Former lobbyist Marek Dalík is to report to Prague’s Ruzyně prison by September 1 to begin serving his four-year sentence for corruption, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. Dalík, who was a close associate of former prime minister Mirek Topolánek in the second half of the last decade, was found guilty of corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. Dalík’s defence lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek are scheduled to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Czech president Miloš Zeman and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The information was confirmed on Wednesday by president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček. The meeting will also be attended by Czech ambassador to Germany. Among the main topics on their agenda should be migration crisis and the impact of Brexit on the EU. Mrs Merkel, who will arrive in Prague for a one-day official visit, is also scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and pay a visit to the Czech Technical University.
A district court in Prague ruled on Wednesday that the activists who last year hoisted a giant pair of red underpants over Prague Castle in protest at the policies of President Miloš Zeman had not committed a criminal act. The three members of the Ztohoven guerrilla art group faced jail sentences of up to three years on charges of theft, disorderly conduct and damage to property. The court advanced the matter to the district authority of Prague 1, which is to decide if the act should be treated as a misdemeanour. The group replaced the presidential banner with a pair of underpants in a stunt in September last year. They later announced that they cut up the standard into 1152 pieces and gave it to people across the Czech Republic.
The government on Wednesday approved a hike in the salaries of teachers and other school staff, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka informed on his Twitter account. The teachers will get an eight-percent pay rise, while other school staff will have their wages raised by five percent. According to the newly approved regulation, young teachers can expect their first salary hike after two years of teaching instead of the current six years.
A court in Olomouc on Wednesday ruled that Bouzov castle in Moravia will remain in state ownership. The judge rejected the claim of a German Catholic Order against the Czech National Heritage Institute, which refused to hand the castle over within the church restitution process back in 2014. The court upheld the stand of the Heritage Institute which argued that the restitution law did not apply to that particular property. Bouzov Castle was confiscated under the post-war Benes Decrees, i.e. before the 1948-1989 communist period to which the church restitution law applies.
Several dozen people gathered outside the Chinese embassy in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the persecutions of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The demonstrators, accompanied by a brass band, are set to march from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle. According to the organizers of the rally, over 3,600 Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured to death and around 100,000 followers have been detained by the Chinese authorities. Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy.
Vladimír Eisenbruk will be appointed a Czech ambassador to Cuba, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed on Wednesday. Mr Eisenbruk, who previously served as an ambassador in Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, will be the first Czech ambassador to the country after 27 years. Until now, both the Czech Republic and Cuba have been represented in the other country by a charge d'affaires. According to the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman Irena Valentová, Cuba’s agreement shows a shift in the countries’ mutual dialogue as well as new dynamics in the bilateral relations.
A Czech plane with over 150 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing at an airport in Lyon, France on Tuesday night over a suspected fuel leak. The plane, operated by the Czech charter company Travel Service, was on its way from Malaga in Spain to Prague. According to the company’s spokeswoman, the safety of the passengers and crew was not in danger. The company has already dispatched a replacement plane to pick up the stranded passengers.
Czech hockey player Jiří Hudler has reportedly signed a one year deal with the Dallas Stars, the hockey news site Today’s Slapshot reported on Wednesday, adding that the deal is worth $2 million. The 32-year-old forward finished last season with 10 goals and 35 points in an abbreviated 53-game season with Calgary and 6 goals and 11 points with Florida following the trade deadline.
Some 109 children in the Czech Republic died as a result of injuries in 2015, while 330,000 children had injuries examined by doctors, according to the minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček. In 2010,168 children died from injuries. Traffic accidents were the major cause of death among children and the number of serious injuries on trampolines increased on previous years.