadership, either in the top post or a deputy position. The party also agreed to elect an ombudsman who would referee and resolve internal party disputes.
One of the symbols of Christmas - the Bethlehem light –has arrived in the Czech Republic. The light is traditionally brought to the country from Vienna by Czech scouts and this year it was handed over to Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle at a special mass in Brno’s Cathedral of St. Peter and St Paul on Sunday. In the coming days it will be distributed all over the country for people to take home as a symbol of love and hope. Traditionally one of the sites in Prague where people will find the Bethlehem light is the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská street.