Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek joined world leaders in Jerusalem on Friday to pay their last respects to former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres. President Zeman, who did not attend the funeral, sent a message of condolences. People in the Czech Republic who wish to pay their last respects to the Israeli statesman and 1994 Nobel Peace Prize winner can do so at the Israeli Embassy in Prague on Wednesday October 5. Among the first to sign the condolence book at the embassy were the Speaker of the lower house Jan Hamáček, Culture Minister Daniel Herman and Deputy Foreign Minister Václav Kolaja.
The potential collapse of Deutsche Bank would not seriously threaten the Czech banking sector, the ctk news agency said on Friday, citing a number of financial experts. The health of the German lender came under scrutiny after the U.S. Justice Department suggested it pay 14 billion dollars to settle a number of investigations related to mortgage securities. It’s fall, should the German government refuse a bailout, would hit a number of European financial institutions, but according to analyst Lukas Kovanda of Roklen Group, Czech banks are stable enough to withstand the inevitable repercussions.
Addressing an international conference in Rhodes, President Miloš Zeman warned of the danger of Islamic radicalism, saying Islamic State was like a social cancer spreading from Iraq and Syria with the aim of destroying other civilizations. He compared it to Nazism which first set out to destroy the Jews, then the Slavs and then more and more nations. Mr. Zeman has come under fire for attending the Rhodes event annually held by Russian businessman and close friend of President Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Yakunin. The former Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, is also due to address the gathering.
Over 80 MEPs have signed an appeal for the European Commission to secure the removal of a pig farm at Lety, south Bohemia, built on the site of a former Romany concentration camp. In a letter to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, its signatories point out that the Czech Republic failed to resolve the shameful problem in three decades and action is long overdue. Several Czech governments pledged to remove the pig farm from Lety, but failed to find money for a buyout. The Sobotka government recently indicated it was close to finding a solution, but no details have been released on the progress made. Some 1,300 Czech Romanies passed through the Lety camp during WWII; over 300 of them died there, while another 500 were deported to Auschwitz.
The Czech-based computer anti-virus and security company Avast Software has acquired a majority stake in the Dutch rival firm AVG Technologies. According to Avast, the acquisition was completed on Friday and as of Monday, October 3, the two will operate as a single company. Avast bought AVG shares for nearly 32 billion crowns (some 1.3 billion dollars) with the aim of expanding its presence in emerging markets. The combined company now has over 400 million users.
The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint by fugitive businessman Frantisek Savov with regard to information that the Prague State Attorneys’ Office made available to the British judiciary in support of an extradition request. The request was granted earlier this year and the businessman claims that the office overstepped its powers in releasing certain papers to the British authorities. The judge ruled on Friday that his complaint was unsubstantiated. The 44-year-old businessman is wanted on suspicion of large-scale tax evasion and money laundering. Savov, who owns the Mladá Fronta publishing house and a series of publications including the business paper E15 and Euro magazine, has denied any wrongdoing.
If attacks against foreign nationals in Britain were to persist, and the Czech community and tourists from this country felt endangered, the Czech Republic would negotiate the possibility of having Czech police officers deployed in selected parts of the country, Police President Tomas Tuhy told Czech Radio on Friday. Police chief Tuhy, who said he had consulted the matter with the British police, said such an arrangement had been put into practice in Croatia and Bulgaria, at the height of the tourist season. Although Czech officers have no powers in a foreign country they can help resolve problems in cooperation with the local police and their presence is seen as reassuring. At present there are a number of Polish officers in Harlow, where a Polish national was killed.
A team of explorers has just confirmed that Hranice Abyss, located in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, is deepest underwater cave on the planet. A Czech-Polish expedition, led by the legendary Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski, descended deep into the flooded limestone abyss Hranicka Propast this week and found it to be far deeper than previously thought. The underwater cave is 404 meters deep, making it the deepest underwater cave in the world, 12 meters deeper than the previous record holder, 392-meter-deep Pozzo del Merro in Italy. News of the discovery appeared in the National Geographic which co-funded the expedition.
A court has sent former deputy labour minister Vladimír Šiška to six years in prison for abuse of office. Mr. Šiška was found guilty of signing a disadvantageous contract with the firm Fujitsu Technology on a system for the distribution of social welfare benefits. He failed to announce an open contest for the contract, incurring losses to the state of 282 million crowns. Former labour Minister Jaromír Drábek resigned over the scandal back in 2012.
A central register of misdemeanors is to be put into operation on October 1. According to Justice Minister Robert Pelikan, who made the announcement at a press briefing on Friday, the register should enable the authorities to take a tougher line with repeat-offenders, who could be given higher fines for misdemeanors like petty theft and disturbing the peace. The data is to be retained for a period of five years.