A neogothic palace in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem, which has been used as a chemical laboratory for the past 50 years, is up for sale. The palace’s current owner, the biggest Czech oil refinery Unipetrol, has announced the sale of Ústí nad Labem’s most valuable building from the 19th century. Unipetrol had to lower the selling price this week, after the building has been on the market for about a year.
Lucie Šafářová secured the Czech women’s team’s second Fed Cup victory in a row, after she beat Jelena Janković 6-1, 6-1. The Czechs beat Serbia 3-1 on Sunday, with a single loosing match between Petra Kvitová and Ana Ivanović. Both Šafářová and Kvitová won their matches on the first dame of the final. The Czechs won the Fed Cup last year against Russian, receiving thetitle for the first time since the Czech Republic became an independent state. The Czechoslovak women’s team won the Fed Cup title three times in a row in 1983-1985. The Czech men’s team is also in the final of the Davis Cup this year, which they will play against Spain in Prague on November 16-18.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas defended his post as the chairman of the Civic
Democratic party, having received 351 at the party conference in Brno on
Sunday. Mr Nečas’ contender MP Ivan Fuksa won 178 votes from the party
delegates. Mr Fuksa announced that he will challenge the incumbent
late on Saturday night. Mr Nečas said that the government should continue
with its fiscal policies in his speech before the vote.
The old-new chairman of the Civic Democratic party Petr Nečas confirmed that the government is prepared to make changes to the 2013 budget in case the tax reform package is not passed by the lower house of parliament next week, in an interview with Czech Television’s Vaclav Moravec on Sunday.
This year will see a record number of bottles of Saint Martin’s wines going on sale, up by almost 200 thousand bottles from last year. 380 samples from 122 vinyards received the designation of Saint Martin wine, the majority were from the Müller Thurgau grapes. The feast of Saint Martin, which is celebrated in the Czech Republic on November 11, has become an occasion for the country’s winemakers to present and sell their young wines. Saint Martin wines are the first new wines of the year that are supposed to be consumed within a few months after bottling. The first bottles of Saint Martin wines will be opened at celebratory events on November 11 at 11 am.
Members of the Czech cabinet will be discussing a new proposal for the
2013 budget on Monday. Despite the expected decline in tax revenue, the
proposal will be based on a 100 billion crown deficit. Finance Minister
Miroslav Kalousek had said earlier that the main cuts will be in
transportation, science and research, as well as co-financing of EU
projects. Mr Kalousek is preparing an alternative budget proposal given
possibility that VAT rates will not be raised and also considering the
estimated slower growth of the economy. The lower house returned the
original budget proposal to the cabinet for reworking because of
disagreements within the coalition over the tax reform package. The
government has to present the new budget proposal by November 23.
Rebel Civic Democratic MPs who have been refusing to support the tax reform package will continue talks with the government over the reforms, said one of the rebels Ivan Fuksa, although they are unlikely to change their stance. The lower house will renew deliberations on the reform package on Tuesday
Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba was elected as the new first
vice-chairman of the Civic Democratic, replacing lower house speaker
Miroslava Němcová. 363 delegates at the party conference voted for the
new vice-chairman on Sunday. In a brief interview with the press after his
victory, Mr Kuba said that he believes that the government may find a way
to find a compromise with the rebel Civic Democratic MPs, but gave to
Later on Sunday the conference delegates voted in four new vice-chair people: former Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil, current Justice Minister Pavel Blažek, Environment Minister Tomáš Chalupa, and Ms Němcová, who received the least number of votes of the four.
In an interview in Saturday’s Lidové noviny newspaper, Head of ING’s Czech Pension Fund unit Jiří Rusnok said that he considers investing in the proposed second pillar of the pension reform to be risk both ofr pension funds and customers. Mr Rusnok, who was one of the main advocates of the reform, expressed his dissapointment at the lack of political consensus. ING announced on Thursday that the fund is not planning on introducing financial products that would comply with the embattled pension reform. One of the main reasons, that the former Finance Minister Rusnok cited in the Saturday interview, is that given the opposition’s pledge to repeal the reform once the Social Democrats win the next parliamentary election, the new type of funds will cease to exist in two to three years time.
The LIDEM party is also holding its conference in Brno this weekend. As
expected, deputy prime minister and LIDEM’s main founder Karolina Peake
was elected chairwoman of the party on Saturday. The 70 delegates present
at this founding conference voted in Peake's preferences for vice
chair-people. Dagmar Navrátilová was elected first
deputy chair, and MP Viktor Paggio, Jiří Neumann and Jiří Rusnok were
also elected as deputy chairmen.
The Liberal Democratic party was formed this spring after a number of MPs from the Public Affairs party, including Ms Peake, left the party over disagreements with its leadership. The Public Affairs party subsequently left the governing coalition, while Ms Peake formed LIDEM, which instead became a coalition partner.
Doctors’ union representatives from the Czech Republic may join forces with their colleagues in neighboring countries – Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – to stage another set of protests, similar to last year’s ‘Thank you, we’re leaving’ campaign. Mlada fronta Dnes daily reported on Saturday that doctors want to protest against similar problems as last year, but in addition to persistently low salaries, they are also criticizing plans to further privatize, and the insurance companies’ unfair practices. The unions are planning to stage a warning to the government and the Health Ministry and have doctors stop working for a few minutes on November 20th. If their demands are not met after that, union representatives are threatening massive resignations from doctors around the country, but said that this will not happen until after Christmas, so as not to complicate matters for patients during the holiday season.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
Restaurant tells visitors to “clear their plates” or pay a 50 crown fine for wasting food
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’