Tuesday News Briefing
Constitutional Court rejects amnesty abolition; Czech unemployment rate at 80 year high
Posted: February 12, 2013
Radovan Krejčíř's extradition hearing postponed in South Africa
The Czech Constitutional Court (ÚS) rejected Feb. 12 the Prague City Court's proposal for the abolition of the whole amnesty that outgoing President Václav Klaus declared on New Years Day. The judges are still assessing a proposal for the abolition of part of the amnesty halting lengthy prosecution that was filed by a group of senators. The City Court's proposal was first rejected because the senators' complaint was delivered earlier, and this is why the ÚS will deal with the amnesty on the basis of the senators' arguments. The other reason is the fact that the City Court proposed that the whole amnesty be abolished though the court was to apply only the article on the halting of long-term prosecution in its model case.
An extradition hearing for notorious Czech criminal Radovan Krejčíř was postponed in a Johannesburg Court Feb. 12. "The matter is postponed to May 6 for the applicable documentation to reach the court. The bail has been set at R20,000 [50,000Kč]," said magistrate Kowie Schutte. Lawyer Mike Hellens, said it would be a waste of time to hear his client's extradition while his appeal to the Refugees Appeal Board was pending. Krejčíř is fighting attempts by the National Prosecutions Authority to extradite him to the Czech Republic, where he is facing an 11-year prison sentence for money-laundering. The board refused to grant the fugitive refugee status last year and he is appealing the decision.
More people are out of work than at any time in the last 80 years, according to figures for January. The number of unemployed reached 585,809, which represents a rate of 8.0 percent, up from 7.4 percent in December, under a new way of calculating the rate. Using the previous methodology for calculating the unemployment rate, it increased from 9.4 percent in December to 10.1 percent in January. The record jobless total comes as the Czech economy struggles to emerge from recession, although seasonal growth as people are laid off at the end of the year was also a factor in the increase.
The Czech economy is believed to have contracted in the last quarter of 2012, according to a poll by Reuters. A survey of 15 economists by the news agency gave an average figure of a 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter contraction between September and December, which would mean there was shrinkage in every quarter of last year. For the year as a whole, the Czech economy is expected to have contracted by 1.7 percent, according to the survey. Weak private consumption following tax rises is blamed for the shrinkage in GDP last year and most experts do not expect significant growth until 2014.
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