Sparta Prague beat Baník Ostrava 2:0 in the seventh round of the top Czech football division, reinforcing their position at the top of the league table. Sparta scored early on, but the home side then put up fierce resistance that only began to crumble when Baník striker Václav Svěrkoš was sent off for repeated elbowing. In the 85th minute, Sparta’s Léonard Kweuke set the final score at 2:0. Sparta Prague now leads the table with full 21 points, followed by Liberec with 14 points; Plzeň and Jablonec in the shared third place now have 13 points.
The governments of the Czech Republic and the British Crown Dependency of Guernsey, in the English Channel, have signed an agreement on the exchange of tax information, the Czech Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the agreement was going to have a positive impact on Czech public finances as it narrows the space for tax evasions.
At a session of the Czech lower house that began on Tuesday, MPs are debating a constitutional bill that would introduce a popular vote for the president. The bill however does not enjoy overall support in the house despite having been put forth by both the coalition and opposition parties. While the centre-right coalition would like to increase the powers of a directly-elected president, opposition Social Democrats and Communists expressed concern that a head of state with extended powers might become a tool of partial interests. If approved by both houses of Parliament and signed into law by the president, it would allow people to choose the successor of Václav Klaus in a direct vote in 2013.
Almost half of Czechs do not plan to use private pension funds, which are to be established within the government’s pension reform, according to a poll conducted by the Millward Brown agency and released in today's daily Lidove noviny. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they preferred to rely on state pension funds. Over 22 percent plan less risky investments with a lower profit and 17.7 percent prefer more profitable, but also more risky alternatives, the daily writes.
The cabinet is to meet on Wednesday to discuss growing racial tension in the north of the country, Romany ghettos and social exclusion. Ministers are expected to debate a comprehensive strategy aimed at fighting social exclusion of Romanies in the spheres of education, housing, employment, health care and security. According to available statistics there are some 400 Romany ghettoes around the country with an estimated 80.000 inhabitants. The vast majority of adults living in them are jobless. A rise in racially motivated crime in the north of the country in recent weeks has escalated tension between the majority population and the Romany minority with calls for their eviction.
A tram driver was killed in a collision of two trams on Prague’s Plzenská street early on Monday. No one else was injured in the accident. The collision occurred shortly after six am when the second tram drawing into a station failed to brake properly and ploughed into a stationary vehicle. The driver failed to leave the cabin in time and was trapped in the wreckage. He succumbed to his injuries on the spot. The five passengers riding on the tram were uninjured. The tram route was closed for the entire morning. The damage is being estimated at 10 million crowns.
A thirty-four- year- old Romany man with a machete threatened people in a bar in Varnsdorf, north of Prague, late on Sunday night. Witnesses say the man barged in, shouted insults and threatened to eliminate everyone in the place. He left as the owner called the police and was apprehended shortly after. The incident reflects growing ethnic tension in the north where a recent attack on a bar in the town of Nový Bor ended in bloodshed and serious injuries. There is a heightened police presence in the area.
Slovak police have arrested a Ukrainian convict on the run who was sentenced to13 years for murder by a Czech court in 1996. The man escaped shortly after and was on the run for 15 years. He was arrested on an Interpol warrant near the Slovak-Ukrainian border. The Czech authorities will request his extradition.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas visited Northern Bohemia on Monday where the local authorities have been struggling to deal with growing racial tension and a wave of anti-Romany sentiment. Mr Nečas visited ghettos, talked to local inhabitants and debated specific measures with community representatives. In Nový Bor he thanked the locals for showing restraint in their protests and not supporting extremist groupings which have tried to use the crisis for their own ends. Extremist demonstrations and public gatherings have been taking place in the region since August, when several violent, apparently racially-motivated conflicts occurred. Local forums held to discuss the situation have criticised negligence on the part of the police and town halls and a liberal social welfare system.
A Czech research team from the Institute of Hereditary Metabolic Disorders at the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague has reportedly uncovered the cause of the Kufs disease. At a press briefing in Prague on Monday scientists said a mutation of the DNAJC5 gene was behind the incurable brain disease. The disease is a defect of the metabolism of fats and proteins that is manifested only in adult age. The patients´ condition gradually worsens. They suffer from spasms, mobility disorders, paralysis and dementia. This particular research team has had previous successes in detecting genes responsible for some diseases of the eyes and kidneys.
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