Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman says no decision has been taken
regarding whether to prosecute Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) over the
so-called Stork’s Nest case, regarding an alleged EU subsidy fraud a
On Monday, the news portal DeníkN reported that State attorney Jaroslav Šaroch had halted the prosecution against Mr Babiš and others. That was only an interim step that must be approved by higher authorities in order to come into force, Mr Zeman said.
As Supreme State Attorney, Mr Zeman has the right to invalidate the decision. He declined on Wednesday to say what the likely outcome would be but expressed regret that a preliminary decision had been made public.
European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen has offered the
Czech Republic’s Věra Jourová a portfolio focused on democracy issues,
Politico reported. The post would concern the rule of law and connected
issues, such as disinformation and hate speech, the news site said.
Ms. Jourová has hitherto been European commissioner for justice, gender equality and consumers. The Prague government has been hoping she receives an economic or trade portfolio during her second stint. Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) reiterated that preference on Wednesday in response to the article.
Politico said the offer on the table could be part of an effort by Ms. von der Leyen to reach out to Central European states, whose leaders have accused the outgoing commission of overly concentrating on the region with regard to rule of law probes.
The Criminal Code may be amended to prevent women prisoners who become
pregnant in jail from being automatically released to care for their
babies, as is now the case.
MPs from the ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš aim to change the law so that courts will decide on a case by case basis whether to release such inmates. They plan to submit the draft proposal to the lower house of Parliament in October.
The move comes in reaction to the recent case of one Petra Janáková, who was sentenced to prison for 30 years for shooting a man and attempting to murder three others.
The 29-year-old was released into civilian life for about 15 months in accordance with current law, which allows pregnant convicts to suspend their sentences until their child’s first birthday.
The Prison Service director said a special facility for pregnant inmates and mothers with children under one year could be established in Světlá nad Sázavou within months of a change in the law.
The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic, which has risen steadily
in recent months, has just passed the 34,000 crown mark, equivalent to
1,313 euros or 1,439 US dollars.
According to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ), that represents a 7.2 percent increase in annual terms. In real terms, the average monthly salary grew by 4.3 percent compared to the second quarter of 2018.
However, two-thirds of full-time employees make less than 34,000 crowns, and the median salary is just 29,127 crowns, an increase of 6.9 percent.
As for salaries in the capital, Prague, the average monthly salary reached of 42,297 crowns in the second quarter of this year.
The Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) plans to install a new
CCTV system at selected railway crossings in a bid to reduce traffic
fatalities. Drivers filmed making dangerous crossings will face fines, the
The move comes following a spate of lethal train accidents involving motorists this summer. More than 740 collisions and other extraordinary events were recorded on the Czech rail network from January through end July. Those crashes left 130 people dead.
Apart from looking to encourage responsible driving at railway crossings, plans are also afoot to install barriers at most of the country’s first-class roads by 2023.
This year’s edition of the Signal Festival, which features 18 artistic
light installations and video-mappings at indoor and outdoor locations in
Prague, will be held under the theme ‘Revolution’.
Like last year, the art will be displayed on three routes, namely in Karlín, Staré Město and Malá Strana. Half of the artists are Czech and half from various foreign countries.
A third of the works will be located in the so-called gallery zone, for example at the Museum of Music or the Ministry of Transport. The largest laser display, by Czech artist Jakub Pešek, will span from the Smetana Embankment across and across Střelecký Island.
Organisers say they except the four-day Signal Festival, which begins on 10 October, will draw some 600,000 spectators. The theme was chosen as part of celebrations ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
Robert Šlachta, one of the Czech Republic’s most prominent law
enforcement officials for nearly three decades, has resigned from office.
Mr Šlachta headed a specialised police unit combatting organised crime (ÚOOZ) before leading the investigative branch of the General Directorate of Customs for three years.
He resigned as head of that unit in June 2016 in protest at what he described as a politically motivated shake up aimed at curbing his force’s effectiveness by merging it with another anti-corruption one.
A General Directorate of Customs spokesperson said Mr Šlachta has declined to comment on his decision but that it was not linked to his service at the Directorate.
The world premiere of The Painted Bird by Czech director Václav Marhoul
received long ovations at the Venice International Film Festival, where it
is in the main competition, on Tuesday evening. The premiere was attended
by several of its stars, including Julian Sands, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo
Kier and Barry Pepper. Its Czech lead Petr Kotlár appeared on the red
carpet but did not watch the gruelling film in view of his young age.
While some critics reportedly walked out of a press screening, The Painted Bird has received positive reviews from such outlets as The Guardian and Variety.
The minister of justice, Marie Benešová, says she does not understand the
approach of the Prague state attorney’s office toward a case in which
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has been investigated over alleged abuse of EU
grants. In an interview for Denik N, Mrs. Benešová said the
prosecutors’ work was incomprehensible and sent a bad signal about the
state of the system of state attorneys.
On Monday it was reported that the Prague state attorney had halted the prosecution of Mr. Babiš, pending a review of the matter by his superiors.
The prime minister and a number of associates had been facing charges of misusing CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for small businesses in connection with Stork’s Nest, a hotel and conference centre near Prague.