Daily news summary
Foreign Ministry summoned Russian ambassador over Prague flats
The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks over the news that apartments for Russian diplomats are reportedly being rented to third parties in Prague.
The ambassador was summoned following reports in the Czech media that thousands of apartments intended for diplomatic personnel were being leased to third party tenants, which is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously said that the reports were based on local sources that “distort the truth.”
Two dead after helicopter crash in Náchod area
A helicopter crash near the town of Slavoňov in the north east of the country claimed two lives on Friday morning. According to the regional police spokesman Ondřej Moravčík, the police are now investigating the helicopter’s flying route and other details. The village mayor, Michal Suchánek, says that the helicopter circled high above before plunging down from the sky straight into the field.
The company which owns the helicopter, told the news server Novinky.cz that the machine was on a training flight.
Head of Czech Catholic Church expresses ‘regret and shock’ over cases of sexual abuse
Cardinal and Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka has expressed regret in connection with claims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of České Budějovice. An investigative report conducted by journalists from the online television Seznam TV brought interviews with women claiming to have been sexually abused by church officials and presented evidence that bishops in the diocese remained inactive despite being aware of the crimes.
Cardinal Duka released a statement on the church’s website expressing regret and shock over the cases of sexual abuse, which take place here and across the world. The Cardinal went on to say that he is aware of the overly long judicial processes on the state and church level and that it is necessary to work on a substantial change.
In their report, Seznam journalists found evidence that the testimony of one victim being repeatedly raped by a priest from the Diocese of České Budějovice started being investigated in 2009, but only achieved progress last year once it was brought up to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Pope Francis receives Czech Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Vondráček in the Vatican
Pope Francis received the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Radek Vondráček in the Vatican on Friday. Mr. Vondráček travelled to the Vatican together with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Danko on the anniversary of the death of St. Cyril, one of the two missionaries that brought Christianity to the Slavs. The Pope and Mr. Vondráček discussed a treaty between the Czech Republic and the Vatican, which, among other things, sets out the position of the Catholic Church within the Czech Republic.
Mr. Vondráček also took the opportunity to invite the head of the Catholic Church to visit the Czech Republic.
Czech police tracking suspects of EU subsidy fraud
Czech police are currently tracking four people and three companies who are suspected of subsidy fraud worth CZK 300 million. According to Jaroslav Ibehej, the spokesman for the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime, they sought to gain money from European Union funds for a number of projects relating to a machine construction company. The suspects could face five to ten years in jail if convicted.
Investigators started working on the case in 2017. According to the police spokesman, the suspects, together with associated companies, presented documents of purchased machinery where the original cost was sometimes inflated by up to ten times.
Prague ferry lines to resume operation on Saturday
Four seasonal ferries across the Vltava River, operated by the Prague public transport system, are set to resume their operation on Saturday. The ferry between the districts of Holešovice and Karlín has extended its service and will now ferry passengers until 10 p.m.
There are currently eight ferry lines available in the capital, with three of them running throughout the year. The ferry services on the Berounka River between Černošice and Kazín will resume operation on June 1.
Saturday is expected to be sunny with temperatures across the country lying between 18 to 21 degrees. Only the west of Bohemia may see some clouds.