A proposal by Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek to delay an
increase in wages for police officers, fire-fighters and customs officials
has been criticised by the prime minister as well as the head of the
opposition communist party. Speaking on a Sunday discussion programme
Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, together with Communist Party head
Miroslav Grebenicek, called the proposal a "populist" tactic
ahead of regional elections in November. Mr Gross pointed out that the
Christian Democrats had previously helped approve the government's law on
raising wages for police and other public officials in Parliament.
The bill will take effect next January 1st.
Tuesday's Champions League football match-up between Sparta Prague and England's Manchester United will be refereed by Italian ref Massimo De Santis, a police inspector from Rome who is well-known for his love of good food, theatre, and water skiing. Mr De Santis, 42, has called international games since 2000. It will not be the first time he has refereed a Czech team either: three years ago he oversaw a match-up between Sigma Olomouc and Celta Vigo in the UEFA Cup, in which the Czech side won 4:3.
15-year-old Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova won her second WTA title on Sunday, downing French opponent Virginia Razzano in three sets at the Tashkent Open. Vaidisova came back from one set down, winning the next two sets 6:3, 6:2. Vaidisova's win earns her 140, 000 US dollars. Earlier in the year she won her first WTA title in Vancouver.
Austrian activists blocked a border crossing between Austria and the Czech Republic on Saturday afternoon in protest of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant, which was given the go-ahead for full operation by the Czech State Authority for Nuclear Energy on Monday. Temelin has long been a bone of contention for demonstrators who believe authorities have not reduced safety problems at the plant. Saturday's demonstration, which began around noon, did not see any involvement by Czechs.
Two Czech TV crew members - a journalist and a cameraman - faced
complications on Saturday while trying to complete a report on upcoming
Parliamentary elections in Belarus. The two were stopped by police at
the headquarters of the central electoral commission while taping the
story of a candidate who had been struck from the ballot list. The two
Czechs were asked by local police to hand over taped footage, which
they refused, seeking help from members of an independent journalists'
Czech TV has since commented the incident as a routine hitch in Belarus, a country ruled by strong-arm president Alexander Lukashenko.
15-year-old Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova has made it to a WTA
final for the second time in her career. On Saturday the Czech player
downed American opponent Meghann Shaughnessy in three sets in her
semi-final at the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan, winning the last set on
a tie-break. On Sunday she will face Virginia Razzano of France.
Ms Vaidisova currently ranks 103 in the women's rankings: a win on Sunday would see her earn 140, 000 U.S. dollars.
Run-offs in Senate by-elections for the Prague 4 and Znojmo
constituencies have resulted in victories for Frantisek Prihoda, of the
right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party, who earned 60 percent of the
ballot, and Milan Spacek, candidate for the Christian Democrats, who
got 53 percent. Defeated were Social Democrat Erazim Kohak, in Prague
4, and Civic Democrat Jaroslav Parik, in Znojmo.
The final ballot count indicates a very low overall voter turn-out: just 14.5 percent of those eligible showed up to cast their vote.
The government's draft budget for 2005 has been passed in the first reading by the Chamber of Deputies. The budget envisages a deficit of 83.6 billion crowns. Ninety-nine of the 194 deputies present for Friday's vote supported the draft budget. Further debate on the proposed budget will take place later this year, after it has been discussed in detail by various Chamber committees.
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