Three candidates for the presidential race – Jana Bobošíková, Vladimír Dlouhý and Tomio Okamura – have been disqualified by the Interior Ministry for having failed to meet the requirements. The ministry said on Friday that the three candidates failed to submit the required 50,000 signatures in support of their candidacy. The disqualified candidates may contest the ministry’s decision in court. Eight candidates are now left in the race including three – senators Jiří Dienstbier and Přemysl Sobotka and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg – who were nominated by MPs or senators and did not therefore need to present any signatures to run for the post. Former prime minister Jan Fischer has topped the polls so far, followed by another ex-prime minister Miloš Zeman.
The Ústí region, in the north of the country, will push for the lifting of government-imposed limits on coal mining, the region’s governor Oldřich Bubeníček, of the Communist Party, said on Friday. Mr Bubeníček said this could save hundreds of jobs in the region, but added that an agreement between mining firms and the affected municipalities was needed before any decision on the issue is taken. Limits on coal mining were imposed in 1991 to protect the environment in northern Bohemia and other areas devastated mainly by surface mining of lignite.
Three different rates of the value added tax could be in place in January 2013 due to a possible delay in approving the government’s tax legislation, the Czech branch of the advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Friday. If the process of approving the tax package is delayed, a single VAT rate of 17.5 would come into force on January 1. This will be replaced by two rates of 15 and 21 percent, respectively when the government legislation comes into effect later in the month. This would be an unprecedented situation for the country’s businesses and firms, PwC said.
Two of the three presidential candidates whom the Interior Ministry disqualified from running in January’s presidential election said they would contest the ministry’s decision in court. Jana Bobošíková announced she would continue her campaign until a court verdict confirms her disqualification. Meanwhile, Vladimír Dlouhý said she would appeal to the country’ Supreme Administrative Court to make sure the number of invalid signatures in his support was calculated correctly. The third candidate barred from running, Tomio Okamura, said he would consult his lawyers and announce his decision next week.
Arsenal FC and Czech international midfielder Tomáš Rosický could appear in a league game next week, after a five month absence caused by injury. Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger said the 32-year-old Czech footballer should be back with the team on Monday, a week after he resumed training with the team. Tomáš Rosický injured his Achilles tendon during the European championships in June. Next week, Arsenal plays Everton and Swansea in the Premier League.
Two Czech soccer clubs have their sights set on reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday night. Viktoria Plzeň, who face the Portuguese side Academica de Coimbra away, need only one point from their last two group games to go through. Sparta are in the same position, but they will face an arguably tougher opponent on Thursday in the form of France’s Olympique Lyonnais, who they will be hosting in Prague.
The Czech Republic’s first car park spots designated for women have been created at a branch of the fast food chain McDonalds in Prague, the news website novinky.cz reported on Thursday. The places reserved for women – which are located in relatively areas near main buildings – are intended to increase users’ safety by reducing the risk of attack. A spokesperson for McDonalds said the special spots were in line with EU voluntary guidelines and were common in some European states.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has written to his Greek counterpart, Karolos Papulias, asking him to devote special attention to the case of two Czechs detained in Greece on suspicion of espionage. Mr. Klaus described the arrests as unfortunate and called on the Greek head of state not to allow the matter to cast a shadow over their two states’ excellent relations. Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, who are computer game developers, have been behind bars since September, after allegedly taking photographs of a military facility on the island of Lemnos.
A Czech military pilot died on Thursday after his fighter plane crashed west of Kolín in central Bohemia. The pilot was returning to base from exercises when his Czech-built L 159 one-seater aircraft came down in an unpopulated area and burst into flames, a spokesperson for the General Staff told reporters. His body was found in the wreckage. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
November 22 is the 100th anniversary of the opening of one of Prague’s best-known buildings, the Municipal House (Obecní dům). A popular landmark today, its combination of the French Baroque style with Art Nouveau decoration split opinion among architects and the city’s residents at the time of its opening in 1912. The Municipal House was originally conceived as a cultural centre and it remains one, hosting concerts at its grand Smetana Hall and occasional exhibitions. It is also home to a Viennese style café and a French restaurant.
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