President Václav Klaus on Friday formally received the acting chairman of the Civic Democrats Petr Nečas. It is his first official contact with the new party leader since he replaced Mirek Topolánek who was forced to resign at the end of March over controversial comments about homosexuals and Jews. Mr. Nečas said the talks had focused largely on the need to reduce the country’s deepening public finance deficit which the president considered of the utmost importance. The officials also discussed the need for internal reform and party unity after a year of scandals and internal rifts. Mr. Klaus who founded the party in the 1990s, formally left its ranks in 2008 claiming it had abandoned its original course.
In ice hockey, the Czech national team beat Belarus 5:2 on Thursday night in the last warm up match before the World Championships in Germany. The Czechs conceded a two goal lead but then pushed ahead in the closing stages of the match with three goals without reply. The squad flies to Mannheim, Germany, on Friday. The first World Championship match will be against France on Sunday.
A regional court has rejected Mercedes Dietrichstein’s claim to extensive family property in Mikulov, Moravia. The property was confiscated in 1946 on the grounds of the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the post-war expulsion of close to three million Germans from Czechoslovakia and the confiscation of their property. A lawyer representing the state argued that the confiscation had been legally justified since Mrs. Dietrichstein’s father had been a German national and a member of the SdP and NSDAP.
Czech Radio’s prime news channel Radiožurnál claims that it has proof the Social Democrats are buying support for their leaders at public debates and election rallies. Radiožurnál said two students had confirmed getting offers of 300 crowns to show vocal support for the Social Democrats and boo opponents at a debate broadcast by Czech Radio in the town of Ustí nad Labem. The Social Democrats have rejected the allegations as pure fabrication and in turn accuse their main rival, the right-wing Civic Democrats of paying people to come and disrupt Social Democrat rallies. President Klaus recently criticized the aggressive tone of campaigning ahead of May’s general elections, urging parties to turn to real issues.
Culture Minister Václav Riedlbauch on Friday dismissed the head of the
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Vladimir Darjanin over alleged poor
management. The state of the Czech Philharmonic’s finances has been a
contention for some time, with Mr. Darjanin accusing his predecessor in
office, the said culture minister, of being responsible for the present
The ministry has also criticized the fact that Mr. Darjanin is involved in too many cultural activities which it said constituted a clash of interests.The outgoing head of the Philharmonic Orchestra organizes the annual summer music festival Dvorak’s Prague and is also on the board of a number of firms active in the field of culture.
Police President Oldřich Martinů has proposed increasing security around the Office of the Government, in order to prevent incidents such as that which happened last week when Greenpeace activists climbed on the roof of the building to demonstrate against the planned extension of a coal-powered plant. The proposed measures include closing the street to trucks and making the pavement along the government building off limits to the public. The proposed measures still have to be discussed with Prague City Hall. The police has already increased the number of officers patrolling outside the building.
The man who physically attacked a Social Democrat politician at a rally
will face a regular rather than fast-track trial and could face up to six
years in jail.
A spokesman for the Office of the Brno State Attorney said the attack was
not being classified as a misdemeanor as originally thought, but as an
attack on a public figure for which the ceiling is six years in jail.
The man, who was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident, approached Social Democrat deputy leader Bohuslav Sobotka and punched him in the face, bringing him down. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the attack had nothing to do with the election campaign but was reportedly the man’s way of getting revenge for the rent-deregulation that Mr. Sobotka had introduced when serving in the post of finance minister.
Police reported severe complications to traffic in Prague around mid-day on Friday after a bad accident on one of the city’s main arteries. The southern highway had to be closed for close to two hours after a serious accident involving several vehicles. A biker suffered serious head injuries in the crash and had to be airlifter from the high-way by helicopter. Although the road was reopened around 1pm traffic between Černý Most and Barrandov was heavily congested and problems spilled over into other parts of town as drivers sought to find shortcuts.
Czech foreign trade ended on an 18 billion crown surplus in March, with exports growing by 12.7 percent and imports by 15.8 percent, according to data published by the Czech Statistical Office. Although the March figure is 2.7 billion crowns lower year-on-year economic experts say it confirms a revival of economic activity. Exports have been growing for the fifth successive month and imports since January 2010.
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