Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said his party, the Civic Democrats, is likely to lose some of regional governor posts in elections in the latter half of this year. In an interview for the newspaper Hospodářské noviny, he said the party was unlikely to hold on to the 12 governorships it now has, but would likely win re-election in nine regions. Mr Topolánek said that while at the time of the last regional elections in 2004 the Civic Democrats benefited from the “bad government” of the Social Democrats, now they will be punished for unpopular steps they have taken in government.
The Supreme Court has rejected an appellate review lodged by businessman Tomáš Pitr and upheld a five-year prison sentence he was given for tax fraud. A court spokesman released the news on Friday. The court also turned down the appellate reviews by others convicted along with Mr Pitr. The 36-year-old businessman’s whereabouts remain unknown, and Pitr is wanted on an international arrest warrant after allegedly fleeing the country. He was due to have begun serving his sentence in June.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said in an interview that the Czech government will have to decide whether to proceed with the planned sale of a 7.0 percent stake in state-controlled electricity giant, ČEZ, or to sell less in view of the share price's recent rise. The prime minister made the statement in response to questions from financial daily Hospodářské noviny. The government set an original target of earning at least 30 billion crowns by cutting its stake of just over 67 percent in Central Europe's biggest electricity company, the newspaper points out. The Czech news agency, ČTK, has reported that thanks to the share's appreciation, the government would now only have to sell a 3.6 percent stake, with shares amounting to 1.63 percent already offloaded.
The finance ministry this week filed a criminal complaint against an
unknown perpetrator in connection to possible fraud concerning the
repayment of Libya's debt to the Czech Republic; the news was released by
ministry spokesman Ondřej Jakob on Friday. Libya's debt for arms supplies
dates back to former Czechoslovakia, amounting to several billion crowns.
At the latest inter-governmental talks Libya produced a letter from 1997
questioning the existence of the debt. Earlier, Finance Minister Miroslav
Kalousek said the document was a forgery.
The settlement of Libya's debt is still to be negotiated by Czech and Libyan representatives. The original debt was about 3 billion crowns (the equivalent of around 165 million US dollars), but according to some recent estimates, the debt with added interest now exceeds 4.5 billion.
Forwards Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata each scored goals and notched
assists to help their team, the Phoenix Coyotes, down the Chicago Black
Hawks 4:2 in NHL ice hockey action on Thursday. Hanzal was named player of
the match, while Vrbata was the third star.
In other games, Petr Sýkora of Pittsburgh scored his twelfth goal of the season in a 6:2 Penguin romp over Toronto.
Three points on the night (including a third period tying goal) by Tampa’s Václav Prospal weren’t enough against the Montreal Canadiens, who rebounded in the 3rd to win with a final score of 6:3.
Attendance at Czech cinemas was evidently at its highest in 13 years in 2007, the Union of Czech Film Distributors said. Between the start of January and the end of November last year, just over 11.75 million viewers had watched movies in Czech cinemas, a rise of around a quarter of a million on the same period in 2006. Industry figures say the number for the whole of 2007 should reach 12.5 million. Receipts were also up, with the popularity of Czech-made films given as the reason for both increases.
President Václav Klaus has rejected speculation about a possible deal
between his party the Civic Democrats and the Christian Democrats, under
which the latter’s leader Jiří Čunek would be allowed to return to the
cabinet, if his party’s legislators voted for Mr Klaus in presidential
elections next month. On Wednesday the head of the Green Party, Martin
Bursík, warned against such a deal after Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek
of the Civic Democrats indicated he would be prepared to accept the return
of Mr Čunek as deputy prime minister and minister for regional
development, after an investigation into allegations he had accepted bribes
Mr Klaus will face economist Jan Švejnar in a bicameral vote on February 8, with the incumbent regarded as the favourite. If the maximum three rounds of voting are required, they will all take place on the same day, the chairman of the lower house, Miloslav Vlček said on Thursday after talks with Mr Klaus and the chair of the Senate, Přemysl Sobotka.
A man who tried to commit suicide by driving his car straight at another vehicle at a speed of 100 km an hour appeared in court in Zlín on Thursday on a charge of attempted murder. Rostislav Bednařík, who is 21, caused serious injury to the driver of the other car in the crash, which took place on a motorway last July. The victim, a professional soldier, said he had managed to swerve to one side to avoid a head-on collision: he said when he saw the car coming towards him he thought the driver must have had a heart attack or fallen asleep. Mr Bednařík could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Police are investigating the deaths of two sons of a woman charged with the killing of another of her boys. Antonie Stašková and her boyfriend Pavel Grepl are being held in custody in Ústí nad Labem after the discovery of the body of the former’s five-year-old son Jan, who had been missing since August. Now an investigation has begun into the deaths of the woman’s other two sons Radek and David, who both died (in 1989 and 1992, respectively) by choking before their first birthdays. Ms Stašková’s mother told Wednesday’s Mladá fronta Dnes she believed her daughter had murdered at least one of the boys.
Prague’s Ruzyně airport handled a record 12.44 million passengers in 2007, a rise of over 7 percent on the previous year, a spokesperson for the airport said on Thursday. An increase in passenger numbers in recent years has been partly put down to budget airlines, with almost a quarter of the airport’s passengers now flying by low-cost carriers. Officials expect up to 13 million will pass through Ruzyně’s terminals this year.
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
‘The fat lady sings’: Prague’s State Opera marks restoration to former glory with gala concert