Czech movie star Zita Kabátová, who graced the screen in the 1930s and ‘40s with fellow leads like Oldřich Nový, Vladimír Slavínský and Vlasta Burián, turned 99 on Friday. Ms. Kabátová began acting in amateur theatre as a child; her uncle Josef Šváb–Malostranský was a vaudevillian and actor. She made her professional debut on-screen in 1936 in a sentimental film called Světlo jeho očí (The Colour of his Eyes). Like many fellow actors and actresses of her generation, Ms. Kabátová acted in a number of films under the German occupation; in later years she was banned from the screen for political reasons. Her husband was Jiří Zavřel - an Olympic rower and political prisoner under the Communists.
The centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Nečas has won a
confidence vote in the lower house, receiving 105 votes in favour and 93
against. The result came shortly after eight pm on Friday after some 11
hours of deliberation by dozens of MPs, including opposition members who
slammed the government, arguing it had lost the right to lead. Friday’s
vote was called by the prime minister to test support for his government
after the splintering of the smallest coalition partner, Public Affairs,
over a corruption scandal.
On Friday, it received crucial backing from a newly-emerged faction around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake, who defected from Public Affairs, as well as two independent deputies and three Public Affairs members. Despite the result, observers say it will prove harder for the government to find support for its reforms.
The cabinet has come under fire from the opposition and trade unions for austerity cuts it says are necessary to help bring the budget deficit to below 3 percent of GDP. Around 100,000 people took to the streets of the Czech capital last weekend to protest the austerity measures in one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the fall of communism.
The country’s health ministry has warned that over the next few days there will be a heightened risk of contracting ticks as warm weather sets in. According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the threat merits an “8” on a 9-point scale on Saturday and will rise to the top of the scale on Monday. The weekend is expected to see very warm temperatures, ideal for the external parasite which is capable of transmitting Lyme borreliosis and encephalitis. This year 378 cases of borreliosis have been registered so far – up by 69 from the same period last year. Two cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been registered – down from five over the same period last year. Anyone spending time in parks or the countryside at the weekend has been urged to use proper repellents to cut-down the risk.
Motorists attempting to leave the capital ahead of the weekend on the D1 highway have run into heavy traffic. A ten-kilometre-long line on late Friday afternoon – caused by construction and a narrowing of lanes some 11 kilometres out – formed at Prague’s Chodov. Alternative routes are also heavily in use. Traffic on the D1 in the opposite direction is said to be moving normally.
Czech Radio will launch a new largely spoken-word station later in 2012 – merging three stations – Leonardo, Rádio Česko and Czech Radio 6 – in one. The move is in part reaction to a drop in listenership and will be accompanied by restructuring at Czech Radio that will also lead to layoffs. A projected 15 – 20 percent of employees (one fifth) will be let go over the next two years, the head of Czech Radio Peter Duhan confirmed. The new station, operatively being called Czech Radio 4, will be launched either on the first of November or December of this year. Along with the changes, on Thursday the Czech Radio Council also approved a 340,000 crown bonus for the head of Czech Radio in the 2Q, minus a reported 60,000 as Czech Radio has failed to corner 21 percent of the market. Czech Radio will also launch a tender for a new logo.
European Member of Parliament for the Czech Communist Party, Miloslav Ransorf, in financial difficulties, reportedly owes a total of 17 million crowns – loans with interest the politician has failed to repay over a number of years. According to commercial broadcaster TV Nova, a new promissory note originally for 700,000, reportedly now worth 7 million, held by former friend Vratislav Šlajer, has emerged. The original loan dates back to 2003. Mr Ransdorf was to have paid back money owed almost a year ago, but TV Nova said that never happened. Both the politician and his lawyer have declined to comment. According to the news site novinky.cz, the Euro MP used the original 700,000 loan to renovate his villa.
The National Reference Laboratory for HIV/AIDS has revealed that the first three months of 2012 doctors registered 44 new cases of HIV infection, mostly among men. During that period, experts tested around 316,900 people, according to numbers released by the public health laboratory on Friday. This year’s increase in the first quarter represents a two-year high: in 2011 there were 35 new cases and a year before that, 42. The number of HIV cases in the Czech Republic has increased yearly over the last decade.
An authentic British double-decker bus has begun touring the Plzeň region, part of a campaign launched last year by the Czech Olympic Committee to generate additional interest ahead of the Olympic Games. The bus has already visited some 50 towns and cities across the country, spending a day at each stop and inviting passersby to experience a bit of London.
Trade union representatives and activists from the Stop vládě (Stop the government) movement agreed on Friday on additional protests against the country’s centre-right government, which would build up to a strike at the end of June. Jaroslav Zavadil, the head of the trades unions’ umbrella organisation ČMKOS, revealed the news but declined to provide additional details concerning different protest events. He did say that members of both camps would prepare a new coordination centre to prepare activities. Earlier this week, union representatives warned the government that the next protests would “hurt”.
Candidates for president will be able to spend a maximum of 50 million crowns on their presidential campaign; 40 million in the first round of elections and ten million more in the second round, according to an agreement reached between the ruling parties and the opposition Social Democrats. Information regarding the amount spent and the source of the money should be available on the internet. A proposal by the Social Democrats to set a ceiling on donations from sponsors failed to win approval. Czechs are due to vote in direct presidential elections early next year. President Klaus’ second term in office will expire in March 2013.
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