The budget airline OLT Express Poland declared bankruptcy and suspended international charter flights 1 August, leaving some travelers stranded abroad, Polish Radio reports. The airline had already shut down its domestic routes 27 July.
Many stranded OLT Express customers abroad were able to transfer to other carriers, Polish Radio said.
OLT Express Poland began flying in February with domestic flights out of Warsaw and nine other cities. Its aim was to open a new market by offering direct flights between some Polish cities that had not previously been linked by air. One airline industry site said in April the airline had “reshaped market dynamics by adding capacity levels previously unheard of in the country” and flying routes not served by the major Polish carrier, LOT, or its regional subsidiary, eurolot.
OLT Express Poland began flying international routes in April. Sister carrier OLT Express Germany said its operations were not affected, Polish Radio reports.
The trial of three members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot is proceeding in Moscow amid obstacles and controversy.
The trial, which began 30 July, was briefly suspended 2 August after an anonymous bomb threat.
On 1 August one of the defendants reportedly fell ill and was given medical care in the courtroom.
The three band members are charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hostility for an impromptu performance of a song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral in February.
Defense lawyers claim the women, Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, are suffering from food and sleep deprivation owing to the long court sessions.
The trial has sharply divided public opinion in Russia. Opposition politicians and cultural figures have been the women’s most vocal supporters, but recently a member of Putin’s United Russia party publicly joined the demands for the women’s release.
The trial is one of the most controversial in Russia since oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was convicted of financial crimes for a second time in 2010. On 1 August, the Russian Supreme Court ordered a lower court to review parts of the second trial in what observers called a rare ruling in Khodorkovsky’s favor.
The three-phase EULEX withdrawal is to start in September, the date the 25-country International Steering Group agreed it would end its supervision of Kosovo’s transition to full independence.
The 3,200-strong civilian mission, largest in the history of the EU, began work in Kosovo four months after Pristina unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. It has helped with police and judicial work, including policing the often tense internal border between areas fully under Pristina’s control and the small Serb-majority area in the north.
Details of the withdrawal will be discussed between Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, Balkan Insight quotes Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci as saying.
Bradacova’s appointment comes after months of political infighting over the state’s highest judicial offices. Blazek himself was named to head the Justice Ministry in early July soon after Prime Minister Petr Necas sacked his predecessor, Jiri Pospisil, officially for asking for too much money from a crisis-hit budget. Some observers suggested he was let go for a too-aggressive approach to prosecuting corruption cases. One of Bradacova’s recent predecessors, Vlastimil Rampula, acquired the nickname “the Sweeper” for his alleged ability to make the cases of political allies disappear, a blogger wrote last month in The Economist.
Left-wing commentator Petr Uhl sees the Bradacova appointment as a sign Prague is finally getting serious about tackling clientelist politics and high-level corruption.
The driver of a luxury sports car chose to return to Belarus rather than pay a fine of $175 to $350 for sporting the Soviet flag on his vehicle, the 15min.lt Lithuanian news portal reports.
Lithuanian border guards denied entry to a 26-year-old Belarusian man driving a Porsche on 31 July, Radio Free Europe reports, citing a Lithuanian law banning the display of Soviet symbols. RFE said officials described the offending symbol as a “giant Soviet flag painted on [the car] complete with a yellow hammer-and-sickle symbol and a star.”
A photo published by 15min.lt, however, shows a less-than-gigantic hammer-and-sickle with a star painted on the hood of a red car. According to its report, the driver was not fined because he returned to Belarus.
Lithuania adopted a stringent ban on the display of Soviet and Nazi symbols in 2008. Lithuania and Hungary are the only EU countries to ban public displays of Soviet symbols, RFE writes.