Justice Minister Pavel Blažek said on Friday he would not appoint Lenka Bradáčová chief Prague prosecutor. Ms Bradáčová, who oversaw the corruption case of former prominent Social Democrat politician David Rath, is considered a champion of anti-corruption efforts in the Czech judiciary. Mr Blažek’s predecessor, Jiří Pospíšil, who was dismissed last month, was going to appoint Ms Bradáčová to the post, and some observers noted his dismissal was a move to prevent getting Ms Bardáčová appointed to the post. Justice Minister Pavel Blažek said he will fill the position of chief Prague prosecutor in a regular competition.
The Czech Senate on Friday rejected a bill aimed at promoting foster care and reducing the number of children in institutional care. The draft legislation, prepared by the government, would professionalize foster parenting and increase foster parents’ salaries. However, some senators warned the bill could destroy the current system of institutional care and commercialize foster parenting. The bill will in September return to the Lower House which can overturn the Senate veto.
During his visit to the Temelín nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia on Friday, President Václav Klaus said the plant’s expansion was a “rational move”. Mr Klaus also dismissed objections to the planned construction of two new blocks at Temelín, and said all Czechs should appreciate that the plant was an extraordinary achievement of the country’s industry. After visiting the plant, the president praised the state-owned energy firm ČEZ for the preparation of the expansion, and said the company has to make sure the project does not exceed the costs of 300 billion crowns.
The US military has offered assistance in modernizing Czech army helicopters to be used in NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the Czech Defence Ministry said on Friday. The US offered to equip between six and eight Russian-made Mi-171Sh helicopters with modern technology and train their crews; the helicopters should serve to deploy Czech troops in special forces operations in Afghanistan. The modernization and training programme will finalize by 2016.
The prestigious Aspen Institute, an international non-profit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue, has opened a branch in Prague. The opening ceremony on Thursday was attended by the Czech-born former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright and the former Czech ambassador to the US Michael Žantovský, who has been named president of Aspen Prague. Radek Špicar, director of the Aspen Prague, said the organization would educate leading experts in business, politics, science and culture from around central Europe. The Prague branch of the institute will be active not just in the Czech Republic but also in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Direct foreign investment in the Czech Republic reached 26.3 billion crowns in the first quarter of this year which represents an annual growth of 51 percent, according to data by the Ministry of Industry and Trade released on Friday. The bulk of investments came in the form of reinvested profits, the ministry said. Czech firms’ investments abroad amounted to nearly nine billion crowns in the first three months of 2012, which was 39 percent more than in the same period last year.
The Czech crown weakened to US dollar on Friday when it sold over 21 crowns per dollar, hitting a two year low against the US currency. The crown also fell to the single European currency, selling at over 25 crowns per euro on Friday. Analysts said the fall was triggered by gloomy news from the eurozone, particularly from Spain. In its long-term prognosis released on Friday, the Czech Finance Ministry expects the average crown to euro exchange rate to weaken to 25.30 crowns per euro this year while in the coming years, the crown should gain 1.2 percent against the euro.
Archaeologists in the eastern town of Přerov have discovered what they believe are the foundations of a 17th century school, once run by the protestant philosopher and educator Comenius. The head of the archaeological research at the site, Zdeněk Schenk, told the news agency ČTK on Friday that two rooms had been discovered so far including one with an original floor. According to historical sources, Comenius first attended the school as a pupil before returning to teach there between 1614 and 1618.
Four people suffered injuries in accidents which occurred on four railway crossings in different parts of the country on Friday morning. Near Louny, in northern Bohemia, a Prague-bound express train hit a car whose driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Another accident took place near Hodonín in southern Moravia while two people were wounded after their car was hit by a cargo train near Semily, in the north of the country.
Czech football clubs Viktoria Plzeň and FK Mladá Boleslav won the first leg of the Europa League’s second qualification round. Plzeň beat Metalurg Rustavi 3:1 in Georgia on Thursday while Mladá Boleslav defeated Iceland’s Thor Akureyri 3:0. The second leg fixtures are scheduled for next week. Meanwhile, Czech football champions Liberec beat Shakhter Karagandy 1:0 in the Champions League’s second qualification round on Wednesday; Friday’s draw in Nyon determined that if Liberec advance, they will face Romania’s FC Cluj in the third qualification round.