The Chamber of Deputies has voted to exempt all majority state-owned enterprises from a requirement to make their deals public in a new registry of contracts. MPs from the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Communist Party and the Civic Democrats on Wednesday backed the extension of an exemption that was previously intended to apply only to the brewery Budějovický Budvar. The motion was carried by one vote. The creation of a registry of contracts was originally perceived as an anti-corruption measure.
The state attorney’s office has appealed against verdicts handed down in a case relating to the leak of information from the BIS security service. The state attorney says the suspended sentences handed to former chief prime ministerial aide Jana Nečasová, influential businessman Ivo Rittig and his lawyer David Michal last month were overly lenient. All three were found guilty of abusing classified BIS information. Jana Nečasová’s arrest in 2013 helped bring down the government of then prime minister Petr Nečas, whom she later married.
A newly released Amnesty International report on the state of human rights around the world says that anti-refugee and anti-migrant protests continued in the Czech Republic in the last year. Groups supporting refugees also faced threats from far-right groups, the survey says. At the same time, AI highlighted the Czech government’s adoption of measures to address European Commission concerns on discrimination against Roma children in education.
The Czech rock band Olympic have announced plans to mark 55 years of existence with a special concert at Prague’s O2 Arena on December 9. The group will be joined by a number of guests, including Marta Jandová the daughter of leader Petr Janda. Olympic – whose first LP Želva came out in 1968 – celebrated their 50th anniversary at the O2 Arena with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra five years ago.
Protecting rights of Czech citizens in Great Britain and maintaining existing economic ties and export opportunities are among the Czech Republic’s priorities in negotiations on UK’s exit from the EU. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and representatives of all parliamentary parties agreed on the priorities during a meeting on Wednesday. The statement from the meeting will be attached to the Czech government’s mandate for negotiations on Brexit.
The lower house has postponed the vote on a controversial bill on care for the country’s national parks. The Senate-proposed bill includes changes predominantly backing the interests of villages located inside nature reserves, plans for local development and the tourist industry. Some of the country’s leading academics and four former environment ministers have protested against the amendment arguing that the proposed changes would severely restrict possibilities for environmental protection and would have far-reaching consequences for the country’s national parks. Their view has been supported by more than 47,000 people, who signed a petition against the Senate-proposed amendment. President Miloš Zeman visited the lower house on Tuesday to speak in support of the Senate-proposed bill. He warned against “green fanaticism”, arguing that increasing the number of non-intervention zones in the Šumava national park will lead to its further devastation. Mr Zeman has previously said that if the lower house doesn’t approved the changes proposed by the Senate, he will veto the bill.
The presence of dangerous radioactive particles, which have been detected in several countries across Europe earlier this year, has been confirmed also in the Czech Republic. Traces of Iodine-131 were first detected by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and later confirmed by other six states, including Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. According to experts, the particles appear to be emanating from Eastern Europe, but they have not been able to say what exactly produced them. Authorities have not raised any health alarm after detecting the particles, claiming that the risk is very low.
Prague Institute of Planning and Development will continue to place chairs
and tables around the city to improve the quality of Prague’s public
spaces. The project was approved on Tuesday by the councillors at Prague
City Hall. At the moment, there are 430 chairs and 90 tables situated in
various squares and parks around Prague. According to the analysis carried
out by the Institute of Planning and Development, around 220,000 people
used the urban furniture in 2016. In the future, the institute plans to add
more municipal furnishing, such as portable bike stands and grills.
Average price of auction item rose to 57,000 crowns in 2016 The average auction price of an item at Czech auctions increased to 57.000 crowns (over 2,000 euros) last year, the art investment website artplus.cz informed on Tuesday. The price rise was fuelled by an overall surge in sales at Czech auctions, which exceeded one billion crowns for the first time in history. The overall turnover at Czech auctions in 2016 increased by over 30 percent on the previous year to more than 1.25 billion crowns.
Melting snow and heavy rainfall have raised water levels on rivers in some parts of the Czech Republic. The worst affected areas are in the regions of Liberec and Děčín in the north of the country, where the highest level flood alerts have been declared. Authorities have also issued flood warnings in the Pilsen and South Bohemian regions. Meanwhile, meteorologists expect more rain and strong winds in the days to come.