Czech Position launched in December 2010 with the lofty goal of becoming the world’s daily English-language source for Czech political, business and cultural news, by offering a mix of breaking news reports, feature articles, analysis and investigative reporting. Alas, all good things must come to an end.
Stripped of her immunity, Vlasta Parkanová (TOP 09) can now be prosecuted over a contract to buy CASA transport planes for the Czech Army — which were allegedly unneeded and deliberately overpriced by at least Kč 658 million. Former police investigator Zdeněk Ondráček explains how her prosecution could ultimately lead to higher levels of responsibility for the nation’s politicians.
A three-week-old baby girl who was kidnapped by an unidentified man in the Ústí nad Labem region last week has been found alive and well in Germany, the Czech police have said, declining to reveal further details until the state prosecutor’s office and officials in Dresden hold press conferences on Tuesday afternoon.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats, ODS) has said the Czech state has no money to buy a pig farm built over the site of a Czech-run camp where hundreds of Roma — mainly children — died from disease, hunger or abuse during the German occupation.
With the elections to the Czech upper house of Parliament only some five months away, political parties are trying to lure voters in with new faces. To its list of new heavyweights Senate hopefuls like the prominent sociologist Ivan Gabal and former Constitutional Court judge Eliška Wagnerová, the Green Party (SZ) has added a figure with star power: writer, journalist and former dissident Jáchym Topol.
Czech Minister for Regional Development Kamil Jankovský (LIDEM) has identified six operational programs that are “at risk” of having EU funding cut off — Transport, Environment, Research and Development, Enterprises and Innovation, Integration, and the North-West Regional Operational Program (ROP).
The Czech police have detained several officials working in the Northwest Regional Operational Programme (ROP) office that distributes EU subsidies; including a section and department head, who will likely be charged with abuse of office, local media reported Tuesday.
The opaque brokerage Key Investments — into which nearly Kč 1 billion of public funds has apparently been lost or embezzled — has filed for insolvency and will probably go into liquidation. This does not mean, however, that Key Investments will cease to be a threat to the myriad politicians who profited from deals with the brokerage over the past decade. The potential for blackmail and settling political scores is huge.
Civic Democrat (ODS) deputy chairman Pavel Blažek is set to be named the new justice minister on Tuesday, less than a week after fellow party member Jiří Pospíšil was unexpectedly sacked for alleged poor financial management.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek’s (TOP 09) tactical offensive to prevent fellow party member Vlasta Parkanová from being stripped of her immunity from prosecution will likely end in defeat. Not only would it go against TOP 09’s stated principles, the opposition is united in wanting the ex-defense minister to face charges over the purchase of CASA planes for the Czech Army. Parkanová also should rather seek clarity from the courts, writes commentator Petr Nováček.