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.
Police investigating the violent death of an 18-year-old girl in the Prachatice region in South Bohemia have arrested the girl’s mother and charged her with murder. At the family’s request no details have been released. The young girl was killed while out camping. Her body was found in a tent and police said she had suffered numerous stab wounds.
The police want to file charges against the former Czech ambassador to Australia Juraj Cmiel. Investigators say they have evidence that Mr. Chmiel manipulated a public procurement deal. He reportedly waived the need for a tender on a large project by dividing it up into five smaller ones. The file on the case has been handed to the Prague 1 state attorney’s office. Mr. Chmiel could be charged with abuse of office and mismanagement of public funds.
Historians have uncovered unique phonograph recordings of composer Leoš Janáček’s voice. The recordings were found in the archives of the Ethnological Institute of the Academy of Sciences. They were made in 1912 when Janáček recorded samples of two promising Slovak singers. He himself appears in the recordings giving them directions. The recordings will be digitalized. They appear to be the only preserved recordings of Janáček’s voice.
The FBI is to help train Czech police officers in fighting corruption. Deputy Interior Minister Jaroslav Hruška, who is on a working visit to the United States, told the CTK news agency that the training had been agreed on and arrangements regarding time and place were in progress. Mr. Hruška said the Czech anti-corruption unit had a lot to learn from the FBI and that Prague was grateful for the offer which came from the US ambassador to the Czech Republic Norman Eisen.
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.
The mayor of Ostrava, one of the most polluted cities in the country, has called on the EU’s environment commissioner for help in resolving the situation. Mayor Petr Kaynar says the town is prepared to invest in a long-term strategy to improve the environment, particularly the quality of air, but would like the problem to be addressed on a broader scale. The mayor says that according to several independent studies most of the air pollution plaguing the town originates in neighbouring Poland. Health statistics show that the air pollution in the eastern part of the country, particularly Ostrava, has resulted in a growing incidence of asthma and allergy problems.
Culture Minister Alena Hanáková has dismissed the head of Prague’s National Theatre Ondřej Černý. A spokesman for the ministry said Mr. Černý had received a terse notice of dismissal on Friday morning saying there had been no mention of why he was being sacked. Minister Hanakova’s deputy Martin Sankot will run the theatre until a new head is appointed. Černý’s mandate would have expired in March of 2013.
Two people have died of alcohol poisoning and three others remain in serious condition after consuming cheap brandy bought from a street stall in the Moravian town of Havirov. Police have confiscated several barrels of the suspect drink which was sold on tap and are questioning the salesman. 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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