A court of arbitration has ordered the construction firm Metrostav to resume work on the controversial Blanka tunnel complex in Prague. In a preliminary ruling, the court dismissed claims raised by Prague City Hall that its contracts with Metrostav on the Blanka construction were invalid. The dispute between Prague and building firm ended at a court of arbitration after Metrostav halted work on the tunnel in December, a move provoked by the City Hall’s decision not to pay some 2.1 billion crowns it owed the company.
The head of the Dawn party, MP Tomio Okamura, on Friday visited Vlastimil
Pechanec who is serving a 17-year-jail term for a racially-motivated
of a Romany man. Mr Okamura said he wanted to hear Pechanec’ account of
the events; he said the 2003 trial against Pechanec had been manipulated,
and would like to have the case reopened. In a reaction, former state
attorney who oversaw the case, Renáta Vesecká said Mr Okamura’s claims
Vlastimil Pechanec was sentenced to 17 years in prison after he was found guilty of stabbing a Romany man to death at a disco in Svitavy in 2001. He later told the court he was a “supporter of the white race”, and wanted the country to be free of Roma and black people.
The Czech Olympic Committee has received a “terrorist threat” warning, advising the Czech sports team not to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics. A spokesman said the threat came by email on Thursday and the committee had informed the police. Other countries, including the US, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia, have received similar warnings. The International Olympic Committee has downplayed the security risk, noting that the messages seemed like the random act of an individual out to cause trouble.
President Miloš Zeman has nominated Stanislav Křeček to the post of Ombudsman, following the resignation of Pavel Varvařovský late last year. Mr. Křeček has served as deputy Ombudsman since April of last year. The president’s nomination will be considered by the Senate which can put forward two nominees of its own. The only other contestant for the post is Anna Šabatová, a human rights activist, who worked for the country’s first Ombudsman, the late Otakar Motejl.
Unconsolidated revenues of Agrofert Group, a Czech food, agriculture,
chemistry and media conglomerate, rose last year by 15 percent to a record
226 billion crowns, or around 11.2 billion US dollars, a spokesman for the
group told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The company’s gross profit
minus dividend yields decreased by 26 percent to 5.7 billion crowns. The
increase in revenues was mainly generated by newly acquired companies
including the German baking firm Lieken, the Mafra media group, and
according to the spokesman.
Agrofert Group is solely owned by ANO party leader and incoming finance minister Andrej Babiš who only recently quit as the corporation’s CEO.
The Czech Supreme Court on Friday cleared former Public Affairs MPs Vít Bárta and Jaroslav Škárka of corruption charges. Mr Bárta, former head of the Public Affairs party, was accused of bribing several MPs of his party to ensure their loyalty; Mr Škárka, meanwhile, was charged with accepting the bribe. A lower court in Prague originally handed the men suspended sentences, a verdict which was overturned by an appeals court. Justice Minister Marie Benešová then filed a complaint to the Supreme Court which however ruled no offence was committed, arguing the cash had been a loan rather than a bribe.
The Social Democrats are planning to finalize their ballot for European elections by February 8, party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said. The ballot will be headed by leftist sociologist and columnist Jan Keller. Social Democrat leaders said the Czech Republic should become a respected member of the EU, and improve the drawing on EU funds. Voting for the European Parliament is scheduled for May.
The Office for the Protection of Competition on Friday approved the takeover of 22 Tesco locations in north Moravia by the Czech retail chain Hruška. Tesco Stores ČR acquired the network in 2011 but decided to sell them earlier this year. The firm, which operates 230 stores, 19 gas stations and seven department stores in the country, posted a loss of more than a billion crowns in the past fiscal year. Hruška, meanwhile, runs one of the largest Czech retail networks, and reported a profit of 131 million crowns last year.
The Czech police have announced they are searching for two men who stole a shipment of 2,630 iPhones 5S 16 GB worth over 30 million crowns on the D2 motorway between Brno and the Slovak border. The robbery took place in mid-December, a police spokesman said. The robbers dressed up as police patrolmen and pulled over the van, carrying the phones destined for the Slovak market; they bound the crew, took the phones and drove off. The police are also searching for any witnesses who might have seen the robbery.
Filming of the Czech version of the British hit series The Office began in Brno on Friday. The country’s public broadcaster Czech TV bought the rights for the first six episodes that should be aired in the second half of the year. The series is being shot at an office centre in Brno, the seat of the fictional Paper and Print company. The start of the filming was planned for Thursday but was delayed to an injury of actor Václav Kopta who plays the main character, David Brent.