MEP Vladimír Remek is set to resign as member of the European Parliament in mid-December to become the Czech ambassador to Russia in the following month, Mr Remek’s aide told the news agency ČTK on Thursday. Russia approved Vladimír Remek’s appointment in October, and Czech President Miloš Zeman signed his credentials earlier this month. Mr Remek was President Zeman’s choice as the Czech ambassador to Russia; his nomination sparked a conflict with then foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Vladimír Remek became the first Czech astronaut in 1978 when he took part in a Soviet-led Interkosmos programme.
Prague’s court of appeals on Thursday lowered the sentence for Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř by six months to 10.5 years in prison. The court however also issued a fine of three million crowns for Mr Krejčíř; if he fails to pay it, he will face another year and a half in jail. Radovan Krejčíř was last year sentenced in absentia to 11 years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. The Czech businessman fled the country in 2007, and has since settled in South Africa where he was arrested last week on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.
The head of the ANO party in the Vysočina region, Jan Sobotka, will not become member of Parliament as a replacement for an ANO MP who stepped down. Mr Sobotka told reporters on Thursday he would reject the seat in the lower house over a failure to file his tax returns, and a debt in his health insurance payments. Mr Sobotka was to replace another party official elected on the ANO ballot in the region who had resigned over his past as a member of the former communist military counter-intelligence. The chairman of the ANO deputies’ group in the lower house said they would thoroughly screen the next person on the ballot who’ll replace Mr Sobotka.
The proportion of Czech households online has exceeded two thirds for the first time, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office. Some 68 percent of Czech households have computers, up by 1 percent compared to last year; 67 percent of households, meanwhile, are also connected to the internet with is two percent more than in 2012. Nearly all online households use high-speed internet, the statisticians said.
The former mayor of the east Bohemian town Náchod, Oldřich Čtvretčka, has been cleared of charges of abuse of office related to the 2009 privatization of a local brewery. A court in Hradec Králové on Thursday overturned a previous verdict which in 2010 banned Mr Čtvrtečka from holing public offices for a period of six years. The town’s former mayor was charged in connection with the fact that during his term, the town sold the brewery for 150 million crowns although another bidder offered 35 million more. But on Thursday, the court said the alleged offence was not a crime.
The police have arrested three members of a gang suspected of 30 robberies of company headquarters across the country. The men, aged 34, 36 and 37, allegedly stole computers, cash and other valuables, causing damages of around 1.5 million crowns, a police spokeswoman said. The three men have been placed in police custody and face up to eight years in jail.
Czech model Eva Klímková has won the Elite Model Look 2013 competition, held in Shenzhen, China. The 16-year-old secondary school student from Prague, who said she was inspired by Czech top models such as Karolína Kurková and Eva Herzigová, won the competition of models from over 50 other countries, the organizers said. The winner and two runners up will receive contracts from Elite, the world’s biggest modelling agency.
Viktoria Plzeň lost to Manchester City 4:2 in their fifth appearance in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday nigh. The hosts Manchester City went ahead twice but Plzeň managed to equalize each time; however, the English side prevailed with some 15 minutes to go, adding two more goals. After five defeats, Plzeň are ranked fourth in the group with zero points but still have a chance of finishing third to advance to Europa League; to do that, they need to beat CSKA Moscow by at least three-goal difference in their final Champions League match in December.
Czech biathlonist Gabriela Soukalová won a 15-km World Cup race in Östersund, Sweden, on Thursday. The 24-year-old athlete only missed two shots and sank to fourth position; she was second after the last shooting but outran the leading racer, Slovakia’s Anastasia Kuzmoniová, finishing first in 47 minutes and 56 seconds. It was the second win for Gabriela Soukalová in Östersund where she also won gold as part of the Czech mixed relay team.
The Social Democratic MP Jan Hamáček was elected to the post of chairman of the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. Mr. Hamáček ran for the position unopposed, receiving 195 of the 198 votes. The likely future coalition government partners – Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats – had agreed on supporting his candidacy beforehand. Deputy clubs of the TOP 09 and the Civic Democratic parties openly voiced their support for Mr. Hamáček. MPs also elected three deputy chairpersons in the first round of voting on Wednesday – Jaroslava Jermanová of ANO, the chairman of the Christian Democratic Party Pavel Bělobrádek and the chairman of the Communist Party, Vojtěch Filip. Neither the chairman of the Dawn of Direct Democracy party, Tomio Okamura, and Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09, received enough votes in the second round. The selection of the fourth deputy chairperson has thus been postponed until next Wednesday.