- The leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile, taking part in Forum 2000 in Prague, has said his government is seeking genuine autonomy for Tibet.
- Petr Hájek, the controversial deputy chancellor to the president, has slammed the late Václav Havel in a new book.
- The informal head of a group of rebel MPs, Petr Tluchoř, has reiterated that he and the others will not back the government’s tax package 'as is'.
- The General Inspection of the Security Services has recommended that former police president Petr Lessy face prosecution.
- The Supreme Audit Office has criticized Education Minsitry for overspending in higher education projects.
Exile government leader seeks autonomy, not independence, for Tibet
The leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, taking part in the 16th Forum 2000 international conference in Prague, has said his government is seeking “genuine autonomy” for Tibet within China and not, by contrast, “independence or separation”. The prime minister, who became the head of Tibet´s government-in-exile last year after the Dalai Lama gave up his political posts (but retained his position as spiritual leader) said Tibetans deserved to take part in the administration, economy, education, environment and other issues. Mr Sangay called the situation in Tibet until now an occupation and also discussed the tragic history of self-immolation by some Tibetans in protest. Tibet´s exile government has been seated in Dharamsala, India since the 1950s, after China took control of Tibet.
Presidential aide Hájek slams late Václav Havel as “tool of Satan”
Petr Hájek, the deputy chancellor to President Václav Klaus, has written that the Czech Republic’s first president, the late Václav Havel, “served as a tool of Satan” spreading “hatred and lies”. The highly controversial presidential aide – who in the past questioned the existence of Osama Bin Laden or questioned who attacked the US on 9/11 – made the statement in a new book to be published in November, Parlamentní listy reports. In Death in Velvet (Smrt v sametu), Mr Hájek reportedly does not hold back on his own boss, saying that many of the current president’s political aims were in shambles, arguing that democracy had been replaced by the rule of the media and charging that the political right had been replaced by a “Europeiste” (or pro-European) caricature. Petr Hájek is known for no shortage of controversial statements in the past, calling homosexuals “deviants” and mocking Darwinism.
Czechs in November, when the book is to be released, will mark the 23rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, in which Václav Havel played a key role.
Rebels will not back tax package unless changes implemented
A group of rebels from within the ruling Civic Democratic Party will not vote for the government’s tax package unless it is changed so that taxes are not raised, the group´s informal leader, MP Petr Tluchoř, said on Monday. He did express confidence an agreement on the legislation could still be reached. In his view, there is a “broad consensus” within the party that taxes not be increased; he also rejected the notion the rebels were trying to subvert the government, which has linked the tax package to a vote of confidence.
A party working group will discuss the package again on Tuesday morning before meeting with the deputies’ group. Until now the government has maintained the a proposed VAT hike is essential for it to meet its fiscal target in 2013 – to lower the gap in public spending to below 3 percent of GDP. In view of the fact that no compromise has been reached yet, there have been calls from within the party for the vote on the crucial bill to be postponed until after the Civic Democrats’ party conference in early November.
General Inspection recommends former police chief face prosecution
The General Inspection of the Security Services has recommended that former police president Petr Lessy face prosecution, the spokeswoman for the Prague state prosecutors’ office has said. The General Inspection has been investigating the former police head since late August for alleged libel and abuse of public office. The spokeswoman on Monday declined to discuss whether the nature of the charges had changed; she said a state prosecutor was going over the case file at present. If the case goes to court and Mr Lessy is found guilty of libel and abuse of office, he could face up to three years in prison.
New methanol case registered in Prostějov
A hospital in Prostějov registered a new case of methanol poisoning on Monday, admitting a 48-year-old man in serious condition. In the Olomouc region, it is the sixth case of methyl poisoning since an outbreak related to bootleg liquor began in the Czech Republic in mid-September. Thirty people in the country have died as a result of drinking laced alcohol: two men succumbed to poisoning last Friday.
Poll: Civic Democrats would finish third – behind both leftist parties – if elections were held ‘now’
A new poll released by the CVVM agency has suggested that if the national election were held ‘next week’, it would be won easily by the Social Democrats. According to the survey, the leftist party would secure 33 percent of the ballot, followed by 22.5 percent for the Communist Party. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats would come in third with just 16.5 percent. Other polls have also suggested a rise in voter preference for the oppositon, along with a marked drop in support for the coalition leader. If the election were held next week, the survey estimates that 58 percent of voters would take part.
Supreme Audit Office finds problems in Education Ministry funding
After carrying out an audit at the Education Ministry, the Czech Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) announced on Monday that the funding requirements for public universities set by the ministry were too lax. The audit of funded projects from 2006 to 2011 revealed that as a result some projects went over budget by as much as 100%. Out of the 14 projects controlled by the office, five were found to be problematic. In many cases, NKÚ has claimed, the ministry did not require the recipients to evaluate the effectivity of the investment in their project applications. The ministry recognized that overspending was registered in some projects from 2003 to 2006, but that later the requirements were made stricter.
Social Democrat candidate racks up 50,000 signatures
The Social Democratic party’s candidate for president, Jiří Dienstbier, has surpassed the minimal 50 thousand signatures needed to run. Mr Dienstbier opted to gather the necessary signatures even though he is guaranteed backing from enough party MPs and senators as his party’s nominee. Others who have met the necessary requirement, or passed the threshold, are former prime minister Jan Fischer (who remains a strong favourite, according to polls), politician Jana Bobošíková, Euro MP Zuzana Roithová, former prime minister Miloš Zeman, and former finance minister Vladimír Dlouhý.
Finance Minister: 10 billion crowns for autumn issue of retail bonds would be a success
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has told journalists that if revenue from the planned autumn issue of retail bonds topped 10 billion crowns, the issue would be a success. Investors will be able to order state bonds from November 5 to November 30. The period, however, can be shortened by the Finance Ministry. The ministry will also offer a premium bond with a three-year maturity and annual average yield of 2.77 percent. The bonds will be distributed through branches of postal service operator Česká pošta and of banks Česká spořitelna, ČSOB, Komerční banka and J&T Banka.
The first retail bond issue took place a year ago and investors ordered over 20 billion crowns worth of bonds; the spring issue this year generated around 15 billion. Bonds were available for both Czechs and foreigners, civic associations, foundations and churches, among others, and in the spring also included regions, towns and public universities.
Czech National Bank: banks tighten standards for corporate, housing loans
Czech banks tightened credit standards overall for corporate loans and loans for house purchase in Q3 2012, while leaving them unchanged for consumer loans, according to the Bank Lending Survey published by the Czech National Bank (ČNB) on Monday. The tightening of standards for both corporate and housing loans was due mainly to perceptions of risks relating to expected general economic activity and manifested itself during the approval of loans chiefly via a higher collateral requirement for corporate loans and a rise in margins, the national bank said. The demand for corporate loans and loans for house purchase declined. By contrast, demand for consumer loans increased, the central bank said. In Q4, banks expect credit standards to tighten for corporate loans and to ease for loans for house purchase. According to banks, demand for corporate loans should continue to fall. On the other hand, banks expect demand for loans to households to rise, the survey suggests.
The start of the week should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures hovering around 12 degrees Celsius.