Three men of Vietnamese origin received sentences between 9 to 10 years in
jail from a court in Plzeň on Wednesday, the news site Novinky reports.
Court spokeswoman Lucie Jíchová told Novinky that they were part of an
organised crime group which, posing as a company called Alchema 3000, sold
chemicals to methamphetamine produces across the country.
The three men, who were arrested in 2017, appealed the decision on the spot. They claim that they were merely company employees selling legal chemicals and that it was not their problem whose hands they ended up in.
Justice minster Marie Benešová met with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on
Wednesday to discuss the legal means through which the victims of the
H-System housing scheme would have a chance for compensation. Speaking
after the meeting she told journalists that no legal means through which to
solve the problem were found. Instead she recommended that a special
government measure could be another way of dealing with the issue.
The H-System project was founded in the 1990s. Back then, it promised to build cheap housing for its clients. However, it turned out to be a fraud, which only left only dozens of half-built up properties.
The victims of the scheme have since been trying to get compensation, but the minister warned that if their demands were met through the justice system it would open the floodgates to many others receiving compensation money for the many cases of fraud committed during what some call the era of “wild capitalism“.
The prime minister is set to meet with the legal representative of some of the H-System clients, Hana Kordová Marvanová on Friday.
The former Social Democrat deputy chair Lubomír Zaorálek is the new
nominee of the Social Democratic Party for minister of culture, Social
Democrat leader Jan Hamáček announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said he has no problem with the choice.
According to the Czech News Agency, Castle spokesman Jiří Ovčáček says
that President Miloš Zeman agrees with the selection.
The president's office is currently identifying a suitable date for a meeting between Miloš Zeman and Mr. Zaoralek, after which the former will name him minister of culture.
On the occasion of the 30-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which
led to the fall of communism in November 1989, the Czech Senate will hold
three conferences, the speaker of the upper house Jaroslav Kubera told
journalists on Wednesday.
These will not only focus on the Velvet Revolution, but two further events that took place during the last two months of 1989 – the canonisation of St. Agnes of Bohemia and the reestablishment of the Czech Scouts movement. According to Senate Speaker Kubera the reason behind organising the three conferences is the current relativizing of the values and heritage of November 17, 1989 and the Senate’s role as a guarantor of the constitutional order.
Following a largescale operation in close to 60 sites across the Czech
Republic on Tuesday, the police have now charged 23 suspects with tax
evasion and organised crime, the Czech News Agency reports. All except two
of the suspects are currently being held in custody.
Members of the elite National Centre for Combating Organised Crime cooperated with the Czech Customs Administration and ordinary police units in the crackdown, which is connected to suspicions of tax dodging worth hundreds of millions of crowns.
The suspects could face more than 10 years in jail if their connection to organised crime is confirmed.
New research by scientists from the Water, Soil and Landscape Centre at the
Czech University of Life Sciences suggests that another long-term spell of
drought would result in an CZK 80 billion contraction of the Czech economy.
Aside from financial effects, drought would also have an impact on
population health and the environment. At a press conference on Wednesday
the team suggested spending CZK 25 billion annually on preventative
Researchers presented two scenarios of how the economy could be impacted by further droughts.
One scenario envisions a 25 percent decrease in the productivity of industries, such as textile or paper production, which are dependent on water supplies. In this case the economy would face a production capability decline between 0.9 to 1.6 percent of GDP.
The second scenario, counts on a 50 percent decrease that would cut production down by 2.8 to 4.8 percent of GDP.
The Czech Ministry of Defence will receive an extra 1.2 billion in
government funding next year, bringing its 2020 budget to CZK 75.5 billion.
The further budget increase, was announced at a press conference by Defence
Minister Lubomír Metnar after he met with Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová on Wednesday morning. Mr. Metnar says the money will be spent
With this extra boost, the ministry, which is currently running a modernisation programme within the Czech armed forces, will receive CZK 8.8 billion more in funding next year compared to its current budget.
The country has previously pledged to reach the NATO member states defence spending target of 2 percent by 2024. Currently, military spending amounts to just 1.2 percent of GDP.
Events are being held in the Czech Republic marking the anniversary of
August 21 in both 1968 and 1969. Czechoslovakia was invaded by Soviet-led
troops on that date in 1968, while the following year a number of
participants in demonstrations on the first anniversary were killed in
clashes with Czechoslovak security forces.
The main memorial event on Wednesday will take place in front of Czech Radio, which was a focal point of defiance and violence in August 1968. Senior elected representatives and people who lived through that time are expected to attend.
The events of August 1969 are to be marked by a march from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle organised by the group Million Moments for Democracy.
Dozens of other memorial events are also being held around the Czech Republic.
Slavia Prague have put themselves in a good position to reach the Champions League group stage after beating Romanian side Cluj 1:0 away in the first leg of their final qualifying round tie. The Czech side’s goal came from Lukáš Masopust in the first half, while in the second goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář saved a penalty and the hosts hit the woodwork. The second leg takes place in Prague next Wednesday.