Ten regional Civic Democratic Party leaders have called on the six rebel MPs from the party to “end their rebellion” and vote in favour of the government proposed tax hikes. In an open letter to the deputies the regional leaders say that their behaviour is damaging the Civic Democratic Party ahead of the autumn elections and claim that the real reason behind the rebellion is an attempt to oust Petr Nečas from his post as party leader and prime minister. Three regional leaders have not supported the appeal.
A Czech soldier who was seriously injured in Friday’s missile attack against the Shank operating base in Afghanistan has been transported home. The soldier, who served on the provincial reconstruction team in Logar province, was injured by flying shrapnel and was airlifted to a military hospital in Kabul where he was operated on by Czech physicians. On Saturday night he was flown home in an army special and is now receiving care at Prague’s military hospital in Střešovice. There are currently some 300 Czech soldiers and civilian experts working at the Shank base in Logar.
A powered hang glider crashed near Mostkovice in the Prostějov region on Sunday after attempting to land in a field. The sixty-eight-year old pilot was taken to hospital with an open fracture of the forearm. Police investigating the accident took a breathalyzer which showed that the man was heavily intoxicated.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has warned against a drawn-out debate on the government proposed tax hikes saying the country could find itself operating on a provisional budget next year. The prime minister defended the government proposed tax hikes, which the lower house rejected thanks to six rebels from his own party, saying that a final rejection of the bill would mean the introduction of a single 17.5 percent VAT which would increase the state deficit by 24 billion crowns. The prime minister ,who has sent the law back to the lower house linked to a vote of confidence in his administration, said in a televised debate on Sunday that should his government fall he would prefer to see early elections to a caretaker cabinet.
A thirty-six-year old man has been charged in connection with the sale of illegally-produced brandy that killed three people this week. Six others are in critical condition in hospital, most of them likely to lose their eyesight. It is not clear if the man in question produced the alcohol or sold it. The victims all bought the brandy from a street stall in the Moravian town of Havirov, where it was sold on tap. However two more cases of alcohol poisoning have since appeared in the towns of Znojmo and Kyov. Warnings have been issued to the public not to buy cheap liquor in the street until the incident has been investigated.
Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek took his leave of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in grand style on Saturday night conducting the closing night of the BBC Proms. Bělohlávek who has been chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the last six years got a standing ovation from the crowd and a heartfelt rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The conductor received a big cheer when he pulled out the CBE honour given him by Queen Elizabeth and put it round his neck. Mr. Bělohlávek will now be moving back to Prague where he is serve as chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
The management of Prague’s National Theatre has requested a meeting with
the culture minister, Alena Hanáková, over Friday’s unexpected
dismissal of the theatre’s director Ondřej Černý. The management has
questioned the move in an open letter to the minister and criticized her
decision to appoint her deputy Martin Sankot as a temporary replacement.
The management says the task should be given to someone from their own
ranks in view of the complexities involved in managing such an institution.
Minister Hanáková on Friday sacked the theatre’s director without forewarning, later saying that she was not happy with the pace of the ongoing merger of the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera. The theatre head has rejected the stated reason for his dismissal saying his sacking and the manner in which it was undertaken reflected “arrogance of power”. Černý’s mandate was to have expired in March of 2013.
Prague’s second annual Foodparade attracted hundreds of people to the city’s Troya Park on Saturday. Fifteen leading Czech restaurants presented their specialties at the festival with chefs preparing some of the food out in the open. Visitors could taste samples of Italian and French cuisine and find out about molecular gastronomy. The two-day festival ends on Sunday with a bartenders show.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has warned there is not much
manoeuvring space in revising the government’s austerity package for
2013. In an interview for the daily Pravo the finance minister said that
the present agreement was hard-won and involved numerous concessions and
would be in danger of collapsing in the event of radical changes.
The bill, which is crucial to the government’s fiscal consolidation plans, was rejected by the lower house this week and has been sent back linked to a vote of confidence in the centre-right administration. It was rejected due to six deputies from the Civic Democratic Party who oppose tax hikes in principle and want the austerity measures to focus more on the expenditures side of the budget. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said this week that a revision would still be possible but that it must be agreed on by all coalition parties.
Three people have died and four others are in critical condition after drinking what appears to have been illegally produced brandy. If the others pull through doctors say they may be blind. The people in question all bought the brandy from a street stall in the Moravian town of Havirov. Police confiscated several barrels of the suspect drink on Friday and are still looking for the producer. Warnings are being issued to the public not to buy cheap liquor in the street until the incident has been investigated.
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