A constitutional amendment which takes effect on Saturday strips Czech lawmakers of life-long immunity from prosecution. The legislation was passed earlier this year, after numerous failed attempts in the past. The authorities are now only allowed to prosecute MPs and senators provided an approval of the respective chamber of Parliament. However, if the lower house or Senate vote against the prosecution of their members, they can be prosecuted after their mandate expires.
Sony Music will close its Czech subsidiary, Sony Music Entertainment Czech Republic, in the coming weeks, after 23 years on the market, the news website borovan.cz reported. No official reason has been released but it has been speculated the Czech market was too small for the firm to maintain a branch. The move comes at a time when Sony Music closes down its Budapest branch as well which managed the offices in Prague. Sony Music had some 20 percent share of the Czech market, and represented some best selling artists such as Daft Punk, Depeche Mode and the popular Czech singer songwriter Tomáš Klus.
A species of north American insect, known as azalea sawfly, has been registered in the Czech Republic, possibly the first country in Europe, the State Phytosanitary Administration said. The authorities warned growers of azaleas of the insect which can cause serious damages to the plants’ leaves, and asked them to report any occurrences of the sawfly.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová lost to Jamie Hampton from the US 1-6, 6-7 in the third round of the French Open on Saturday, and has been knocked out of the tournament. The US player stunned the seventh seeded Czech who made a number of errors and didn’t really get into the game. Kvitová was the last Czech player left in this year’s singles at the French Open.
Viktoria Plzeň beat Hradec Králové 3:0 in the final round of the Czech Gambrinus liga to claim the league title. The game was decided by Plzeň’s early goals which in the 1st and 10th minute, and another one three minutes into the second half. Sparta Prague beat Dukla 3:0 to finish in second place, two points behind the champions. Last season’s winners Liberec came in third. Plzeň, which won the league for the second time in two three, have secured a spot in the Champions League’s second qualifying round next season.
The Czech Finance Ministry will temporarily ease austerity measures; instead, it will use government spending to stimulate economic growth, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday quoting the ministry’s fiscal outlook. The ministry expects this year’s deficit of Czech public finances to drop to 2.8 percent of GDP from 4.4 percent in 2012; in the following years, the deficit should remain at similar levels. The ministry therefore believes it will be able to use government spending to stimulate economic growth. According to the latest predictions, the Czech economy should stagnate this year, and grown by around 1.2 percent of GDP in 2014.
The organized crime unit of the Czech police on Friday raided the national stud farm Kladruby nad Labem, a subsidiary of the Agriculture Ministry, a police spokesman said. The raid is part of a large-scale operation in a number of places in eastern Bohemia and the capital. The police have not disclosed any further details, and said a report would be released next week. Some reports suggest the police operation is related to the distribution of EU’s cohesion funds in eastern Bohemia.
President Miloš Zeman wants to meet with Prime Minister Petr Nečas in the coming days to settle an ongoing dispute over ambassadorial appointments, the president told reporters on Friday. President Zeman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg have failed to reach agreement on appointing some Czech ambassadors. Mr Schwarzenberg refused to accept the president’s nominations for several Czech embassies until the president approves his own candidates. On Thursday, the foreign minister said he would bypass Mr Zeman by filling vacancies at embassies with envoys in lower diplomatic ranks.
The Czech Republic fell for the fourth time in a row in the competitiveness chart of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), this time by two notches to 35th spot. The US topped the chart of 60 countries this year, followed by Switzerland and Hong Kong. Among the EU countries that joined the bloc in 2004, the Czech Republic placed 3rd behind Lithuania, in 31st spot, and Poland which ranked 33rd.
A new survey by the ppm factum agency, released on Friday, failed to confirm rising support for the senior coalition Civic Democrats. The Social Democrats came out as the most popular party in the poll, with 24.9 percent of voter support, followed by the coalition TOP 09 group with 16.2 percent. The Civic Democrats rank third with 14.5 percent. Another poll conducted by the STEM agency earlier this month suggested the Civic Democrats had edged TOP 09 to rank second among the most popular parties.