Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for September 22, 2021

State attorney has a month to decide in Babiš case, Liberec wants Poland fines to help local residents, good and bad news for popular Czech zoos. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 22.09.2021 10:15:00 (updated on 22.09.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

State attorney has one month to decide charges in Stork’s Nest case

State attorney Jaroslav Šaroch has a one-month deadline for deciding on the police's recommendation to bring charges against Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in the Čapí hnízdo (Stork’s Nest) case of alleged EU subsidy fraud. Babiš and his former advisor stand accused in the affair. The deadline was given to Šaroch by the Prague Municipal State Attorney Office head.

Normally, the supervising state attorney should have two months to decide on the case, but in this case, the deadline has been shortened. This was justified by the State Attorney Office referring to the length of the proceedings and the repeated processing of the case. The case sees Babiš (ANO) and a former advisor accused of fraudulently claiming CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the construction of the Stork’s Nest farm and conference center. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Liberec region proposes subsidy program to offset Turów mine impact

The Liberec Region affected by the operations of Turów coal mine, situated on the Czech-Polish border, wants the European Commission to launch a special subsidy program using daily fines collected from Poland to remedy the impact of the mine on the lives of local residents. The Regional Assembly said money collected from Poland should be used to secure alternative drinking water sources and to monitor noise, dust, and ground subsidence in the region near the lignite mine.

Liberec Region Governor Martin Půta said the region wants to see fines imposed on Poland used as means to remedy the situation, rather than simply collecting money for an “imaginary EC budget”. On Monday, the European Court of Justice imposed a daily fine of half a million euros on Poland for not stopping operations at Turów.

Good news and bad news at popular Czech zoos

Ústi Zoo, the only Czech zoo to breed African penguins, has acquired another ten of the flightless birds from the Netherlands to enlarge its flock. After acclimatizing for a few days following their arrival at Ústi, the six female and four male penguins have now been united with the five original penguin residents. The zoo plans to grow its African penguin flock still further in the future.

In other news, Hodonín Zoo has abolished its water fauna display because its pavilion with aquariums was heavily damaged in the tornado which struck the region in June this year. The pavilion will need to be pulled down, with staff removing all animals from the three seawater aquariums, to be sent to new homes in zoos elsewhere in the country. The pavilion’s most popular resident, a female blacktip reef shark, will be transferred to Olomouc Zoo.

Czech athlete looks to make history at Canoe Slalom World Championships

All four canoe slalom champions from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will attempt an unprecedented double when competing in the World Championships in Bratislava. The champions seeking Olympic and World doubles include Czech Jiří Prskavec, who is set to feature in his first international event since taking home gold in the men’s K1 event in Tokyo.

The Czech Republic’s canoe prowess is also represented by Tereza Fišerová, who won the World Cup title in the women’s C1 event earlier this month. Other Olympic stars hoping to take home World Championship golds from Bratislava are Germany’s Ricarda Funk, Australia’s Jessica Fox, and Slovenia’s Benjamin Savšek.

Moravia-Silesia customs officers bust international drugs ring

Customs officers in the Moravia-Silesia region have uncovered an international gang of methamphetamine producers and seven people, including one Polish national, stand accused in the case. The members of the group face up to eighteen years in prison if they are found guilty. It is thought they are responsible for producing around 70,000 meth doses, worth approximately CZK 14 million, since starting operations in early 2020.

The group imported medical ingredients to the Czech Republic from Poland, with the drug then cooked in various locations in the Karviná and Frýdek-Místek districts of north Moravia. The gang comprises four men aged 23 to 57 from North Moravia, one Polish national, and three women aged 23 to 42. All of the accused are now in police custody, although police assume that the group worked within a wider international drugs network.

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