Three former Civic Democrat MPs have made a claim for compensation after being held in custody in connection with alleged bribe-taking but released without charge. Then party rebels Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr and Ivan Fuksa were last year accused of taking bribes in the form of lucrative posts at semi-state companies in exchange for preventing the fall of the government. However, the case was thrown out on the grounds they were covered by parliamentary immunity. Their compensation claims over the destruction of their political careers was revealed by a Ministry of Justice representative. He would not say how much the three were demanding, but there have been reports that they want CZK 4 million each. Their arrests were part of a scandal that brought down the centre-right government of Civic Democrat PM Petr Nečas.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, will make a state visit to China in the autumn in connection with the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between the two countries, the newspaper Hospodářské noviny reported on Tuesday. Mr. Zeman is expected to meet the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. It will be the first visit by a Czech president since Václav Klaus accepted an invitation to the communist state in 2004. Mr. Zeman, like his immediate predecessor, is expected to focus on boosting Czech export opportunities and to steer clear of the issue of human rights.
A number of deputies in the planned government of the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats have not yet signed a coalition agreement between the three, the Czech News Agency reported. The plan was to have the deal signed by all 111 MPs by Tuesday. However, some Social Democrats and Christian Democrats are said to have not added their signatures to the document. There have been reports that a number of deputies are reluctant to sign the part of the coalition agreement touching on the division of cabinet seats.
The Czech Foreign Ministry is to set up a consular office in the Russian city of Sochi for next month’s Winter Olympics. Around 2,000 Czech sports fans are expected to visit Sochi during the event, a Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday. They have been advised to follow instructions from organisers and police officers and warned not to get into altercations with the security forces or take photographs of strategic or military buildings.
Czech journalist, commentator and writer Milan Schulz, who for a quarter of a century broadcast on Radio Free Europe, has died at the age of 83. Mr. Schulz passed away in Munich, where he had remained after the US-funded station moved to Prague in the mid-1990s. Prior to leaving Czechoslovakia in 1969 he wrote for various newspapers and literary journals, as well as working with the popular Semafor theatre.
Restorers were on Tuesday due to remove the remaining statues on a Marian plague column on the main square in the Prague Castle complex. Three other statues were taken down at the start of the month. The decorations and the entire column, which is protected, are in a poor state and need to be repaired. The main work is scheduled to get underway this year with the monument expected to be returned to its former glory in 2016.
Brno’s main train station is set to play host to a local experimental theatre between the start of next month and the end of March. The D'Epog company will make use of a restaurant in the railway station that has been shut down for a number of performances of two plays. The unlikely residency came about when the developers which administers the station gave the drama group permission to use the space.
Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old, who is seeded seventh, overcame third seed David Ferrer of Spain 6-1 6-4 2-6 6-2 to book a place in the last four in Melbourne against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. The last Czech to reach the semis in the first Grand Slam of the season was Jiří Novák in 2002.
Sparta Prague are in negotiations to sign former player Radoslav Kováč next summer, a club official confirmed on Tuesday. The central defender and defensive midfielder, who has also had spells at Spartak Moscow and West Ham, is currently at Slovan Liberec but will be out of contract at the end of the season. Kováč, who is 34, has 30 caps with the Czech national side.
The Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute has issued a black ice alert for the entire Czech Republic until Wednesday morning at the soonest. The majority of regions were reporting icy roads by Tuesday lunchtime. Snow has been falling around the country and blankets of snow of between 1 and 5 centimetres are predicted by Wednesday morning. Motorists and pedestrians have been told to expect further black ice in the coming days.