- The prime minister has fired his advisor who insinuated that President Klaus was a coward.
- The Czech labour and social affairs minister has dismissed his deputy charged with bribery.
- Czech NGOs have criticized draft legislation on Czech citizenship for being too strict to foreigners.
- Customs officials confiscated 50 litres of homemade brandy that had been mixed with a distillate containing deadly methanol.
- In tennis, the finals of the Davis Cup between the Czech Republic and Spain will be played in Prague on November 16-18.
Prime minister fires advisor over criticism of President Klaus
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has fired one of his advisors who insinuated that President Václav Klaus was a coward. Referring to Mr Klaus’s reflection of Friday’s incident when a disgruntled man fired plastic pellets at him, Mr Joch wrote on his blog the head of state was a “whining Kremlin-loving wimp”. Prime Minister Nečas distanced himself from Mr Joch’s words, and said all contracts between him and the government had been cancelled.
On Friday, President Klaus became a target of a communist sympathizer who fired plastic pellets at him from an air gun during a ceremony in the northern town of Chrastava. Mr Klaus said he considered the incident an unprecedented attack against the head of state which reflected the poor state of the society.
Deputy minister accused of bribery dismissed
The Czech minister of labour and social affairs, Jaromír Drábek, on Tuesday dismissed his deputy, Vlastimil Šiška whom the police have charged with bribery. Mr Drábek, from the TOP 09 party, said he felt “full political responsibility” for giving him the job, and added if Mr Šiška is proven guilty, he would himself step down from his post.
The police have charged deputy labour and social affairs minister Vlastimil Šiška and another official at the ministry with bribery but have not released any details as to the nature of their allegedly criminal activities.
NGOs criticize draft legislation on citizenship
Several Czech NGOs working in the field of migration on Tuesday criticized draft government legislation on Czech citizenship for being too strict. In a letter to Prime Minister Petr Nečas, representatives of the NGOs asked the government to exclude passages of the bill that give authorities too much power over foreigners. The Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations said the legislation increased the number of conditions foreigners need to meet to become Czech citizens while other measures were too vague. The NGOs however welcomed some features of the bill such as the possibility of dual citizenship. The government is scheduled to debate the draft legislation on Wednesday.
Customs confiscate 50 litres of homemade brandy
Customs officials confiscated 50 litres of homemade cherry brandy last week containing deadly methyl alcohol. The owner had bought 20 litres of distillate from a door-to-door seller but sent samples to a laboratory to test the beverage for methanol. The police have warned people against buying any alcohol from door-to-door sellers.
The recent outbreak of methanol poisoning has claimed the lives of 27 people while dozens of others were intoxicated. In response, the government introduced a ban on spirits sales which was lifted last week.
Czech liquor producer slams Slovak ban on import of Czech spirits
Leading Czech liquor producer Jan Becher, part of the French company Pernod Ricard, on Tuesday criticized the Slovak authorities for having banned the imports of Czech spirits. In a reaction to the Czech methanol crisis, the Slovak government banned imports of all spirits produced in the Czech Republic including those made by legitimate and traditional producers. But Jan Becher CEO Anthony Schofield argued the issue of methanol-laced liquor did not involve legally imported and distributed beverages. The Slovak Agriculture Ministry has also called for all Czech spirits already in Slovakia to be taken back to the Czech Republic, a measure Mr Schofield called excessive.
Study: 40 percent of Czech women victims of domestic violence
Some 1.4 million Czech women, or two fifths of the female population aged between 18 and 65, have at some point in their lives faced some form of domestic violence, according to a new study by the Prague-based proFem group released on Tuesday. The study shows that the most common form of domestic violence is repeated humiliation followed by sexual aggression, stalking and threats. Only around 10 percent of victims have reported violence to the police. The authors of the study said that alarmingly, only around half of the victims recognized their partners’ attacks as domestic violence.
Czech firm to produce pipe organ for Chinese concert hall
The Krnov-based organ maker Rieger-Kloss Varhany has begun working on a large pipe organ for a concert hall in the Chinese city of Jinan, the firm’s manager Jakub Škrhel told the news agency ČTK on Tuesday. The large instrument with 88 registers will be worth around 1.2 million euro. After its completion, it will be dismantled and shipped to China where it should arrive next summer, Mr Škrhel said. This will be the second pipe organ made by the Czech firm for a Chinese client; the first was delivered to the city of Tianjin.
Woman gets 16 years in jail for murdering her newborn child
A court in Ostrava on Tuesday sentenced a 27-year-old woman to 16 years in prison for the murder of her newborn child. The woman killed the child soon after birth which she gave in her parents’ house; she hid the corpse in the garden and left on vacation with her boyfriend three days later. She claimed she did not know she was pregnant and thought the baby was stillborn. But the court proved she knew about her pregnancy, and said her actions were not affected by postpartum stress. The woman might yet appeal the verdict.
Tennis: Davis Cup finals to be played in Prague
The finals of the Davis Cup between the Czech Republic and Spain will be played in Prague’s O2 Arena on November 16 – 18. The organizers have reached a deal with arena management who agreed to hold a dance party, originally planned for November 17, on another date. The O2 Arena will also host the finals of women’s Fed Cup in which the Czech Republic will face Serbia on November 3 and 4.
Football: Rosický to miss another two world cup qualifiers
Czech national side captain Tomáš Rosický has not fully recovered from his Achilles heel injury and will miss the team’s world cup qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria, national team manager Michal Bílek said on Tuesday. The 31-year-old Arsenal FC and Czech international midfielder missed the Czechs’ first qualifying game against Denmark in September which ended in a 0-0 draw. Manager Bílek will also miss the injured midfielders Václav Pilař and Daniel Kolář and striker Tomáš Necid in the upcoming World Cup qualification games.
The coming days will be mostly clear with some cloudy spots and occasional fog. Daytime highs will reach a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius.