The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the justice minister’s decision to sack Vlastimil Rampula from the post of Prague High State Attorney, invalidating a ruling by the Prague city court which reinstated him in office. The Supreme Administrative Court reviewed the case following a cassation complaint from Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil who sacked Rampula in July of last year for allegedly dragging his feet on corruption cases involving politicians. The case will now return to the Prague city court.
The lower house on Tuesday approved the government’s foreign missions plan for the next two years. The plan envisages a reduction of troops in Afghanistan and a gradual change of focus from military operations to training of local security forces. The Czech army will maintain 539 troops in Afghanistan next year and 340 in 2014. A maximum of ten soldiers will remain active in Kosovo within the KFOR mission and three soldiers will serve in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Around 40 soldiers will serve in NATO command structures around the world.
The lower house has voted to strip Public Affairs deputy Otto Chaloupka of parliamentary immunity opening the way for criminal prosecution. Deputy Chaloupka is suspected of having forced his assistant to surrender 20,000 crowns from his monthly paycheck to him every month. Chaloupka denies the charges.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has refused to extend the accreditation of three Russian tourist agencies citing low credibility. The names of the agencies have not been released. The ministry denies or fails to extend accreditation in cases where an agency does not fulfill the respective criteria or violates their conditions such as providing false information. There are currently 168 Russian travel agencies which arrange trips to the Czech Republic. Approximately 80 percent of Russian tourists visit this country within a package tour. The Czech consulate in Moscow issues around half a million visas a year.
Former environment minister Martin Bursík claims environment experts are leaving the ministry in droves and are being replaced by unqualified party officials. In an interview for Tuesday’s Mladá fronta Dnes daily, Mr. Bursík slammed the current environment minister Tomas Chalupa from the ruling Civic Democratic Party for allegedly driving away the core of professionals established over the years and replacing them with yes-men whose only qualification is party membership or membership in the Young Conservatives Association. Mr. Bursik claims minister Chalupa’s mission is to weaken the ministry while indirectly boosting the position of the industry and transport ministries in the government.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of a complaint lodged by photographer Jan Saudek against the Saudek.com company, represented by his son and former girlfriend, which claimed all rights to his work. The court ruled that the two agreements signed by Saudek in 2005, by which he allegedly relinquished all rights to his work were invalid and had never been legally binding.
The head of a primary school in Prague’s Jinonice district has been sacked after admitting he starred in a number of porn videos. Igor Krupka first denied the accusations but was forced to come clean when a tabloid produced ample evidence of his role in a porn movie that allegedly involved S&M scenes. Prague 5 councilors have also filed a criminal complaint against him on suspicion of involvement in child porn movies.
The population of the Czech Republic grew slightly in the first quarter of the year thanks to immigration. While fewer children were born than in the same period last year, more than 4000 people moved to the country. Most of the immigrants came from Slovakia, Russia, the USA and Ukraine. The country’s population now numbers roughly 10,507,000. The first quarter also saw a year on year decrease in mortalities, marriages, divorces and abortions.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed into law a bill that will end the monopoly of Czech Post for delivering letters and postcards as of 2017. The bill obliges Czech Post to continue all unprofitable operations for a five-year period after the liberalization and obliges all private postal services providers to pay into a fund that will cover Czech Post’s losses. This particular condition is to allay fears of the closing down of post offices in small towns and villages which would create major problems particularly for senior citizens.
Meteorologists have issued a warning of torrential rain in the eastern and southern parts of the country in the coming 24 hours which may lead springs and smaller rivers to break their banks. Some towns in the Sumava region of southern Bohemia are on flood alert and Moravia is expected to be hit by the belt of rain about twelve hours later. The torrential rain warning in Moravia ends on Thursday mid-day.