The corruption case against three former Civic Democratic MPs will most likely be dropped, the Olomouc High State Prosecutor Ivo Ištvan said on the Sunday Czech TV talk show. The three former Civic Democrat deputies faced bribery charges for allegedly having agreed to quit their seats in the lower house in return for posts in state-run companies. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that their actions were covered by their parliamentary immunity, which is why, according to Mr. Ištvan, state prosecution will not be able to continue with the same case.
In an effort to garner support for the caretaker government of Jiří Rusnok, President Miloš Zeman has begun meeting with representatives of parties in the lower house of parliament. On Sunday before noon, the president met with Kateřina Klasnová, the head of the Public Affairs party deputies’ group, to discuss their possible support of the current government in a confidence vote. Afterwards the president will meet with Prime Minister Rusnok and is planning on meeting with leaders of the other parties during the next week. Mr. Rusnok will need to get the support of the majority of the MPs present at the confidence vote in the lower house. So far, former coalition partners - the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party – said that they will not support the caretaker government. The Social Democrats, who have the large number of deputies, have not definitively announced their preference.
Meteorologists have issued wildfire warnings for the whole of the country, except for mountainous areas, due to the dry and hot weather conditions. The past week has been the driest one in the Czech Republic in the past 60 years, according to meteorologists. According to a monthly forecast released by the Czech Hydrometeorological Office, the rest of July will also see very warm weather and very little precipitation. It is expected that 1-28 July of this year will be a four-week period with possible the least amount of rainfall since 1951.
Friday saw the most fatalities on Czech roads for a single day this whole year. According to a police report on Sunday, six people died in car accidents on Friday, and at least six more people over the weekend, although that number may rise by the end of Sunday. It may turn out to be the most tragic weekend on Czech roads since the beginning of the year.
A group of students from an Ostrava high school represented the Czech Republic at the Young Enterprise Europe competition in London this week with their BeerBox vending machine. The student company Frex won in the Czech Republic’s nation-wide Junior Achievement - Young Enterprise competition earlier this year with the first automatic machine selling beer on tap. Working with the standard idea of a soft-drinks or instant coffee vending machines, the students worked out the technical parameters and a prototype of a two-meter tall box that fits two 50-liter kegs of beer or a soft drink and technology that can fill a half-liter cup in less than a minute. Although Frex did not win one of the top three prizes at the European competition, the students, who will be entering their last year of high school in September, plan to continue with their venture and offer the BeerBox to musical festivals and other places.
The renowned Canadian singer song-writer Leonard Cohen will be performing on Sunday night at the O2 arena in Prague. The concert is part of the singer’s Old Ideas World Tour, which is meant to promote the Old Ideas album Cohen released last year. The last time Leonard Cohen performed in Prague was four years ago.
Transportation Minister Zdeněk Žák has threatened OHL ŽS, the company responsible for the reconstruction of the major D1 motorway, that he will withdraw from their contract if the company does not renew construction work as soon as possible. OHL ŽS halted demolition and reconstruction work last week, saying that the longest motorway in the country is in much worse shape than they expected, and asked the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate to cover additional costs. Minister Žák urged both sides to come to a sensible decision soon and renew the work. The major construction and road expansion project began two months ago and is meant to be completed in around six years.
Moody’s Investors Service rating agency has renewed the Czech Republic’s A1 rating on Friday. The agency gave the country a stable economic outlook thanks to the significant stabilization of the tax system and the limited negative effects of the debt crisis of the Eurozone on the country’s economy. The Czech Republic has held the A1 rating from Moody’s since 2002. According to the agency, Prague has proven that it is determined to take drastic measures in order to lower the deficit, which has been a key factor in maintaining trust in its fiscal policies and creating financing reserves before the recent change of cabinet.
The police will question the current Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek, a former defense minister Alexander Vondra and the acting chairman of the Civic Democratic party Martin Kuba, in connection with cases involving former chief-of-staff of the prime minister’s office Jana Nagyová. The current and former defense ministers will be question in connection to Mrs. Nagyová allegedly ordering the military intelligence service to follow then prime minister Petr Nečas’ wife. Mr. Kuba will be questioned in connection to alleged bribes that were offered to former Civic Democratic MPs last year by member of the cabinet. Mrs. Nagyová, who is at the center of the multi-case scandal that brought down Mr. Nečas’s government last month, was released from jail on Friday after a month in police custody.
Around 70 right-wing extremists attended a protest on Saturday in the Moravian town of Svitavy in support of the jailed skinhead Vlastimil Pechanec, who is serving a 17-year sentence for a racially motivated murder in 2001. Similar protests have been held in Svitavy for the past eight years, though this year the attendance is lower than in the past. Last year, some 130 people attended.
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