News Czech leaders under fire for downplaying visit by Dalai Lama
The country’s leading politicians have come under fire for issuing a joint statement underlining the country’s interest in maintaining good relations with China in connection with a visit by the Dalai Lama to the Czech Republic. In a statement released on Tuesday President Miloš Zeman, Senate chairman Milan Štěch, lower house speaker Jan Hamáček and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the fact that some Czech politicians had met with the Dalai Lama did not signal a change in the country’s official policy. Around fifty Czech senators and deputies of the lower house attended an impromptu meeting with the Dalai Lama on Wednesday to distance themselves from the official stand and some universities hoisted the Tibetan flag in a show of solidarity with the Tibetan spiritual leader. Members of the opposition criticized the joint statement as “a shameful show of servility”. Prime Minister Sobotka defended the statement on Wednesday, saying it merely reflected the country's foreign policy line in relations with China.
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Boy and Girl Scouts brought a modern-day symbol of Christmas to the Czech Republic on Saturday in keeping with a tradition begun in the 1980s in neighbouring Austria, the Czech News Agency reported. The program was inaugurated in Austria in 1986 as part of a charitable relief mission for handicapped children and people in need. The light was transported to Brno using several lanterns and will again be spread throughout the Czech Republic over the course of the Christmas holidays, organisers confirmed. Members of the public brought their own lanterns to Brno's train station in order to light them from the flame.
Czech players Jakub Voráček and Tomáš Plekanec picked up points in their respective games on Saturday. Voráček, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers scored once and had three assists against Dallas. The Flyers won the match 4-2 and now have an eight-game winning streak. The Montreal Canadiens' Plekanec got four assists against the Colorado Avalanche. The Habs declassed their opponents, winning 10-1.
Euro MO Petr Mach has stepped down as the leader of the extra-parliamentary party the Party of Free Citizens which he founded seven years ago. The chairman took the step with the intent of securing a new mandate; there has been division within the party over whether it should focus on a single issue, a British-style exit from the EU, or take a more nuanced approach. Mr Mach represents the latter wing.
Passengers and staff were evacuated from Prague's Main Station on Saturday night after an anonymous caller warned a bomb had been hidden at the site. Trains ready to do so, departed, and further trains were turned away for more than one hour as the police searched the premises. Metro transport below the station continued uninterrupted but trains did not stop but only passed through. The police are searching for the anonymous caller; if found, the caller could face several years in jail.
London football club Arsenal are top of the Premier League on goals scored, with Chelsea second. The club came from behind on Saturday to win 3-1 against Stoke. Stoke's lone goal came on a penalty. In the second half, substitute Peter Crouch could have added a second for Stoke but his header was denied by goalkeeper Petr Čech.
Sunday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in places. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of around 6 or 7 degrees Celsius.
Washington Capitals forward Jakub Vrána got his first goal in the NHL on Friday, helping the Caps down the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Columbus' Lukáš Sedlák also scored his first goal in the NHL, beating fellow Czech Petr Mrázek between the posts for Detroit. Mrázek was pulled after the goal. Columbus win the game by a score of 4-1.
Police in the region of Vysočina have so far this autumn checked some 1,200 hunters, finding no cases of serious wrongdoing. The news was confirmed by the regional police spokeswoman Dana Čírtková. Examined were permits, the state of hunters' firearms, and whether any alcohol had been consumed. On Saturday alone two hunting parties, totaling some 40 participants, were checked.
Police on Saturday stopped a total of seven people by roughly mid-day for riding Segways in Prague's historic centre where the vehicles are banned. In two cases, the riders were foreign nationals who were given symbolic and low fines of 100 crowns (less than four euros). Police have the right to fine riders up to 2,000 crowns. Prague city councillors approved the ban on the use of Segways on roads and sidewalks in the historic centre in July but the ban was not enforced before some 600 traffic signs highlighting the ban were installed in areas.
Tax changes sought by Social Democrats would chase away successful businesses, says finance minister
Tax changes being planned by the Social Democrats would "chase successful people and firms from the Czech Republic", Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has said in response to the Social Democrats plans regarding progressive taxation. The current coalition partners, polls suggest, are likely to finish first and second in the election next year and are vying for a fair amount of the same voters. The last national election was won narrowly by the Social Democrats. Recent rhetoric has put the political parties' differences into sharper relief: Mr Babiš, who heads ANO and is also deputy prime minister, said he did not understand why he and his party were - in his view - "continually criticized" by Social Democrat leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.