Several dozen people demonstrated outside the Syrian embassy in Prague on Sunday. The event was called by the Free Syria Initiative, which wants to draw attention to the long-running violence in the country and support the popular democratic movement. Similar gatherings have been taking place in recent days at Syrian embassies around the world. The Prague embassy’s website was also attacked by hackers on Sunday.
Václav Havel’s film Leaving has been nominated for 12 Czech Lion awards. The semi-autobiographical adaptation of a play of the same name by the late president was his first and only foray into filmmaking, something he had long wanted to do. Despite nominations in every possible category, Leaving received lacklustre reviews upon release. Another directorial debut by Zdeňek Jirásek, Poupata, was nominated for ten awards. Nevinnost by Jan Hřebejk and Alois Nebel by Tomáš Luňák were each nominated in eight categories.
Petra Kvitová advanced the Czech women’s team into the semi-final of the Fed Cup with a win over Sabine Lisicki in Stuttgart on Sunday, 6:7, 6:4, 6:1. The victory was the latest in a 27 match winning streak indoors for Kvitová, who is currently ranked world no. 2. It was also the sixth win for the Czechs out of seven matches against Germany. The Czech title-holders now have an unsurpassable 3:0 lead over Germany and will next play Ukraine or Italy in the semi-finals at home on April 21-22.
Some 300 Czech patients have received low-quality hip-joint implants, the manufacturer Depuy has announced. The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary says the full implants have decreased durability and may release heavy metals such as cobalt. Some recipients have suffered medical problems requiring further treatment, the company told Czech Television. Patients with the implants will undergo blood tests and more frequent check-ups; doctors say replacement operations are not necessarily needed.
Prime Minster Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will meet on Tuesday to discuss the planned European fiscal agreement. The two party heads have been sharply at odds in recent weeks over the PM’s resistance toward the agreement, which is aimed at establishing tighter fiscal discipline across the EU and was signed by all member states except the Czech Republic and the UK. Mr Schwarzenberg strongly rejected the Prime Minister’s statement that the pact is not in the Czech Republic’s interests and has previously said he would not be part of any government that moved the country away from the EU mainstream.
Nearly 1,300 people filed for personal bankruptcy in January. According to an analysis conducted by the Czech Credit Bureau for the Czech Press Agency, the figure marks a 43% increase compared to January of 2011 and is the largest number of cases since it became possible to declare personal bankruptcy in January of 2008. The highest number of bankruptcies was filed in the region of Ústí nad Labem, which accounted for 13% of cases.
A writ of execution has again been filed on Prague City property due to a late payment of less than 15,000 crowns. Use of the property has not been limited, as the city paid the sum, which arose from a legal dispute, on the day the writ was issued. Prague faced a similar freezing of assets three weeks ago, in which case the use of property was restricted due to an unpaid sum of 163 thousand crowns.
Police are barring increasing numbers of people from their households due to domestic violence. According to a report from the support group Bílého kruhu bezpečí, police confiscated keys in 1430 cases in 2011, about a third more than in the previous year. That number has risen steadily since 2008, when 679 people were barred from their homes. Experts for the group say the trend is due not to rising aggressiveness but to the fact that the Czech police are much more experienced in utilising this option today. Domestic violence has only been a criminal act in the Czech Republic since 2004 and police have been able to bar people from their households since 2007.
Police have moved to prosecute forty people for tax evasion amounting to some 800 million crowns. According to the website of the anti-corruption department, the charges are the result of several years of investigation of people who had offered companies decreased tax liabilities and the directors of the companies who had accepted the offers, or reported the export of non-existent goods abroad. If found guilty they face between five and ten years imprisonment.
Members of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Petr Nečas demanding that the country join the EU budget pact. The scientists write that it is time that the Czech Republic stop behaving like an erratic troublemaker and join the countries that are trying to effectively solve problems. Moreover, they criticise the PM for saying that the budget pact “does not bring us anything advantageous" while at the same time preaching budgetary discipline. The idea that the national interests of the Czech Republic are markedly different than those of other EU countries is unfathomable, the scientists write.
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