The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych will lead the country’s team in the upcoming Davis Cup final in Prague. The team will also feature Radek Štěpánek, Lukáš Rosol and Ivo Minář. The Czechs were defeated by Spain in the final of the competition three years ago. This year’s final will take place on an indoor hardcourt at Prague’s O2 Arena the weekend after next.
The Czech lower house approved a government tax bill in its final reading
on Wednesday. Prime Minister Petr Nečas had tied a vote of confidence in
his coalition government to the vote on a raft of tax changes, which
includes an increase in VAT. The bill is crucial to the passing of the
budget for next year, and the finance minister had drafted an alternative
budget in case it failed.
Its approval was complicated by the position of a group of rebels within the prime minister’s own Civic Democrats. However, the rebellion fizzled out on Tuesday, when three of the deputies in question resigned their mandates and two said they would back the bill.
The Czech singer-songwriter Vladimír Merta is launching a new LP, entitled Nikdo v zemi nikoho (Nobody from the Land of Nobody), at a special concert at Prague’s Malostranská beseda on Wednesday night. Merta will be appearing alongside his old rock group Dobrá uroda, who last performed in 1989. The LP comprises fresh recordings of old songs alongside a number of new numbers.
The Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, is set to ask the government to prepare the privatisation of the state-controlled carrier Czech Airlines, the news website Novinky.cz reported on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said plans were afoot to launch a tender process with a view to finding an international long-term investor for Czech Airlines. Mr. Kalousek said price would be the most important criterion but not the only one. A previous attempt to find a buyer for the airline in 2009 proved unsuccessful.
The Czech Republic soccer squad for a friendly against Slovakia on November 14 will feature five uncapped players. Tomáš Kalas, Ladislav Krejčí, Bořek Dočkal, Martin Pospíšil and Michal Ordoš have received call-ups from coach Michal Bílek. Bílek has been forced to make do without several players, such as injured Arsenal midfielder Tomáš Rosický and goalkeeper Petr Čech, who is planning to undergo an elbow operation next summer and has been excused because of his club Chelsea’s busy schedule.
The US ambassador to Prague, Norman Eisen, described the victory of Mr. Obama – who nominated him for the post – as a signal of continuity in his country. He said the Obama administration would continue its policies aimed at supporting a path out of the recession. Mr. Eisen hosted a party at the American Embassy in Prague that ran from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, with attendees following the results of the election as they came in on television. .
Prague will get a new Christmas market this year, with one set to be held on the square Malé náměstí, a short distance from the traditional market on Old Town Square. The mayor of Prague 1 said on Wednesday that the local council did not want to see Christmas celebrations concentrated on one site, adding that he favoured the sale of traditional Czech goods, such as a pastry known as “trdelník”. A pedestrian zone was created on Malé náměstí earlier this year.
A Civic Democrat politician in line to replace one of three party deputies who have resigned insists he will take the post, despite the fact that he has been sentenced to a six-year jail term for corruption. Roman Pekárek has protested his innocence and appealed against the verdict. He has ignored calls from party colleagues to forego the seat in the lower house, and has not said he would do so if he loses his appeal.
MP Milan Stovicek who was expelled from the opposition Public Affairs party last week for consistently breaking party ranks and voting with the government on key reform bills has left the party’s deputies’ group in the lower house. Mr. Stovicek said he respected the decision. The former Public Affairs deputy has said he supports the government’s reform plans and there are efforts to secure his support for the controversial tax-hike bill on Wednesday. Public Affairs was formerly a member of the centre-right governing coalition but split and the core of the party went into the opposition, with a group around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake remaining in government and setting up a new political party under the name LIDEM.
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